This post is also available in: Deutsch
For Escape Rooms today, nothing works without clever marketing. Everyone has a website, social media presence, and flyers. But did you know that there are even more options to promoting your company? Here are seven cost-efficient Escape Room marketing tips, that really help and also apply to other small businesses!
According to a survey, Escape Rooms mainly use Facebook Ads and SEO (search engine optimization) for their marketing. However – especially for our industry and for other small companies – there are also cheap yet efficient alternatives.
1. Word-of-mouth: important currency for Escape Rooms
Good ol’ word-of-mouth is one of the most important forms of marketing for small businesses. It’s free – and nothing is as convincing as a friend’s recommendation. According to market research institute Nielsen, 83% of consumers trust advice from friends.
We’ve certainly heard phrases such as “We’ve been to this restaurant recently …” and “have you seen the new Tarantino movie?” time and time again. And most of the time, people want to tell us how great it was. They are typical examples of word-of-mouth marketing. Especially if you have a small budget, these recommendations are worth gold.
Still, word-of-mouth is often underestimated in the Escape Room marketing mix. After all, influencing what people say about you is an art. With a few easy steps, you can find your way into people’s conversations.
- Create Great Experiences: Whether it’s teambuilding or recreational fun, amplify your customers experiences by making them exciting. If players are excited about your event, they’ll certainly tell everyone they know about it.
- Provide incentives: Your customers will be much happier to recommend you if they get a freebie out of it. That may be a discount on their next game with you, a free drink, or even merchandise!
- Keep track of what’s being said about you – people will definitely be talking about you. Engage in those discussions. You’ll start drawing attention to yourself for good reasons. You can thank them again for the visit or resolve a problem that they might have had.
As already mentioned, word-of-mouth is no longer limited to the offline world, which brings us to our next tip.
2. Creates profiles on review websites
When local companies are considering their digital marketing strategies, well-groomed online profiles are a must. Most users will check online and compare offers before they buy from you. You should therefore make sure your profiles are up to date, and your reviews are great.
Evaluation platforms play an exceptionally important role for local companies. Just like restaurants, for example, users want to share their Escape Rooms, Paintball or Lasertag experiences – and use review platforms to spread the word.
As you’re marketing a local business, you should be present on the following rating platforms at the very least:
- Google My Business
Facebook and Google are major rating platforms for local businesses. We at Cluetivity are also active on both portals, and – thanks to our fantastic customers – have very positive ratings.
A rating of 4.0 is the minimum ranking you should aim for. Any rating under four stars clearly shows that the visitor was not completely satisfied.
TripAdvisor is even more relevant if you want to attract tourists as customers. Especially in big cities, Escape Games attract many international guests. As you can imagine, TripAdvisor is certainly not to be underestimated.
83% of consumers are more willing to buy a product if a friend has recommended it to them.
Depending on where you’re based, platforms other than Facebook, Google, Yelp, and TripAdvisor may be relevant to your business. But it’s clear that low-budget marketing can’t take care of everything. Therefore, it’s best to choose the most important pages for you and put in 110% to get those good reviews.
3. Collect contact addresses
Let’s revisit the idea of incentives. They don’t only encourage people to discuss your business, but they also get players to come back to your Escape Room! Only about 15% of visitors to an Escape Rooms play a second time with the same provider. Annoying, right? That’s why it’s important to get your players to come back!
The following tips will help increase the chances of your customers returning to your Escape Game, Paintball, or Lasertag arena:
- Offer coupons for a discount on their next game, or a free drink. You could even say that the offer is only valid once they have left you positive feedback on a review platform…
- Create a newsletter! Install an area on your website where people can leave their contact details, specifically for a newsletter. With a newsletter you can inform customers about news, organize competitions, give discount codes and much more.
E-mail is the ideal medium for updating your users – even better than social media. On platforms such as Facebook and Instagram, businesses only ever reach a fraction of their fans because of the restrictive algorithm.
4. Escape Room Marketing starts with selling emotions
First impressions are everything – this applies even more on the Internet than in real life. Therefore, your websites layout should be impeccably designed and programmed. Whether you run an escape room, a paintball facility, or a Lasertag hangar, you should attract your potential customers with meaningful photos. A picture of a happy group playing your games draws in more than a hair-thin description of your rooms and locations.
You can even take these photos yourself – after all, people visit you all the time, and these photos are authentic.
However, you can also use photo databases for your Escape Room marketing. In some photo databases, you even find royalty-free images. You can use these without any watermarks (but the photographers do appreciate shout-outs). However, the choice on these sites is often smaller than on other paid portals. Here is a selection of websites where you can find royalty-free photos:
The most popular sites for stock photos include GettyImages, iStock and Shutterstock. The selection there is bigger. But, as mentioned, you have to pay for good imagery there.
5. Find out what your best marketing channel is
Are you quite an experienced marketer? Then you should analyse your results from time to time. This way, you can find out which marketing techniques work well and which don’t.
The following measures apply – online tactics are much easier to measure than offline tactics. For example, if you activate an ad on Facebook, you’ll be able to observe how many people, clicks, and views you’ve reached. You can set in-advance what the goal of your advertising campaign should be. E.g. to generate leads for your pages, receive clicks on your website, or increase views on a video.
Analysing your data helps you making important marketing decisions.
In addition to Facebook ads, there are of course other digital advertising opportunities, such as SEO, which are also easy to measure.
Offline tactics are much harder to measure. There isn’t an analysis section where you can directly view the results of your flyer, poster or other physical campaigns. Rather, you have to watch for yourself if more people come to you after a flyer campaign. Or you ask the players directly on the spot, as they would have been impacted by your marketing campaigns.
6. Talk to other audiences
Is there only a small budget available for marketing? Are you tired of competing with your competitors for the same players? Then think about targeting other groups.
Often, Escape Game providers and operators of Paintball and LaserTag facilities are aimed at adult players. But why not address children and teenagers? If you have age-appropriate games and missions for them, this can be a unique selling proposition. A children’s birthday party in a (child-friendly) Escape Room might make for a very memorable experience – and it’s also a great way to expand your Escape Room marketing options!
If you do not have child-friendly offers or would like to expand your offer in general, our next tip is the right one for you.
7. Make extraordinary offers – for example, outdoor escape games
You will find new players and marketing opportunities if you offer experiences that no other business in your city has. For example, this can be Cluetivity’s Augmented Reality Live Escape Game “Operation Mindfall”. In this game, players become secret agents who explore their city. From finding clues, combining objects, and to cracking tricky puzzles, the agents must do what it takes to solve their top-secret mission.
If you already have Indoor Escape Rooms, Lasertag, Paintball or similar activities, a game like “Operation Mindfall” is the perfect match. As it’s played outside, the amount of people who play is unlimited. You can even also offer team events for corporate clients. “Operation Mindfall” and our other game, “The Magic Portal”, are quick to set-up and appeal to a wide variety different target groups.
Our games work as a Mobile Escape Room. All you need is a couple of iPads for the players, and some of our ActionPacks. These are filled with cool gadgets that make the secret agent puzzles feel even more authentic. All you have to do is give the customer the kit, explain the games, and the installation for your Mobile Escape Room adventure is done – perfect for teambuilding, employee events and other B2B events.
Did you find a good tip? Or do you have your own marketing tips for small businesses? If so, drop us a line in the comments. We look forward to hearing from you!