SELLING OUT YOUR STAND UP COMEDY EVENT
So your venue is sorted with a date in the diary, the acts are booked and you are all ready to announce your stand up comedy night to the world. Now your only concern is getting people through the door and selling tickets to your comedy show!
Promoting an event either as one you are running yourself, or one that you have hired Nodding Dog Comedy to organise for you, follows one basic principle – You want as many people as possible (ideally fitting the profile as most likely to attend) to be aware of your comedy show existing.
A very simple question to ask yourself is… ‘where do people that attend comedy nights look to find them?’.
Nodding Dog Comedy have listed 8 top tips on how to promote and sell out your next comedy event!
SPREAD THE WORD
Sounds simple yes? You’d be surprised how often this gets overlooked. If you are a pub, club, hospitality venue or any type of business where customers visit the location of the show, you need to tell these customers it is happening and promote your comedy show to them! Ensure the staff at the venue know the date, times, comedians performing, ticket prices and how people can buy tickets for your stand up comedy show.
Everyone that uses your venue should know about the event and be gently encouraged to buy a ticket. They already like you so these are easy sales allowing them to support the venue. You aren’t selling life insurance, so you and your team should enjoy these conversations. You should ideally then have a way for them to purchase a ticket there and then to close the deal!
PUT UP POSTERS
It’s old school but it still works. Visual prompts sell tickets. Ensure your venue displays posters in several locations. Go and speak to local businesses and ask if they will take a poster for the shop window or staff room. Put flyers in promotional stands in other venues. If you have a great spot with lots of passing traffic, get a banner outside boldly declaring ‘live comedy here’. You want to find a good reliable company to print your posters and banners. We’ve shopped around and are now happiest with Solopress and Printed Today who both offer great quality and value.
Ensure you include all the key info of venue, date, time, ticket prices and how to buy the tickets. What you want is something that looks professional and installs confidence in your potential audience member that this is a quality night that they will regret missing. If you aren’t a proficient designer of artwork it can be worth hiring a professional.
There are so many places both online and in print that will take an advert for your event for help promote your comedy show for free. The groundwork is in finding all of these locations, but once you have a list future events are much easier to promote. Again, all the key info is required on comedy night name, date, time, tickets etc. The real benefit is that these sites work for you in distributing details of your stand up event to your target audience. These will also be places that list other similar events and where your potential audience already look. You cannot really be listed in too many places! Also, being listed online on comedy event listings sites will mean that you will naturally appear in more google searches…which brings us nicely on to….
CREATE A WEB PAGE
There is a lot to be said for setting up a webpage to promote your comedy show – yes, I know we are hardly suggesting something that has never been said before! However, not many promoters or non full time comedy venues might think to do this. If you are a venue you will no doubt already have a website. An individual page for the promotion of comedy means, again, that you will naturally receive more hits from people looking for comedy nights on google. You also have a nice tidy link to direct people to, which in turn links back to your social media. If your site is already getting traffic you’ll pick up views in this way too, and as we said, it is all about as many people as possible being aware that your event is taking place.
For new promoters a web page again will gain you those organic hits, appearing in searches online and a great platform to promote and sell tickets from. You definitely want to work with a ticket platform that allows people to buy your stand up comedy show tickets directly from web page by adding a widget. Make sure you ask about this.
There is a whole science to setting up your web page correctly with keywords, backlinks and tags – we’ll save the exploration of that topic for another day!
SET UP YOUR TICKET SALES
OK, so here we’ve got a few factors to consider; online sales, sales at the venue prior to show date and door sales on the night of the event.
For online sales Nodding Dog Comedy work with JokePit who specialise in the promotion and ticket sales for comedy events – both online streaming and live in venue. What we love about JokePit is the personal service that we get from them, the great support and the fact that they are comedy crazy just like us. If you are looking for a ticketing platform we recommend that you have a chat with them. They have proved invaluable in helping us promote our stand up comedy events.
It has to be said though that there are a lot of choices out there and some take the option to list their tickets with as many sites as possible. It really comes down to what works for you best and with a little research, determining where your audience is most likely to search for tickets. A google search or two will help with this as ‘stand up comedy Manchester’ or ‘comedy club Manchester’ will show you what most potential audience members will see in your area (If you are in Manchester) when they search online.
Don’t forget that ticket platforms will charge a fee for the services and you will need to decide whether you include these in your ticket price or have them added as ‘booking fees’ for the customer to cover.
If you are a venue and can sell tickets before the event you would be mad not to! This links back to making sure everyone of your team knows about the event and is promoting it as much as possible. A steady stream of in house sales leading up to the event is a huge ingredient to reaching that magical ‘Sold Out’ announcement.
Nodding Dog Comedy more often than not sell out events prior to the night of the show. However, where we have a few seats left or if we have even held some back to allow for walk up sales, we need to be able to take payment on the door. We use the Square Card Reader that links to an iphone. It is really simple, allows quick card payments and you can even have it set up to sell tickets for future shows too. Shop around for something that suits your needs but this is an invaluable piece of our kit!
Another area of promotion that we could write a book on! Generally speaking social media is a good free option to use to get interest in your stand up comedy night.
On Facebook set up an event and invite people to attend. Share the event to local community and events pages. Don’t get spammy but increase activity as the date of the show approaches. You want to engage with people, so use facebook events to give updates on ticket sales, post videos of the performers and link to the acts you have booked so they can share the event to their own fans too. It’s even worth asking the acts directly to help with a bit of a push and some promotion as they will usually already have a following that will naturally be interested in your event.
Over on Twitter use your venue account to share links to where people can buy tickets and to the web page you have set up. Again you tag the performers and ask them to RT the details. Follow accounts that have an interest in comedy events and from your local area. Social media is generally a medium where reciprocal support is king – so reach out to people to get them to return the favour.
Other social media platforms that Nodding Dog Comedy use are Instagram, Pinterest, Reddit and Youtube. Whilst you might not gain a number of followers to rival Lady Gaga, social media is picked up by Google – so the more places you are active, the more often you will be found by people searching for events in your area.
WRITE A PRESS RELEASE
If you don’t send out a press release when you first launch your event you are missing a trick! Local newspapers, websites, radio and sometimes even TV are normally desperate for a good news story – and live stand up comedy is definitely that.
Look online for a guide to writing a professional and concise press release as again this is a bit of an art. Nuggets of golden tips from us would include; make the press release fun and relatable to increase its chances of use, do your research into who are the best people at each media outlet to receive your press release, don’t send it in email as an attachment rather send it in the body of the email text, include a quote from both yourselves and from an act on the bill (if they are famous all the better) and don’t forget to include details on how people should buy tickets!
We get a lot of success from local radio who love getting you on air to discuss an event with local interest and this is one area where if you don’t ask, you won’t get!
Finally, paid advertising is a decision on budget and ambition. It has to make financial sense for you to go down this route as poorly planned paid advertising can drain the profit from your event before it has even started!
Local press, GoogleAdWords and Facebook Ads would be your most likely choices and all can work magnificently in spreading awareness and selling tickets. You need to do your research though as to what is most likely to reach your target audience in your location and determine how much you want to spend.
Nodding Dog Comedy use paid online advertising when we are launching brand new nights to speed up the level of engagement and interest. We target local areas around the venue, specifically professionals between the ages of 24 and 45. We start advertising several weeks before the event and have 3 or 4 advert versions so that we can monitor which is performing best.
We generally save print advertising for festivals and bigger events, but again look at your local area, local at your target audience and ensure you pick the options that will mean your event gets in front of these people.
Promoting your stand up comedy show is all about letting as many people as possible know when and where it is taking place. Some of the above methods will work better for you than others and all of them are worthy of a website of their own in order to fully explain exactly how to smash them.
Promoting is a lot of work and for some is the hardest of all the elements of staging stand up comedy. The number one rule and almost the forgotten secret is the more you do the better the end result.
Nodding Dog Comedy are experts in all of the above and we do ALL OF THE ABOVE AND MORE when you book us to run a comedy event for you. We are comedy geeks, but we are also marketing geeks! We undertake professional courses in events management and digital marketing to ensure that we stay ahead of the curve on how best to promote your comedy show and get your event hanging up the SOLD OUT banner as soon as possible!
Interested in booking Nodding Dog Comedy to run your next stand up comedy show? Use the form below and we’ll be straight back in touch with you!