What to Consider
The List and Timing
Collecting a quality list is the most important step in an effective direct mail campaign. You will use your database of past customers but can also trade your list with other organizations.
Go back to your research. What are some of the major clubs or recreational activities in which your audience participates? Perhaps the only common thread is that they all read the Sunday paper. You can ask the paper for a list of Sunday subscribers that live in your target zip codes. Or if your customers all belong to a certain country club, either ask to trade mailing lists or contact their special events coordinator and set up a special group rate for their members. Be protective of your mailing list. Let the organization know you will only use their list once. Ask that they do the same. A great way to track this is to plant your address in the list you give them.
Give the timing of your mailing some consideration. If you send it out too early, it will be put to the side and forgotten. Likewise, put it out too late and it could get lost in the mail, or arrive late and your customer will have made plans already. It is preferable to be early and offer a special incentive if they act by a certain date.
Make the messaging relevant to the customer. Why should they care? Why should they act now? Offer an incentive and make the message as personal as possible. When sending a letter to a customer always use their name in the salutation. Write in simple, concise language and keep it short. State your offer and tell them what to do next, make it easy for them.
Offering a discount for buying in bulk is a tried and true way to market. Finding the people to coordinate those efforts is harder. Once you find them, make it easy for them to make the group purchase, so they’ll be willing to coordinate it again next time.
see sample Group Sales Campaign (PDF) with letter (PDF), ticket prices (PDF), and order form (PDF)
Direct mail cards and flyers are inexpensive and far-reaching. You can resize, crop, and recycle images from your media campaign for cards, flyers, and posters. You do not have to worry about the envelope when you mail out a card, and you can be very sure the customer views the offer. Brevity is important. Don’t print your post cards until you have taken a sample, cut to size, to the post office to be sure they are within their regulations.
Posters and flyers can be used in a variety of ways all around town. Target businesses where your customers shop and put them on the counter by the register. If you have another event, place a flyer in the programs or insert flyers in mailings that go out in your invoices. Insert the flyers in community newspapers. There are a variety of ways to utilize these materials, but it takes creative planning and being aware of what is going on around town. It also involves volunteers driving around town, hanging posters, and passing out the flyers.
Many organizations have identified that the web is their number one area for growth. It costs nothing to hit the send button and talk to hundreds of customers. It is extremely important to begin to collect email contact information from your customers. While doing a mass e-mail seems very low maintenance, there are many hurdles that you must consider. For example, it is illegal to send out a message and not offer a way to be removed from your mailing list. There are constantly changing tricks to consider, such as how to avoid getting caught in spam filters. If you think e-mail is vital to include in your communications plan, please contact an internet consultant and get some advice before beginning.
The Texas Event Calendar is a great way to market your event to a wider audience for free. Get your event entered early so it can get more exposure. see Resources- Texas Event Calendar
Selling Ads in Your Playbill or Program
Most organizations that present performing arts groups provide a playbill or program for the patrons. This can be a source of income for your organization, in terms of direct sales, as a tool for barter, and sponsorship incentives.
see Template & Samples for Playbill or Program: Playbill or Program Template (PDF), Sample Playbill Solicitation Letter (PDF), Sample Playbill Advertising Rates (PDF), Sample Playbill Advertiser Contract (PDF)
Selling Tickets and Operating a Box Office
There are many factors to consider when setting your ticket prices, deciding whether to print your own tickets and to run your own box office, etc. There are great guidelines for walking you through these decisions in the box office section.
see Template & Samples for a Box Office: Running a Box Office Template (PDF), Sample Balance Sheet – Ticket Sales (PDF), Box Office Statement Template (PDF), Sample Box Office Statement (PDF)
From the Ballet Austin Tool-kit