How to wage war on the Broadway discount sites. Part II

Alright, let’s talk about how we can do some damage and start to take back our discounts!  (Insert revolutionary cheers and french people waving flags and putting up barricades here.)

Yesterday we talked about how the discount sites are beating shows to the box office, because of the modern consumer’s desire for a lower priced ticket, and the easy-to-find codes on sites like BroadwayBox, Theatermania, etc.

And why are they easy to find?  One weird word.  Google.  Google makes these discounts easy to find.  Because . . . and here’s where we’re going to try and insert ourselves . . . those sites have strong “organic” search rankings.  When you search “ANY SHOW Discount” usually it’s one of those sites that pop up first.  Click here for an example of one of my own shows search results.

Why does this happen?

It’s because these sites have the most relevant content, are the most aged, have the most links, and all those other things that Google likes.

And because the official sites aren’t even trying.

But they should.

Here’s the simplest trick that every single Broadway show should be doing when building their website in an attempt to at least get in the game of organic search for discounts in order to save money and/or make more money.

1.  As soon as you know you might produce or create a show, buy the domain.  See here.

2.  As soon as you own the domain, put up a simple TWO page site.  Google treats websites like a sommelier treats wine:  the older the better.  (Build the rest of your site as soon as possible as well – the more pages of content the better – but the two pages referenced below are the most important in this context.)

3.  The first page should be your general splash screen that’s visible when you visit:

And now, here’s the rub . . .

4.  The second page should be an internal site page, named something like:  (See where we’re going?)

5.  On that second page, list your discount information.  Make it relevant for someone searching for a discount.   Hire an SEO consultant to make sure you nail this page.  Don’t link this page off your home site.  Just let it live there for Google to see, and its spiders to crawl.

See what we did?  We created a discount page, on the official site.

Now I know what you’re thinking . . . “I don’t want people to see that I’m discounting!”  They won’t . . . unless, they are already looking for it.  And there’s the key . . . if they are looking for it/searching, they are going to find a discount somewhere, right?  They are better off finding yours than a third party discount site where you may not have as much control over price, over the marketing message, or heaven forbid, a site that actually costs you money.

If you can make this work, and I have . . . you can make more money.

On one show of mine, I made close to $10k extra in a 2 month period just by having a slightly higher priced discount on my “official discount page” that achieved high organic rankings thanks to the above tip (and some of the advanced tips below).

Let me state that this is not a quick fix, nor is it guaranteed to shoot you to the top of the first page of Google.  But it can absolutely and without a doubt have an impact.  Especially on shows with longer runs.  Because the page is built on the show’s actual and official domain, it is very possible to rise high in organic rankings for someone searching for your discount.

Oh, and if you don’t build this page . . . the discount sites will!  That’s exactly how they’ve been winning the search war.  Sure, their sites are reputable, older, and get a lot of traffic . . . but watch them . . . as soon as a new show is announced, they’ll have a ticket page and a discount page up even if there are no discounts.  They are just trying to be the first to the organic search front lines so they can get an advantage.

But since you know when your show is announcing before they do . . . that advantage can be yours.

Here are a couple more advanced tips to help you fight your pricing battles:

  • Build the “Official Discount Page” referenced above on a Word Press or blogging platform.  Update it often.  Like everyday if you can, or whenever you have any relevant discounting content (rush, new discounts, changes to policies, etc.).  Google likes old sites, yes, but they also like “news” sites, or sites that change everyday.
  • Buy a “discounts” Google Adwords campaign . . . again, only for people searching for discounts.  Send those people to your official landing page.  This will help with Google, and again, if a consumer is going to find a discount on another site, why not pay a little bit to send them to yours where you may be able to get them to spend a little more (a lot of these folks don’t want to comparison shop – they just don’t want to pay full price).  And on your site, you can do cool things like, collect email addresses in order to get the discount, etc.  And that’s worth a lot in itself.
  • Buy a domain with discounts in the domain itself . . . ex.  Build a simple site that is similar to your official site filled with relevant discount info.

There are a ton more of these little known search devices to help improve your rankings and help you at least feel like you’ve got a fighting chance.  Talk to your advertising or marketing agency about it, or find a good SEO guy/gal to put in your army.

It might be too late to win the Broadway discounting war.  But we could win some battles.

And each one of those battles means bucks to your bottom line.


(Got a comment? I love ‘em, so comment below! Email Subscribers, click here then scroll down to say what’s on your mind!)

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  • Ken Offricht says:

    Okay. I must say of all the advice so far (other than registering domain name ASAP), this is by far the most practical, inventive, and useful. That is not to “discount” any of your previous posts, but this one resonates perfectly and is uber practical, affordable, and likely to have a high ROI down the road!

    Bravo and merci beaucoup.

  • Sarah says:

    As a producer, you should (and I’m sure do) know that producers, ad agencies, and marketing companies work together to create these discounts and send them out directly to theater websites and 3rd-party vendors to be posted EXACTLY as stated, and with the terms and marketing copy given. The same ad agencies that create show websites send out the discount information to vendors to promote- any site or vendor that has enough Google search cred to show up is most likely being SENT this information TO POST. If you don’t want discount codes out there, don’t create them and send them out to be utilized. But then you wouldn’t be selling as many tickets, full price or not, so therein lies the issue. I’m not trying to be rude, but this is a practice many people, including yourself, take part in. I’m trying to understand- why the sudden shift?

    • producer says:

      It’s not a shift, Sarah. In some cases, if you don’t send those sites a code on your own, they will find one (Direct Mail, Seasons of Savings) and post it anyway. In other cases, if you promote a lower code to another niche audience, some sites want that same code. And finally, those codes are meant for people who visit the site, are members of clubs, etc. The problem is the G word. Google. They are visible for anyone searching. The goal is to try and prevent people willing to pay full price from paying less.

      • Sarah says:

        Gotcha. It’s tough. As a consumer, I agree that the more discounts I can find, the better. From a producer’s perspective (ding!), I’m sure it’s a nightmare trying to control that discount search to specified sources and your own show’s site.

  • Paul Mendenhall says:

    This is all news to me. It never crossed my mind that discounts are available to “niche audiences” who merely put in a code. I’ve never seen such a thing. But then, I loathe comparison shopping. I’d far rather pay full price than go through that hassle, even if it means seeing fewer shows.

  • Greg says:

    As an SEO professional and Broadway fan, I can tell you that I am amazed at how many shows setup their websites wrong and are consistently out-ranked by discount sites, news articles and unofficial pages. There are some great tips here. Another reason discount sites rank higher is because they are getting search traffic for a lot of different shows and the more traffic one gets, the better the ranking usually. A tactic some shows might want to consider is creating oroginal content on the website that will drive users back o the website over and over, thusly driving up your traffic. I find many shows put their site up, but not much happens once it goes live.

  • Michael L. says:

    This is AMAZING information. I’m not currently producing a show, but when I do, I’ll be taking advantage of these insights (and sharing them with friends). Thank you!

  • Rick says:

    You and the theatre control the tickets, which means you control the prices — full or discount. If you don’t want unauthorized discounts floating around, don’t originate them. Those unofficial web sites have to get their discounted tickets from you, one way or another. They won’t sell full price tickets at a discount, right? So limit your discounts to the TKTS booth.

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