Hey friends, and welcome to the latest in our special series of escape room marketing blogs centred around the ongoing worldwide pandemic, where an end may finally be in sight!
Before I get started, I sincerely hope you and your loved ones are healthy.
Last week I shared 3 changes you MUST make to your marketing before you reopen. This is because the world has changed, people have changed, and so too must your escape room.
Today though I want to focus on something a bit different. As an escape room marketer I have the pleasure of working with many escape rooms all around the world. And sadly I’ve heard about several who have had to recently close down permanently due to a lack of cash flow during lockdown.
And money is absolutely a concern for all escape rooms right now, and maybe for you right now. Sure, your escape room may finally be able to reopen soon – but even when you have, you have to start clawing back money. It’s going to be a long road.
So I thought for this weeks blog, let’s focus on ways you can market your escape room and get bookings – at no cost – for FREE!
Marketing comes in many shapes and forms. Some marketing is digital, others more physical or “traditional.” But Marketing is also split in two halves: Paid marketing, marketing that costs money – and marketing that doesn’t cost money.
But it’s important to note before I go any further: Free marketing may not require any direct cost, but it requires time from either yourself or another member of your team, which in turn costs money. But that is the only cost.
As a simple comparison, you can market your escape room on Facebook two different ways:
- Using paid ads which costs money, plus the time to create and manage the ads.
- Posting content organically at no cost, but content requires time to create and post.
So for today I’m going to briefly list 10 ways you can market your escape room for free at no cost, requiring only time.
My goal today is to provide you with some ideas and not detailed strategies. Many of the 10 you’ll already know of and already do, but if you find 2-3 new ideas and inspiration I’ll be over the moon!
That’s because I want each and every one of you (and your escape rooms!) to survive the storm. And the more you can do to get bookings and earn money, whilst spending little (if any) money on marketing – then all the better!
Let’s dive in!
1. Social Media
Whilst all social media have paid marketing options, they are just as amazing at marketing your escape room without the paid options – also known as organically.
You already know that – but what you may not do is utilise all social medias at your disposal.
If I was to guess, most escape rooms use Facebook the most, with Instagram and Twitter as well. But most neglect other options – in particular Youtube (great if you have videos and trailers of your escape rooms) and Linkedin (great for marketing yourself (for free!) to local businesses looking for team building exercises).
That all being said, what exactly should you post organically on social media? Your options are near endless, but those that perform the best are those that engage your audience and followers. Things like:
- Photos & Videos
- Competitions & Discounts
- Polls and Q&A Sessions
- Team Photos
- Current Events
- Special Mentions
- Puzzles & Brain Teasers
2. Website SEO
You’ve probably already heard of SEO (Social Engine Optimisation) before, and your websites are probably already fairly well optimised. However, there are many free resources available that can teach you how to further optimise your website – so people will come across your website and escape room naturally. SEO is no longer a complicated skill that you have to pay a marketing agency thousands of pounds or dollars for. Google is your friend!
3. Join forces with local businesses
All businesses and industries have suffered due to the pandemic and near worldwide lockdown, not just escape rooms. Many local small businesses much like yours will be very open to any opportunity to market themselves for free, and that’s exactly what you should do!
A great example would be joining forces with a local restaurant. You promote the restaurant to your customers, as a great place to get something to eat after beating (or losing!) to one of your rooms. In return the restaurant will advertise your escape room as a great place to take friends or family to after a meal or in the future.
No cost, no strings attached – just two businesses teaming up in one of the most difficult financial and business climates in the last century.
4. Sending Emails
Sending emails to past customers, inviting them to try another room or to come back and visit again is a fantastic way of generating new bookings. And sending emails en mass to hundreds or thousands of past customers doesn’t have to cost money.
There are many CRMs (Customer Relationship Management) software available that allow email sending and campaigns en mass, but of course they cost money and often cost a lot.
BUT, you don’t need a CRM. You’ll already have an email account for your escape room. Using mail merge with your spreadsheet of customer emails (Google mail merge for a easy-to-follow (and free!) guides), you can send personalised emails out to them all in a short amount of time – and at no additional cost!
5. Set Up An Affiliation Scheme
There are many different words for this, but in essence it’s where you reward somebody or a business for getting you a new booking or customer.
This can be done many ways, starting with existing customers spreading word of mouth about you.
Now ultimately, there is a cost involved because you reward your affiliates for getting you a new booking.
But you’re only paying when you’re getting a customer and booking in return. You’re not paying for the marketing and advertising that comes from having people out there (affiliates) promoting you.
6. Google My Business
This is a very simple one. If your escape room is not on Google My Business, where your business is shown on Google in a variety of ways – then get it done! It’s free and isn’t complicated to arrange, and can help put you on the map and generate free advertising forever.
7. Business Directories
There are many online business directories available to submit your escape room on. There are additional options that require a payment, but a basic entry is entirely free and will help generate traffic to your website forever.
It’s also worth seeking out any local directories that focus on entertainment and tourist businesses. Some of these may be free to advertise in, as you’re helping to generate business in your local area. Win-win!
8. Local Press
Local press and news agencies are constantly looking for new stories to feed to their readers and followership. And in the age of information, where people can find nearly anything, many will be happy to feature your escape room and your story for free.
A great story opportunity could be the reopening of your escape room after lock down. Or the launch of a brand new room. Or the launch of online experiences.
Get in touch with your local news people and see what they can do for you.
9. Apply for awards
Where possible you should look to apply for as many awards as possible – in particular local business awards, and national awards that are specific to the industry or entertainment in general.
Entries for awards are nearly always free, and just require the time to put together a really strong application. If your application then gets through to the finals, you’ll be invited to the awards ceremony which will require payment. But technically you don’t need to attend this.
Whether you win the award or not, your entry reaching the finals (which is usually just one stage on from the initial application) will bring you free advertising.
And of course, if your escape room was to win an award – that is even more advertising at zero cost!
10. Website Optimisation
Your website is your sales person. Your customers will decide to purchase a room or experience with you (or not) depending upon your website. How well designed and optimised your website is determines your conversion rate.
However, on average, 97% of an escape rooms website traffic will leave without making a booking!
But there’s a way of optimising your website and increasing your bookings by up to 15% – and best yet, it’s free for 30 days.
For more info visit www.virallybot.com/pixel
That’s all for this week. I hope todays post has given you at least a few new ideas on how to market your escape room for free and get you back on your feet in the coming weeks and months.
Ensure you never miss future escape room marketing blogs by subscribing below:
And on a personal note I wish you all and your loved ones all the best in the coming days and weeks
Thank You 😊
Free Weekly Branded Puzzles:
People need distracting. They need entertaining. And your followers love a challenge, they love having to overcome something.
And posting puzzles, brain teasers, etc. is a great way of engaging with your following too – which means it should be something you keep doing after this all blows over and you re-open for business.
People who are engaged with your social media, with your content and with your escape room is significantly more likely to book your room!
As a thank you for visiting our blog, we’d like to offer you free weekly puzzles you can post on your social media. Each puzzle will be branded with your logo too.
Click here to sign up now.