Hey, and welcome to the latest Escape Room Marketing blog. Last week I shared a Linkedin strategy that doesn’t cost a dime that will enable you to get large bookings from local businesses. If you’ve not checked that out yet, click here.
Today I’m going to talk about not 1, but 4 different marketing strategies to get new bookings for your escape room. And the reason each of these strategies perform so well is because they’re focused on bringing back customers to play again!
The concept of repeat business – where you get customers to come back for more, is essential to the success of any escape room. Ultimately, there are only so many people in this world who you can market to and get to book one of your rooms.
But by marketing to old customers, you’re able to get consistent repeat bookings. Escape rooms with only a single room are hesitant to market to old customers because they feel they have no new experiences to offer. But the truth is many happy customers would be happy to come back again and play the same room!
And if you have multiple rooms, old customers would love to be challenged to play a different one from last time. The opportunities are in abundance; you just have to reach out, grab them and…
That’s right. As is common in every blog post, I’m here not just to educate you, but I’m here to arm you and get you started right away. There’s no use learning a new marketing strategy if you don’t put it into action.
So, make the commitment now that you will put into action at least 1 of the 4 strategies I’m about to share to get repeat bookings. Agreed?
Finally, because I go into detail for each of the 4 strategies I’m splitting them between 2 separate posts. That way you don’t get too overwhelmed with information and ideas! So this is part 1.
Before We Get Started
Before we get started and dive into the 1st of the 4 strategies, there are a few things you need that are essential to success. Personalization is critical to any marketing, but especially to getting return bookings.
At the very least, you need to know their First Name which you should have, and an Email or Phone Number. These are the absolute minimum requirements. However, to open yourselves up to even greater results, you’ll need as much of these requirements as possible:
-The date the customer played
-The name of the escape room they played (if you have multiple rooms)
-Whether they won or lost
-And an address
You see, the strategies are targeting specific people: people who have booked before. So by having as much information on their previous booking, the more you can remind them of the great experience they had!
It’s not enough to simply market to previous customers as you would somebody who has never heard of your escape room before – never mind visited and played a room!
The strategies use methods of marketing that you probably already do on a general capacity. But by adding that personalization, and by having that history with the customer, you will experience a greater conversion (booking) rate than nearly any other type of marketing.
And better yet, your marketing costs are cheaper because you’ve already captured these people’s details before and already paid to turn them into a customer. Now you’re simply going to get them to come back again and again.
Speaking of which, how will you do that? Here are the 4 strategies;
- Direct Mail
- Facebook Ads
Whether you do any of these methods generally already or not, I’ll be going into enough detail that you can start these in no time at all. Anyway, without further ado, let’s dive into strategy 1… Email!
Email is likely to be a tool you use in your escape room already – at the very least, to send details of a booking to a customer or to remind them closer to their booking date.
But in order to use Email to get repeat customers, you need an email system that can:
-Send out emails en-mass
-Send out emails personalized with data you provide
-Send out emails automatically (scheduled at a set date/time i.e. 3 months after a customs original booking.
-AND allows receivers to automatically unsubscribe if they want (essential to any email compliance wherever you’re located – not to mention, it’s just polite! )
Systems like these are fairly common and don’t need to be expensive. If you haven’t one already, try MailChimp or MailShake.
Timing is incredibly important when it comes to gaining repeat bookings, whether you use Email or the other strategies I’ll cover later. It may seem obvious, but you don’t want to try to get somebody to come back to your escape room a few days after they last visited!
You need to leave it a good amount of time since their booking, but not too long. They need to be able to be reminded of their experience, the fun they had, etc. A good balance I’ve found is 3-6 months after their visit.
As you probably experience yourself, email inboxes can get busy, and it’s easy to miss new emails or simply not be bothered to go through them all! As such, only a small percentage of your past customers will actually notice your email, never mind read it!
Personalization plays a role in this, and I’ll share a great email template for you to use. But ultimately, you want to have a series of emails in play – one a week for several months. This consistency and persistence will lead to more repeat bookings. And I know what you’re thinking, what if people think you’re spamming them?
Ten years ago, somebody may be unhappy you’re emailing them weekly. These days people’s inboxes are SO FULL, they don’t notice most of them. So, you have to send several emails over a period of time to get somebody’s attention.
With that said, let’s look at a typical email you should be sending:
Subject: [Name], Come Back And Play At [The Best Escape Room Ever]
Can you believe it’s been over 3 months since you last visited [The Best Escape Room Ever]?! Crazy, right? If you recall, you and your friends played the [Baker Street Room] on [31st August 2019], and you managed to escape.
Way to go!
We wanted to invite you to come back to [The Best Escape Room Ever] and play one of our other rooms;
Or you can see if you can beat [Baker Street] a second time!
As a further thank you for your last visit, we wanted to offer you a 10% discount on your next booking when you bring 5 or more friends with you!
CLICK HERE to get your discount and make your next booking, and we look forward to seeing you very soon!
The Team at [The Best Escape Room Ever]
Short, snappy, and most critically: personalized. If Every part that has [brackets] around them are personalized fields or information specific to your escape room i.e. Name. As I said earlier, the more info you have, the better.
You’ll want to send variations of this email once a week. Email systems can easily be set up and created to run multiple emails over periods of time. The most important part that you need to change for EVERY email is the subject.
The subject is critical to getting somebody’s attention when they’re quickly scrolling through their full inbox.
The discount offer is not essential, but I’d strongly advise it. After all, you’re not paying to market and acquire a new customer – so your profit to get a repeat booking is much higher. Plus, it’s nice to treat an old customer, right? 😊
Strategy number 2 is Texts, as in text messages. If you don’t collect phone numbers from your bookings, this strategy is not something you can do right now. I strongly recommend starting to collect phone numbers if you don’t already. People won’t mind, and you can use it as a reminder tool too!
Anyway, let’s look at using texts for repeat bookings. Like emails, there are systems that allow you to send texts out. And you need a system that can:
-Send out texts which are personalized i.e. First Name
-Send out texts automated and scheduled i.e. 3 months after original booking
-Send out texts from a personalized number – 11 characters, for example, ‘EscapeRoom!’
-Enables the receiver to reply, and you to receive and monitor replies
-Allows receivers to opt-out of future texts (unsubscribing)
There are many different systems that can provide this service for as little as a few cense/pence a text (1 text = 160 characters, but you can send longer if needed). The best options allow integration with your email system, so you can manage both strategies together!
As with the email strategy, there are also a few barriers that can potentially limit the results you get from texting old customers.
-Firstly, not every phone number you capture will for a mobile. Some numbers may be to a landline
-Secondly, not every number will work – they may have stopped using it, or purposely/accidently entered an incorrect number
That being said, text is a method of marketing that is increasingly being used because it allows any business, and any escape room, to message somebody directly. People carry their phones with them EVERYWHERE, whilst not everybody has access to their emails on the go, etc.
Let’s now look at a great template you can use to start sending your texts out. In essence, it’s a condensed version of the email.
Firstly, depending on the text system you use, you may be able to personalize the number you send from. This means that instead of having numbers; you can have words up to 11 characters without spaces. This is huge and a great way of getting people’s attention (it’s like the emails subject). You want to use this to show the name of your escape room, so people can see who has text them straight away.
As you’re limited to 11 characters, it can be a bit of a puzzle to figure one out that works for you. But stick with it, it’s worth it. For example, if your escape room is called ‘Baker Street Escapes’, a good 11 character number may be BakerStEscp. You get the idea!
As for the text itself, a standard text is 180 characters, but you can have longer if you want – systems usually charge per 160 characters, so if your text is 161 characters, you’ll have to pay for 2 texts.
One thing to consider with the character limit is personalization. You’re going to use the First Name of the recipient in the text, and names can vary in length. Ensure your text is well short of the limit you want to stick over, so long names don’t push you over the limit!
A great template is;
Hey [Name], as a thank you for visiting us earlier in the year have 10% off your next visit. Visit bit.ly/2PHx13T to claim & book one of our three rooms!
This example is 154 characters, with 6 spare for longer names.
It’s important to have a link in your text, but website links can be very long, which makes your limited characters an even greater puzzle. But by using URL shortening services such as bit.ly you can make your very long email address very short.
Due to the limit in characters, it also makes it difficult to personalize the text too much. For example, we don’t have room to share information such as when the customer last visited, what room they played, whether they won, or not or what other rooms they can try this time around. But if you’re happy to pay for longer texts, you can fit all of this in!
There are lots of other tricks you can use to shorten your texts. For example, & or + is a good alternative to and. Numbers can replace their text versions, i.e. 4 instead of four.
Finally, and as with email, you want to send multiple texts over time. One a week is again a good balance of not sending too often, but not so infrequent, you get ignored. And if somebody books, make sure you stop texting them! At least until a few months after the visit they’ve just booked. 😉
Before I sign off, It’s important I cover one last thing. The goal of these strategies is to get repeat bookings, right? And you will! But you need to cross-reference your bookings daily or as often as possible, and stop these strategies for any customer who has made a repeat booking. For example, you need to stop emailing a past customer if they just booked.
There’s nothing more annoying being marketed a product or service that we’ve recently purchased by the company we’ve just purchased it from! Keep your records and list up to date. This doesn’t need to take long and can save a lot of hassle.
On your marks… get set… go!
You’ve made it to the end of part 1, with 2 different strategies to get repeat bookings and ensuring you never, ever run out of bookings! Before you finish reading, click away and get on with your busy day running your escape room, remember what I said at the start?
I want you to go and pick at least 1 of the strategies that you’re going to start putting into action! Whether your escape room is 3 months old, or 3 years old, you’ll have hundreds, if not thousands, of old customers you can start marketing to getting them to make another booking.
Your results will be even greater when you combine several of these strategies at the same time, and they will always work for you. The more new customers you get, the more opportunity you have for repeat customers. There’s no reason why your escape room should ever not be fully booked!
Stay tuned for part 2 next week, and make sure to subscribe so you don’t miss out!
Thank you 😊
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