View Full Version : Marketing/Volunteer recruitment ideas for haunted house

12-18-2010, 12:25 PM
Hi guys,
We are starting a new haunted house in SC in 2011 and I would really like you guys' input on marketing. I have read a good many books and read these forums for years and promoted my other business ventures pretty well, I was just wondering what some of the marketing techniques you guys have found to be successful to get teens and young adults attention. Most of my customers would be coming within a 45 minute radius. I have signs, I bought a hearse that I am getting custom wrapped with logos, the website is under construction, I am going to offer coupons during the early weeks, trying to advertise at high school football games etc. but I am still worried that it wont be enough to get the numbers I want. Also, I realize that some of my key actors will need to be paid to ensure reliability and quality, but I will need volunteers to help with my haunt too and I have not come up with a great way of recruiting volunteers and incentives for them to work. Also, what keeps them coming back on a friday night when there is a big football game in town or on halloween night when they want to be going to haunts themselves? Any help would be appreciated!

12-18-2010, 01:29 PM
ok YOU DONT WANT TEENS working your haunt. most of them arent there to make you money they are there to flirt with the other teens. most of them dont care about your haunt. they will cause drama and moms and dads will be pissed so save the headache and dont hire the teens.

12-18-2010, 01:34 PM
If your actors like to scare, they will show. You should never pay Some actors and not all. A suggestion I highly recommend is always providing water at all hours and food either before or after the night. All actors would gladly volunteer if they are truly into it, and those are your best actors. Give them t-shirts that say boo crew, scream team, team of terror, whatever you like on them so they feel special. For reliability, make a new level of actor (I.e a monster mom) and pay them anywhere from $0.05-0.10 from each ticket sale, so they have an incentive to getting people to come as well. That may seem like a little bit but dedicate $1 from each ticket sale to go towards actors and at 5 cents a ticket and 2,000 tickets purchased....it isn't half bad now is it? And those monster moms are also responsible of making sure actors have water, cough drops, etc and can help with bathroom breaks as well of scaring generally everywhere in their given area, providing you with reliable actors to show while not offending your volunteer actors by ensuring the paid actors are almost a part of management. Trust me, if it helps control the drama most haunt actors emit, it is worth it!

And for marketing, outside of signs and billboards, the most inexpensive and best overall resource are social networking sites such as Facebook, twitter and myspace. Mostly teens and young adults are on those sites on a regular basis and are the first places most of your customer base will look to see if you exist, get out there and put your scheule up, how to volunteer and prices and you will be golden! It's free and extremely effective!

Hope I helped and best of luck to you bud!

12-18-2010, 01:41 PM
And I respectfully disagree with krazedklownkilla mainly because I'm only 18 and have been haunting for years, and although some teens are exactly as he described, if you can read them right and weed out the bad ones, they can be some of your biggest assets. Just make sure you take a no bull approach, being careful not to actually offend anyone in the meantime.

12-18-2010, 09:47 PM
And I respectfully disagree with krazedklownkilla mainly because I'm only 18 and have been haunting for years, and although some teens are exactly as he described, if you can read them right and weed out the bad ones, they can be some of your biggest assets. Just make sure you take a no bull approach, being careful not to actually offend anyone in the meantime.

Thank you screamforadream for all your hard work, You are one of the few. Now I did say most of the teens. And you are right if you can read them and know they are good then keep them cause you will have many years of good scaring to go.

12-19-2010, 07:25 AM
Where in SC are you opening?

12-19-2010, 08:24 AM
40 minutes South of Charlotte in Blacksburg, SC. Thanks everyone for all of the input so far, keep the ideas coming. When I mentioned appealing to teens and young adults, I meant as customers not nec. actors, however in my first year unless I can really get something appealing to actors I will not be able to be too selective with my volunteers.

12-19-2010, 09:02 AM
Yes you can! Dont down yourself! You'll be surprised the volume you will receive of potential volunteers if you reach out to people. Offer volunteer hours to high school students who need them (most schools require it), you can put some posters up in community centers, and Ofcourse advertise to everyone in the entire world over Facebook, twitter, and myspace! I really think you'll be surprised by the amount of interested people you will find. Using Facebook and texting friends, along with an appearance in a nonprofit booth at a local fall festival I alone pulled in about 65 volunteers who worked all night for water, cough drops, and pizza :)

12-20-2010, 07:47 AM
I see that you work with relay for life. Our area has won the most giving per capita in relay for life for about 5 years running. We usually have about 10,000 people attend the walk and numerous churches, business etc. that donate time money and food. I also own an inflatable and ride amusement company and we help with relay and I've thought about getting volunteers to help and then donating to relay, but honestly I didn't know how death and the haunted industry would go with relay and if people would think that was inappropriate. Do you have any experiences with haunting and that non profit in particular?

12-20-2010, 08:25 AM
First of all, that's incredible!! I am really emotional about relay, and it means a LOT to me because I have lost extremely close friends and family to cancer and have had some masses removed myself. I got heavily involved in relay at Scsu, and thought HEY why not have a one night mega haunt in May?! And it has worked remarkably well! We started off with wood panels, but this year were switching to a scAIR structure. One sponsor agreed to lend all the scAIR stuff to us for the night, and I will post a huge thank you post including all the sponsors who helped out. You'll hear more about that later.

There are some concerns and Precautions that need to be taken into consideration when doing a haunt at a relay. Mainly, do not mock death, make jokes about dying, or things like that. Also, the actors need to stay IN the haunt at all times, unless we are promoting it and getting ready to open. I say this because there are extranet quiet luminaria ceremonies, that are really emotional and you just don't want to bring haunting into it at any time. Other than that, everyone loved it! I have a DVD of a walkthru the student news did and they had some interviews too and it got great reviews and everyone wants it to keep coming back! This is our 7th year as a relay and in the past 6 years we have raised around $190,000 which is great for a College relay (we are all super poor, but there's a lot of us and we reach out and bug every friend an family member!)

Finding haunt sponsors for this is difficult though, because I'm now in charge of all entertainment for the relay, and have only a $750 budget for everything due to ridiculous budget cuts. So we heavily rely on sponsors, sadly many vendors have taken advantage of my niceness and the second they get the tax id number, they back out and don't sponsor anymore. Someone promised a really incredible inflatable facade and cut off communication the second I gave him the numbe to use for the tax deduction. It's depressing sometimes because of how much I take this to heart and so many businesses have used me to get a tax number so they can say they donated without actually donating. But Just need to keep you head up and hope for the best!! :)

12-20-2010, 08:32 AM
Second paragraph, extranet should be extremely**

(sorry I'm on my phone)

And I realized after posting I didn't not really make sense with the not mocking death thing, we still had a graveyard, we had bloody walls and gore everywhere with latex heads and bodies and it was great! We had demon babies screwed to the wall that I made and painted and burned with a blowtorch, it was really incredible what we could do, had a crazy jungle/werewolf scene and just a bit of everything. College kids aren't as easily offended as old people at regular relays are haha.