The Art Of Making Friends, Networking, and Winning New Customers

Hey, and welcome to the latest escape room marketing blog! I hope you’re armed with a pen, a notepad, a coffee, and a desire to grow your escape room because today I’m going to show you how!

Last week I talked about Making It Easy For New Customers To Find You Using Google Ads Click here to read that now.

For today though, the strategy I’m going to share is a bit different from the majority of others on the blog because it focuses more on traditional, non-digital marketing options.

Whilst there is no mistaking that digital marketing is the way forward, there is sometimes no substitute for some good old fashioned local business and networking marketing. Ideally, the marketing for your escape room should be a combination of digital and traditional marketing, depending on what works best for you!

This strategy works amazingly because no matter how much technology takes over many day-to-day functions of life, there’s still no replacement for networking and communicating with other local businesses for the benefit of both parties.

The strategy targets two unique groups:

  • Those looking for an escape room or something to do with friends/family. Or a team building day out for their corporate team and colleagues.
  • But it also targets businesses and individuals who are looking to benefit from advertising your escape room for you!

And you can’t get started without the following…

  • 3-5 hours a week
  • Great communication and negotiation skills – or at the very least, a friendly demeanour and a great smile!
  • $100+ a month depending on which parts of the strategy you use
  • Above all – persistence and consistency. This is a long-term strategy!

This strategy is split into 6 distinct and individual steps, which you can carry out separately or with some of the others, depending on your preference, budget, etc. Each has the potential of creating long term, consistent, and cost-effective bookings for your escape room. Notice the long term there! This is not an overnight solution to your booking needs!

Speaking of the 6 steps, make sure you take careful note of each because at the very end of the blog I want you to choose at least 2 of them to carry out yourself! I really want you to go away today and know exactly what new marketing you’re going to do next – how you’re going to do it – and scheduling the time to do it in the next 7 days.

With this blog and your action, you can start to grow your escape room 😊

Step 1 – Partnerships

The first thing we recommend doing is going forth and finding partners – in particular, a local bar or restaurant that is nearby to your escape room. The idea here is you partner up, and agree to promote each other. The key is you’re both services many people will look for as part of the same night out or time with friends/family. People will want some food or a drink before or after visiting your escape room. As well as promoting each other you should offer a unique discount for each other.

There are many ways of doing this, and it depends on the preference of you and your chosen partner. But one example could be handing over a 10% discount for your chosen partner to every team after they’ve played. Tell them to get themselves a well-earned drink!

Your partner would then help you by offering a discount to your escape room for every one of their visitors. They could have a unique code that only their customers can give to you when placing a booking, or they have to show their receipt as proof, etc.

When choosing the ideal partner, look for one who;

  • You can trust and ideally know well – they need to pull their weight in this partnership!
  • Is a popular restaurant or bar with a great reputation you’re happy to associate yourself with
  • Is experienced in marketing and so will do a great job of marketing your escape room
  • Is ideally a lover of escape rooms and are passionate about them – that makes it easier!

Step 2 – Affiliation

Step 1 is a great example of affiliation and works really well because it links in as part of day or night out for people. However, there are many other opportunities for local businesses to promote your escape room to their customers as part of a mutually beneficial agreement.

In a situation like this, they would do the marketing, and for any bookings, they get you that they can prove came from them, you would either

  • Pay them an agreed % of the booking value
  • Or promote their business in return

In a lot of cases, you’ll find the mutual promotion to be better off for the other business.

As for which businesses to look to join forces with, think where your ideal target audience hangs out. Some great examples include:

  • Food & Drink/Restaurants/bars/cafes/fast food/takeaways
  • Entertainment/cinemas/theatres/arcades/tourism hotspots/casinos
  • Retail/shops/markets
  • And… other escape rooms! Remember, people like to play different rooms and are not loyal to yours or another, so don’t treat other escape rooms as the enemy and work together for the benefit of you both!

Step 3 – Tourism

This step is a fantastic way of getting bookings from a new target audiences: visitors to the area and tourists. People who are in your area for a short time only on holiday or for other reasons.

This guide is full of strategies that can be used for this target audience, but for the purpose of this strategy, let’s talk about the tourism board. The chances are your town/city will have some government-backed tourism board or body – designed to promote your town/city and the businesses within it.

What you want to do is work with the tourism board and use their various marketing platforms as your own. They’ll use many different methods of marketing, and your escape room should be among their leading and recommended local entertainment hotspots.

The downside to this is there will probably be some cost associated, which is hard to pinpoint right now. It will depend on what marketing you want to do with them and what they typically charge. Whilst helping local businesses is of benefit to the government-backed tourism body, they still need to sustain themselves through other avenues of income, including money from local businesses. So it’s understandable but something to keep in mind!

Step 4 – Local Newspapers/Websites/TV Channels

Next up, we have a more commonly known part of this strategy, and one that still does well. Wherever you’re based, your local town/city will have one or more news agencies that release regular newspapers and news via social media, their website, and maybe even a tv channel.

This, of course, makes them a fantastic way to market your escape room to local people and even businesses. However, when it comes to costs, they can easily be among the most expensive of any other strategy we cover in this guide. So we recommend caution, select the most popular agency, and test out a few ads.

The key here is measuring your results. You need to know the exact ROI (return on investment) you got for your spend with them. In order to successfully measure this, you can’t simply have a general URL or call to action in your advert. You need something specific to this type of marketing.

The best way of measuring is by offering a unique discount code for that form of marketing. That way, any bookings that use that code, you know, came from that source of marketing, and you can easily calculate the ROI.

Step 5 – Networking

Next up is a fantastic way of getting some reputation among local businesses looking for team building and social events for their hard working employees.

By joining and attending regular local networking events, you’ll make connections with business owners looking to grow their business and work with other local businesses. It’s a mutually beneficial meetup which comes with usually only a small cost.

You may even get opportunities to pitch the entire group, and if you do you should focus on the benefits to businesses sending their employees to you.

This is also a great way of meeting potential partners or affiliates!

Step 5 – Referrals

Last but far from least, we have referrals! Referrals are similar to affiliates, but are individuals who don’t represent a business. They’re typically past customers and huge raving fans of your escape room, who love you so much they want to spread the word!

Word of mouth is generally an untrackable form of referrals, as people recommend local businesses they’ve had a good experience with to family, friends and colleagues all of the time.

However by creating and offering a referral scheme to past customers, you’re able to consistently get new bookings from it whilst incentivising and rewarding those doing the referrals.

This can work in different ways, but can include:

  • Past customers referring you to friends/family who book separately
  • Or past customers bringing new customers to you as part of their group

Think of unique rewards for your raving fan referrals and not just money. You could evenmake a competition out of it, where your most loyal and loving fans fight to be your no1 fan by referring as many people as possible! With unique rewards and even awards/medals/certificates/branded merchandise that your fans would kill to have!

It’s Over, It’s Done!

There they are – 6 different ways to get new bookings for your escape room utilising traditional and local marketing methods.

Now stop. Put your pen down. Scroll back up and pick out 2 or more steps you’re going to start to take in the next 7 days to grow your escape room. Only then are you free to close the blog!

Oh, and post below to share which steps you’re going to put into action, and be sure to come back and let me know how it went for you!  

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