Marketing for escape rooms can be a puzzle on its own. One of the biggest challenges is letting players know what they’ll get from the experience without revealing too much about the room. Afterall, players aren’t supposed to find out what’s behind the door until they’re locked up.
So you need to be a little creative with your marketing strategy. Maybe you can’t disclose what’s inside the room, but you can share other cool features — such as the unique themes and storylines.
But where do you start?
Various free marketing channels allow you to apply your creativity. These channels might appear challenging, so you’ll have to think of each one as a clue. Once you solve them all, you’ll find success in escape room marketing.
While we still have time on the clock, let’s look at a few escape room advertising ideas:
1. Get discovered with Google My Business
A simple Google search is one of the most common ways a player will discover your escape room business. They’ll use search queries like “escape room near me” or “escape room [your location].” If you don’t make your address known online, your business won’t pop up in the search results.
There are two ways you can make sure players know where you’re located:
- Publish your address on your website
- Set-up a free listing on Google My Business
We recommend doing both to get the best results.
What is Google My Business? It’s a free tool provided by Google that allows businesses to create profiles displaying their hours, location, contact information and website link. Depending on someone’s search query, a business profile can appear on Google Maps or Search.
On your listing, you can also share new photos, latest news, and respond directly to Google reviews — because receiving reviews is important for social proof. All of these elements help to attract new players by making the information they need visible in one place.
2. Attract players with an escape room blog
A blog is a perfect place to go into detail about your escape rooms. The topics you write about can be both informative and personal. You can answer any questions you believe players want to learn. And you can showcase your brand and help players get to know your business better.
Blogging is also an effective way to drive traffic to your website. Blogging about your rooms can increase the chances you appear on the first page when someone searches for Escape Rooms in [your city]. Of course, this is more likely to happen if you follow search engine optimization (SEO) techniques.
Once a player discovers your blog, they have an opportunity to engage. If the content you provide is compelling, the player might read more posts, share on social media, or click on a call-to-action button (one step closer to booking). All excellent scenarios!
To get you started, here are great examples of interesting topics related to escape rooms:
- Tips and tricks to a successful escape
- A behind-the-scenes look into a favourite room that’s no longer available.
- Success stories — how a group managed to beat a record
- The funny failure moments
- Introduction of a new room with its unique storyline
- Teamwork advice
- Starting an escape room business
- Get to know your Cluemasters
- The process of designing an escape room
- And many more
3. Spotlight players on social media channels
Whenever a group escapes a room — whether it’s on their own or because time ran out — they’re excited to go over everything that happened. Your Cluemasters are likely to hear the complete rundown — what went wrong, who solved what clue, which players gave up, and who was the bossiest. What happens in the escape room rarely stays in the escape room.
Since these player stories are a result of a unique escaping experience, you should share them on social media. Posting a group’s photo with a caption describing their escape will help you connect with other players. For example, an escape room enthusiast may want to see how another group did on a room they found particularly challenging.
Plus, when you create a social media post personalized to each group’s experience, the players are more likely to share it on their accounts with family and friends. This action can lead to more shares, likes, and comments. In other words, it can drive up user engagement.
To collect a story in the middle of all the excitement after an escape, have your Cluemasters follow these steps:
- Offer to take a photo of the group holding up creative signs celebrating success or admitting to failure.
- Ask the group if you can use the photo on social media.
- If the answer is yes, then take a couple of minutes to talk about the experience.
- Have a few questions prepared to discover information you can use in your caption.
You can also ask for a photo and story if you send out thank-you messages to your players after the day of the escape.
4. Keep players updated with email marketing
It’s not often a player will try escaping the same room twice — unless they failed and didn’t ask your Cluemaster for the answer to the riddle. However, it’s still possible to retain customers despite the common one try per room way of thinking. There’s always a chance a player will book again for an attempt at one of your other rooms.
That’s why you should let players whenever a room is switched out for something new. If they had a memorable experience escaping the last time, they’d be wanting to have another go with a new theme, storyline and set of clues. And the best way to keep players updated is to send out an email campaign.
At the time of booking, you’ll likely collect an email address from each player. While the intention is to communicate with your players regarding the reservation, you can also ask if they’d like to subscribe to your mailing list.
Using an email marketing platform — like MailChimp — you can emulate the same creativity you have when designing your rooms. Whether you work off a template or start from scratch, your email campaigns can pique a player’s interest with captivating imagery and irresistible copy. And with the right calls-to-action, your readers are likely to convert into players (again).
Just like your escape rooms, some of these marketing channels might have a higher success rate than others. The nice thing is that there’s no time limit. So take the time to test each of these strategies and find the ones that work for you.