5 Movie Theater Marketing Tactics to Defeat the Dump Month Slog
It’s been quite a hot summer, and we’re not just talking about the heat. Box office record breakers, like Top Gun: Maverick, Minions: The Rise of Gru, and Thor: Love and Thunder, wowed audiences and cinema operators alike. Now, with students headed back to school, a looming recession, layoffs, and a paucity of major releases, cinema operators are fearing a slow September. That said, it doesn’t mean theaters have to surrender to the chill. Use these five tried-and-true marketing tactics to fill your seats this late-summer season:
1. Stand Out With Special Events
Moviegoers are more likely to spend money on experiences they can’t get at home. Of course, that means premium format screenings, recliner seats, cocktails, and in-seat dining, but it also includes unique entertainment experiences and special events too. Does your theater offer ax throwing, bowling, and arcade games? Now is the time to make sure your customers know. And while you’re at it, throw in a back to school special they can’t refuse. What if your theater doesn’t offer other forms of recreation? Good news. This is your lucky month. About twenty one million Americans were born in August, making it the top ranking birthday month. Fill those seats by offering discounts to customers whose birthdays occur in August. Ultimately, you want to use this time to highlight what’s special about your theater (and your customers) so they feel they’re getting a movie and more.
2. Reframe With Re-releases & Refreshers
Filling auditorium seats would be a lot easier if box office breakers debuted every other weekend. Unfortunately, they don’t. So, how do you adjust your content strategy when NO blockbuster is slated to release? The first option is to screen successful re-releases like Spider-Man: No Way Home. But there’s no guarantee it’ll drive audiences, considering it’s a recent title most of the nation saw. Instead, you can attract moviegoers by shifting their attention to highly anticipated sequels coming out later in the year. Of course they haven’t been released yet, but their predecessors have. What major movie fans wouldn’t appreciate a premium-format refresher to catch them up before the sequel arrives at the end of the year?
3. Target Audiences With Irresistible Emailing
Hosting special experiences and re-releases is only half the battle. In order to see the return, you have to promote them! As mentioned, it’s important to communicate to customers with irresistible campaigns. This August and September — and any downtime for that matter — are good opportunities to audit the health of your emailing lists and make sure they’re working for you. Your campaigns are only as good as your lists. With them, you can tailor campaigns to appeal to your audience segments and, for example, promote current films that align with purchases they made in the past. When customers see that your theater’s experiences are tailored to their preferences, they’re more likely to invest.
4. Bolster Your SEO
SEO and driving traffic can sound abstract and daunting. How do you even develop an SEO strategy, and when we say, “search engine optimization,” what do we really mean? Simply put, SEO is about making it easier for moviegoers to find your theater, and slower months, like August and early September, are the perfect time to improve it. Okay, sounds awesome. But how exactly does it work? Simple. First, consider which types of moviegoers frequent your theater. Then, compile a short list of terms and phrases they might search to find you. These are your keywords. Once you have a list, place them in the content of your website. That includes: headlines, URLs, written content, captions, and image tags. You’ll want to be sure to update your SEO content on a regular basis. A film that’s relevant today will be old news tomorrow. Unless it’s Avatar, of course.
5. PPC & Advertising
While SEO is a great long-term tactic for managing your digital presence, ranking organically on a search engine takes time. Consider how many movie theaters attempt to rank on Google using a phrase like, “my local movie theater.” A lot. And the more theaters use the same keywords, the harder it is for them to rank on search engines organically. That’s where tools like Google Ads come in handy. With Google Ads, your movie theater can appear in search results for keywords that are too competitive to rank organically. You can find these keywords by using Google’s own keyword planner, SEMRush, or working directly with a partner like The Boxoffice Company.
After you’ve collated a list of quality keywords, you’ll want to split them into groups by a central theme. One theme might be, “date night,” and another, “things to do this weekend.” Then you’ll use those central themes and their relevant keywords to use in your ad copy. Let’s take our date night ad group example. The copy for this ad would have to include the words, “date night,” in it somewhere.
Generally, there are four categories of keywords you’ll work with:
No matter what films studios have lined up, it’s nice to know you have a plethora of tools at your disposal. Of course, overseeing them all can be overwhelming, and that’s where having an ally like The Boxoffice Company pays off. Stewarding a movie theater, not to mention several, takes a lot of effort and time. That’s why thousands of theaters have partnered with us worldwide. They’ve been able to take the mental strain out of running their theaters so they can focus on what really matters: providing moviegoers an experience they’ll never forget. Want to beat the late-summer slog, check out some of our tools with the button below.