Escape Room Marketing is like a safari. There are countless ways, surprises and disappointments. So that you don’t lose the overview, we have compiled the ultimate Escape Room Marketing Guide for you. It will help you navigate through the marketing jungle and reach your goals.
The Escape Room industry is still relatively young. Nevertheless, new escape rooms have sprung up like mushrooms in recent years. While the competition in small towns and rural areas is often still manageable, the market in many metropolises is saturated.
As a result, companies no longer attract enough players and have to close. But what distinguishes a successful escape room provider? And what should you do in order to be among the winners of the market shakeout? Two aspects are particularly important:
- the quality of your missions
- the quality of your marketing
Since we hear again and again that escape room operators want to improve their marketing, we have gathered all our experience and compiled what is probably one of the most comprehensive escape room marketing guides on the entire Internet. We hope it will help you and provide inspiration!
Challenges for your Escape Room Marketing
Escape room operators basically have to deal with three problems in their marketing.
- even in 2022, there are still many people who do not know what an escape room is.
- they must not reveal too many details about their missions because the details are secret.
- escape room missions are only played once.
The first problem will probably only be solved over time. No single Escape Game provider can ensure that the awareness of the industry will increase abruptly. But according to the online service Google Trends, more and more people are searching for the term “Escape Rooms”.
“Escape Rooms” search volume on Google Trends
To stay competitive, your Escape Room Marketing should focus on two things: generating new customers and getting existing customers to come back.
Many of the following tips focus on these two areas. But some are more general.
Marketing for Escape Rooms Is Easy to Learn, but Hard to Master
We divide our Escape Room Marketing tips into the following categories:
This way, you can go directly to the paragraphs that are most relevant to you.
Before we start, here’s a basic tip: Define your target group. Only if you know who you want to address you can reach your goals.
In the best case, you create so-called personas. Personas are fictitious users of your product. So you think up people you expect as customers in your Escape Room – with age, hobbies, media usage behaviour and so on.
The personas should not only be based on your imagination but on thorough data research. We have already collected some facts and figures about Escape Room players that can help you.
Facts and Figures About Escape Room Players
Example Persona: Eric Enthusiast
- Place of residence (results from your location; we take Berlin as an example): Berlin
- Age: 28 years
- Profession: IT Specialist
- Hobbies: sports, video games, series
- Media usage: PC Gamer, PC World, The Players Tribune, Facebook, Twitter, Reddit, Quora, Youtube, Netflix
- Experience: has played more than 10 Escape Rooms
- Motivation: Fun with friends, challenge, wants to be the smartest and fastest
- Biography: Here should be a short paragraph in which you describe Eric Enthusiast in more detail. The more intensively you deal with your personas in advance, the easier it will be for you to address them later with the right offers and marketing measures.
- Quote: “For an Escape Room to be fun, the story must be good and the puzzles challenging. For a technically high quality and challenging room, I’m happy to pay a few Euros extra”.
Now that we’ve developed a persona and laid the foundation for our Escape Room Marketing, we’re finally going full steam ahead. Here are 30 Marketing Tips for Escape Room operators.
Digital: Website, Social Media, Influencers
1. Buy All Domains
At the beginning of everything, there is the name of your company and therefore also your internet address. Of course, you want to keep your costs low. However, at some point, it can become important to have all domains secured with your company name.
If you don’t, a competitor can create a fake domain under your name and damage your business. This is prohibited. But by the time you notice it and take action against it, he may already have caused a lot of trouble.
Less dangerous but still annoying is when confusion occurs because of very similar domains. Do you have a .de Internet address, and someone else has the same domain with .com at the end? This can confuse users.
Of course, “all domains” does not really mean all domains, but at least the so-called top-level domains under your name. These include:
- your country code top-level domain, for example .de,
- .org and
You should also distinguish between spellings with and without a hyphen. So you can, for example, secure the domain escape-room-berlin.de and escaperoom-berlin.de as well as escaperoomberlin.de.
You will notice that domains have many variables. If you want to cover all variants, you could end up with 30 internet addresses. But registering a website is not expensive these days: .de domains are available from about 5 Euros a year, .com addresses from about 12 Euros a year.
Look for different offers before you register your domains. The costs vary from provider to provider, sometimes by more than 100 percent. However, this is also due to the fact that some providers only reserve the domain for you and others offer you additional web space.
Important: You only need to buy webspace from one provider, not from all 30!
2. Your Website Is Your Business Card
About 80 percent of all escape room bookings are made online. Accordingly, a modern website with an easy-to-use booking system is very valuable.
Setting up a website is no longer witchcraft these days. With tools such as WordPress or homepage construction kits, as many domain hosters and other portals offer them, almost anyone can create reasonable websites without extensive programming knowledge. However, it will take you some time to get used to the tools.
If you feel unable to create your website on your own, you should consider hiring a professional designer. They can not only help you to get things started, but they can also help you with the next aspect.
In addition to the technical infrastructure, you also need great pictures for your website. If you are a talented photographer and know how to use image editing programs, perfect. If not, you should get professional help. Your website is your business card and should attract your customers immediately.
3. Create Social Media Profiles
Social media like Facebook, Instagram and Twitter can be a very important factor that you should consider as part of your marketing strategy. In many cases, social media profiles are the face of the company – and at least as important as your own website.
Facebook and Instagram are mandatory for escape rooms. Both networks are very visual, so you can score points with good pictures. Facebook also focuses on the interaction with (potential) customers.
When it comes to designing images for social media, you can use a tool like Canva.com. It’s not quite as feature-rich as Photoshop, but it’s free and offers customisable design templates and more. So if you’re not the most creative person, don’t worry.
Special tip: Create your own GIFs! The use of those small, animated graphics is more popular than ever and especially on social networks, GIFs get a lot of attention.
4. Create a Social Media Editorial Plan
Are you still missing ideas about what to post on your social media profiles? No problem! An editorial plan will help you to regularly publish something new.
You should include important annual and action days as well as seasonal and regional events in your editorial plan. This way, you’ll be prepared for events such as Christmas, Easter, Valentine’s Day, Halloween, carnival, etc. We all know that these holidays, otherwise, always come so unexpected!
For small businesses, the editorial plan can be a calendar or Excel spreadsheet. There you enter the data that is important for you and store the pictures and texts that you want to post. On the day of the event, you can simply copy everything and publish it on your channels.
5. Take Pictures of Your Customers and Post Them
You should also update your social media profiles between holidays and special offers. An easy and common solution in the escape room industry is to post photos of your guests. With their permission, you should be able to choose from several photos each day.
You can even tag the players on the photos, getting them to share the photos on their own channels. This will multiply the reach of your posts because they will be shown to your players’ friends. And reach is an important currency in social media.
But be aware that the organic reach of Facebook posts is very limited. If you have 1,000 fans, usually not even 10% of them will see your posts.
6. Give Away Coupons on Facebook and Instagram
You can improve your range with small raffles. It is simple and effective to draw vouchers via Facebook or Instagram.
To enter the raffle, people must follow your account, link the post and tag the people they want to play the Escape Room with. Boost the post for a few Euros so that more people can see it.
After one week, you announce the winner of the raffle. This way, your post gets attention a second time.
Some say followers won through giveaways are not as valuable as “real” fans. But raffles are a good way to generate coverage and let your account grow a bit.
7. Create Profiles on TripAdvisor and Yelp
Review websites such as TripAdvisor and Yelp have great potential for your Escape Room Marketing – especially if you are in the tourist business.
You can upload your logo and photos, enter your address and contact details, your opening hours and, of course, collect ratings from your guests. The ratings will also be displayed in Google searches. That looks like this:
In addition to TripAdvisor and Yelp, other rating portals may be relevant to you, depending on your location.
8. Collect Ratings on Google and Facebook
As mentioned above, ratings are an important currency in Marketing for Escape Rooms. Because no matter if you are a local or a tourist – most players generally look for escape room ratings before they go to the website of a certain provider. This is your chance to stand out!
For many users, the first port of call is Google search. If there are several escape room providers in your city or area, you want to be the one with the most and best ratings. With positive reviews, you can gain the trust of potential customers.
The reviews can also improve your ranking on Google: The positive reviews will give your business more attention, and your homepage will be clicked more often. The larger number of visitors to your website will again lead to a better ranking on Google.
However, it is not easy to get positive reviews. Even if the players had fun in your rooms, only a few would write a review for you afterward. Read in our next tip on how you can increase your chances.
9. Ask Actively for Reviews
The first step is to actively ask the players for a review. Those who verbally promise to write a review will usually keep that promise.
Your customers will much rather recommend you to others if they themselves have something to gain from it. This could be a discount on their next game, a free drink or whatever.
You can also ask your customers to write a review right after the game. In return, you give them a small gift like stickers, magnets or key rings with your logo on them. You can order the corresponding advertising material in China for little money. If you take a photo of the group after the game, you can also give it to them for free as a thank you.
10. Collect Blogger Reviews
Besides reviews on rating portals, reviews by bloggers can also be valuable. Bloggers often deal intensively with a topic and describe their experiences in great detail. There is hardly a greater nobility for a small business like an escape room (provided the report is positive)!
Additionally, you can hope for a link to your website, which will have a positive effect on your Google ranking.
There are two ways for bloggers to write about you:
- your escape room is so good that bloggers write about you of their own free will.
- you actively talk to bloggers and invite them to visit you. In technical jargon, this is called Blogger Relations.
11. Check If Influencer Marketing Is an Option for You
In addition to bloggers, connections to other multipliers (influencers) can also be beneficial for you.
Influencers are people who, due to their strong presence and their high reputation in social networks, can be considered for advertising and marketing. Especially in young target groups, they have become very popular in the last years. Most influencers are specialized on Facebook, Instagram or Youtube.
However, there is a lot to consider when doing Influencer Marketing. Many influencers are nowadays organized in networks or agencies so that you can not contact them directly. The more followers an influencer has, the more expensive cooperation usually is.
If you are seriously considering Influencer Marketing, you should think very carefully about which influencers suit you. As a local business, for example, it may not be of much use to you to work with a national or even international influencer.
Only influencers with a regional focus or those who have a very close connection to the escape room industry are really suitable.
12. Stay in Touch With Your Customers
Regardless of whether bloggers, influencers or “normal” guests: It’s always good to stay in touch with your customers. The best way to do this is to gather your customers’ contact details – for example, using a questionnaire. In the questionnaire, you ask for their names, e-mail addresses and how they heard about you.
Shortly after the game, ask your guests by e-mail to write a review on Google, Facebook, TripAdvisor or Yelp. You can contact them again a few days later. This time you send them a voucher for their friends. This way, they will keep you in mind positively.
13. Subscribe to Escape Room Directories
Escape room directories are like the Yellow Pages for the escape room industry. Usually, entries in these directories are free of charge. You can use them to present your rooms and generate links to your website.
You can’t expect too many hits on the Escape Room directories. But it would be reckless to leave out this Escape Room Marketing opportunity if all competitors use it.
Here you can find a list of directories:
- Escape Cracker
- Escape Room Black Book
- Escape Rooms Master
- Live Escape Games
- Now Escape
- Escape Games America
- Esc Room Addict
- Edmonton AB: YEG Escape Room Roundup
- Ottawa ON: The ESC Key
- Quebec: The ESC Key
- Vancouver Escape Rooms
- Escape Rooms in Toronto
- Escape Games Review
- Escape Reviewer
- Escape Rooms Nederland
- Escape Rooms NL
- Gerçek Kaçış Oyunları
- Korku Evi
- Yeni Görev
- Exit Games UK
- Brit of an Escape Habit
- Escape Game Addicts
- Escape Review
- Ex Exit Games
- Really Fun
- The Logic Escapes Me
- Escape Game.com
- Room Escape Artist
- Escape Authority
- Escape Games America
- Escape Room Tips
- Esc Room Addict
- The Scare Factor
- California: Live Escape Room & Haunt Reviews
- Washington DC (and nearby): The Escape Room Guys
14. Do Search Engine Optimization (SEO), but Be Patient
Search engine optimization is part of the standard marketing repertoire of every company that has anything to do with the Internet – including escape rooms. SEO is all about appearing as high up as possible in the listings for so-called keywords (i.e. search terms that are entered in Google).
You achieve this by cleverly integrating the keywords that are important to you on your website. The most important keywords for an escape room are usually
- Your company name
- Escape Room + your city/region
- Escape Game + your city/region
Do you appear in the top 3 on Google for these search terms? If so, you meet the basics and don’t necessarily have to spend more time (and money) in your SEO.
But, of course, there are many more terms that might be relevant for Escape Room operators. Here are some examples …
… to get more bookings from companies:
- Teambuilding + City/Region
- Escape Room Team Event
- Team event ideas
… to get more bookings for special occasions:
- Gift Ideas + City/Region
- stag party Escape Room
- stag party ideas
- Family excursion + city/region
- Ideas for the first date
Unfortunately, SEO includes a big “but”: In order to appear on the first page on Google for these terms, you have to have a really good SEO. So it takes a lot of time and money – because you can only improve your search engine ranking with good content. And good content – like texts, pictures and videos – takes a lot of time to be created.
15. Use Coupon Portals Like Groupon. Or Don’t?
Voucher portals like Groupon do not have a good reputation in the escape game industry. On the one hand, you have to grant 30 to 50 percent discount on your missions. That means your profit margin will drop dramatically. On the other hand, there is no guarantee that you will ever see customers who have played with a discount voucher again.
Nevertheless, there are arguments for Groupon in Escape Room Marketing. For example, you can sell discounted games for less busy times like in summer. Or your Groupon vouchers can only be used between Monday and Thursday.
The summer gap is a serious problem for you? Provide your customers with Outdoor Escape Games from Cluetivity to provide your customers with exciting additional activities.
16. Install Analytics Tools on Your Website
With analysis tools such as Google Analytics you can gain deep insights into the user behaviour on your website. How many users visit your website? Which pages do they look at? And where do they come from?
With this knowledge you can identify weak spots on your website and improve the user experience.
In addition, Google Analytics shows demographic characteristics of your users such as gender, age, location and language. You can also see what keywords users use to find you in the search engine.
Google Analytics is just one of many website analysis tools. Due to its large scope and the fact that it is free of charge, it is used by many website operators.
Paid: Advertise on All Channels
17. Use AdWords
We’ve already talked about SEO – it’s a lengthy process to improve your Google ranking on important terms. With AdWords you can get to the top faster and easier.
AdWords is the advertising system of Google. It helps you to be found in the search engine.
When you use AdWords for the first time, it may seem a bit complicated. But the way it works is relatively simple: you create a campaign, set a campaign goal (for example, generate revenue or clicks on the website) and enter the keywords you want to be found for.
Of course, an advertising system like AdWords is not free. So you have to set a budget for it. But the good thing is that you only pay for clicks on your website. So, only if someone clicks on your ad you’re charged.
If you are successful, your AdWords ad could look like this:
18. Use Retargeting to Address Website Visitors Again
Nowadays, almost everybody knows the procedure: You look at a product in an online shop, and suddenly you see ads for it on all kinds of websites. The marketing technique behind it is called Retargeting.
As the name suggests, it’s all about getting people who were interested in a product to buy it. In your case, this means you want visitors to your website who have not booked a mission to come back and book it.
Since the technology behind this procedure is quite complicated, you need a tool or an agency to integrate Retargeting into your Escape Room Marketing mix. The expenses vary from provider to provider. Often, however, payment models similar to Google AdWords (pay per click) are possible.
19. Buy Ads on Facebook
Facebook does not play ads based on keywords. In the world’s largest social network, you create target groups that you want to reach with your ads. You have many options: location, demographics, interests, hobbies and more.
Actually, you would think Facebook would be a good advertising platform for escape rooms. Facebook is very visual – and as an escape room operator, you can score with good photos.
But actually, you should also consider the intention with which people use a platform. People who scroll through their Facebook feed don’t necessarily want to buy something or book an Escape Room.
This does not mean that you should ignore Facebook. You might get great results using it. But our experience shows that Escape Rooms usually get more access and bookings via Google AdWords.
Analog: Cooperations, Print Media and Trial Offers
20. Give a Money-back Guarantee
You may ask yourself why you should offer a money-back guarantee in an Escape Room? Cinemas, theatres and so on don’t give money back if you don’t like the performance. This is what makes the service so unique! And it shows that you are convinced of the quality of your missions.
If you have really good escape game missions, hardly anyone will use the money-back guarantee. But you have an extraordinary unique selling point for your marketing and can take away the fear of indecisive people spending money on something they don’t know.
21. Sell Vouchers
Giving away coupons is becoming more and more popular. The adventure industry, in particular, is profiting from this: instead of filling their homes with decorative items, many people now prefer to spend their money on experiences.
So you should not miss out on vouchers from your Escape Room Marketing mix. Whether as a Christmas present, for a birthday or for other occasions – a voucher is always a good present.
To make it as easy as possible for your customers, they should be able to order the vouchers online or buy them directly at your place. You can also offer different vouchers: Starting with a small amount like 20 Euros up to 150 or 200 Euros.
22. Speak to the Local Press
Although escape rooms exist already for a couple of years, our industry is still a new and exciting topic in many regions. Journalists can tell good stories about people who lock themselves up for 60 minutes as well as about escape room operators.
You can use many plugs to get mentioned in the local press:
- Opening your store
- Challenges in starting your business
- Finding ideas for your missions and building the escape rooms
- Extraordinary offers you make to your customers (for example an Augmented Reality Outdoor Escape Game)
- And many more
Attention in the local press can be a first step towards becoming more well known in your region. And a report in the newspaper usually appears on the newspaper’s website too, so that you can reach even more people in this way.
23. Distribute Flyers
Flyers are one of the oldest advertising tools for local businesses – nevertheless you should consider them for your Escape Room Marketing. You can use them to present important information such as your address, opening hours and missions, and display the flyers in various places, such as bars, cafes and restaurants. Or you can hire promoters to distribute your flyers in the area.
We all know from our own experience that most flyers end up in the trash can within a very short time. You can prevent this by combining your flyers with a special incentive – for example, that customers who show the flyer in your shop get a discount. A 10 percent discount won’t cost you much, but will motivate people to “cash in” your flyer.
There are many templates for Escape Room Flyers on the Internet, including Postermywall.com. Alternatively, you can create your flyers using Adobe InDesign or an online photo editor such as Canva.com.
24. Cooperate With Other Small Businesses in Your Area
Flyers are also useful for displaying them in other shops. But since not everyone is allowed to put their flyers wherever they want, you usually have to cooperate with the respective store. In return, you can invite the owners to free games, provide them with vouchers for raffles or advertise them.
Especially in the case of small businesses that are locally connected, these cooperations can be very individual. Just talk to your neighbours and ask them if they are interested in cooperating with you. Most of them will certainly be open-minded.
Cooperations with hairdressing studios and other shops where the employees make small talk with their customers can be especially valuable. Many customers talk to their hairdresser about anything and everything. If the hairdresser then tells them about the great team event in your Escape Room, it’s the perfect word of mouth for you.
Word of Mouth is an important Marketing currency for Escape Rooms. The reason for this is pretty simple: You trust recommendations from friends even more than reviews from the internet. In addition, Word-of-Mouth marketing is free of charge – so it’s perfect if you only have a small budget for advertising.
25. Create Mini-games for Your Escape Rooms
What? Don’t I anticipate all the excitement with a mini-game?! No, not necessarily.
People love to get things for free. A short version of your Escape Rooms is no exception.
For example, offer 10 to 15-minute trial experiences at trade fairs, shopping malls or universities.
We all know the desired psychological effect of the weekly market: If you accept a free sample, you will most likely buy something.
In addition, the mini-games meet one of the biggest challenges of Escape Room Marketing mentioned at the beginning – namely that customers have to buy something they don’t know. Through the mini-games, they at least get a first impression of what you have to offer.
You can get even more attention by offering your mini-games as an app. The development costs some money. But this way, you can increase your target group many times over and become known nationwide. You might even attract tourists who found your app by coincidence in Apple’s App Store or the Google Play Store.
26. Cooperate With Tourist Guides and City Maps
There are travel guides for almost every city and region, in which event and insider tips are given. However, some of the companies or sights that are advertised as “insider tips” are not even selected by the editors but are the result of marketing cooperation.
As an Escape Room, you have the chance to be mentioned as well. Contact the providers of travel guides, event calendars and other media to sound out the possibilities of cooperation.
27. Give Away Merchandise
We have already talked about merchandise before. You can give your customers merchandise items as a thank you if they recommend you on a rating platform. But merchandise also helps to be remembered or even becomes a topic of conversation.
Imagine friends of your customers seeing your stickers, magnets or key rings. They might well ask what the experience in your escape room was like. Normally your customers should then recommend you to others. This way, you can manage to get people talking about your business.
28. Sell T-shirts and Other Souvenirs
Many people like to buy souvenirs of places they have visited. The best example are the Hard Rock Cafés around the globe. And it would be great if your customers would run advertising for you, for example with T-shirts, wouldn’t it? Besides T-shirts, mugs, posters and caps can also be a good idea.
You can find many companies on the internet that will print your logo on all kinds of things. Often the price per unit will decrease if you order large quantities. If you’re just starting out with merchandise, you might want to wait and see how the sale goes. We don’t want you to end up with thousands of unsold items.
29. Call Former Customers for Their Birthday
Automatically generated birthday emails are nice. But usually, they are deleted immediately.
If you want to stand out from the crowd, you have to try something new – for example, call your customers to congratulate them on their birthday. Telephone numbers can be requested in the booking process, for example.
When they receive the call, your former guests will surely be amazed at first. But you have definitely brought yourself back to their mind, and after the first surprise, they will probably be in a positive mood.
It is important that the birthday call does not turn into a sales call. Just call to congratulate them. This can be done within 30 seconds. Do not try to persuade them to book again.
If the customer wants to play an escape room again, who will he probably think of? Correct, you!
A birthday call increases the probability that a former customer will come back. And this Escape Room Marketing opportunity is completely free of charge.
There may also be one or two former customers who find a call intrusive. But experience shows that most people appreciate the attention. And if the call really only lasts 30 seconds, nobody loses much time.
30. Offer Games on Special Occasions and Holidays
Whether it’s Christmas, Easter or Halloween, birthday, bachelor party or first date: It’s a huge advantage for your Escape Room Marketing if you make offers for different occasions.
Since you can’t constantly redesign your escape rooms, the differences must be small or take place outside the 60-minute game time. Here are a few escape room ideas for different occasions and holidays:
- Christmas: Specially designed gift certificate. Christmas pastries and mulled wine are included in the price. Entrance area festively decorated.
- Easter: Specially designed voucher. Chocolate bunnies hidden in the Escape Room. Entrance area decorated for Easter.
- Halloween: Specially designed voucher. Entrance area creepily decorated. Staff dressed up.
- Birthday: One (alcoholic) drink is included in the price. A gift is hidden in the Escape Room.
- Bachelor Parties: Bride/Groom play for free. One (alcoholic) drink is included in the price.
- Date: Welcome champagne is included in the price. An engagement ring is hidden in the Escape Room.
Do you want to expand your offer and be able to adapt it more easily to special occasions? Then Outdoor Escape Games are the perfect fit for you. Their big advantage: You don’t have to redesign your rooms, but you can make all changes easily in software.
Escape Room Marketing in B2B
We have already talked about many Escape Room Marketing tips. Most of them can be applied to both B2C and B2B customers. But there are also marketing measures that are especially useful for the B2B sector. Learn more about team building in an Escape Room and how you can make your establishment more attractive for corporate customers.
Would you like to know which escape room themes are most popular among players? Just head over to our blog post and find out.