View Full Version : Best way to Advertise
Trail of Terror
03-30-2011, 05:40 PM
I wanted to start this thread to gain the knowledge of the experience haunters that have made it big in the business or the ones that a great customer base.
Which is the best way to advertise to grow your customer base, other than word of mouth? Which way would be best if its a new haunt or a small haunt wanting to get bigger?
Also what are some of the do's and don'ts?
What is some of the things a first year haunt should do cause you learned it the hard way..
Any info or tips on getting the best bang for your buck "the secerts you have learned" "tricks of the trade" as you can say.
I know I am asking allot of question but I would like to avoid some of the hardship that all of experience.
I appreciate all the help in advance:confused:
03-30-2011, 06:26 PM
If your customer base is primarily under the age of 35, using the social media sites are absolutely the way to go. I use them all the time to promote shows I put on and never spend a dime. If your haunt is not on FB both as a regular page and as a fan page, you're simply missing out on the potential for a lot of free advertising that the overwhelming majority of kids are using these days...
http://www.facebook.com/rabidbadger.hauntconsulting is my page and I have gotten several clients who found me strictly via FB...
Trail of Terror
03-30-2011, 07:48 PM
I agree with you but I dont have facebook / myspace knowledge... is it hard to set up and any tips on the best way for people to find you page.. like I said I dont know a thing about these sites.. how do people get to your page.. also what is twitter and how does it work and is it hard to do too?
03-30-2011, 08:16 PM
Trail of Terror, my name is Bobby. I hope I can learn your real name too =) haha
Okay, so anyway, YES! Facebook and Twitter is the way to go. If you are as unsure about technology as you say you are, only use those two for now because essentially everyone and anyone has atleast one of those two. Setting up a facebook account is easy, go to facebook.com and hit sign up, follow the instructions. Once you have a profile of YOUR OWN (don't bother with a picture or anything if you aren't going to use it for personal use, or put a picture of your haunt logo and make your "Name" your haunts name) next search "Pages" in the top search bar, an application called "Pages" will pop up. Click it, fill out the form, all done! It walks you through how to do it.
Next, twitter, follow the exact same thing. It will walk you through it.
Once you become fluent in those two websites, you can link your facebook to your twitter, so when you "tweet" it will make your facebook status the same as your "tweet" (a tweet is what you say, and is sent out)
I don't have a personal twitter, but I am ALWAYS on Facebook, literally, my phones always connected and I am ALWAYS replying to stuff on there at least a few times every couple of minutes (it's really pathetic to be honest lol), but getting to be familiar with both is a great way for free advertising and will definitely help make you successful. If your haunt has a website, just put up the links to your facebook and twitter page and you'll be all set! =)
Hope that helped with your social networking needs.
Next, parade advertising.
PARADES PARADES PARADES! Get you and your actors together, make them look good, have a banner made, have two people hold a banner (or put it on a truck) and have a few people passing out fliers/postcards to everyone! So order a nice banner, AND atleast 5,000-50,000 postcards (talk to JaksPrint for that, they're a real nice company, even if it's just for advice. Very reliable and very nice to do business with, and no, I have no affiliation with them.)
You can do the same at yours and surrounding towns local firework shows, have people just wearing t-shirts with "boo crew" "casket crew" "team of terror" "scream team" whatever, on the back of them, and your haunts name/logo on the front, walking around handing out fliers/postcards to people.
Make your presence known in the community during positive, happy times, and remember your actors know how to behave in public outside of the month of october, so they don't scare away any customers early! lol
Next up, if you cannot afford radio ads, get atleast one or two billboards in high traffic areas, these will pay back ten-fold and definitely worth the investment.
If you have the extra funds, invest in radio, and lastly tv.
Speaking of tv, talk to your local news stations now to see if they want to send a reporter on scene in october, most stations love doing that atleast once in october, you can even get the reporter all dressed up and give him/her a good makeup job! But you need to get on that and fill out their request forms BEFORE SUMMER and keep on it. It is free and will help with advertising. =)
Hope I was useful!
Bradenton Haunted Trail
03-30-2011, 09:10 PM
Thanks for the tips Bobby hope this thread fills up as where just talking about our Advertising budget. we only have a small amount for our fist year going pro. but we decided that 40% of our budget is going into advertising. Now granted we have done a charity haunt for the last 5 years so we do have some props already but not a lot. My theory is now matter how good your haunt is if they don't know about it they will not come. I have learned that the hard way trust me.
Trail of Terror
03-30-2011, 09:36 PM
Thanks Bobby and Shawn, that was allot af great information and I really appreciate it.. I have started getting on FB and trying to get that start now as we speak. I didn't think of none of your suggestions. I guess my mind was in a tunnel and was think that I should only do advertising near Oct. did think about parades and cummunity events. Any suggestion on where to get good shirts made at low cost.
By the way, to all my name is Geoff.
and again thanks
I see that FB has a business page, should i do that or just a personal and add the page you was talking about
03-30-2011, 10:44 PM
Anytime guys, feel free to PM me if you'd like one on one help, I'll do the best I can!
And jaksprint does shirts as well as paper goods i believe, i would highly recommend consulting with them. I use a local friend of mine who has a printing press, and access to a bulk shirt ordering catalogue, so i only end up paying like $2-3/shirt, but he recently retired and I was like DARN! But he still has the press, guess I'll have to buy shirts somewhere else tho haha.
Anyway, Shawn, and Geoff, advertising is great, and props are great, but any good actor can out-do any $5000 prop. If it's your first year, focus more on great talent, and a dedicated crew, and you'll do just fine. Buying a bunch of props before you made something of yourselves in your area could be damaging, if you wait this year, and go all out for next year, the community will see major improvement and you will grow faster. That's just from experience. There's nothing wrong with starting slow and working your way up.
Geoff, make both a personal and business page, add me, and i'll suggest my 3,500+ friends to get you started. =) www.facebook.com/bobby.arel
St. Patty's day is a good day to start, most places have a parade, and from there on things just sprout up. Be at as many as you can.
Also look into fairs and carnivals, have people at every one with fliers. Even a stack of free tickets as you get closer, say september/early october, to encourage people to come. Usually they bring a friend or two. =)
Front Yard Fright
03-31-2011, 12:23 AM
I hear the Hauntworld banners do WONDERS.
03-31-2011, 01:20 AM
Being a haunted, haunted house and being open almost every night during the last 25 years may have had something to do with it. (Anybody else wanna try this? Just asking.)
Maybe me being the "author" of most everything in the house affected this outcome too, since nobody else has the same things I dreampt-up .
Living in my haunt allowed me to answer the phone when potential customers, tour bus companys, Tv stations, newspapers and magazines called wanting to interveiw me, ask me questions, all through the the year. Living here also kept the house safer from vandalistic abuse. Being located in a small town 300 feet from the Sheriff's office helped too.
Maybe treating the customers very well helped my success?
Maybe they like my mix of actual ghost stories from the house and this old town, with my attempted humor?
I have been very impressed with all of the new customers I have been seeming to see just during mostly this last year.
I spend almost nothing on advertising . None of it really ever worked all that well here for me, when compared to happy patrons "selling" this experience to their friends and relatives, then insisting they bring them here. Some of them were notably obsessed with the peculair entertainment they experienced while here.
Some of my patrons seem to be on a three-year cycle, some are here more often. Some "discovered" this house , then return a few times within the first few weeks or months bringing their friends, girl and boy friends. Some people come here with each new boy or girl friend, maybe testing their sense of humor, likes, dislikes and general level of fear they manifest in certain situations. Such things are good to know rather than just assume and later be very wrong.
One of the first such obsessed people was a Doctor who could not stop talking about my house for several years, boring to death the nurses around him,( this may have killed a few fragile, weak, patients?) one of the nurses was my own Cousin! She was asked by the rest what she knew about this place because she lived in Mount Carroll(this town), THEN she admitted she was my cousin!
Today on Facebook a man from Japan posted saying he still can't forget seeing my house 8 yrs, ago! (And I have none of the commonly sold or copy- built props here at all)
Maybe half the "secret" to success is loving what you are doing? Customers often feel this fact as they are in your company.
I love it so much many house tours end up requiring at least 90 minutes of the customer's LIFE! (No return polcy. Never return to that "Un-Ravened Grin state)
As long as they seem to be having a good time, it will usually continue! (Threat or Promise? They decide!)
Many people mis-read or need to NOT understand ads. By me not advertising I don't have to listen to those upset customers who mis-read an ad, or whose imaginations got too cranked up by fantastic ad tripe, only to be let-down by what they found offered at the address.
Most of anything like "Advice" written here, by me, will not work for you (this may be obvious?)
My object in posting all of this was to simply point out that the standards practices and methods are not all always the only way that anything can flourish and work.
We all find our own way, after awhile.
I just know what works here and what works for me.
Many Hauntworlders here know much more about a Great many things involving haunting $uccessfully than I ever will.("Too Old to "Learn? Too tired To Teach?")
See the house--Hauntedravensgrin. com
03-31-2011, 01:34 AM
Well, this is what I do for a living as a consultant in the entertainment industry, so here is some humble advice that I would offer. Facebook is defiantly something that you should have. Twitter is another good service to have in your arsenal as well, but use it more for instant coupons or updates. That will get people to follow the service, but if the majority of your time should be focused on Facebook and promoting your page. Get people to share it with their friends and stay active with it. I keep seeing haunts that get the Facebook page and Twitter account and the last thing they posted was in November. If you want your user base to stay interested in you, keep the content flowing and make it quality content that people will want to share. That's what helps with your exposure and getting people interested. If your just throwing crap up on the page, you'll end up hurting your brand and you will lose your followers.
Also, if your interested in reaching your guest in a year round fashion beside via Facebook and your website, you may want to consider providing them with a mobile app for your attraction. With over 90 million smart phones out there and the numbers of iPhone / Android / Windows Mobile users continuing to rise, providing your brand with a mobile app is something everyone should consider. Is a great way to keep people interested in your haunt, they just have to push a icon to get your content, you can send instant notices to their phone during the haunt season, and 50,000 other advantages. My company provides haunts custom branded iPhone Apps for haunted attractions and we will soon be offering Android and Windows Mobile apps for haunts as well. We charge a small monthly fee so haunts both big and small can get a App for their attraction. If your interested in it, you can find more info about the service at http://www.hauntapps.com.
At the end of the day, it's more about your strategy on how to keep people interested in your attraction. My advice is to start thinking about the content that you need to generate and how to keep people interested in it. While Facebook, Twitter, and Apps are great ways to reach people, they are just tools. In the next six months, another great service will come along that you will have to start using. But, your message and content is what is the most important thing and it should be crafted well. A lot of haunts I see fall in the pattern of just advertising the month before halloween and that's it. Start crafting your brand's image and developing a marketing and social plan that engages your guest year round using those tools mentioned about and don't let up. That way, when the Haunt season opens up, they have 11 months of anticipation built up, they will go to your Haunt first before anyone else. I see a ton of people and companies get more caught up with "What's the Big Thing Right Now" and ignore the content they are pushing. Always remember, "Content is King".
If you need some help, drop me a email at movierelics at gmail.com or visit my website and drop me a note there. http://www.charlesterry.net
Trail of Terror
03-31-2011, 01:22 PM
I am really thankful for all the support and information coming in, I think its going to be a great help.. I really appreciate it... Its allot to take in and try to figure out what might be best for me but I am trying to be a sponge and soak it all in.. Anything else you all think of I should know about, please be free to post it here for all the other newbees or PM me. I will also take tips of decorating and other stuff too. I love this stuff and Halloween, it drives my wife crazy. You guys and gals have been very helpful keep it up.
Bradenton Haunted Trail
03-31-2011, 09:11 PM
This is my first year going pro also. I also appreciate the advise and will try and use as much of it as possible.
Does anyone else offer a pass that last all season for a extra cost?
Trail of Terror
04-02-2011, 08:26 AM
Yea shawn, this has been very helpful. I hope they keep giving us insite to the does and donts. I have started a FB page and it looks like it is going well to only be out there of a couple of days.
04-02-2011, 08:41 AM
Geoff- add me at www.Facebook.com/Bobby.Arel and I'll suggest your page to my network of friends :)
Trail of Terror
04-02-2011, 06:46 PM
Done deal.. thanks I appreciate that...
Trail of Terror
04-02-2011, 07:12 PM
I got a new addition to the Asylum Haunted House.. Tell me what you think.
04-02-2011, 07:21 PM
Ooooohhhh sweeeet. Beautiful hearse.
Trail of Terror
04-02-2011, 07:27 PM
Even sweeter is the price.. I found this in someones back yard and stop and asked if they would like to sell it and they said sure... said it ran when they parked it about 3 years ago.. So i got some starter fluid and and battery... presto it cracked... Got it for 500.00 too
04-02-2011, 08:00 PM
What would you suggest for continous content?
Trail of Terror
04-04-2011, 04:03 PM
Anything that will be helpful to a new haunter
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