Getting people out to a comedy show can be challenging in a city like Phoenix when people are bombarded with different places to spend their entertainment dollars each and every weekend. Over the years I've had the pleasure of working with several comedy promoters and have been involved with comprehensive promotions for touring comedians such as: Adam Carolla, Jamie Kennedy, Vince Vaughn, Chris D'Elia, Jim Breuer, Craig Gass and more.
Along the way, I've learned some great things about how the best comedy promoters ensure their shows are a success and in the article below, I have seven tactics unpacked so that you can make sure your next comedy show here in the Phoenix market is a success!
Who Is Your Audience?
“There are countless places to put your marketing resources to promote comedy in the market. Understanding your ideal customer profile is an important first step!"
Now that you have your date and venue confirmed, how are you going to make sure you reach the right people that would part with some of their hard earned dollars to come on out to the show? Comedians and their audiences come in all shapes and sizes and putting in the effort to research who the typical attendee of your show would be is an important step in the process. One way you can get a better handle on who your comedians ideal audience is to look at who interacts with the comedians content online. Are the comments coming from more men or women? Teenagers and twenty-somethings or thirty to forty year olds? What types of appearances has the comedian made and with whom? Was the comedian on an 80s sitcom or are they the hottest up-and-coming act that kills it on Instagram, Snapchat and TikTok?
It seems like many times there is a sentiment that "anyone could come out and see this show and will have a good time" but that thinking won't allow you to laser focus your marketing efforts on what your ideal customer looks like. Once you have a good handle on your ideal customer profile, that will ensure a strong foundation into your marketing efforts for your show!
How Can You Reach That Audience?
“Now that you now who you want to target to come out to the show, what are the best ways to reach them where they are at?"
The area in which you can allocate your marketing funds are endless and making sure you have made the most of those dollars is important with this type of event. As noted above, knowing your audience for the particular comedian you are bringing through town will be the first thing to do and then reaching them where they are is the second component that needs to be executed. Does that audience spend a lot of time on specific social media platforms? Do they watch certain types of television in the evenings? Do they commute to and from work and gravitate towards certain radio stations in the market? Are they all about Spotify? So how can you gather this information? There are two great ways to learn about your audience's media and entertainment consumption habits.
1. The research that the Arizona Broadcaster's Association does frequently about the market is incredibly valuable. In this research you can see how certain age groups consume media and you can get a great handle on the areas in which your potential audience spends their time.
2. Asking some of the people that you may see at one of your shows that most likely would be a fan of a future show is a great way to narrow down your marketing focus. It seems like a simple thing but taking the time to just have some one-on-one conversations with the people that come to your shows will go along way!
Secure A Radio Partner!
“There isn't much that goes better together than touring comedians and morning radio!”
When there is a good fit between the talent and the station you are partnering with, the amount of exposure your show can get is amazing! Program Directors who have a live and local morning show will be on board with having a comedian come into the studio to do a few minutes with the morning show and weaving the promotion of the comedy show into the fabric of the morning show. In the video below, you can get quick snapshot of Jamie Kennedy joining Holmberg's Morning Sickness to promote his shows around town that weekend in the Phoenix area.
Create Video Content Unique To Each City
“With how easy it is to create video content on the fly, this strategy is a no-brainer!"
Most talent will not give any pushback on creating unique content for the shows they would be doing in a specific market. And many times, the impromptu video creative can end up being really funny! Making sure the creative is unique to the market and is genuine will really help to embrace the market and the fact that your comedian is coming through town for a show or two. I like the two examples below by Jim Breuer and Jamie Kennedy.
Promote The Video Content
“One you've created your video content, you're going to need to put some spend behind the promotion of those videos.”
As organic reach has been more and more challenging over the years, if you want to make sure that the video content you or your talent has created is seen, you'll want to put some advertising spend behind that video. The video could very easily be promoted on platforms such as: YouTube, Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and more and you have the ability to not only target fans of your comedian but can also target people that are fans of similar comedians. Last.fm does a great job of helping you understand what other comedians may be similar to the comedian you are bringing through town.
EXAMPLE: If you are producing a Harland Williams show, marketing towards people that like: Greg Behrendt, Dana Gould and Craig Shoemaker should prove to be a good place to focus some of your efforts.
EXAMPLE: If you are producing a Whitney Cummings show, marketing towards people that like: Natasha Leggero, Amy Schumer and Anjelah Johnson would be a good idea.
The opportunities with this type of targeting on various social media platforms are pretty much endless and can be a very affordable way to drive people to your ticketing site and to purchase tickets for the show in advance. And don't forget to share the video content with the venue as they will have social channels that can be utilized as well as an email database to help make a final push as the show date nears.
Make Talent Available To Local Influencers
“Podcasters and influencers can play a big part in the overall promotion of the show you are producing."
One thing that influencers and podcasters are always looking for is content and ways to stand out online. With a little bit of research and preparation, there is an opportunity here for a comedian to go on a handful of podcasts that have a strong reach in the market you are looking to generate awareness of the show. As long as the podcast is released in advance of the show date and with a commitment from the podcaster to promote the appearance as much as possible, there is a great way for a comedian to embrace the market, showcase their comedy and sell tickets along the way. Outside of opportunities with podcasters, who are the influencers in the market that are doing fun things with their social channels and also have a strong following in the market in which your show is taking place?
In this example below, Mo of Alt AZ 93-3 does one of her "Mouth Adventure" videos that features George Lopez as he was in town promoting the grand opening of his new restaurant in the market!
Does A Beverage Sponsor Make Sense?
“Your talent on stage with a specific beverage will move the needle involving sales during the event and dollars can be secured to help offset expenses of putting the show on.”
A surefire way to impact the bottom line of any show is to see if it makes sense to secure sponsors. A tour may have some nationwide sponsors in place and if that's the case, something to be careful to navigate but if say a beverage could be a sponsor of the show in a specific market, beverage companies and distributors are willing to spend dollars on these types of opportunities and can also assist with the marketing of the show. The reason why I like a beverage sponsor for a comedy show is it 100% lends itself to the show. If the comedian likes a brand and is okay with having a bottle or a can on stage with them while they perform, you have instant credibility with the audience that not only is more likely to purchase said beverage while at the show but may have a stronger affinity to the brand afterwards.
As I noted earlier in this article, getting people out to comedy shows is no small task here in Phoenix where you are competing with seven professional sports teams, ideal weather year round, a city that is incredibly large as it pertains to square miles and a concert of some sort every day of the week. If you are bringing a comedian through town that has a strong following, just booking the show and securing the venue typically won't be enough to ensure a successful show. The seven tactics noted in this article will help make sure you've done everything in your power to generate ticket sales in advance, build excitement, generate exposure for the show, offset expenses via sponsorships and make sure that as the show date approaches, you continue to sell tickets at a strong pace.