There are several ways to “incentivize” people to buy tickets early. If you can get them to buy in advance, they’re committed, whereas if they buy them at the door, they could get to that moment in the evening and just say, “I’m tired… let’s stay home and watch a movie.” So… try some of the following tricks. Keeping in mind that your comedy, your solo performance, whatever you’re creating is art, and the purpose of using “tricks” is simply to get more people to come and get the gift of what you’re bringing to the world.
- Discount tickets bought online vs. at the door, like $15 online / $20 at the door (works well!)
- Discount tickets as “early bird” until a certain date, like $15 til September 1 / $20 after (not as good for a show)
- Discount tickets at every level until they sell out, like $8 for the first 5 tickets, $10 for the next 5, $12 for the next 5, all the way up to your max amount. Let people know that the sooner they buy tickets, the cheaper it’ll be.
Finally, go for the Gold. Goldstar and a few other places are clearing houses for event tickets. How it works is they put your event on their website for half price. Then they take a percentage of the sale and send you a check after the event. It's a great way to get butts in seats.
Beware of a couple things: the most important is to note that they put out a newsletter every week that features events. The first time you list your show with them, you usually get in the newsletter. If you list the same show twice, say, in a new theatre, they won't put you in the newsletter again. Which could suck if you want the publicity. The other thing to be aware of is that this is a very public debut of your show, and ticket buyers are invited via a link in their email to review your show afterward. If it's not REALLY ready to be seen, don't list it here. Your show will be reviewed by a cross-section of America. Not by your special corner of the universe. If your solo show is a comedy about a commune of gay latin farmers who love showtunes, the general Goldstar audience may not love it as much as your friends will. And while it's emotionally challenging to get bad reviews, it's also not awesome for your online reputation. Tragi-comedy. Of course you are amazing. But see Step 4 for this one: get a director!
Next up, inviting EVERYONE. Stay tuned.