Why U Shouldn’t Waste Your Time Trying To Get Your Audience To Do This

The theater has a significant disadvantage compared to other businesses out there.  

Ok, ok, it has more than one.  But this one is a big one.  

People don’t come back to our shows.

Unless you’re a mega musical . . . most of your ticket buyers won’t come see you again.  That doesn’t mean they don’t love your show or recommend your show.  But the bulk of your audience will move on to the next show on their list. 

How come?  A few reasons.

  • Our product is expensive.
  • Our product doesn’t change much (except for a cast replacement)
  • Our product isn’t necessary for survival (like food or clothes)
  • Our product has tons of NEW competition every season, if not every few months.

This is the OPPOSITE of most other businesses out there.  From ice cream shoppes to frozen veggie burgers to clothing brands . . . those “producers” are all about the repeat customer.  Get ’em once, and they could get them for months, weeks, or even a lifetime! 

This is why those brands can spend more on their advertising.  Because the profits can keep coming and coming and coming.  (In business terms, this means their CPA or Cost Per Acquisition can be higher than Broadway.)

In our case, most likely we’re going to get all that we can get from our customers on that first purchase.

So what’s the takeaway?

You should NOT spend a lot of time and effort trying to get your email list or social media following to come back to your show.  Because most of them won’t!  (Many won’t even be close enough to see your show in the first place!)

What should you do instead?

Spend even MORE time and effort trying to get your email list or social media following to RECOMMEND your show to people who have NOT yet seen it for the first time.

Word of mouth is the #1 driver of ticket sales (and Ice Cream Shoppes, etc. too!).  Focus on that, instead of return visitors and you’ll see a much faster and bigger box office return.

(ADVANCED TIP:  For those of you with shows that do have a passionate fan base that returns?  Don’t ignore them by any means – find them – put them in a separate “club,” list, etc. – and give them offers that NO ONE ELSE gets.  Then they’ll come back even MORE often.)

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P.S. If you’re ready to speed things up but know you need some help, get on a call with my team. They’ll give you an honest assessment of where you are and if you’re ready to go to the next stage. Click here.

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Ken created one of the first Broadway podcasts, recording over 250 episodes over 7 years. It features interviews with A-listers in the theater about how they “made it”, including 2 Pulitzer Prize Winners, 7 Academy Award Winners and 76 Tony Award winners. Notable guests include Pasek & Paul, Kenny Leon, Lynn Ahrens and more.