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Timmy Metzner
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Grow arts and culture revenue

Ask Me Anything: Returning Artists


Ask Me Anything Question

Next year we have a returning artist who didn't sell well the last time they performed at our venue. How do we change up the messaging to attract return buyers and draw attention to new patrons who are not familiar or fans of the music?

Timmy's Answer

A return artist is a challenge for any organization if there is uncertainty around the demand for him or her. Here are a few things you can do to help boost sales and ward off some worrying:

  • Start with the people who attended the first time the artist was there. There may not be many of them, but odds are they were big fans. Is it possible to offer them a VIP experience with a signed poster/photo or even a meet and greet? People who are already familiar with the artist may be willing to pay more to see them again if there is an added value beyond just the performance that increases the experience.
  • Reach out to other patrons in your database who have attended similar artists. You may be planning to do this already, but our advice is to treat them with special care. They will need you to draw the connection between Artist A and Artist B. Use targeted email, ads, and even direct mail to explain things like similarities in style, influences, or technique.
  • In order to attract genuinely new people to see this artist, do what you can to create a narrative that cements them as important to your city or organization. Perhaps you could try a social media campaign with the artist discussing their favorite things about your venue or community.
  • Lastly, you could center your messaging around the experience of attending a show rather than the particular artist. Focus your efforts on communicating how great it is to attend a concert there. What is the experience like? How special is it compared to a night in? Drive home how much you’d like them to give your organization a shot. Maybe you can even offer a special incentive for first-time attendees.

Ultimately, our advice is to segment your potential audiences ranging from very familiar to completely unknown. Then tailor the messages for those groups of people based on what they need to know and what about the performance will make them the most excited.


Do you have a question for the team at JCA Arts Marketing? Submit it here. It could be featured in an upcoming Ask Me Anything post.


JCA Arts Marketing collaborates with cultural organizations to increase revenue, boost attendance and membership, and grow patron loyalty. We provide consulting and software services to hundreds of cultural institutions across multiple genres, including dance, museums, opera, performing arts centers, symphony, and theatre. We can help you achieve your marketing goals.

Timmy Metzner, Senior Consultant

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