PDA

View Full Version : Secrets of Spookywoods Marketing



twohlgemuth
08-07-2008, 01:28 PM
There has been several threads started about how to market your haunt. I love marketing and seeing ideas fall in place, so I wanted to put some ideas out there for you to consider that have made our haunt continue to be a great success.

I have been running Spookywoods for 23 years this year and I started like most haunts do, with no money and no budget. To not bore you with details and cut to the point of my post. I have found that if you can create a Family Event on your property there in lies the key to great success in cross promoting your haunt. There are several important facts to consider with the master plan.

1. Getting any business to help you as in sponsorship or promotion is far easier if the event is family focused.

2. Sponsorship are a breeze compared to selling a Halloween Haunted Event. It's getting better, but still very hard in my area being in the Bible belt.

3. If you can create an event that kids go to you have started to brand at an early age of where to go for fun.


We have created a full day of fun on our farm with a corn maze, pumpkin patch, gem dig, tram rides, corn pits, and jumping pillow and more. This draws the families like bees to honey. Once you got the crowds coming you can cross promote your haunt and before you know it you will have the best marketing machine you can have, word of mouth. The kids will be introduce to the haunt at an early age and when they are old enough to attend your place will be already known as the haunt to attend.

This year we are hosting a new charity event called the Amazing Pet Adventure at Maize Adventure. We are a for profit business, but this one day event is to raise moeny for the Guilford County Animal Sheter's Trauma Center. This event will draw thousands to our farm on Saturday Sept. 25th the first weekend our haunt opens. Perfect timing to get the word of mouth about the haunt out to the community.

Our corn maze is pet friendly and when you can create a passionate tie in to your business it goes way beyond marketing, it turns into the right thing to do. We have landed some major sponsors with this one day event to raise awareness and businesses are jumping at the opportunity to be a part of this community event. I encourage all of you reading this to find a way to use my event to inspire you to do the same thing in your community. I will be more than willing to share all my experience to help save an animals life and build your haunt through cross promotion.

Our Kersey Valley Christmas event is going to continue this tie in with animals. Every rescue shelter in our area is going to have a Christmas tree with photos of the animals in need. Our guest can take any photo and pay for the needs of that animal and the photo turns into an ornament to hang on their own Christmas tree. Of course they can also adopt that animal as well.

Visit this site for more information on the Pet Adventure event. http://www.maizeadventure.com/

We place several sets in key areas that are seen by our day time crowds that cross promote the haunt. One of these is the back of our 12 x 16 movie screen used in our waiting area of the haunt.

Everyone has to walk by this billboard coming and going to the Corn Maze.

http://spookywoods.com/gallery/2007/House/IMG_6710.JPG

Here is the view from a bridge in our corn maze. You can see the Spookywoods Castle once you are over the height of the corn and it becomes the topic of discussion with the customers. I hear comments like, "Spookywoods is so cool, we all should come back at night".

http://spookywoods.com/corn/castlecorn.JPG

The view from another bridge in the corn is of the Ghost Town Tram Ride. It is still under contruction, but once complete the entire tree line will have facades that can be seen from atop the bridge.

http://spookywoods.com/corn/ghosttowncorn.JPG

Haunting Copy
08-07-2008, 08:54 PM
It's official: I want to marry Tony. ;)

Seriously, though, this ties into an idea I was thinking about when I was
in the shower today. (Showers are great for that, aren't they?)

I had been lamenting that unfortunate time in our lives when we have
to make the decision of whether to trick-or-treat. Are we too old? We
secretly want to, but it's not cool. Nobody else is doing it - or are they?

It's a difficult time and age.

Then I thought how nice it would be if there were a way to help the
kids make this transition. Well, lo and behold, the surprising answer
that came to me was *have them create a haunted house*!

As I mentioned in another post, the high school drama department of
the town I used to live in hosted a haunted house as a fundraiser
each year. Worked like a dream.

If there were some brave (crazy?) pro haunters to take on the mentorship of
these young haunters (who, in my experience, are *extremely*
motivated), I think there would be lots of success all the way around. :)

Sarah

Greg Chrise
08-07-2008, 10:25 PM
I just looked on the google thingy where La Grange is. My goodness it is within driving distance from San Antonio, Austin and Houston. You need more than a mentor for the kids, you need a venture capitalist.

Haunting Copy
08-07-2008, 11:04 PM
You need more than a mentor for the kids, you need a venture capitalist.

ROTFL!! Good point!

So maybe start with just one school? :)

MMManiac
08-08-2008, 09:16 AM
Tony my good man, your doing GREAT things! Truly an inspiration to all haunters alike. I serisouly would like to attend a haunt marketing seminar put on by yourself... :D

twohlgemuth
08-08-2008, 11:29 PM
I had been lamenting that unfortunate time in our lives when we have
to make the decision of whether to trick-or-treat. Are we too old? We
secretly want to, but it's not cool. Nobody else is doing it - or are they?

Hi Sarah,

We think alike, I'm planing to have a Trick or Treat Tram Ride that is free for families to take a ride through Ghost Town and the Tram will stop by the various buildings where actors will be giving out candy. This will take place Saturday Oct. 25th during the day while our Maize Adventure is open. Adults and kids alike can experience trick or treating in a fun and safe enviroment. I'm sure I can get some free press out of the event as payback.

Haunting Copy
08-09-2008, 06:03 AM
Hey, Tony

It sounds great! You say it's FREE? Hope you're buying a s**tload of candy!
You could pile up all the candy in a giant mound and *that* all by itself
would constitute press coverage, LOL!

BTW, you know it's not too early to send out a press release. ;)

Jim Warfield
08-09-2008, 09:40 AM
You will probably find some sponsers willing to help you buy the candy, they will need to remain anonymous though, your local Dentists!
(Actually my ex made taffy and nicely gave some to the people who worked at the grocery store and they all needed Dental care after that since the taffy stuck and them pulled fillings loose!)
I an not kidding. She felt bad.

FearSeeker
08-09-2008, 02:37 PM
Tony,

Impressed does not begin to describe my sentiments about all you have done to create all that is Spookytown, its own universe. Just spectacular! And I do think Sean was correct to ask you to start teaching others how to make their own dreams come true. It seems you are well on your way!

twohlgemuth
08-09-2008, 03:06 PM
Hi Fear Seeker,

I appreciate the comments! I started haunting as a kid because I loved to see people have fun. I never dreamed it would turn into my life long passion and be able to make a living from it.

I always like to share my experiences and help push this crazy idea of scaring people into a valid business plan. As you seen in my posts I feel strongly that I have found the perfect match to promote our haunt through first attracting the families to our farm. Of course it is not for every haunter, you have to have lots of land to recreate what we have done exactly and it does not hurt to have it be located next to two major highway exits. However, I do believe that I have unlocked a secret to promoting a haunted attraction and instilling the thought that a haunted house is cool at a young age by introducing the concept to the thousands of school kids that visit our farm on field trips each fall.

The idea of putting all of this into a class just might happen in St. Louis next March. I don't take but a partial credit, I have an amazing team of people behind me, first and most importantly is Donna my wife. She is amazing at creating the "Look" of our attractions through the many logos she has designed and wrote the copy for. Then there is the build crew of many talents and the artists that I supported in starting SpookywoodFX.com and BlenedScares.com. The support I lend my team to create their own business is just another part of creating the "Family that Slays Together Stays Together concept". This is one of our T-Shirt designs this year as well.

Dream big and you will become big! Attitude is king, share the knowlege with others and it comes back ten fold. I'm living proof that it does.

Now back to building the magott dropper hallway in Spookywoods.....

FearSeeker
08-09-2008, 03:17 PM
As always, thanks for sharing. And that maggott dropper hallway sounds lovely. Ewwww....

Nightgore
08-09-2008, 07:04 PM
Tony,

Awesome post and good pics man! I can't wait to get over there to visit and really see this amazing place, because I'm pretty confident that the pictures don't do justice! ;)

I'll be looking for that day tour you promised as well! ;)... -Tyler

Haunting Copy
08-10-2008, 05:45 AM
You will probably find some sponsers willing to help you buy the candy, they will need to remain anonymous though, your local Dentists!
(Actually my ex made taffy and nicely gave some to the people who worked at the grocery store and they all needed Dental care after that since the taffy stuck and them pulled fillings loose!)
I an not kidding. She felt bad.

But the important thing here is, did she get a commission from the dentists?

Haunting Copy
08-10-2008, 05:50 AM
Now back to building the magott dropper hallway in Spookywoods.....

Maggott dropper? Is that something like this post I made a couple days ago?


"You know that panic you get when you see something move out of the corner of your eye and then feel something crawling on you? Your first reaction (well, *my* first reaction, anyway) is to a) scream, and b) try to get "it" off.

So for a while now I've been thinking what fun it would be to have someone, high up and hidden of course, drop wet noodle pieces on people. When they scrambled to get "it" off, they'd have yet another little fright (wet, sticky stuff).

If that happened to me, I'd be beside myself trying to get out of there!

Sarah"