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I can’t believe it! Another year has flown by and now the holidays are here once again. Contrary to a mindset of maybe wanting to relax, take in the holiday cheer, enjoy a holiday performance or two, or indulge a bit too much, the holidays are actually a great time to sell program book advertising.

At Onstage Publications, we love the holidays. Not because of what they stand for (well maybe a little) but mostly because this has traditionally been a very strong program book advertising sales time for us.

For current advertisers as well as prospects, this is a great time to re-approach these businesses to advertise in the highly anticipated holiday issue program books. Whether it’s for A Christmas Carol, The Nutcracker, or Handel’s Messiah, local businesses want to be in front of these audiences especially at this time of year.

So who do you call? Think high-end retail. These are typically the types of businesses that want to be in front of this holiday audience. They want to be in the program book for the last minute, procrastinating shoppers and strike while the fire is hot! Think jewelry stores, high end automobile dealerships (how about that proverbial big red bow!), boutiques, and on and on.

One story I love to tell over and over is the story of a local jeweler in one of our program book markets that renews the outside back cover year after year. One day, we asked why program book advertising was such an important part of his marketing plan. He said “it’s pretty simple—I have one client that always comes in after I feature a piece of jewelry on the back cover. He buys it for his wife for Christmas. So his Christmas shopping is done for him because of my advertising in the program book.”

It’s important to remember that the messages that appear in the program book ads should be on point or themed for the Holiday’s. Remember to take the time to construct a marketing message that will be effective for the advertiser. One of the most frustrating things to hear from an advertiser is that the ad did not work. This is where one needs to take the time to really listen to the advertiser’s needs. What does the advertiser expect the program book ad to do for them? If the advertiser has success with the program book ad, they will be back! Plain and simple.

Don’t fret if you think you may be a little too late to approach the local retailers. Retailers will be swamped this time of year and the last thing on their minds will be program book advertising. And for the most part they will have established their marketing plans already for the holiday season if you haven’t already called them. Yet, for the business owners that will be hanging around for the holidays and are not in retail, they will be in a holiday mood, which can also translate to a buying mood.

So how do you know who is going to be in and who is going to be out? Easy! Pick up the phone and make the call. If they are not there, leave an exceptional voice mail and remember to keep it cherry for the holidays! The more productive you can be early on, the better off you will have with your holiday program book ad sales results. Good selling!

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