A Guide to Marketing Arts Events

There are several methods you can use to market an arts event. It is important to ensure that sufficient resource is dedicated to marketing.

Many arts events fall down by focusing all their attention on the production and very little on marketing. If your event is open to the public it is important that you write a risk assessment and that you are fully insured. You may also need to get a licence such as a Temporary Event Licence.

What marketing support can Mole Valley District Council (MVDC) offer?

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Free online events listings are also available on the Visit Dorking and Visit Leatherhead websites.

There is a prominent banner site across Dorking High Street which is available to book for fortnightly periods from Dorking Town Management. There is a charge for this service and it does get booked up in advance. Please email info@visitdorking.com for more information.

MVDC is able to give advice on marketing your arts event and can also promote this for you through the Mole Valley Arts Alive Facebook page. Please contact arts@molevalley.gov.uk.

Further guidance is also offered below.

Print (Posters, Leaflets, Banners)

You may want to consider producing an eye-catching flyer to hand out or contacting local communities to see if they would be willing to support the event by putting a copy of a flyer or mention the event in the church or parish magazine.

Other places you may want to distribute your publicity are Mole Valley libraries, doctors surgeries, village halls, hotels, leisure centres, local shops and restaurants. Please ensure you get permission before displaying your material.

There are a few banner sites in Mole Valley. The Ashcombe School often allows groups to use their school railings for a small donation. Please ensure you get consent to display your material from the property owner. It is illegal to place posters on private and public property without prior consent (see Fly-Tipping and Fly-Posting).

Direct Mail

If your organisation has a Friend's scheme or mailing list you may want to contact them by direct email or e-bulletin.

The Media

There are two sides to the media, display advertising - paying for an advertisement promoting your event and editorial - which is free. Writing a press release for your event is the best way to get your event included in the editorial sections.

Try to keep your press release to one side of A4 and stick to the facts. It is essential that the first paragraph catches the eye of the journalist. The name of your event, a few words of description, date, time, box office/information line and venue need to be included in the first paragraph. Highlighting these facts in bold throughout the release is also a useful technique. Sending a good photograph with your press release is a good idea or you could invite a press photographer to your event.

Consider contacting national and specialist media as well as the local press. Ensure you allow sufficient time as some publications are monthly.

Consider offering the press tickets to your event or if you are having a launch party or opening night.

Online Marketing

Using social networking sites is a cheap way to get your event noticed by a wide audience. If you have a website you can link to social networking sites such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

The Surrey Family Information Service provides information and advice about services and activities in Surrey for young people aged 0 to 20 years old. They have an online directory where you can add events aimed at families.

Special Offers

Often organisations offer discounted tickets and promotions in reaction to an event that is not selling well and then are disappointed when these promotions are ignored by the general public. It is better to have offered discounts or promotions in advance rather than as a knee-jerk reaction to bad ticket sales.

'Early Bird' bookings are far more successful and encourage advance sales. If you are promoting a children's event, why not offer a discount or free ticket to the parent? Discounting tickets and general promotions are worth considering and including within your budget.

Last Updated: 06/01/2020

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