Three Tips to Focus the Art of Marketing a Festival Event

Many Australian independent artists are in the midst of festival season: Perth is half-way through its Fringe World festival, the Adelaide Fringe Festival begins approximately in three weeks, and the Melbourne International Comedy Festival commences in about two months.  What an exciting time!

I hope that by now many festival participants have begun cultivating ideas regarding marketing their event.  There are many ways to promote and inform audiences of your event, but where to begin?

Before embarking on your festival experience; even before diving into boosting social media posts, hiring a publicist or sending out emails to friend, family or subscribers; I’d like to offer three often overlooked marketing tips independent artists can use to focus a clear and simple marketing strategy for any festival event.

Read festival annual reports – Every year, festivals survey their audience members in order to collect data that will be used for an annual report.  This report highlights the turnout of the general festival experience, often including overall attendance numbers, a breakdown into audience demographics (age, profession, residency, etc.) and artist participation factors (number of participants, number of events, ticket sales revenue, etc.).  The kind of information that will be most helpful to an independent artist is the audience demographic breakdown.  Take note of the following information:

  1. The number of tickets sold throughout the festival
  2. The number of patrons who attended
  3. Residential information of patrons (locals VS regional, international or inter-state visitors)
  4. Occupation of patrons
  5. Number of artist participants and number of events

By breaking down these festival factors, an artist is able to identify how their event will cater to festival patrons.  Additionally, this kind of information will help an artist focus their efforts in executing a clear and thorough marketing strategy.

Research the venue’s audience breakdown – An artist has been assigned a venue ever since their festival application was approved.  More than likely, the venue is a space that has a regular attendance of patrons.  Familiarise yourself with the venue and its patrons.  Browse the venue website to inform yourself of previous and upcoming events.  Find out if the venue is active on social media.  If so, follow them closely to discover who they communicate with (their regulars) and how they communicate to the general public.  Additionally, initiate communication by sending an email to the venue management team: ask them questions about the space, their events and their regulars.  If they are active on social media, ask if they would be willing to share your Facebook event with their followers.  If you can, visit the venue on occasion to observe the crowd.  Your visit can also be a great opportunity to spark conversation with patrons and staff.

Focus on building a reputation – It is known that the first impression is the best impression to offer.  Build a strong reputation for yourself by creating an experience your audience will remember for a long time.  Think about ways you can make your audience feel welcomed to the space, appreciated and acknowledged for taking the time to see your work.  The emphasis should be on ways to encourage your audience to come back for more.  If you’ve created a caring, quality experience, most likely your audience will encourage others to attend your show too – word of mouth marketing sells more tickets than any other strategy!

These overlooked marketing tips can inspire, ignite and focus your festival event marketing campaign.  Most importantly these tips encourage creativity and fun, which in turn will make marketing and self-promotion feel a lot freer and easy.

Looking for assistance to devise a marketing strategy for your arts event?  Click HERE to book a FREE 30-minute consultation, and mention this article to receive 20% off any BCauseARTS marketing & audience development service.  Feel FREE, have FUN and get FOCUSED about marketing your arts practice today!