The best campaign is layered. Word of mouth is key.
Clear deadlines, adequate preparation, a suitable gestation period (6-9 months) and a commitment from a core group among your patrons offers the best results. An effective campaign often includes:
- Teaser announcement in the yearly catalog, all show programs, and company web site.
- Glossy flyer with a detailed itinerary and a letter from the Artistic Director to be sent in a packet to interested patrons in a timely fashion.
- Two mass emailings, over three months, with links to Insider Cultural Tours.
- Announcements by the leading members of your staff at public events.
- A steering committee. Key patrons who will steward, sell the tour from within, and generate word-of-mouth.
- Presentation by Insider Cultural Tours for your Board or donors.
Here is an example of a hypothetical theater company, Stage Three. The tour's dates and specifics were determined after a focus group of patrons was questioned about their preferences, availability, and interests.
USA/London Theater Tour
In Celebration of our 10th Anniversary
March 2-11, 2007
An announcement is made in the yearly program catalog, with a letter from the Artistic Director, extolling the virtues of a tour.
A final itinerary is printed on a glossy flyer. This flyer is part of a packet which includes another letter from the Artistic Director. This packet is sent on the same day anyone asks "for more information."
A committee of four people from the Board are assigned the task of promoting the tour and finding other patrons to join in. An announcement is also posted on the theater's web site and linked to Insider Cultural Tours.
The Artistic Director and staff begin announcing the tour at any public event which is applicable.
A lobby display is created; flyers, in a sleeve attached to the display, are available.
An email blast is sent to the entire mailing list announcing the tour, with links to Insider Cultural Tours.
James Ryan, Insider Cultural Tours President, meets with the "Tour Committee," and anyone else interested, at a Board meeting.
A second email blast is sent out regarding the tour with a letter from the Artistic Director recapping the Board's enthusiasm.
By the end of the month, the Tour meets its minimum: 20 participants.
All deposits are collected and 2 more couples join the tour.
Final payments are received by the first week of this month.
The Artistic Director and staff have a festive meet and greet with tour participants several weeks before departure. This ice breaker continues the cultivation process.
Tour departs for London.