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5 Tips to Successfully Market Your Local Concert or Festival

After the highs and lows of the past couple of years within the arts and entertainment space, entertainment venues, organizations and performance groups are adopting new marketing strategies to boost attendance numbers. Many organizations in the Capital Region are in the process of bolstering summer marketing campaigns and thinking ahead to fall and winter program launches. However, there is frequently a singular goal in mind – get people through the metaphorical front door.


Arts and entertainment venues and businesses alike have placed newfound emphasis on marketing plans and strategies that focus on direct return on investment (ROI). Products and services that drive ticket sales are more critical than ever in light of pandemic-related revenue loss. Organizations are looking to best utilize marketing budgets, adapt quickly to changing consumer needs and chart a new course for a future.


Below, we’ve listed a combination of tips and tools that can help to market your local concert, festival or event to ensure success.



Learn More About and Understand Your Target Audience


For concert promoters and event venues, the landscape has certainly changed over the course of the past year+. In many cases, the landscape has changed for the better and has become more lucrative for many event promoters and venues. According to Pollstar, the average ticket price for the 100 biggest concerts rose from $28.50 in 1996 to $87.10 in 2021. The increased spending doesn’t stop at a singular concert. According to a recent study by Eventbrite, one in five festival goers spends 78% more on music festival tickets.


As we find ourselves in an “experience economy,” it is now more important than ever to create a fine-tuned marketing campaign with precise messaging to provide consumers with exactly what they are looking for. And, it is equally important to know exactly who you are looking for.


Targeting consumers in the right place at the right time in their purchasing process is challenging for many arts and entertainment organizations, especially as consumers now use a variety of channels and devices to research locations and plan their agendas. However, we’ve identified some of the best channels and mediums to use that have yielded positive results.



Determine the Best Channels and Mediums to Use


Organic and Paid Social Media


Arts and entertainment venues know that events are naturally social in nature. In a visually and digitally oriented communication world, social media platforms lead the charge in “showing” brand stories and relaying value. Over the course of the past few years, there has seemed to be endless changes and updates made to social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. Plus, add in the old new kids on the social media block (i.e. TikTok and Clubhouse) and the idea of creating a social media marketing strategy becomes increasingly daunting for an organization.


However, these platforms can and should be used to share events, drive engagement through a multitude of online communities and drive ticket sales. For a venue or organization advertising a specific event, concert or festival, social media is a necessity when it comes to sharing the total experience with potential eventgoers.


In the Albany DMA alone, more than 533,000 residents use social media apps or websites for at least 1 hour every day, and many use the social media resources available to them for more than 5 hours per day. Social media is a fantastic opportunity to not only promote a concert or festival, but also to foster engagement before people even set foot onto your venue property.


Oftentimes, the most engaging content on social media is the least sales-focused. While people want to know specifics on ticket prices, VIP packages or travel logistics, visually appealing content shared on social platforms (especially videos!) are proven to increase audience engagement, purchase intent and brand association. Check out our blog on utilizing Facebook to engage with consumers at each stage of the modern consumer journey – the platform can work wonders for arts and entertainment venues!


Display Ads


Through display advertising, you can ensure that your event, concert or festival is on display to consumers in your local area and beyond.


Typically, display ads are banner ads (a combination of an image or a video and text) that appear on websites and social media platforms. Display advertising allows you to reach your target audience efficiently and cost-effectively. Plus, with our data-driven approach to finding your ideal consumer through our four main targeting solutions (geotargeting, contextual targeting, retargeting, behavioral targeting), we can help you get the most out of every ad impression by selecting the audience with the highest likelihood to respond to your advertising. In this case, you want your prospective attendee to click on the ad and be directed to the event or ticket sales website where they can purchase their tickets.


The Times Union understands this need. We recently refreshed our online arts and entertainment marketing section front. features stories and insights into the music, movie, theater, festival and food + drink scene in the Capital region and beyond. For our advertisers, this improved section front with robust content has helped them better engage with an audience interested in local entertainment.


Beyond featuring local and regional happenings, the Times Union is also proud to offer a comprehensive event calendar. Your concert, festival or event can be promoted and searched for on the Times Union event page found here. If your event is not yet in our system, you can easily add it here by simply logging in to create your custom event profile.


Email Marketing/Newsletters


According to a study conducted by MarketingSherpa, roughly 72% of US adults prefer companies to communicate with them via email. This number is a direct reflection of the sheer volume of current email users worldwide – 3.9 billion! In addition, email’s predicted user growth rate for the next four years is 3% (about 100M new users each year).


Reaching people via email is critical as today’s consumers are always on the go and constantly connected with their digital devices (mobile, tablet, laptop, etc.). Email marketing is a cost effective, highly targeted, measurable advertising medium to reach ideal audiences locally, nationally or globally.


While email marketing campaigns are used to cast a wider net to capture event interest, email newsletters still have an important seat at the marketing table. They offer a point of connection with consumers that is educational and helpful in nature rather than purely sales focused. Newsletters foster brand value and brand validity through content that is genuinely useful to your target audience.


Times Union is proud to offer the Preview newsletter, delivered weekly to subscribers to provide entertainment plans for the weekend and beyond. Through the Preview newsletter, your event or organization will reach and engage with digital email newsletter subscribers and connect with a niche community audience. Preview newsletter sponsorships are available on a weekly or monthly basis, depending on your specific needs or even the length of your event season.


Print Ads


While there are many facets of print advertising, specialty publications and sections tap into the interests of specific audiences and demographics. Providing valuable and interesting content via tangible, eye-catching marketing collateral is a fantastic marketing opportunity.


The Times Union recently unveiled the updated Preview weekly section. The section is produced and published by the Times Union and features premium advertising positions to reach an engaged, affluent audience interested in the local arts, entertainment, lifestyle and culture.



Wrap Up


The Times Union Media Group serves to provide its partners within the arts and entertainment realm constant access to specialized programs and product roll-outs to create a bespoke advertising experience. We pride ourselves in the ability to strategize and create the best custom targeting campaign for our partners for their continued success.


Take into account what your venue or organization needs – both in the present and in the future. As with any other marketing strategy, breaking down and analyzing goals is the first step to launching a successful advertising campaign.


For more information on advertising positions and opportunities, please contact the Times Union Media Group.




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