How to never, ever, run out of customers for your escape room again!

Hey friends, and welcome to our latest escape room marketing blog! Can you believe it’s September already? I know I can’t!

Last week, I shared WHY you need multiple ways of promoting your escape room and WHAT all of the multiple options you have are.

Today I want to help solve a problem that I know many escape rooms ultimately end up facing, several years into their opening: running out of a customers!

As you can imagine, this is a problem you want to do all you can to avoid – and today I’ll show you how.

This problem exists because of one fundamental, albeit unfortunate, truth about escape rooms: Not everybody will want to play them. Sure, the industry has grown so much over the last decade, there will always be some people who are not interested. I know, it’s hard to read – and trust me it’s hard to type, but it’s true!

That means that eventually, one way or another, you’ll start drying up – running out of customers.

So what is the solution? What can be done to stop this happening, to ensure a constant stream of paying customers?

The Solution

Escape rooms that face this problem tend to devote the majority (if not all) of their marketing efforts towards new customers. Short term, that makes sense and as a newly opened business that’s the only option.

But to ensure long term customers, escape rooms must move some of their marketing budget and resources towards targeting old customers – those who have been and played a room before!

By marketing to all of your old customers, you’ll be able to get many of them to come back and play either the same room they played before, or a new room. Then you can rinse and repeat, marketing to customers that haven’t visited in say 6 months.

Sure, not every customer will want to come back for more – but many will want to repeat their experiences, the emotions they felt, face new challenges and make new memories.

IF YOU MARKET TO THEM CORRECTLY.

This is critical. It’s not enough to just market to your old customers like you market brand new customers. It just won’t work. You need to personalise your marketing:

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, you’re 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!

There are 3 strategies that work best:

  1. Emails
  2. Texts
  3. Direct Mail

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.

Let’s dive in and look at each of these strategies…

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.

With that said, let’s look at a typical email template you can and SHOULD be sending:

Subject: [Name], Come Back And Play At [The Best Escape Room Ever]

Body:

Hey [Name]!

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;

[Apocalypse Now]

[Pyramid Plunder]

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.

Texts

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)

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.

Direct Mail

Strategy 3 is a bit different, but good-different! Direct Mail is perceived as an old fashioned, out-dated method of marketing. Old fashioned, sure – but out-dated? Definitely not!

In fact, direct mail is making a comeback! In the last decade or so, digital advertising and marketing has dominated – and it always will. But people like a change and something a bit different, so when they receive a bit of direct mail through their letterbox it makes a more lasting impression.

There’s room for both digital and traditional marketing and the most successful escape rooms which utilize both 😊

Now there’s one major barrier to escape rooms doing this, and that’s having the customers address! Whilst it’s often required to submit an address at the point of purchase online, you may be unable to access them. But if you can – you have a great opportunity!

Direct mail can take many different forms, but the one I’m going to cover is a two-parter:

Firstly, you send a PERSONALIZED letter to the customer

AND attached to the letter is… a discount coupon!

People love receiving gifts, and direct mail not only allows you to get your past customer’s attention; you can also give them a physical discount coupon. And it works wonders!

Sure, you have the cost of printing and specific mailing, which means this option can be more expensive than email and text. But you’ll get great results!

Letters have a reputation of being long, full of words, and awful to read. But not yours! In fact, your letter should essentially be a copy of your email. For example:

Hey [Name]!

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;

[Apocalypse Now]

[Pyramid Plunder]

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!

Visit http://www.thebestescaperoomever.com/discountcoupon 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]

Your letters should be printed on branded good quality paper and look really great!

With Email & Text, I suggest weekly sends. But this is not the case for Direct Mail. In fact, a single letter & coupon should suffice every 6 months. By doing this strategy in conjunction with some of the others, you’ll get a good conversion rate.

But when you take into consideration the cost of direct mail, the environmental impacts, and the fact people don’t want to be spammed with physical marketing – you want to do this rarely. But as the impact will be far greater, you don’t need to send direct mail too often!

That’s all for now. I really hope you’ve found todays blog post useful in getting to grips with how to create repeat customers – those who come back again and again, ensuring you never run out of customers – ever!

And on a personal note I wish you all and your loved ones all the best in the coming days and weeks.

Make sure you don’t miss out on future weekly escape room marketing blogs by subscribing

Thank You 😊

P.S. here’s 2 free ways of promoting your escape room;

People are significantly more likely to book one of your rooms if they are engaged with you and your content. The BEST way by far to engage visitors to your website, is to get them to play a little free game, puzzle or brain teaser.

There’s two different ways of doing this. 

The most proven method is the Game Popup from VirallyBot which has been proven to increase bookings by 15%+. The Game Popup is an interactive experience where players have “get out of the house”.

And best yet, it’s easy to install (literally takes seconds) and is available for free for 30 days.

To learn more, click here.

Similar to putting mini-games on your website to engage with people, you can do the same with static puzzles or brain teasers. Simple images that offer some kind of challenge is a fantastic way of engaging with visitors, getting them to stick around longer and making them more likely to book.

There are many websites that can inspire you to make your own puzzles or brain teasers, or you can sign up to receive weekly branded puzzles straight into your inbox for FREE by clicking here.

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