Digital marketing is a must-have feature of your next marketing campaign. There are lots of opportunities to do free marketing for your pantomime online, but some are more effective than others. Here’s my low-down on the best places to advertise your pantomime online for free.

1. Social Media

If you aren’t yet on social media, you need to be. You can target local people who might be interested in seeing your pantomime, plus it’s a great place for all your cast and crew members to share the details of the production easily with their friends and family. Here’s a run down of the key social networks you could be advertising on:

  • Facebook is most used for keeping up with friends and family, as well as brands and events that you’re interested in. On Facebook you can create event pages and send personal invites to followers, create a page for the public to keep up to date with what your company are up to, plus a Facebook Group where members of the cast and crew can interact – you can also post rehearsal/show information here.
  • Twitter is particularly good for connecting with other organisations and individuals. You can follow other accounts, comment on tweets, send videos, pictures, gifs and more. You can also setup a Twitter List of accounts – you could use this to follow and RT your members, or keep up to date with other companies and groups. Don’t forget to use your #hashtags to categorise your posts so that other people can find them easily.
  • Instagram is a visual social network, in other words every post must contain an image or a video. You can post these to your feed, and/or to your ‘stories’ which is a highlighted feed at the top of the app, best used for quick messages. Stories expire after 24 hours.
  • Snapchat is a great medium for getting in touch with younger people. You can post pictures or videos to your stories which last for 24 hours, or you can create large group messages and do video calls. There are lots of ‘filters’ and fun image manipulation tools to add to your content too.
  • TikTok – the new kid on the block – TikTok is immensely popular with young people. It’s focussed around short-form videos of up to 1 minute in length. It’s quick, entertaining and fun – perfect to share a short clip from rehearsals, a slo-mo of a slapstick moment or a stunning vocal from a song.

2. Email Newsletter

Email newsletters are a great way of contacting your loyal ticket-buyers. I’ve used them in the past to communicate with company members without having to copy/paste everyone’s email addresses in every time we want to communicate something! Get your audiences to sign up at the performances, or online when they buy their tickets and you’ve got their emails to send them information about upcoming shows, taking part in the group and fundraising activities. My favourite email newsletter software to use is Mailchimp or Mailerlite. Both have excellent free packages and easy to use template designs to make your emails look brilliant! When you setup and maintain your email list, be sure to check it complies with GDPR regulations.

3. PS Swaps

A ‘PS Swap’ is marketing lingo for asking other organisations to share information about your upcoming production in exchange for the same favour from your own group. You normally add the shared information to the end of your own email under a title like ‘From Our Friends’, but you can also do PS swaps on social media or in physical newsletters/programmes.

4. Event Listings

Event listings are a great free way to advertise your event because they serve a wide proportion of the population. The digital equivalent of a village notice board, event listings sites send relevant events out to their vast mailing lists and do well in search results when people are looking for things to do. These sites are especially useful for seasonal performances and often do special round-ups of pantomimes and christmas shows for audiences to enjoy. Ticketsource have put together a great list of event listings sites that you can use here.

5. Local News Websites

Physical local newspapers may be becoming a thing of the past, but the power of online local news is such that it’s definitely worth spending your time writing a short press release and sending it (in individual emails) to all the local press contacts. Key things to remember is that your press release needs to be ready-to-go to print (ie. many local journalists don’t have time to re-write press releases for print or search for key information, so make sure you’re happy for your press release to be copied and pasted straight onto the internet). Also, don’t be afraid to ring your local newspaper and ask if they received your press release and when you can expect it to be printed/published online. This gives them a little push to prioritise your event over others. I’d usually send a press release around a month in advance of the event. If you need advice writing your press release, there’s a brilliant help guide here.

If you follow these five easy steps to get your pantomime advertised online, you’ll see an increase in ticket sales year-on-year and a loyal audience build who will love your productions and keep coming back!

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