View Full Version : picture marketing

12-03-2012, 04:37 PM
I am looking for a little feedback on picture marketing. My big question is did it pay off? Did you sell sponsorships with it? I am looking for any ideas you can provide.


12-05-2012, 02:20 AM
Picture Marketing is a wast of time if you are paying for the service. The only way it is effective is if you have customers take their own photos at a photo op with a visible logo. People are more likely to tag themselves in a photo that they took and uploaded. Let them upload it on the spot rather than have them leave go to your site the next day to sort thru hundreds of photos. Have a full time photographer taking photos all night as well to upload to your Facebook for additional tagging.

12-05-2012, 09:36 AM
We used picture marketing at two different attractions this year.

We paid for the service.

Although people are more likely to tag themselves in photos they took, with the picture marketing service we are able to get thousands of email addresses from the retrieval process that we can market to all year. We do have spots where they can take their own photo and get our logo as well, but I like doing both. The picture marketing service that has been at Transworld the last few years does not force the customer to sort thru hundreds of pictures to find theirs, the card we give them directs that person right to their photo(s), and the retrieval page has several "share" buttons, which posts the picture to facebook, twitter, email, etc.

We have not tried to sell marketing sponsorships to ours yet, but will be for 2013.

12-06-2012, 07:33 AM
Picture Marketing is a great system that works very well with bringing in new customers, giving customers extra value at your haunt and capturing there emails and other info for remarketing to them for the next season. I've said it on here before in the preseason you pair your Picture Marketing system with costumes like Kevin's ( Gore-Galore ) makes with huge oversized and eye catching creatures. And take it to everything you can Parades, festivals, car shows, anything where there are groups of people, this drive busy about your haunt all season and will keep it fresh in there heads. ( We used it this at Comic Con in Philadelphia and also passed out special coupons. This was in June and we got back about 40 of those coupons this past Oct, not bad for 4 months later but also people were talking about the time they saw our creature and or got there pic with him).

Here's the 2 cents , These camera systems and oversized costumes may look $$$$ at the show but if your willing to put the time into use them to there fullest they will pay off. They don't work on there own , you need to work them.


12-06-2012, 09:32 AM
Picture Marketing is a great system that works very well with bringing in new customers, giving customers extra value at your haunt and capturing there emails and other info for remarketing to them for the next season. I've said it on here before in the preseason you pair your Picture Marketing system with costumes like Kevin's ( Gore-Galore ) makes with huge oversized and eye catching creatures. And take it to everything you can Parades, festivals, car shows, anything where there are groups of people, this drive busy about your haunt all season and will keep it fresh in there heads. ( We used it this at Comic Con in Philadelphia and also passed out special coupons. This was in June and we got back about 40 of those coupons this past Oct, not bad for 4 months later but also people were talking about the time they saw our creature and or got there pic with him).

Here's the 2 cents , These camera systems and oversized costumes may look $$$$ at the show but if your willing to put the time into use them to there fullest they will pay off. They don't work on there own , you need to work them.


As you can see from this one photo, we utilized a Gore Galore costume and Picture Marketing together. Most of our customers wanted their picture taken with Monkey Bones. The rest got them taken with some of our que line actors.


12-06-2012, 10:02 AM
Picture Marketing does serve as a great value addition to your customer. As long as the person you have taking the photos is enthusiastic and conveys to them clearly that it is a FREE photo, they'll perceive it as a GIFT and you'll get a huge redemption rate and a lot of sincere, customer appreciation. I've found that people will post directly to Facebook or Twitter because of the links Picture Marketing integrates too. Personally, our redemption rate is around 85-90% every year. And yes, that means you have a huge database of email addresses of customers. I'm pleased with the service. Here's what mine looked like this year...


12-06-2012, 11:33 AM
I'm going to go with thumbs down on this one... we tried it and it didn't produce results for us. I hired someone to take photos and yes the photos look neat, awesome whatever especially when you have someone like Brainstorm make a kick ass frame for those photos. But you can't be fooled by how cool the photos look and think you experienced some instant success. If that camera could simply do nothing but take pictures and you could upload them to your own website or your own facebook heck I'd hire someone to do that just to add content to my pages but it doesn't work that way at all.

Picture Marketing sets up a page for you your customers get a card they go to that site to retrieve their photos... the percentage of people who do is so low its unreal and Picture Marketing wants a fortune for those cards, not to mention paying someone to take the pictures. Is the concept cool... yes its really cool, but 90% of those cards get lost or simply thrown on the ground or just forgotten about. We went through rows and rows of cards and not many people redeemed the photos.

Its a gimmick and its a cool one but unless you have tons of money to spend on nearly every single marketing gimmick out there I would say the time spent and money spent isn't a value for our industry. Someone may disagree and heck maybe I don't understand myself what I was doing but based on what I saw, knowing what I put into it, what it costs, and what the return is I wouldn't do it again.

In fact I have a camera and I'll sell it to someone if you want it.

I would say and I'm right about this that marketing a haunt is getting ever so much harder... there is to much out there now and we have to start to focus on the things that work best and hammer them home. I do not believe this would be one of those tools that will really make a massive impact. A suggestion for this company in my opinion just sell the camera so you can take photos with the frame and upload to your own site without the cards. That I want and would love to have... but the company makes the money when you buy the cards, I can honestly say I'm not buying more cards at least not until there are more results or someone makes me understand how it can be more cost effective.


12-07-2012, 07:29 AM
I would think your photographer was not selling the photos the right way. We have it built into our line so that almost every person gets there picture taken and receives there cards and can be explained how it makes. Our retrieval rates has stayed right around 72% which I feel is a great return rate, and our views per pic are 6.82.

It adds value as line entertainment because they get the chance to act stupid with there friends in a pic and everyone laughs, plus it's a free add on to the ticket. I think you just didn't use the system the right way Larry.


12-07-2012, 11:01 AM
You I think are not understanding the conversation... this aren't pictures you sell these are pictures you take and give away for free. I see what you are saying... but this is a different situation. There is a system called picture marketing and you buy a really expensive camera and on top of that you pay to buy these cards then you pay someone to run around take pictures of people and hand out these cards that you scan.

From there... hold on like me take a breath... then the people who get the cards, which mostly never get used go to a site to redeem their photos. It is suppose to help your facebook page get likes, blah, blah... and I'm saying wasn't worth the hassle, the money or the effort. However I liked very much the overall concept but just would rather do away with the cards all together and just take peoples photos, store them in the camera automatically with the frame and i'll upload to facebook. Eliminate all together the cards, but they wouldn't want to do that because they charge a fortune for them, and the redemption rate can't even be a few percent. Not doing it again... waste of time.

If someone makes a camera where it puts the frame in automatically heck I'd buy that in a flash!


12-07-2012, 12:21 PM
Larry are you saying I don't understand the conversation? Because I understand it very well, I own a camera for Picture Marketing and have used it the past 2 years. And the % I wrote in my last post are the % from using there system. I too wish the card weren't so $$$ I feel raped when I buy them, but the system works very well for me.



12-07-2012, 01:34 PM
Picture Marketing has an overall photo retrieval rate of 57% in all activations (that's how many people go online to retrieve the photo). We have an average of 72% retrieval rate in our haunted houses and some of our longest running clients have seen up to 85% retrieval rate!!! The key is simple: the haunts that listen to our instruction and suggestions have the highest success rate.

You're killing three birds with one stone here: (1) GIVING AWAY FREE PHOTOS (2) BUILDING YOUR EMAIL DATABASE (3) MARKETING THROUGH THE SOCIAL MEDIA NETWORKS and the ending result: INCREASING TICKET SALES! I can honestly say that after dealing with the top marketing agencies/brands in the "off-season" who clearly understand the value here (Pepsi, Budweiser, Disney, Cooper Tire, LinkedIn, etc..), it is clear that our top clients in the haunt network are the most current on the latest social media marketing strategies.

We have about 45 haunts currently and growing every week. They come back year after year because they see the value and more importantly THE RESULTS!

Feel free to call me if you have any questions Patsy 949 429 3052

Thanks Guys!!! :)

12-08-2012, 02:10 AM

I guess what I assumed you where saying was that you are selling photos up front ... I think the overall concept of PI is to use the system to grow facebook likes. So I guess you are saying is that at the front end of your haunt you are taking pictures of people and selling them or something?

So I guess I assumed you had an instant photo system to do just that... how are you using this system to sell photos to people. I wouldn't do that personally, I myself was only interested in growing facebook likes which I did ... I went from 7,000 likes in September to 48,000 but it wasn't through this camera system. I learned what it really takes to grow facebook likes which is a combination of promoting posts and being a very creative writer.

Bottom line is I'm saying the cost of this system, and the cards and everything else and the people you have to pay to do it and everything between .... no I don't think its the way you grow your facebook pages or promote your haunted house.

I do think its cool to have those photos and when and if they share the photo on their facebook that is GREAT that promotes your haunt, but MOST and I mean MOST of the people DO NOT retrieve their photos therefore they don't share them. Now a cheaper way to go would be the following...

Create a great photo op like you have at the entrance or exit of your haunt with your name it and take photos post them to your facebook and tell the people to visit your facebook or website to retrieve the photo. This way it costs you NOTHING!!!! I would do that before I would pay thousands upon thousands of dollars for cards that end up all over the ground ... this is just my opinion.


12-08-2012, 07:53 AM
I know are retrieval rate is very high, if I am looking at the report right, 91% of our photos taken have been retrieved. We have also gotten more email addresses than pictures taken due to invites, and out of the number of pictures taken, have had 15x that in unique page views of the picture pages. Although I agree I would love to have the cards cheaper, I think the system works great. We are going to try and find a sponsor next year to offset the cost of the system.

12-08-2012, 01:37 PM
Let me know if you want to sell it or not

12-08-2012, 08:47 PM
Larry we are misunderstanding each other some where. I don't sell any photos. I use the PI out at big events like Comic Con , to promote thru out the year and during the season we take there pic give them there card and the get there free pic, and we have a 72% return rate. I don't know why yours was so low , but ours was strong.

I have seen Haunts upload photo's right to there FB pages and I guess thats nice for some people, but i'd rather people like our page because they like our haunt not because i force them to like us to go thru tons of pics to find there needle in the haystack. If I had to do that the place would just piss me off.


12-08-2012, 10:49 PM
I'll sell it... I'm not doing it again. Larry

12-09-2012, 07:34 AM
Larry, you can add the frame in post-photo without the camera. There are a number of ways to do this. My wife and I visited one of the race museums, and they had a photo kiosk where you stand in front of some props and get your picture taken. Then they show you the picture on a computer screen where they add in the logo's, etc. That is one way, but it requires a computer and some simple software for photo editing at the haunt.

If you just want to upload the pictures later, use your computer software to do that the next day. You can print something like Fav Cards with the FB link printed and give those away to everyone that got their picture taken, and let them visit your FB page to see their picture. I'll bet you will get a lot of response to that.

I have sold pictures in the past, and that also worked well for me but I noticed this year it didn't work out so well so I will be changing the format and using the Fav Cards myself to drive the traffic to FB. I think that will work better and achieve the same results as the Picture Marketing Company.

I agree with you by the way that they are too expensive. They use this method at Universal Studios and Disney Parks, and I found that I wasn't using the cards when I got home to download pictures. I only downloaded pictures I paid for.

12-09-2012, 05:24 PM
That is what I think as well... we made a kick ass frame for our pictures see attachments. For what they charge for this I can't see repeating it. I like the idea of pictures and uploading them to facebook but i DO NOT want to buy cards send someone to someone elses websites to redeem them. It just wasn't a strong facebook like builder atleast not for us. I only want to take pics and upload them to my facebook.

I will tell you and I'm saying this honestly... all the hype around building up massive facebook pages doesn't really pay off the way you think. You can spend a lot of time and money and resources to build up facebook likes which don't result in ticket sales or hits to your website... facebook this year wasn't a huge resource for us for hits. Google still is #1 and or I should say all the search engines. Facebook was about what it was the previous year...

The only way you get be sure that people see your posts on facebook no matter how many friends you get is to PAY FOR IT... that is how facebook is making money now. You either PAY of your likes don't see the posts or I should say most of them don't. Facebook is cool and I don't see it going away but if you are going to spend money to build facebook likes you might as well do it on facebook itself, not through people who've already been to your event.

I won't do the Picture Marketing thing again because it costs to much, and it is NOT the massive facebook builder.

I don't care what anyone says... I know for a fact how I would rank how you get facebook likes.

You can't do EVERYTHING so you have to focus on what gets the biggest impacts... and one of the best was to do promotions with your media sources like your radio stations. You do facebook promotions where they do contests for your tickets on their page and to enter they have to like your page for example... with one TV station I gained 1500 friends in the same day. And guess how much I paid ... NOTHING MORE it was part of the overall deal for marketing.

I will focus more on this next year making deals to build facebook likes via people I advertise with... not running around taking pictures and paying for cards. Not because its totally useless because its not, its just low very low on how you get the most likes. And considering only about 10% of your friends actually see your posts on facebook unless you are willing to PAY FOR IT then whats the point?

The reality is and I'm not more convinced of this than ever... we need to put less energy on facebook and put more energy and getting people to our websites where there are no distractions, side bar advertisement reading what 200 other people said, getting messaged or whatever... you need them on your website where its only your videos, photos, tickets for sale and more.

I think if we lose sight of the most important aspect of your business is your website then you somewhat fall to the mercy of facebook which you do not want.


12-11-2012, 12:31 AM
I met with my social media person tonight to get my Picture Marketing Camera back... she took pics all season long. I wanted to double check on what she thought... her response to me and she does social media promotions for a living was that she probably wouldn't do it again, and didn't feel the cost was worth the return. I was like wow that is exactly what I said... but anyway I asked her what the redemption rate was and she said between 30 and 40% which I guess isn't bad. But like I said you have to ask yourself how much money are you willing to pour into something which ultimately is about building facebook fans, when facebook itself doesn't offer much return in terms of traffic back to your website.

I'm going to create a budget for promoting on facebook next year, I will watch it close, but my money will go into directly promoting on facebook not buying business cards for photos. Next year I'm going to get really tight with my marketing dollars across the board...

I'm going to focus on WHAT WORKS THE BEST and CUT OUT everything else.


12-11-2012, 12:23 PM

While I hate to call you out, I cannot listen to someone drone on about how a system did not work when they DID NOT EVEN USE THE SYSTEM CORRECTLY.

Out of all of my haunts, you had the least amount of photos taken period. While I don't know your season occupancy, I do know that you took less photos than any other haunt this season.

And I don't know how many times I have to explain this to you, but the purpose of PM is not just to gain more facebook page "Likes", while we definitely do help increase the page "Likes" that is not the ultimate goal. Increasing ticket sales and your social media footprint is the goal! Every time someone "Likes" a photo, it is posted to the newsfeed, and their entire network of friends can see their photo of them having a great time at your haunt.

Let me give everyone an example of ACTUAL NUMBERS from a haunt THIS SEASON that acquired best practices:





This wasn't even our top haunt.

Larry- I spoke to your social media girl and she said if you had hired someone to take the photos (what? $8/hour..?) and had a specific location to take the photos you would have had a significantly higher success rate. The bottom line is: You Didn't.

In regards to the cost: after the initial year purchase, the costs are minimal: $500 for the month of October licensing fee and around 17cents/card. Or some haunts just buy the barcodes and incorporate them into the ticket. That is pretty minimal cost considering the benefits.

So you can hire a company to come take photos and put them in a gallery that a quarter of your attendees will take the time to sift through, you can hire a company to try to accumulate as many email addresses as we accumulate, and you can buy some facebook ad space, but we provide all of that for a fraction of the total cost.

After speaking with you I understand you are intimidated by the social media marketing giant, but as one of the nation's top 100 Promotional Agencies (yup- us!) and after working with the top Marketing Agencies and Fortune 500 companies for over a decade, I can promise you social media is the most effective marketing tool out there. There are many vehicles to drive the social media marketing, we provide a solution that also helps you build your email database and enhance your attendees experience (everyone loves free photos).

There is a reason why EVERY ONE of our haunts have come back for a second, third and forth year- it works.

As always I am happy to answer questions on the system.

Patsy Russell
Picture Marketing

Grow Your Social Media with Picture Marketing

12-11-2012, 04:03 PM
To each there own, but I know it works for us and other big haunts in the industry. I you set it up the right way it's an effective tool, if you do it as an after thought because you see other people doing it not so much. I have seen other haunts use it that are not giving it a strong presence at there haunt and I would guess they to are not getting strong results. And to any haunts out there thinking about trying it just look at the list of major companies outside of the haunt industry that also use this product, and if it didn't work, do you think they would be using it. I think not.

Robert Dudzieck
All Seasons Entertainment LLC
Fright Factory Haunted Attraction PA

12-13-2012, 05:07 AM

You CLEARLY don't have a clue about what we did or what we didn't do... because you DO NOT have the facts at all! Without going into every single thing you said that wasn't true just let me say this...

We took photos and used every single card we got from you so please don't spill out lies or make up crap... we do NOT HAVE ONE CARD LEFT NOT ONE! Secondly we paid NO ONE $8.00 an hour and the girl we hired does social media promotions for a living. So again don't get on here and make up crap! Lastly I think we had about 15,000 cards and we used every single one!

Now onto another point... your system is neat, its cool and whatever but its also expensive! Everything anyone does has to have a value placed on it. For what your system does, and what it costs and what it returns for me its not worth the money or the time spent using the thing. There are HUNDREDS and THOUSANDS of haunted houses out there and HUNDREDS of amusement parks as well and I think you said you have 50 or so haunts using this. Again great for you guys but that is only a fraction of what is out there.

For the money you charge for a system, cards, license fee and everything between a haunted house can buy a radio commercials, billboards, or better yet hire a professional PR agency. If a haunt has a massive budget and money is no object then great, but for the smaller to medium sized haunt your program doesn't deliver the bang for the buck. This is just my opinion. Now that isn't to say what you are offering is useless no not at all... I think its great. Heck I think newspapers are cool to look at as well but I'm not buying any newspaper ads either.

I'd love to advertise on the Super Bowl or let me set my standards lower... just one spot on American Idol but I can't afford it because one spot on American Idol just local here only, I could buy 1000 or more radio commercials. So again I'm NOT saying what you do is worthless or it sucks, or its a scam or anything... I'm saying its not worth it to me because it doesn't sell tickets.

I'm taking photos of people who've already come and left... sure they could share the photos with someone but if I use the same money and hired a professional PR company I could get hundreds and thousands of eyeballs, or better yet several billboards which would be driven past daily. Again its all about cost vs return and what you want money wise and what we get back are two different things.

Last but not least... you are DEAD WRONG! Social media is NOT the best form of marketing not even close. I can prove it with facts, stats, and can back that up to the tenth degree. Social media is a form of marketing, and one I might add i did a lot of and was very successful growing my facebook likes from 7000 to 48,000 for scarefest. But the flat out best way to promote through facebook is promoting your posts and writing clever posts on top of that... not uploading photos of people. Does it help sure... but with everything there is a cost and what you want is out of line with the actual value.

As I've told you SEVERAL TIMES no maybe a MILLION TIMES... Pepsi can throw millions of dollars at something and not blink an eye, they have decades to sell soda. We as haunters have days to sell our products and considering MOST haunts don't spend a lot on marketing they must make those dollars go as far as they can...

Like I said if you sold a camera that just put the frames around the picture and I can do what I want with them I'd love the thing... but paying you a fee to use something we buy, then buying cards to boot is in my book not worth the money spent. Sorry... again nothing against your program that I feel is best suited for a company that has money to burn not an attraction that has days and hours to get the word out quickly and must watch every dollar they spend.

Where would I rank your form of marketing, it would be so low on the pole and that for me puts it in the area for haunts with money to burn... essential marketing tool NO! Because you must admit that all photos are taken of people who already bought tickets and will not be back until the following year... so how does that help me? The ONLY way it COULD possibly help me if if those people redeem their photo and that is less than 40%, and then share that photo with people through their facebook or something. And do you have stats that show just because you Patsy post on your facebook tonight that you ate ice scream and watch Batman do you think your 1500 frields read that ... I bet only a couple people saw that. This is how facebook works... so the reality is your photos if you even share them, if you even redeem them, and if someone even sees them after you post them if you post them is low and even at that any benefit only comes after someone has already been to my haunt not before.

The guy who is on this site right now talking it up... I could sit down with him and in less than 10 minutes i could make him understand the value of all marketing, cost vs return, place values on everything, line up priorities and more than likely the light will fly through the window... because if you start to focus on the marketing that works best which really includes even stuff like hiring a crew to make videos for you all season which costs money, or creating a better website or graphics, or any number of things your budget will go way up... with that you will better organize your priorities on what you can or can't afford. Lets also see this for another point of view... word of mouth as Ben brought up! Okay so these photos are like word of mouth and you post them to your facebook page great. If that person liked your haunt they will tell the same 10 friends either way if they liked it ... another thing look at even your own facebook. When you post something you have like the same 2 or 3 people say something back, typically 1 maybe 2 or 3 like what you said this is typical of facebook. People on facebook that are NOT celebs live in a bubble they talk hardly no one sees anything you say... people follow sports teams, celebs, and they post on their facebook basically talking to mostly themselves. If you have 500 or 1000 friends can you really follow what they are saying... no you don't. You only see the top couple latest posts when you finally log into facebook UNLESS YOU as a business PAY to keep them at the top... again if I'm going to spend money on social media I'll spend it with facebook to make sure all my friends will see my posts. Again I just understand how these things work because I spend the time and money to figure them out... I just don't go back what someone tells me like most people.

As I pointed out earlier the guy who sells facebook management and runs a haunt has 1/5 of the business of the biggest haunt in his own market yet he has 48,000 to 4,500 facebook friends. See the point... social MEDIA IS NOT the main way you promote a haunt! My biggest year in the past 10 years was 2009 and 2010 and in both years I didn't have a facebook page. In 2011 during the season towards the middle of the season I started one and in 2012 I went on it big time and as it turns out worst year in 10 years. Social media plays a VERY SMALL role in your success!

I hire a national and a local PR FIRM ... I mean I try everything and every year I'm more than willing to try anything new to test it out. Your system is expensive and something that doesn't in my mind sell tickets and we are not doing it again. Its nothing personal it just doesn't create the benefit I'm looking for in all honestly I'm cutting back on radio especially and will focus on more web based marketing because in my mind that produces the best results ... aside for PR which is always PRICELESS.

I wish you well and I hope the people who use your system have success I really do ... just me personally I found it to be overpriced and not a traffic driver nor a ticket selling device and for the money it has to do both otherwise I'm going to try something new. If anyone wants to buy that camera I have it and its for sale! Just give a ring and I'll ship it to you!


12-13-2012, 12:32 PM
Here is a quick study done by EXPERTS:


In regards to stating facts- you actually handed out close to 1/5 of the cards you stated. And in case you haven't heard: the entire economy went to crap after 2009 -it's not because you dabbled in social media marketing.

And while you are comparing marketing budgets in the millions- which we definitely work with on a regular basis- I think its laughable that you think a package that is $3,350 for the first year and around $1,500 for each year there after is going to break the bank for the top haunts and not give them that much in return.

The fact is after speaking with these haunt owners- they get it. I understand you probably never will.

Good Luck Lar-


12-13-2012, 02:06 PM

Couple things.

One thing is your are totally clueless that is for sure on how many cards I did or didn't hand out... we handed every single one out we have NONE LEFT! I'm sorry that you don't want to admit that people get these things and lose them, throw them on the ground, or whatever. We have ZERO CARDS LEFT... and fyi for the record you are more than welcome to come here and search our office HIGH and LOW and see if you can find our so called left over cards we supposedly never used. WE HAVE NO CARDS LEFT!

Two, I never said that our business went down because we used social media. Clearly you didn't understand what I was saying. What I was saying is and I'll re-state it. Look the best season Darkness EVER HAD was back in the 90's and we did like 50,000 people a few different times. We don't get close to that number now but here is a point... back when I reached over 50,000 customers there was NO SUCH THING AS SOCIAL MEDIA! Let me go one further... in 2009 we had a great year! Again we had NO SOCIAL MEDIA marketing! In 2010 there was NO social media page and we did great. The point here is that social media isn't impacting if we do awesome or not it has little impact.

As I pointed out Nick the guy who sells a service to do social media for you has 48,000 likes on his Cleveland based haunts facebook page, and his competition basically doesn't have a facebook page and the guy who doesn't mess with facebook does 5x plus the business, and probably 10x plus the revenue and this would have been last year and the year before.

In the end and what I'm saying and this has NOTHING to do with YOU! Social Media is something haunts are getting obsessed over just like myspace before it... but it doesn't produced RESULTS to the degree that people are placing their time, money and bets on. In fact TONS of GIANT companies are no longer advertising with Facebook because some studies have shown that people don't pay attention to advertisements on facebook. Facebooks stock has dropped due to revenues it dropped almost the day after it went public after their financials where released. I haven't been following facebook stock or anything else lately and I know they are working on creating more revenue blah blah blah... and who knows facebook could end up being the best way to market your business since the invention of the first newspaper. I don't know... but right now it is what it is and nothing that people should EVER consider as a primary marketing tool, a marketing tool yes but not a primary.

But what I do know RIGHT NOW is this... Patsy I checked out your person facebook and other than your recent birthday (Happy Birthday BTW) there isn't hardly one post you've made about what you are doing, where you are going, nothing where people reply, and the average likes is like 2 or 3, and you have one thread where you have like 10 replies and that is you and another person going back and forth.

This isn't is a smack at you, because my facebook is the same way, and so is almost every normal none celeb, sports team, or something that people are very very passionate about and during Halloween haunts can get lots of chatter going because there are a handful of people who are really passionate about them. But the normal person posting about where they are what they are doing on a daily basis those people including myself if I do are talking to thin air basically... now if the #1 high school football player in the nation makes a facebook he'll get 100's of posts on his page telling him to come to their favorite school, or you appear on the VOICE you'll get people on there daily telling you how great you are what song to sing, and more.

Facebook has a false perception of being great because of the connection it makes between fans of something or someone ... but the daily connection between ordinary people its just not the same. So when someone takes your photo they take at my place and they share it, I can assure they they don't spend any money to promote that photo so in the end how many people will see it ... a handful at best. This is a fact! When you take hundreds of photos does it add to a fair amount of people sure I'm sure of that but where does it rank with other marketing efforts and how effective is it really?

So now moving past that... as Ben said WORD OF MOUTH is the best form of marketing and actually Facebook is a means in which word of mouth can be done and a good one, same as talking to your friends, texting a friend, talking to co-workers at work, or friends at school ... I put facebook somewhere in that mix.

So buying your camera and buying all those cards from you because you have packages that are over the 10,000 mark and using that to help build my facebook page which does produce some results but its NOT EVEN CLOSE to results that some people have become obsessed with its just not worth it... SORRY!

Radio - TV - Billboards - Creating a kick ass website plus SEO WORK - Youtube Videos - Web Marketing - sponsors places to put your coupons out - awesome new forms of marketing like Pandora - anything digital that ends up on a phone - marketing your flyers in hotels - and honestly PUBLIC RELATIONS all of those things in my book are bigger more important than Facebook so if facebook is lower than ALL OF THAT and I spend money on facebook I'm going to spend money to promote promotions of my haunt directly with facebook not on a camera system because your thing is an add on to that something that is already low levels.

You threw a number of $5000.00 or a starter kit lets say... well on top of that you also have to pay someone to take photos so and upload them and everything else so we'll say a starter kit is $6000.00... on google I could buy google ads for .18 cents this year that means I could buy HOLD ON...

T H I R T Y - T H R E E thousands direct HITS INTO MY WEBSITE! You can't compete with that in TEN MILLION YEARS!

So again let me re-state what I'm overall saying here...

Giant companies which you guys normally deal with can create budgets and burn a million dollars on anything to see if it works and not even thing twice... I have no doubts about that.

Haunts are NOT giant companies and we have to FOCUS on marketing dollars on what works the BEST and as I've already proved and hopefully I have gotten through to NICK that his competition basically has NO facebook site and doesn't advertise there he's doing five times the attendance and probably 10 times the revenue. Facebook is NOT NOT NOT NOT a primary way to promote your business.

Neither was MYSPACE back when everyone got obsessed with that either. Facebook is important and something you should build because you never know with technology how things will change which is actually my main point here... we don't know if facebook will even be here five years from now or be the next myspace, replaced by something new and different. We don't know!

What we do know works even if its not as effective as it once was... Radio, TV, Billboards, Local PR, and the list goes on and like Ben said the most important HAVING A GREAT HAUNTED HOUSE!

Having your camera system is COOL very COOL I love it trust me... but its not worth the cost and the time spent. Next year are going to reduce overall spending and focus really hard on the things we know worked best for us... spending another 5 or 10k on cards to me isn't worth it not to a haunted house who has to get the most bang for the buck on what they do!

So I'm saying your system is cool but sorry for my type of business its to expensive for what it produces and now that I've learned the hard way that facebook is what it is a great tool but not the next savior that replaces traditional St Louis based marketing I have to refocus marketing to weather a bad economy.

Adding frills likes your camera system just won't make the cut due only to costs vs return nothing more. And lastly like I said give me a camera that I can buy flat out that puts frames on the pics and I tell people to go directly to my website to see their photos that is something I would buy. I don't want to pay a $500 license fee, I don't want to pay you 10,000 or whatever to buy a zillion cards every year either, for the money I'd invest with you on this I could simply go out and buy a camera system that takes pics of people in the haunted house and print them in my retail store at the end just like SIX FLAGS... I know because one of these companies is talking to me right now. That would create revenue! It all boils down to how much money is someone willing to spend on anything and nothing against your marketing device because its very cool its just doesn't create the bang for the buck at least not for me and in the end drives up hits for you so you guys can turn around and sell national sponsors advertisement so you make even more money.

For me I want to drive people to my site ONLY!!! That is lesson #1 ... 101! Again good luck to you and your system and the people who use it but its just not for me anyway!


12-13-2012, 03:08 PM

Well here's the magic of social media. You are my "friend" on my "haunt/work facebook page" -I check it about once a week and answer questions about Picture Marketing and what trade show I am going to next. On my "personal page" I posted a pic on Thanksgiving that got 65 "likes" in one day- but hey, I only have 700 "friends" on there. So everyone that "Liked" my photo had that show up in their friends' newsfeeds. So 65 "Likes" x's each of their 'let's say' 400 friends. That means potentially 26,000 people saw the pic of "Patsy and her sisters". Hmmm.... How could this viral activity ever benefit a business.....????!

And I only SENT YOU 4,000 CARDS- so YA- I do know what I'm talking about.

I'm not interested in a tit-for-tat here Larry- but I will gladly snap back at any false statements. The point is you barely dabbled in our system and you want to shout from the mountain tops how our system sucked. While I don't think that is "cool" or deserving- go ahead. I've had more calls/quotes from this thread than I can count- Lol.

So you can go "watch Batman and have a bowl of ice cream" I'll be watching Army of Darkness with a Jack and coke and I look forward to sneaking up on you in March ;)


12-13-2012, 03:29 PM

As to tit for tat... I think that is exactly what we are doing. And furthermore I hope the people who are reading the thread learn something from the discussion. Now as I pointed out on your facebook the TYPICAL thread you have is shared maybe 3 times, with NO REPLIES I'm looking right on the front page honey! You have NO action and this is TYPICAL of almost all facebook pages, with the exceptions of sure holiday stuff, birthdays and what not. Otherwise you are mostly talking to NO ONE for the most part and your facebook page reflects that... so you can find one here and one there exception I already know there are a handful of exceptions I already pointed that out.

Secondly you simply ignore all my points about marketing in general, all the facts, so in the end you are avoiding them and simply defending what you do which is expected. My point to you is simple... you want an arm and a leg for something that is used on customers who have already come through my place already bought a ticket. I can if I want do the same exact thing and take photos and tell people actually to go to MY WEBSITE DIRECTLY to retrieve them!

No offense but I don't want to send you traffic so you can sell advertisement to Snickers, I want to send people ONLY to MY website end of story. Nor do I want to pay you for the privilege of doing so... and lastly the point is that facebook actually is NOT one of the most effective ways you can sell tickets so and if I'm going to spend money facebook direction I'm going to spend it with FACEBOOK! That only makes the most sense.

I can give you 10k or I can promote ads with facebook and probably grow my likes by 50%, or I could by tens of thousands of direct hits with Google directly... or again I could give you 10K plus. Doesn't make sense!

I tried it ... its not that effective. Its cool and I never said it sucked because it doesn't suck its just not worth the money to my business.

If I want to grow facebook likes I'll do it through facebook or through my website, my lines outside my place, I'll put my money into making more youtube videos, and the list goes on before I dump 10k or more into taking photos and driving them to YOUR WEBSITE! That is the point... I have to focus on what makes the most impact to help me sell tickets!

Lastly you are sadly mistaken I had WAY MORE THAN 4k cards I think it was 12 or 15 thousand you need to go back and check your records. I think the first time you send me 4k for the show but you send me another box of them and each box had 500 cards in it and we used every single box!!!! THEY ARE ALL GONE every single one and the impact just wasn't there vs the money spent.

Lastly and let me say good luck to anyone who tries something new to promote your business, I give any haunter totally PROPS for trying something new, doing something out of their comfort box, but understand I share my experiences hoping to help others. If I'm wrong then I'm wrong but I know how to market a haunt and I've proved it attracting over a million customers. And I've been the first one out there touting something new trying something different and we tried this and it doesn't work ...

not compared what you can do directly with that money like buying google ads, or promoting posts on facebook directly.

The one guy who defending your camera system has only 2500 friends on facebook... it really made an impact I see! LOL

Next time spend that money directly with facebook and watch your facebook friends TRIPLE the same week!

That is the point and if someone wants to spend the sun the moon and the stars and leave no stone not even a pebble unturned buy Picture Marketing system... its under a pebble somewhere! LOL

Pasty I love you to death you are the funnest girl in the WORLD but I'm only doing what I always do which is nothing more than sharing my experiences no matter what the product... no one listens to me so don't worry about it! You are fine!

And if you sneak up on me expect I might run! LOL


12-13-2012, 10:34 PM

no comment on anything besides your math on how many people saw your thanksgiving picture.
You run a social media marketing tool and honestly think that is how the math works out and how facebook works?? Your think roughly 26,000 people saw your picture? Give me whatever you are smoking because I will dig up reports and articles left and right on this.

The only facebook posts seeing 26,000+ IMPRESSIONS have over 75,000-100,000 fans and that is with pumping some money into promoting it.
The math you did is NOT how facebook works.

This only frustrates me because you are selling false statistics if that is the math you are using. That is not cool

Greg Chrise
12-13-2012, 11:00 PM
All I know is that all the haunts back in the day that were striving for 25,000 and 50,000 Myspace freinds are no longer in business.

All the people that hit my facebook page with 20 posts a day for a whole year about their event closed up at the end of this year.

I have to agree with Ben and your haunt has to be good and facebooks is just a way for organic communication of how good it is. Early on that might happen with your set up guys and actors, eventually a few customers but still a small percentage will feel compelled to follow someone else's advice on any of these services.

12-14-2012, 12:53 PM
I have to agree with the past couple of posts because they are accurate. Let me also say that I have NOTHING against Picture Marketing... NOTHING! Is the camera system cool sure it is... and btw I think Patsy is a hard rock beer drinking party girl who really likes this haunt industry and fits right in actually more so than I do! LOL

I like Patsy and I would love for everyone to support what she's doing... shes a hard working very devoted person!

However as I explained to Pasty by phone and I would explain to ANYONE is haunted houses have limited budgets meaning they might only spend $50,000 on marketing lets say. So if your budget is limited to say 50k what are you going to spend it on? Well what works best!

Radio would be in the mix, maybe a billboard maybe not, some TV maybe, internet marketing (YES FOR SURE), is there some sort of local magazine you might get an ad in, we know you are doing coupons for your sponsors yes? What else... you need new graphics, or update your website, do you get google ads I don't know, are you doing pandora (I did), are you spending money to promote posts on facebook because that ads up quick? Did you hire a PR person to help you get local PR?

All of these things add up and in fact how 50k can handle all of those things I don't know... actually depending on the market you are in I'd say impossible. So you go up to $75,000 okay same deal... and btw whatever. Picture Marketing is or would be part of a marketing budget, and does it help in some way sure it does, everything you do will do something but at what cost and what return?

The biggest money loser out there is GROUPON type of deals... you give a discount #1, you share revenue with GROUPON, and when you add it all up what is the average ticket price you are getting when that is all said and done? To sell one ticket on Groupon you might be spending $10 maybe $15 dollars to do so... its NOT worth it. You are LOSING money!

Marketing is about spending money to make money, sell tickets end of story! So whatever you buy and whatever you do you must consider that formula how much did you spend, what did you get back, so in other words what did you spend to sell each ticket?

I still think the best thing any marketing can do is drive people to YOUR WEBSITE DIRECTLY... flat out directly to YOUR WEBSITE!

We need to put the marketing focus on programs that drive customers to your website your check out isle not facebook, or any spin off of facebook, or groupon or whatever.

This is just my opinion... that isn't to say that any of these things aren't great in their own way or have some benefit because they do!

I think the Picture Marketing thing is cool, its neat is different... but for me the cost and the direct benefit is what makes the decision to do something or not do something. End of story.


12-15-2012, 10:28 AM
Just check my sons Facebook to see what kind of hits he has on some photos. He has 900+ friends on one of the photos he took at his college has over 30,000 hits, So i do believe that the numbers work, if you would like more info on how much exposure you can get my wife works for a company that is a Internet fact checking service that verifies that thier customers are getting what they pay for when buying social media.


12-20-2012, 06:33 PM
Well I guess I got the full range off that question. I believe I am going to go ahead and try the pic marketing. Not for the Facebook likes but more for the contacts I will obtain, add more value for my ticket price, and sponsorship opportunities it may provide. I plan on making money with this thing. And by that I mean Not just in enhanced ticket sales. I have dropped $4k on a kick ass prop that no one really looks at. Gonna try a little different approach this season.


12-21-2012, 09:44 AM
Let us know how it works out! I have been looking at this for years, but it is out of my budget for right now. I struggled last year with photo ops because I didnt spend enough time building the process. Camera didnt connect to the printer correctly, printer started having issues, etc etc etc. I am going to be fixing all that this year and providing pictures with our name on it in front of a cool looking prop and "photo op" area we built.

Next step will be picture marketing if budget works out and we generate enough interest to beef numbers

12-28-2012, 12:32 AM
Thanks Larry for your detailed posts on this subject. It was painful to see two friends duke it out in public over a difference of marketing opinion, and maybe even some feelings were hurt, but we, the readers, were the winners in this squabble. Those of us who pour our savings into making a kick ass haunt in smaller cities often rely on the word of mouth, but we have to do some marketing as well. Our smaller populations don't afford us the $50,000 budgets you mentioned-- not by a long shot. So focusing on what works best is essential. We use Facebook, because it's free, and we'll use about anything that is free if it helps the slightest bit, but there are so many distractions on Facebook and it's a bit like youtube: they go there, then they go elsewhere and spend their time surfing instead of spending their money haunting. (We use youtube too, but embed it-- we never send them there with links-- and we plan to host our own future videos so people don't get the obnoxious ads and go off site.) We use posters, flyers, coupons, even our own original tracts-- but if it weren't for the internet, we wouldn't reach near as many people. The main thing is make the haunt GOOD. We always have over a 50% return rate, usually closer to 70%, but we're committed to bringing in a lot more new people each year as well. Word of mouth is best for that, social media can help in that regard, but other media can be more cost effective when you're talking several thousand dollars. You Google ad "pay per click" comment was a case in point.

Anyway, these businesses aren't hobbies for us: We have nearly everything invested in them, so I for one appreciate hearing the brutal truth about what is essential advertising and what is more a luxury expense. I agree that the system discussed with license fees and cards can be very effective for certain venues, but for ones that run on tight budgets, it would be a very expensive experiment that could hurt more than help (if you were already on the ropes). It would make more sense to set up the place with your actors to pose for shots with people, with your bill board or wall banner behind you listing your website. Let the people take their own outside photos and do with them what they want. Or do what they had at the Mad Monster Party where they a special photographer offers to take a free photo and email it directly to you (and now the haunt can email you coupons and such every year afterwards). I bet that has a 98% to 100% effective rate, because it's free and there's nothing to lose. Sure, people can lie about their email address, but then they don't get the photo.

Bottom line is, these are make or break marketing decisions for some of the smaller town haunts. So thanks for not soft peddling it or avoiding the topic in order not to rock the boat. I did not come away with the impression the service offered was not worthwhile for bigger venues, but it clearly wouldn't be cost effective for the smaller budgets. And Facebook, Twitter, and whatever the latest fad: Sure, use 'em and abuse 'em (if they're free) but if you think they are going to be some sort of magic bullet that doubles your attendance, you need some high octane coffee and quick.

12-28-2012, 11:23 AM
Amen Monster. Well put. We are in the same boat. And every demographic is different. I spent $80 for a banner that had our logo, a catchy phrase, and the website address. In a metro area, it would have driven people to the website, but here, it didn't do anything. We are now resorting to old school media that did work. Flyers are essential in this town. Print media with the local newspaper was also successful - we will be enlarging our ads and running them more frequently.

We also did the local Fall Festival, and Tractor Festival. Set up a booth with some oddities and had a few characters roam around with Fav Cards. This was our biggest success. We will also be adding radio station ads because in this small town, every one listens to the radio, and it reaches three counties. And like you said, word of mouth is critical. I plugged into local businesses and got them involved in the event, which led to them adding us in their newsletters, and talking us up during their events and behind their retail counters.

As a marketing professional by trade, this has been quite the challenge, and quite an education to say the least!!

12-28-2012, 08:12 PM
That's some good feedback Big T, if you have success in other marketing efforts, be sure to share it with us (as well as the failures). That way we learn from other's mistakes and successes instead of repeating the learning process from scratch.

12-29-2012, 07:58 AM
I agree with all of you. I have a degree in marketing and I by no means am a big budget. I have a small demographic (about 30,000 ) in my town. We are putting a lot of money into our show. Last year was a struggle. I tried some different marketing stuff, tripled my advertising budget, and opened 2 more nights. Numbers were down from the previous year. Makes no sense. So, I'm re booting. I am going to focus on a huge Email campaign, flyers, coupons, etc. man power is a issue for us. If I can utilize 1 person to run this thing AND sell sponsorship with it.... I'm in. For Facebook? No. I agree it's expensive for most, including ours, shows. Am I nervous? Yep. Do I quit? Never! I like to try different things. I am really looking at utilizing this thing all year. Maybe for different events that I can sell sponsorship's with. Am I sold on this 100%? Nope. But IF I can make money with it besides increased tickets sales. Sold. I am doing my research way early this year. Started a month ago. Having a meeting next week with my computer guy do increase email campaign. Marketing calendar is already started. I failed last year not because I had bad show. I failed because I procrastinated and counted on my previous years numbers and awesome reviews to carry me through. I spent about $25,000 on upgrades last year. I got caught up in building and detail that I ignored my marketing. I will have everything in place by Transworld. I didn't have much fun last year because of my lack of planning. Not gonna happen this year. And I'm never gonna count on just a Greta show and previous numbers. People forget quick. Ok I'm rambling. Will keep ya posted.


12-30-2012, 11:30 PM
we did our own photos and shared them on facebook then the people could tag themseleves in picture. However the email address would be huge to send a reminder out i think. we are looking into doing a marketing type photo this year for sure we may or may not go with it depending on how it fits with our attraction

01-07-2013, 06:10 PM
Capt. Chaos, you said a slower year this year made no sense because your marketing was up from last year, however, you didn't mention if last year was your FIRST year or not. If so, it would make complete sense, because in a smaller town, a new haunt often gets a word of mouth buzz and a lot of curiosity seekers will attend who will not return in following years. They will go just to say they saw it, the "new thing", and many of them won't return regardless of the quality. (Of course, others will, so the better it is, the better the return.) But my point is the first year can be like the opening night of a movie when all the money is made or lost (the smaller the town, the more likely this happens). So if 2011 was your first year, keep that in mind.

Regarding another person who suggested taking pictures and getting email addresses, if you have the man power to do this, it sounds like a very good approach. The person gets their photo emailed directly to them for free, and you get their email to send them coupons and reminders to attend the following year. Just be sure to promise them you won't spam or sell their email address accounts, and don't send them the wrong picture. I'd be inclined to try this myself, but I doubt I'd get any of the photos out the door until after Halloween (due to all the other issues that crop up), which costs you the buzz created on social media if it's after the event (but you'ed still have the email addresses). Then again, if you have someone else who makes sending the photos out quickly their main gig, it could be done in a timely manner.