Timothy Sedillo of Scary Good Marketing discusses what you should be doing now to prepare your haunt marketing for 2021
It’s almost Halloween and, guess what. You should be thinking about marketing next year’s haunt right now. There are a number of quick, simple things you can do to promote your event using the wonders of automation. Don’t wait until next summer to start letting people know about your Halloween event.
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Take Advantage of Email Marketing Services
Email is still one of the least expensive and most effective ways to reach your customers—even more so than social media platforms or text-message marketing. But, of course, you need your customers’ email address to do this. One of the easiest ways to get this data is to have your customers pay for tickets online, and then you collect that data when they make that purchase.
For people just opening an attraction or getting serious about data-gathering and promotion, there are thousands of email marketing services out there, and many of them give you a bunch of contacts for free. If you sign up for a free account with MailChimp, for example, they give you 2,000 contacts.
Another great idea is to have an automated email that gets sent to your haunt guests 24 to 48 hours after they visit your event. This email asks them if they enjoyed their experience and encourages them to leave a review on your Google listing or your social media. As these build up, they enhance search optimization and ranking.
Also, come up with a good promotional video, put it on your social media, and email it to your entire list. You want to boost those views and get the buzz going.
If your customers are only buying tickets at the door, try to figure out how to incentivize them to give you their contact information. A giveaway is a great strategy—VIP tickets for next year, a Halloween gift pack, or whatever. Print out a little QR code that they can scan. They enter their name, their email, and a phone number, and now you have that data. Look for a QR-code generator and put that code and the giveaway information on a visible piece of paper at the front of your house. A lot of people will sign up.
Integrate Data During the Ticket-purchasing Process
Many ticketing companies will integrate data as part of the ticket-purchasing process. Reach out to the support people on the ticketing platform and ask about this. If they don’t integrate data, they may let you export it, which you can reimport. Integration is the easiest, because you just click a few buttons and it sends all that data. A check box can be added in which guests agree to be contacted about any promotions.
Presell Your Next Event as soon as Your Current Event Closes
When your event is about to close for the season, start sending emails to those guests about your next event. If you have a Halloween and a Christmas event, you can start preselling tickets to your Christmas event on November 1st. Or, if all you do is a Halloween event, you can start promoting that. The great time your guests had at your haunt is fresh in their mind, and you can start making sales right now for next year from that customer base.
For more ideas on marketing during these strange times, check out this article on marketing your haunted attraction after a pandemic on Haunted Attraction Network.
So, in summary, make sure you’re setting up the presale for your next event or for next year’s event right now. Do a post-experience survey and gather your video footage and other assets to use for that event. Assets include your customer list (essentially everybody that went to your event or requested promotional materials) and the creative aspects—photos and videos of your haunt, reaction shots, testimonials, any and all of which you can use as content. Video content is huge right now, so start filming and gathering those marketing assets now.
Scary Good Marketing’s YouTube channel offers marketing tips and tricks on its site nearly every day to help owners grow their business—everything from growing social media platforms to making more money with events, products, and services.