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The Ultimate Escape Room Marketing Guide

Escape room marketing is like a safari. There are countless ways, surprises and disappointments. So that you don't lose track, we have put together the ultimate Escape Room Marketing Guide for you. It helps you navigate the marketing jungle and successfully gain prey.

The escape room industry is still relatively young. Nevertheless, new escape rooms have shot up like mushrooms in recent years. While the competition in small towns and rural regions is often manageable, the market in many metropolises is oversaturated.

The result: companies no longer attract enough players and have to close. But how does one decide which escape room provider will survive? And what should you look out for in order to be among the winners of the market shakeout? Two aspects are particularly important:

  1. The quality of your missions
  2. The quality of your marketing

Since we keep hearing that escape room operators want to improve their marketing, we have all gathered our experience and put together one of the most comprehensive escape room marketing guides on the entire Internet. We hope that he will help and inspire you!

Challenges for your escape room marketing

Escape room operators basically have to struggle with three problems in their marketing.

  1. Even in 2020 there are still many people who do not know what an escape room is.
  2. You mustn't give too many details about your missions because the details are secret.
  3. Escape room missions are only played once.

The first problem will probably only be solved over time. No single escape game provider can ensure that awareness of the industry increases suddenly. But according to the online service Google Trends, more and more people are looking for the term "Escape Rooms" in the search engine.

Escape Rooms “Search volume on Google Trends

In order to assert yourself against the competition, your Escape Room Marketing should focus on two main areas: Generating new customers. And get existing customers to come back.

Many of the tips below focus on the two areas of focus. But some are also of a more general nature.

Escape Room Marketing is easy to learn but difficult to perfect

We divide our Escape Room Marketing Tips into the following categories:

That way, you can scroll straight to the paragraphs that are most relevant to you.

Before you start, a basic tip: Define your target group. You can only achieve your goals if you know who you want to address.

In the best case, you create so-called personas. Personas are fictional users of your product. So you think of people who you expect as customers in your escape room - with age, hobbies, media usage behavior and so on.

The personas should not come entirely from your imagination, but should be based on thorough data research. We have already collected some data and facts about Escape Room players that can help you with this.

Facts and figures about escape room players

Example persona: Eric Enthusiast

  • Place of residence (results from your location; we take Berlin as an example): Berlin
  • Age: 28 years
  • Profession: IT specialist
  • Hobbies: sports, video games, series
  • Media usage: PC Gamer, PC World, The Players Tribune, Facebook, Twitter, Reddit, Quora, Youtube, Netflix
  • Experience: has played more than 10 escape rooms
  • Motivation: having fun with friends, challenging, wanting to be the smartest and fastest
  • Biography: Here should be a short paragraph in which you describe Eric Enthusiast in more detail. The more intensively you deal with your personas in advance, the easier it will be for you to address them later with the right offers and marketing measures.
  • Quote: “For an escape room to be fun, the story has to be good and the puzzles have to be challenging. I would also be happy to pay a few euros more for a technically high-quality and sophisticated room. "

Now that we have developed a persona and thus laid the foundation for our Escape Room Marketing, things are finally going full steam ahead. Here are 30 Escape Room Marketing Tips for Newbies and Advanced Users.

Digital: website, social media, influencer

1. Buy all domains

At the beginning of everything there is the name of your company and thus also your internet address. Of course you want to keep your costs down. Nevertheless, at some point it can become important to have secured all domains with your company name.

If you don't, a competitor can create a fake domain under your name and damage your business. That is forbidden. But by the time it strikes you and you can take action, it may have done a lot of mischief.

It is less dangerous, but still annoying, if confusion occurs because of very similar domains. You have a .de internet address and someone else has the same domain with .com at the end? This can confuse users.

Of course, “all domains” doesn't really mean all domains, but rather the so-called top-level domains under your name. This includes:

  • your country domain, for example .de,
  • .com,
  • .net,
  • .biz,
  • .org and
  • .info.

A distinction must also be made between spellings with and without a hyphen. For example, you can secure the domains escape-room-berlin.de, escaperoom-berlin.de and escaperoomberlin.de.

You can already see that there are many variables in domains. If you want to cover all variants, you can definitely end up with 30 internet addresses. Registering a website is no longer expensive these days: .de domains are available from around 5 euros a year, .com addresses from around 12 euros a year.

Look for different offers before registering your domains. The costs sometimes differ by more than 100 percent from provider to provider. However, this is also due to the fact that you only reserve the domain with some providers and receive additional web space with others.

Important: You only need to buy web space from one provider, not from all 30!

2. Don't skimp on the website

Setting up a website is no longer rocket science today. With programs such as WordPress or website construction kits, as offered by many domain hosts and other portals, almost anyone can design reasonably presentable pages without extensive programming knowledge. However, it takes some time to familiarize yourself with the programs.

In addition to the technical infrastructure, you also need appealing images for your website. If you are a talented photographer yourself and can handle image editing programs, perfect. If not, you should seek professional help. Because your website is the most important point of contact for your customers.

Around 80 percent of all escape room bookings are made online. An attractive website with a clear booking system is correspondingly valuable.

3. Creates social media profiles

Social media like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter can be a very important factor to consider as part of your marketing strategy. In many cases, the social media profiles are the face of the company - and at least as important as your own website.

Facebook and Instagram are mandatory for escape rooms. Both networks are very visual so that you can score with good pictures. On Facebook, the focus is also on the interaction with (potential) customers.

When it comes to creating images for social media, you can use a tool like Canva.com. In terms of functionality, it doesn't quite come close to software like Photoshop, but it is free and offers, for example, customizable design templates. So don't worry if you're not the most creative person.

Special tip: Create your own GIFs! The use of the small, animated graphics is more popular than ever and GIFs are receiving a lot of attention, especially in social networks.

4. Creates a social media editorial plan

Are you still missing ideas about what to post on your social media profiles? No problem! An editorial plan helps you to publish something new on a regular basis.

Above all, you should include important annual and campaign days as well as seasonal and regional events in the editorial plan. So you are always prepared for events like Christmas, Easter, Valentine's Day, Halloween or Carnival.

For small companies, it is completely sufficient if the editorial plan is a calendar or an Excel spreadsheet. There you enter the data that is important for you and deposit the images and texts that you want to post. On the day of the event you can simply copy everything and publish it on your channels.

5. Take photos of your customers and post them

You should also update your social media profiles between the holidays and campaign days. A simple solution for this that is common in the escape room industry: Post photos of your guests. With your consent, you should be able to choose between several photos every day in this way.

You can even tag the players in the photos and get them to share the photos on their own channels. In this way, the reach of your contribution is multiplied, because the contribution is then also displayed to the friends of your players. And reach is an important currency on social media.

Be aware, however, that the organic reach of Facebook posts is very small. If you have 1,000 fans, typically less than 100 of them will see your post.

6. Give away vouchers on Facebook and Instagram

You can improve your reach with small raffles. It is simple and effective to raffle vouchers on Facebook or Instagram.

In order to take part in the competition, the interested parties have to follow your account, like the post and tag the people with whom they want to play the Escape Room. Boost the post for a few euros so that more people can see it.

After a week you dissolve who won the voucher. In this way, the post receives attention a second time.

Critics say that followers brought in via competitions are not as valuable as "real" fans. But to generate reach and to let your account grow a bit, raffles are definitely a tried and tested means.

Here is an example from Escape Hunt UK:

7. Creates profiles on TripAdvisor and Yelp

Review platforms such as TripAdvisor and Yelp hold great potential for your escape room marketing - especially if you are targeting tourists.

You can upload your logo and photos, store your address and contact details, specify your opening times and of course collect reviews from your guests. The ratings are also shown in Google search. It will look like that:

In addition to TripAdvisor and Yelp - depending on your location - other review portals may also be relevant for you.

8. Collects reviews on Google, Facebook and Co.

As mentioned earlier, ratings are an important currency in escape room marketing. Because regardless of whether they are local or tourist - most players generally first look for escape rooms before going to the website of a particular provider. This is your chance to stand out!

The first port of call for many users is of course the Google search. If there are several Escape Room providers in your city or area, you want to be the one with the most and best ratings. With positive reviews, you can win the trust of potential customers.

The ratings can also improve your ranking on Google: The positive reviews give your company more attention and your homepage gets more clicks. The larger number of website visitors in turn leads to a better placement in the Google ranking.

Getting positive reviews is not easy, however. Even if the players had fun with you, very few of them will write a review for you afterwards. Read in our next tip how you can increase your chances.

9. Actively asks for reviews

The first step is to actively ask players for a review. Anyone who verbally promises to write you a review will usually keep the promise.

Your customers will much rather recommend you to others if they benefit from it themselves. That could be a discount on your next game with you, a free drink or whatever.

Your customers will much rather recommend you to others if they benefit from it themselves. That could be a discount on your next game with you, a free drink or whatever.

10. Collect blogger reviews

In addition to reviews on rating portals, reviews from bloggers can also be valuable. Bloggers often deal intensively with a topic and describe their experiences in great detail. There is hardly any greater ennoblement for a small business like an Escape Room (provided the report is positive)!

In addition, you can hope for a link to your website, which will have a positive effect on your Google ranking.

There are two options for bloggers to report about you:

  1. Your escape room is so good that bloggers write about you of their own free will.
  2. You actively address bloggers and invite them to you. In technical jargon, this is called blogger relations.

11. Check if influencer marketing is an option for you

In addition to bloggers, connections to other multipliers (influencers) can also be beneficial for you.

Influencers are people who, due to their strong presence and high reputation in social networks, are considered as carriers for advertising and marketing. Most influencers specialize in Facebook, Instagram or Youtube.

However, there is a lot to consider when it comes to influencer marketing. Nowadays, many influencers are organized in networks or agencies, so that in some cases you cannot contact them directly. The more followers an influencer has, the more expensive a cooperation usually becomes.

If you are seriously considering influencer marketing, you should think very carefully about which influencers are right for you. As a local business, for example, it doesn't necessarily help you to work with a national or even international influencer.

So really only influencers with a regional focus or those who have a very close connection to the escape room industry are really eligible. Influencers have an ever increasing influence, especially in young target groups.

12. Stay in touch with your customers

Regardless of whether blogger, influencer or "normal" guest: It pays to stay in contact with your customers. The best way to do this is to have your guests fill out a questionnaire at the beginning. Among other things, you will ask for their names, email addresses and how they found out about you.

Immediately after the game, email your guests to write a review on Google, Facebook, TripAdvisor or Yelp. You can contact them again a few days later. This time you send them a voucher for their friends. In this way you bring yourself back to positive memory.

13. Sign up in Escape Room directories

Escape room directories are like the yellow pages for the escape room industry. As a rule, entries in these directories are free of charge. You can use them to present your rooms and generate links to your website.

You cannot expect too many accesses via the escape room directories. But it would be reckless to skip this escape room marketing opportunity if all competitors are taking advantage of it. Because registration is usually free and not very time-consuming.

Here is a list of directories:

International

Australia

Belgium

Canada

China

France

Germany

Greece

Hungary

Japan

Malaysia

Netherlands

Poland

Singapore

Spain

Taiwan

Turkey

United Kingdom

United States

14. Do Search Engine Optimization (SEO), but be patient

Search engine optimization is part of the standard marketing repertoire of every company that has anything to do with the Internet - including escape rooms. Search engine optimization is about appearing as high up as possible for so-called keywords (i.e. search terms that are entered on Google).

You can do this by cleverly embedding the keywords that are important to you on your website. The most important keywords for an escape room are usually:

  • Your company name
  • Escape Room + your city / region
  • Escape Game + your city / region

Do you appear in the top 3 on Google for these search terms? Then you meet the basics and don't necessarily have to invest more time (and money) in your SEO.

There are of course many other terms that can be relevant for escape room operators. Here are some examples ...

... to get more bookings from companies:

  • Team building + city / region
  • Escape room team event
  • Team event ideas

... to get more bookings on special occasions:

  • Gift ideas + city / region
  • Bachelorette Party / JGA Escape Room
  • Bachelorette party / JGA ideas
  • Family outing + city / region
  • First date ideas
  • Etc.

Now comes the big but: In order to appear on the first page of Google for these terms, you have to do a good SEO. So it costs a lot of time and money - because you can only improve your search engine ranking with good content. And good content - such as texts, images and videos - must first be created.

15. Use voucher portals such as Groupon. Or not?

Voucher portals like Groupon do not have a good reputation in the escape game industry. On the one hand, you have to give a 30 to 50 percent discount on your missions. That means your profit margin will deteriorate drastically. On the other hand, there is no guarantee that you will ever see customers who have played with you with a discount voucher.

Nevertheless, there are also arguments for Groupon in escape room marketing. For example, you can bridge your summer slump with discounted games. Or you indicate that Groupon vouchers can only be redeemed between Monday and Thursday. Most escape rooms are less busy on these days.

The summer slump is a serious problem for you? Offers outdoor escape games from Cluetivity to give your customers an exciting additional offer that is particularly fun when the weather is good.

16. Install analytics programs on your website

With analysis programs like Google Analytics you get deep insights into user behavior on your website. How many users visit your website? Which pages are you looking at? And where do they come from?

With this knowledge you can identify weak points on your website and improve the user experience.

In addition, Google Analytics shows demographic characteristics of your users such as gender, age, location and language. You can also see which keywords users use to come to you in the search engine.

Google Analytics is just one of many website analysis programs. Due to its large size and the fact that it is free, it is used by many website owners.

Paid: Advertise on all channels

17. Uses AdWords

We've already talked about SEO - it's a lengthy process to improve your Google ranking on important terms. You can get to the top faster and easier with AdWords.

AdWords is Google's advertising system. It helps you to be found better in the search engine.

If this is your first time using AdWords, it might seem a little complicated. But the way it works is relatively simple: You create a campaign, set a campaign goal (for example, generate sales or clicks on the website) and enter the keywords for which you want to be found.

Of course, an advertising system like AdWords isn't free. So you have to set a budget for it. But the good thing is that you only pay for clicks on your website. So, only if someone clicks on your ad, there are costs.

If you're successful, your AdWords ad can look like this:

18. Use retargeting to target your website visitors again

Almost everyone is familiar with the process these days: You just take a quick look at a product in an online shop and all of a sudden you see advertisements for it on all possible Internet portals. The marketing technique behind it is called retargeting.

As the name suggests, it's about addressing people who have been interested in a product. In your case, visitors to your website who have not booked a mission.

Since the technology behind it is not that simple, you need a tool or an agency to be able to incorporate retargeting into your escape room marketing mix. The costs vary from provider to provider. Often, however, similar payment models as with Google AdWords (pay per click) are possible.

19. Runs ads on Facebook

Facebook doesn't serve ads based on keywords. In the largest social network in the world, you create target groups that you want to reach with your advertising. There are many options open to you: location, demographic information, interests, hobbies and a lot more.

One would think that Facebook would be a good advertising platform for escape rooms. Because Facebook is very visual - and as an escape room operator you can score with good photos.

But you should actually also pay attention to the intention with which people use a platform. If you scroll through your Facebook feed, you don't necessarily want to buy something or book an escape room.

That doesn't mean you should ignore Facebook. You might get great results there. However, our experience shows that escape rooms usually get more hits and bookings via Google AdWords.

Analog: Cooperations, print media and trial offers

20. Offers a money back guarantee

You are probably wondering why you should offer a money-back guarantee in an escape room? Cinemas, theaters and so on do not give any money back if the performance is not liked. That's what makes the service so unique! And it shows that you are convinced of the quality of your missions.

If you have really good escape rooms, hardly anyone will use the money-back guarantee. But you have an extraordinary unique selling point for your marketing and can take the fear of undecided people away from spending money on something they don't know.

21. Sells coupons

Giving away vouchers is becoming increasingly popular. The adventure industry in particular benefits from this: Instead of filling up their homes with decorative items, many people now prefer to spend their money on activities.

Vouchers should therefore not be missing in your Escape Room Marketing mix. Whether as a Christmas present, for a birthday or for other occasions - a voucher is always a good present.

To make it as easy as possible for your customers, they should be able to order the vouchers online and buy them directly from you. Also offers different voucher values: Starting with a small amount such as 20 euros up to 150 or 200 euros.

22. Speak to the local press

Escape rooms are no longer a completely new invention, but our industry is still a new and exciting topic in many regions. Journalists can tell good stories about people who let themselves be locked up for 60 minutes.

But as an escape room operator, you can also tell exciting stories about yourself and your business. There are many hooks:

  • Opening your business
  • Challenges in starting your business
  • Finding ideas for your missions and building the escape rooms
  • Exceptional offers that you make your customers (for example an Augmented Reality Outdoor Escape Game)
  • And many more

Getting attention in the local press can be a first step in getting better known in your region. And a report in the newspaper nowadays mostly appears on the website of the paper, so that you can reach even more people that way.

23. Hand out flyers

Flyers are one of the oldest advertising media for local businesses - and you should also consider them for your escape room marketing. You can use it to present important information such as address, opening times and your missions and display the flyers in various places, for example in bars, cafes and restaurants. Or you can hire promoters to distribute your flyers in the area.

We all know from our own experience that most flyers end up in the trash can within a very short time. You can prevent this by combining your flyer with a special incentive - for example, customers who show the flyer in your shop receive a discount. A 10 percent discount won't cost you much, but it will motivate people to “redeem” your flyer.

There are numerous templates for escape room flyers on the Internet, including at Postermywall.com. Alternatively, you can create your flyers with Adobe InDesign or an online image editing program like Canva.com.

24. Cooperate with other small businesses in your area

Flyers are also perfect for displaying in other stores. But since not everyone is allowed to simply put their brochures where they want, you usually have to enter into a cooperation with the respective business. In return, you can invite the owners to play free games, give them vouchers for raffles or advertise them.

Especially in the case of small companies that are locally connected, these partnerships can be very individual. Just speak to your neighbors and ask them if they are interested in working with you. Most will certainly be open to it.

Cooperations with hairdressing studios and other shops in which employees make small talk with their customers can be particularly profitable. Customers often talk to their hairdresser about god and the world. When the hairdresser speaks of the great team event in your escape room, word of mouth is perfect for you.

Word-of-mouth is an important currency in escape room marketing. Most of you will surely know why this is so from their own everyday life: Recommendations from friends are more trusted than reviews from the Internet. Word-of-mouth marketing is also free - perfect if you only have a small budget for advertising.

25. Create mini-games for your escape rooms

What? Don't I anticipate all the tension with a mini-game ?! No, not necessarily.

People love to get things for free. A short version of your Escape Rooms is no exception.

For example, offers 10 to 15-minute taster experiences at trade fairs, in shopping centers or near universities.

We all know the desired psychological effect from the weekly market: if you accept a free sample, you will most likely buy something.

In addition, with the mini-games you will meet one of the biggest challenges in Escape Room Marketing mentioned at the beginning - namely that customers have to buy something they don't know. The mini-games give them at least a first impression of what you have to offer.

You can get even more attention if you also offer your mini-games as an app. The development costs some money. But in this way you enlarge your target group many times over and you can become known nationwide. You might even come to see tourists who accidentally found your app in Apple's App Store or in the Google Play Store.

26. Cooperates with tourist guides and city map providers

There are travel guides for almost every city and region, in which event and insider tips are given. In some cases, the companies or sights advertised as “insider tips” are not even selected by the editorial team, but are created through a marketing cooperation.

As an Escape Room, you have the chance to be mentioned in this way. Talk to the providers of travel guides, events calendars and other media in order to explore the possibilities of cooperation.

27. Gives away merchandise

We have already talked about merchandise items. You can give your customers merchandise items as a thank you if they recommend you on a rating platform. But merchandise also helps to be remembered or even become a topic of conversation.

Imagine friends of your customers seeing your stickers, magnets or key rings. They may well ask what the experience in your escape room was like. Normally, your customers should then recommend you to others. You have already managed to get yourself into a positive conversation.

28. Sells t-shirts and other souvenirs

Many people like to buy souvenirs from places they have visited. The best example are the Hard Rock Cafés around the world. And it would be great if your customers would advertise you with T-shirts, for example, wouldn't it? In addition to t-shirts, mugs, posters, and hats can also be a good idea.

You will find a number of providers on the Internet who will print your logo on everything possible. Often the unit price goes down when you order large quantities. If you're just starting to experiment with merchandise, you should wait and see how sales go. Not that you end up sitting on thousands of articles.

29. Calls former customers on their birthday

Automatically generated birthday emails are nice. But they are usually deleted immediately.

If you want to stand out from the crowd, you have to try something new - for example, call your customers to congratulate them on their birthday. You can query telephone numbers, for example, in the booking process.

When he gets the call, your ex-guest is sure to be amazed. But you have definitely brought your memories back to him and after the first surprise he will probably be in a positive mood too.

It is important that the birthday call does not turn into a sales pitch. Just calling to congratulate him. This can be done within 30 seconds. Do not try to persuade him to book again.

If the customer wants to play an escape room again, who will they probably think of? Right, to you!

So by making a birthday call, you significantly increase the likelihood that a former customer will come back. And this escape room marketing option does not cost you anything.

There may also be one or two former customers who find a call intrusive. But experience shows that most people appreciate the attention. And if the conversation really only lasts 30 seconds, nobody wastes a lot of time.

30. Offers games on special occasions and holidays

Whether Christmas, Easter or Halloween, birthday, bachelorette party (JGA) or first date: It is a huge advantage for your escape room marketing if you make offers for a wide variety of occasions.

Since you cannot constantly rearrange your escape rooms, the differences must be small or take place outside of the 60 minutes of game time. Here are a few escape room ideas for different occasions and holidays:

  • Christmas: Specially designed voucher. Christmas pastries and mulled wine included in the package price. Entrance area decorated for Christmas.
  • Easter: Specially designed voucher. Chocolate bunnies hidden in the escape room. Entrance area decorated for Easter.
  • Halloween: Specially designed voucher. Entrance area decorated in a creepy way. Employees in disguise.
  • birthday: One (alcoholic) drink is included in the package price. A present is hidden in the escape room.
  • JGA: Bride / Groom play for free. One (alcoholic) drink is included in the package price.
  • Date: Welcome sparkling wine included in the package price. An engagement ring is hidden in the escape room.

Do you want to expand your offer and be able to adapt it to special occasions more easily? Then outdoor escape games are suitable for you. The big advantage: You don't have to redesign your premises, you can simply make all changes in one piece of software.

Escape room marketing in the B2B area

We've talked about many escape room marketing tips before. Most of these can be applied to business with both private and corporate customers. But there are also marketing measures that make sense especially for the B2B area. Find out more about team building in the Escape Room and how you can become more attractive to business customers.