View Full Version : Best Marketing For 2013... what is the best way to market your haunt.

07-15-2013, 01:38 AM
Someone emailed me and asked what is the best way to market your haunted house with so many options now... I wanted to get your guys take on that. I can tell you this SOCIAL MEDIA IS NOT IT... you should read my article on the subject in the last hauntworld magazine. Don't waste hardly any money promoting on social media sites... just use what they offer free and run with it. Also don't put a lot of time posting on it on an hour by hour basis thinking some magical amount of tickets will be sold... won't happen.

Facebook is really a great place for people to think they have a voice, complain about a movie, talk about social issues, let people know how they feel or whatever... but how many people are actually looking or listening? Not many... there are more people talking about their opinions or thoughts than their are people reading what others are saying.

Traditional marketing will still be the main way to promote your business... don't ever be fooled by perceptions go with the tried and true until it fails you. I do think everything has taken a hit including radio there are just way to many ways now to get music especially through phones. So yes its effectiveness is weakened but still strong. TV has been watered down to an unreal level... so my advice is don't waste your money on buying a lot of frequency and focus on first run shows like Walking Dead or WWE or something along those lines. Yes it cost more but more people will see it without TIVO!

Newspapers are worthless... forget it!

However your local newspapers website is NOT worthless... lots of traffic there but they charge a lot for it. Marketing is tough now!

PR will probably by king what you can get for free will sell many tickets. Focus on it!

Another thing that will really work this year is trying to expand your market... reach outside your normal area and find new customers.

The biggest thing going forward if you ask me is going to be SPONSORSHIP... getting to work with stores that have high traffic counts will be essential to ensure a high level of impressions.

Now what do you think this year?


07-15-2013, 12:27 PM
This year we are trying something brand new!

Text Message Marketing!

We signed up with Slick Text and are using it to both communicate to our actors as well as sending out special offers to our clients! We figured this would work for us because we have 5 attractions up and running this October. So assuming everyone won't do them all in one night and will come back with friends, we want to help encourage people to come back using this new text marketing platform. We are going to have someone with a iPad collecting numbers to sign up as well as putting the sign up word and number to text to on all of our promotional papers.

I'd like to partner with other local haunts as well to get more numbers in the system and allow anyone who partners up to end out special offers. So one hand kind of washes the other, get it? I just hope other area haunts think its a good idea, we're the only ones with more than one attraction but it'd be beneficial to get more people to haunted houses nonetheless!

07-15-2013, 01:01 PM
What does the text system cost?

07-15-2013, 05:13 PM
Not much, you can try a free version with no credit card required that allows one keyword (ours is SCREAM) and 50 texts/month. (1 text equals 1 text to 1 person, so if you had 5 people and sent two texts, that'd use 10 texts).

Then it's something like $50/month no contract and that allows you to begin rollover texts (so if you don't use them one month, they roll over into the next month). No overage charges, no commitment, it's month by month. They have an $80 plan I like that I'll probably upgrade to in September. For the price of less than 10 people, you can't beat it. Everyone reads any text they get, most people just trash any emails you send them to advertise, so I like this idea, it's worth a shot.

Slicktext.com is who I'm using.

07-15-2013, 06:38 PM
I will say this We did a poll with everyone who came through Disturbia last year because I wanted to see where my money was working and where it was not. I hired 2 people and their only job was to ask each person as they came in how they found out about us and document it and here is what we asked and the numbers I will just say we surveyed over 15,000 people and here is the actual results

We asked where did you hear about us at
1. Newspaper or Magazine
2. Radio
3. TV
4. Facebook/Social Media
5. Our Website
6. Halloween or Haunt Sites
7. Other

Here is the break down
1. Newspaper - 0% .......... I will say this I do very little Newspaper or Magazine
2. Radio - 19% ........
3. TV - 9% ........
5. Website - 28%
6. Halloween Sites- 3%
7. Other- 0%

So Larry I will respectfully disagree that social media don't work and I will agree that paper and TV as well as some others does not. I can't speak for anyone else but I can say it did and does for Disturbia! Flat out and what makes me sick I spent not one damn penny on Facebook NOT ONE PENNY! All the other places I spent thousands and it brought me in the least as far as where people seen or heard about us. I am not knocking where people spend their money or how because what works for one may not work for anyone else and these numbers are based on DISTURBIA ONLY! I wanted to bring this up a long time ago but I did not want it coming off as I was knocking any site or how people spend their money but to say I was shocked was an understatement and it will be the basis of how I spend my money in the future. I rather have it in my pocket or a nice donation than just throwing it out the door. I honestly think with Social Media and Facebook they have changed the way people advertise now. I know it was a wake up call for me. I am thinking of buying some ads on Facebook to see how much it pushes my percentages up in the future. Shane and it's I want to hear more myself!

07-15-2013, 06:56 PM
Way cool Shane,

Radio is about dead for us, I'm going to try Pandora and Spotify for advertisements this year.

Other than that, I'm surprised Facebook did so well for you! From what I heard, Facebook advertising is a total waste of money, the way they reach people is by what they've even searching for, who they're friends with and what demographics they say they are. So most of the people who will get advertisements for Disturbia, have most likely already looked for haunted houses in your area and know about Disturbia. The pay per click on Facebook is almost disgusting. Same with Google Adwords.

I don't think there's better ways to advertise than free! Facebook, Twitter, hell male a VINE for your haunt, and have your characters have Facebook pages with their character name and cool photos and have those pages promote your haunt as well! Then the next efficient form is probably billboards, followed by tv and radio.

But the BEST marketing you can do is HAVE A GOOD HAUNT. Bad word of mouth will put you out of business in this industry. Good word of mouth will make you thousands!

07-15-2013, 07:46 PM
Like I say I have never bought an ad for Facebook it was just from our fan page! 100% FREE!!!!! But does make me think about the ads but like I say I do think FaceBook is powerful! Shane and it's convinced me!

07-15-2013, 09:08 PM
People are Glued to their phone. I have been collecting phone numbers and I am going to ficus on anything that will show up on the phone. I was looking for a text message option. That slick text will be a main focus for us. Thanks Bobby. You should see your muscle suit we are using as a promo device. People love it. Anyway, Im also toying with trying Google Plus. And we are going to saturate our market with flyers with coupons. We are going to hit other markets hard. Thats our plan.

07-15-2013, 11:28 PM
Way cool! Glad people like it, from what I've been hearing from other customers its been one heck of an attention getter lol. And yeah I shopped around for a bit to find the most affordable plan, and SlickText beat the competition and since I joined I got a nice phone call from the founder who wanted to see if I was happy with the service so far and if there is anything else he could do for me and whatnot, they got their customer service down to a T. Can't wait to see how it really works.

07-16-2013, 10:56 AM

I hate to be the bearer of bad news but you are dead wrong my friend...

1) You claim that 40 something percent found you on facebook that couldn't even be close to the truth. Fact you only have 7000 something facebook friends. So that would be the same as you saying customer wise last year you didn't even do 10,000 customers. Math here simply proves this statement is wrong.

2) I have almost 53,000 facebook friends for Scarefest.com so I think I would know a bit more about how I got business. I know what it took to get 53,000 friends and trust me when I tell you that I utilized it to its fullest... I was posting on it several times a day but what I did to prove its worth was spent a lot of money on it trying to drive online ticket sales.

IT DID NOT WORK! I have the facts and the evidence not just saying around talking to some kids at the exit. Facts are things you can prove... not doing a handful of exit polls. No one is doing full on exit polls talking to every customer who has time for that. Ahhh on the busy nights no one.

3) Last year it cost me about $8.00 to sell one ticket through facebook. At the end of the day all that matters is what you spend and what you get back not what percentage something was or wasn't used. The percentages of overall return will always be based on what you put into to start... if you put the lions share of your money into TV then TV should return the most business however did it give you the highest return rate... maybe maybe not.
So you can't say one thing gave me the highest exit poll and this gave the lowest... again if I put up a poll on my facebook right now what radio station did they hear my commercials... if I spend 50k on one and 10k on another I shouldn't hear that many say the one I spend 10k on. Makes sense?

4) Social media is general is so watered down that you can't really invest money into it.... other than your time. Mean its free so just take advantage of that aspect the same as you would say flyer a high school football game or make an appearance at a zombie race and hand out flyers or something. Social media is so ever changing that we can't even say that facebook will be popular in two years... right now the kids don't even use facebook shane. You wouldn't know that because you don't have kids who are teenagers. I do and I'm surrounded by kids all the time...

NO ONE USES facebook anymore not kids they use INSTAGRAM... kids aren't looking at ads they don't care. They are just trying to socialize with their friends. Adults are probably using facebook and business owners more so than our target demo at this point. MySpace was something I preached against... you are wasting your money putting tons of money into MySpace to build friends because I could use my brain and see there was no real way to get a return on the investment... the people using the site didn't show any concern for your page other than to say they liked once.

People don't follow your every post on social media in fact probably less than 3% maybe 5% see any post you ever make on the site... sorry Shane but I have the data to back that up.

Lastly Facebook is facing the same challenge selling that marketing from people who actually do understand marketing a lot better than any of us... Facebook can't get the big advertisers because it doesn't work. That is why they focus on people falling into the traps of trying to build your fans with money... getting more fans on your facebook is the same thing as saying MY BLANK IS BIGGER THAN YOURS!

People get obsessed with building their fans and they spend a lot of money trying to do it...

At the end of the day can Facebook help you? YES IT CAN ... #1 its a search engine powered I think by google. I promise you that 80% of every click you get from facebook wasn't from your page but their search tool powered by google. So essentially google...

Should you have a facebook page... SURE! Should you try to build your likes... SURE! Should you promote it on your site... HMMMM I GUESS SO!

At the end of the day Shane I'm probably the only haunt in this entire industry that has devoted himself fully to the web, and selling tickets online... I'm up to 50% of every ticket sold is from my website. I've grown my web traffic to heights unheard of... between August and early NOvember A HALF A MILLION VISITS to www.scarefest.com

Trust me I analyze everything and facebook is a small player ... and if you put the kind of faith you showed in your recent post you will regret it big time.


07-16-2013, 11:17 AM
Shane I have looked over your facebook page...

The MASS MAJORITY OF POSTS on your Disturbia page has NO replies and maybe an average of 15 likes ... I could spend an hour milling through it but on first glance that would be the case.

In fact a few weeks ago you made this post ...

Christmas in July!!!! if we have 7400 fans by Midnight Sunday July the 14th were going to give a poster Autographed by Kane Hodder aka Jason! Share with your friends and tell them to come here and post Merry Christmas under this post and we will draw from the names who said " Merry Christmas!"

Well you didn't get to 7400 fans and its July 16th now... so I guess you won't have to give away that Kane Hodder autograph. Shane the point to you here is this... NO ONE SAW YOUR POSTS! They liked your page but they don't really follow it... this should prove to you that just posting on facebook does very little if any good.

Its FREE so do it... but to think it will bring you 40% plus is probably one of the worst things I've ever heard... you just can't back that up with facts and I'm proving to you right now with your own facebook page it isn't happening. You can't even GIVE AWAY something free because no one is paying attention.

The more facebook friends you get the more replies you'll get but it still be relatively low compared to the overall base of friends...


07-16-2013, 11:56 AM
What Shane and Larry don't see is that if you post 15 times a day like Larry said, then people will get tired of seeing the same boring posts or meaningless posts and hide the page. Also, Facebook made it so that you have to go to the page and click under settings SHOW IN NEWS FEED.

For Larry to say that no one use Facebook anymore, where is he getting this bullshit information? Look at any smartphone, computer or tablet. Facebook is on there. It is the home page for most people. Just because Larry says it doesn't make it FACT. I know he is the CREATOR of this site, but come on.

I'm sure I will get a "warning" about this. Facebook works. People go to Facebook and see the posts and pages that their friends like. It is a snowball effect.

A little knowledge can be dangerous when it is read the wrong way. For it to cost you $8.00 for each ticket you sell on Facebook, you are doing something wrong.

Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and websites are all great online tools. I am sure that next year the NEW MySpace will be something that people are commenting on.

Larry IS correct that flyers at events like football games, runs, festivals and such are great to promote your haunt. Never should a haunt STOP promoting.

Different strokes for different folks. Not everyone uses the same things.

07-16-2013, 02:24 PM
Done called and fussed on me LOL. I will say this as I told him I did not say we had tens of thousands of fans not everyone clicks the like button. I am one of them but when asked the questions we asked I posted the results from this past season. Again we got the bigger percentage said they seen it on Facebook and what I posted was the results I did not say we only polled our fan that's liked our page. Many I feel do as me just get on facebook and look many times they never click the like button it could be a friend of a friend, of a friend, of a friend's friend bla, bla but that's where they seen it or heard about if from FACEBOOK :). Shane and hope that clears it up!

07-16-2013, 03:46 PM

Saying no one visits facebook anymore is not accurate and not what I meant... its part of posting experience. Clearly people visit the site... but kids are NOT doing the facebook thing anymore like they were before, or myspace before that they are moving onto Instagram or the host of other things...

Facebook is now losing more accounts on a monthly basis than they are gaining them, additionally as we all know Facebook stock dropped like a rock. I'm not saying nor have I ever said its totally worthless nothing is totally worthless... but you need to learn how to evaluate marketing results. Your problem is I think is that you perceive things to be true so they are... but what are you facts to back up your statements.

If you and I sat down and shared facts, data, and results you'd quickly learn that I'm 110% right. As I conversed with Shane earlier and I think he understand now...

The best way Facebook can help your business is simply by YOU HAVING A GREAT HAUNTED HOUSE. Facebook can help you build word of mouth... when someone visits your haunt and posts about it their friends might pick up on that and visit. Reality is though if you post you like Shanes haunt MAYBE 3 to 5% of your friends will even see the post but still if you get 1000 people loving your haunt and post something on their pages it helps build positive word of mouth.

IF your haunt sucks it can have the reverse effects... bottom line is YOUR PERSONAL facebook page does little very little to help sell tickets to your event or even promote your event. Very few people will read your posts, follow your page, unless you are willing to PAY a FEE to facebook to put those posts on top of the log in page.

These are facts my friend...

Perception isn't always reality and in this case its a fact...


07-16-2013, 08:00 PM
Hey oh yeah thanks for Sharing the nude photos Larry with the critters man did not know you had it in ya!! Shane and it's man yall should see what he was doing to that chicken!

07-17-2013, 04:25 AM
Larry, et al,

Social media works as an advertising tool, end of story. I like that Larry has you all thinking, but Larry, to say that kids don't use facebook is in correct. They do. Do they use other forms of social media? Sure they do, but it is a proven fact that Facebook is the #1 social media site in the world.

There are certain way to get people to use and share your content and to make these social sites work for. I have spent hours testing these to see if they do work and they do.

I think, what is important to keep in mind is that, if Larry's web site and all that he does to drive customers to it works for him and then BRAVO. If my upcoming social media campaign works for us, then GREAT!

I stand behind Larry's comment that papers are dead, But that their web sites are still valued. In my neck of the woods, the local paper charges you to use their site... bull crap! So I have opted to not buy ads here, and to use my limited ad budget for some new ideas.

Here's the link to a youtube video I use now in my haunt marketing class, it was shared with me by someone I highly respect in the industry and proves that we need to keep a keen eye on all social media. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yO2YoPw-cy4

Content, picture, ask people to share.

Have a great day.


07-17-2013, 10:31 AM
While I don't have a"dog in this fight" since I run a home haunt and don't need to advertise I have to chime in here, I will agree whith Shane, Facebook is where it's at and I spend a lot of time on my job in marketing and social media is king right now though while I also agree with Larry that Facbeook's popularity among kids has declined it is not losing ground as it is in fact still growing, during their last earning reports they reported their daily active users, monthly active users, and mobile active users were all up. In fact, there's been double-digit growth in all of those categories year-over-year. Facebook now has 195 million users in the U.S. alone.

Twitter, instagram, Youtube, Google+, Vine, etc.. are also very popular and the kids do in fact tend to have a new flavor of the week so they are all platforms that should be taken advantage of and kept current and they are free and should be the number one resource to use for driving traffic and ticket sales in my opinion. Let's now look at how Google works, let's assume I know only of Shane's haunt Disturbia by name so I go to Google type in "Disturbia haunted house", the results I get back are 1. Disturbiahauntedhouse.com, then the second and third results are Youtube and Facebook. Also regarding the number of Facebook page likes, as Shane already said that number is misleading, we all know how Facebook's feed works where we see what our friends are doing and liking, so now let's move up to October, I'm checking my page feed and see that one of my friends like something on Disturbia's FB page, I see that I then am curious then click on it and think hey a haunted house in Huntsville that would be fun I'll check it out. This is all just my opinion but I do believe that social media would be where I would focus, and for the most part it is free to use.

07-17-2013, 11:12 AM
An interesting facebook marketing story from some time back-


How would you ever really know?

I think FB is a great free tool- especially for communicating with staff, but the clock IS ticking like Larry thinks.

I'm a FB noob, but this year decided to to TRY and up the interest by running some tiny little promotions and then I ran a notice about up-coming actor auditions with some weird results. I purposely set the marketing controls to a 100 mile radius and spent a whopping $10 to promote that post and it says I got 4100-ish views and 47 likes. That's great I'm thinking- people are seeing it. But then I get an actor request EMAIL from someone 500 miles away... And then I start looking at some of those likes for that post and a LOT of them are from out of state too... I know, I know- friends of friends but sheesh... What do you really get for your money?

07-17-2013, 02:53 PM
Let me say a couple more things here...

Look I know I'm 110% right that Facebook is NOT a good tool to INVEST MONEY IN or for that matter BELIEVE even for ONE second that it will be some major source of getting your haunt business because it WILL NOT!

I go back to what I said already... Facebook's biggest value is really simple it is a great FREE marketing tool if you have a good haunt. If your haunted house is good then people MIGHT post a little something on their page and if you are lucky 5 people will see it and if 1000 people do it maybe 5000 people overall see it. This is awesome I didn't pay anything for the FREE word of mouth... then again if they don't like your haunt I'm betting 5 times the people let people know and you have 5 times the negative out there. So it goes both ways...

Facebook is a nice little blog that keeps you out in front communicating with people all year long... there are some benefits for sure. But you EVER in a MILLION years thinking this will be some HUGE SOURCE to promote your business WRONG!

A year ago I brought up this interesting fact... Rodney in Cleveland basically didn't have a facebook and he claims he did tens of thousands of people... the guy who was on here all over the place even took out a booth at TW and said Facebook was the web 2.0 put a lot of stock into the thing and admitted that he did very little traditional marketing didn't even do a fraction of the business despite having something like 40,000 facebook friends.

That guy was selling his service to other haunts to build up your page, but in the end how did that work out for him?

Bottom line is traditional marketing is still your best bet, because social media changes way to much, and when I said kids aren't even using it anymore I meant that fully.. yes I'm no dummy I know kids still have facebook pages and maybe they do something with it from time to time but I know tons of kids and some haven't posted on their facebook in over a year. The kids are hooked on INSTAGRAM... that is the new thing.

My son had 3 friends spend the night last night and all of them are instagraming all night long ... NO FACEBOOK!

I can't say for sure that facebook will even be anything but an after thought in five years or less... we'll see. That is the beauty of technology it changes so fast peoples tastes change with it. You can't count on social media and I wouldn't put to much value in it to get you business because if you do you will LOSE YOUR HOUSE!

Even though I strongly disagree with the previous guys comments I do agree with him on one thing... he said he's glad I got you thinking. This is a subject where perception is NOT reality... so even if you do disagree with me at least you are thinking maybe maybe not ... you should think it through very carefully.

I want to put on the record that I like my facebook page I really do... and I put stuff up on it all the time but I don't believe it will really help me sell tickets because it won't.

I'm putting EVERYTHING I have back into doing the one thing I KNOW WORKS... www.scarefest.com get traffic there and let the rest fall where it falls.

Listen to me and you will do well... believe that some social media site is your savior and you will fall on your face. Having a free account for Facebook is great posting on it awesome, believing its a huge marketing windfall machine... MISTAKE!


07-18-2013, 01:15 AM
With all due respect Larry, I respectfully disagree.

First of all I am that previous guy you are referring to, Ed Roberts, founder of the Nightmare Factory in Salem Oregon. I've been off the boards for a long while dealing with family issues. (both parents have health issues.)

That aside, Larry, there are a multitude of ways to get the word out about your haunt. Did you take the time to watch the video about social media I linked to?

Facebook is only one of many social media sites that are being used to help promote events such has ours. To turn a blind eye any of them is not business smart. You have banners in your masthead asking people to go to your facebook page as well as your twitter account, so you do use these social media sites.

I am now using, twitter, vine, instagram, photozap, facebook, pinterest and many others. We have started a socail media group that will handle all content for these sites.

We also use google ad words, and some forms of SEO.

Keep on plugging everyone, and have a great haunt season!

Ed Roberts

07-18-2013, 02:37 PM
Shane, NO ONE USES facebook anymore not kids they use INSTAGRAM

I was just lurking around and read this thread and thought that since i'm a teen, my impute might be valuable. Everyone i know uses facebook. Yes other social media apps like Instagram are becoming more popular, but that doesn't mean facebook is becoming less popular. It's still as active as ever. That being said, it all depends on the trends in your area. I doubt that Dfrightner was lying when he said that his kids don't use facebook, the trends that the kids near him follow might be different from where i am.

Just my two cents.

07-18-2013, 06:27 PM
I thought I might as well chime in here also since I am also a high school student. I am not going to agree or disagree with any of you because I obviously don't have nearly as much experience as most of you guys in marketing. Though, something I have noticed is as kids go through middle school Facebook is the cool thing and then later into high school Instagram and Twitter become the new cool because they start to realize their parents are checking up on them and monitoring their every post or "like" on Facebook.

I personally have seen a lot less posting by my friends on Facebook and more by different businesses and pages and half of my friends who do post are re-posting photos and what not from other social networks such as Instagram. Lots of people don’t like seeing ad’s all over their news feed so they go somewhere where they will only see what they want to. I am sure it will be differ from where you are and what kind of people you are trying to attract, but I live in Portland, OR and as soon as Vine was launched everyone started making Vines, then once Instagram launched their video feature lots of people went back to Instagram. Making videos on Instagram or even Vine promoting your haunt would seem to be more beneficial than running ad’s on Facebook or even Twitter, it’s easy and free, you would probably get more feedback about how awesome the video was, people aren't going to necessarily share or talk about an advertisement they see, then you would eventually see people re-posting the video you made to their linked accounts.

Also, we can’t forget about Ad Block add-ons, Chrome and Firefox both support them so people who use these add-ons never see any advertisements whether their on Pandora, Facebook, Twitter or whatever else. Social Media is always changing so really you just have to be able to keep up with it.

Okay that was all, I am very thankful for these forums. You really learn a lot with discussions like these.

07-19-2013, 12:03 AM
FB use to be mostly teenagers/ college kids now it's the whole family.


Fear Master Hartley
07-19-2013, 09:42 AM
I think there's a lot of great advice in this thread.

I agree that social Media WILL NOT directly be responsible for selling tickets, or even be the best
method of promotion for your haunt, and to be successful, you need a great haunted attraction.

Social Media should be a reflection of your haunt because it thrives off of great content. Great Haunts
can produce Great Content. There is a right way and a wrong way to use Social Media. Understanding
how to make it work within your existing campaign is the trick.

Currently, the top Social Media platforms are: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, Youtube, and
Google+. Each with their own strengths and weaknesses.

The most common mistake when it comes to using Social Media is to assume that each site is the same.
Each one has different uses, reaches different people, needs unique/different content from each
other, and affects SEO (search engine optimization) differently.

Have you heard of Facebook’s “Edge Ranking” and what is means? How about Twitter and
what “Trending Hashtags” are? Do you think Google+ and Facebook are the same thing? Did you know
that the time of day or the day of the week can help or hurt your posts? Understanding these question
can allow you to have a great Social Media experience.

TV, Radio, Newspapers, and their respective websites are all different depending on your area and are
too inconsistent across the board with results to say whether they will be a sure fire method of marketing.
Reps will tell you what you wanna hear to get your business and can offer very little proof as to how well
they worked for you. How many POST SEASON follow ups do you get? They just don't understand this industry
and the time frame within. Always challenge their proposals until you're happy with it. You may need to educate them.

Social Media is by far cheaper but should NEVER be your only investment of time and/or money in your marketing
strategy. You need to research your area and find what works for you. Some of them will work for some of
you, just like social media. (Guerilla Marketing, Sponsorships and having a huge presence in the community
are a no brainer and a whole other discussion.)

At the end of the day... A Well Rounded marketing campaign and having
a Great Haunt equal Happy and Returning Customers.

Remember, It’s not about how many FOLLOWERS you have, its about
the ENGAGEMENT you CREATE with your followers.

If social media is your thing or you’d like to try using it more efficiently, i created a
group dedicated to Social Media Tips and Tricks.

07-22-2013, 04:18 PM
I am a marketing professional by day, so I know a lot about how to market companies and products. We use a number of tools and methods for marketing our company. But the haunt is a different story. You have to look at your demographics (true with any marketing campaign). Our haunt is in the country. Not a lot of people online out here. In fact our banner had the website address and nothing more, because I wanted them to go to the website for details. Didn't work. Most of the people in our area do not have computers. So I ahve changed our campaign this year.

1. Banners in front of the park with dates and times
2. An ad in the local newspaper. Lots of people read it last year and came because of the ad
3. Radio ads with the local radio station. Its the only one in town and everyone listens to it
4. The local Chamber events, parades, fairs, etc. Worked great last year handing out flyers and having our characters walk around the event in costume with flyers.
5. Lots of sponsors. Our flyers go up all around town. Tattoo shops, restaurants, our local golf cart shop (they also provide golf carts for the haunt). I might even check the local telephone company this year.

We are also marketing well outside of the area, in several metro areas. To reach these areas we are using a separate campaign.

1. Twitter. There are tools where you can automate Twitter, but you can also search for people in a specific vicinity who tweet on specific topics (like Halloween, horror movies, or zombies). We are tweeting our story line, and it is working
2. Facebook, tied to our Twitter account. On FB you can also schedule posts and automate it. So we have a couple of characters who post their log every week (staggered so something goes out every couple of days). Our storyline is getting out there, and because it is tied to Twitter, it is easy to track.
3. Fav cards. Awesome little 2x2 squares with your logo and website address. We pass these out everywhere we go. Concerts, shopping malls, makeup stores, restaurants, EVERYWHERE!

We have definitely increased our online following using the above techniques, so hopefully we will see this turn into ticket sales. I'll let you know post-season if it worked. Marketing is tough, and in our area it is really tough to figure out how to reach everyone, because they are not a progressive audience.

07-23-2013, 01:16 AM

Couple things... no I wasn't referring to you or your company. I was referring to a company in a whole other state... I have no idea where you got that I was talking about you guys. You lost me totally.

Two I never ever never said don't use social media... in fact I said to use social media because its free. What I said was don't put any money into it because the return is so low you'll want to shoot yourself in the face for it later. I know there are people out there who believe just because YOU listen to XYZ radio station everyone must do it, or just because you blog all day long on your facebook you might actually be stupid enough to think someone besides yourself and two others are reading it ... but honestly very few people read your blog, read your facebook comments that you leave on any page especially your own.

Everyone who has a facebook page who is really active posting on it thinks they are really letting all their friends know what they are up to... and your not.

Ed I went to Nightmare Factory facebook and I couldn't find ONE POST you put up there with even ONE comment! Then I visited your person page and looks like you put a lot of funny videos up there people like those and the handful of people who might have seen them left one comment here, two there, none there, 3 here... you have 1200 friends or so but only a handful has ever made a comment.

Its nothing personal its just facebook. It doesn't work the way you think it does...

The point of the facebook tirade is there are a lot of haunters out there that truly do NOT UNDERSTAND marketing not even a little... many times you get haunters who do what they think is popular. WRONG!

I'm always trying to share what I know and what I've learned and I learned some painful lessons with Facebook last year... I'm sharing those. You can choose to believe me, listen to me, do your own thing, investigate more, or simple say that Larry thinks he's a know it all and I'll do the exact opposite. Hey I've been wrong so many times I can't even count... so I would say investigate more.

But for those who pour tons of money into facebook thinking its some awesome marketing tool will lose business not gain any... it doesn't work the way people think it does.

As for me saying kids don't use it anymore... its an exaggerated statement that I totally stand behind. Every kid I know is only using instagram... I've had tons of kids telling me they have a page but haven't posted on it in months. Instagram is the new big thing... and before you know we might be saying remember myspace, remember facebook?


07-23-2013, 08:49 AM
I would like to note that the number of fans and likes does not directly translate to how the page is used. You have to use FB metrics to see how many clicks you have on the page.

Look at the AMC Theater Facebook page, they have nearly 4 million fans and their posts, even with free coupons and contests, get less than 0.05% of their "likes".

If a haunt has 1,500 fans and 10 people like a comment that is already a better response rate than AMC. The point is that free social media works for people who are interested in the product. It's highly likely that your page is visited by many, many more people than you have fans, but without measuring the activity you cannot really make a solid claim, it's just anecdotal.

To move back towards general marketing, I'm wondering what should be the focus of the main ad campaign? Should it be target marketing or blanket campaigning? Should the purpose be to simply put the haunt out there as an activity option in the general public's mind or should resources be spent marketing more towards the target audience?

Obviously both should be done to some extent, but many haunts have limited resources. Is it better to invest heavily in one strategy?

07-23-2013, 10:14 AM
You are exactly correct and that's what I was saying the number of fans do not reflect who see's it or how it's shared. This reminded me of a post I made in May it had over 13,000 shares and was seen by 230,000 plus people for some reason when it rolled over 230,000 it reset back to 111,000. I could not share it but I took a picture to show. Trust me people see and people talk!!! Not everyone likes or fan pages a page but they are seeing it if they wanna here is the proof! And again as you can see some gets a few hits and some gets thousands and that means people are noticing! Shane and it's here!

You can go to Disturbias Fan page and scroll back and see it it's still there......

07-23-2013, 11:49 AM
Its interesting that you say you 40% of your coupons came off of facebook... when you try to analyze those statements may factors would have to be in play.

For example I have 10 sponsors, and this year I have every single gas station in the market through Dr. Pepper promotion. I have coupons all over the place we are talking millions... if I did a coupon on facebook I'm betting it wouldn't even end up at 1%. I print 2 million alone, plus my website you can download a coupon if you give me a valid email address all the way to coupons be passed out at each of our haunts for the other haunts...

If you are doing everything all out balls to the wall going for broke... and you do everything on the same level your 40% number will drop to a percent or two at best. I tracked facebook last year I tracked the click though to my website, and ticket sales with facebook codes. Bottom line it took $8.00 to sell one ticket.

This is a fact!

It can't be argued or disputed... I have 52,000 likes and counting. I will continue to invest my time and energy into my page I like it actually but money or rely upon it to sell tickets... NO WAY! Whether anyone sees it or not the teens are already moving away from Facebook and now there are so many options available to teens I can't even keep up with it anymore.

Check out www.Scarefest.com

See the social media tool bar ... its a cool feature to add to your site btw. But I don't even have a page for half this stuff nor would I ever have time to keep up with everything. Social media is not the best way to market your haunt and I'm telling you right now if you rely on it to much you will regret it. I will however continue to grow my page it shows sponsors and people how popular your haunts are... that is a good thing. We want to be popular that is how you sell tickets... right? LOL


07-23-2013, 01:41 PM
Let me say this folks... these discussions are great. You don't have to agree with me or agree with this guy or that guy... this is why you have these forums to trade insight, experience, information and more. I enjoy this conversations because they help people think and learn or at the very least make someone scratch their heads.

I think we've beaten Facebook up pretty good pro and con.

What are some of the other new marketing things you will try this year?


07-23-2013, 02:42 PM
Well how about direct mail? (GASP! NOT SNAIL MAIL!)

Basically for .32/per, you can get a letter size post card handed to your customer.... 32 cents...

Why I'm considering it-

1. cost

2. to the right demographic with the right offering I think the duration of the impression would outlast any other media $ for $

07-23-2013, 04:04 PM
Amen Larry! Lol.

I'm still staying 110% behind the text message marketing I mentioned MUCH earlier.

Snail mail is interesting....but....wouldn't parents just throw it out before their kids get a chance to see it? My family was notorious for throwing out junk mail the second they opened the mail box...I like the idea but how do you guarantee making sure the kids see it?

07-23-2013, 04:22 PM
Well, I'd think that the sticking power of the snail mail is all about the message and the offer you present.

07-23-2013, 05:47 PM
Totally understandable, I get snail mail all the time from businesses advertising (aka junk mail), with $100 rebate offers, FREE offers, half off this twenty percent off that, buy one get one, the list is endless......and these companies spend millions to promote and advertise and send ALL of us their crap....but 9 times out of ten you see it, realize it's an advertisement, rip it in half, and then throw it away.

And by no means is this an attack or anything against you or your idea, I'm just saying that I, nor any of my family members, have ever kept or gave serious consideration into anything we've ever received unwarranted from a business in the mail.

That and $0.32/person.....if you're limiting yourself to $1/person for marketing, hell even $2/person for marketing, and you need to send out 10,000 of these to homes in your target market that's $3,200 for someone to throw it away.

Trust me, I put a lot of thought into snail mail once and really considered it....but although we may think it's cool to be able to do that because we're a bunch of small business owners, the rest of the world views it like every other commercial mail they receive and discard it as "junk mail".

That's the main reason I am pushing texting this year.....who gets a text and doesn't read it? And we've reached a point where it doesn't hurt to just leave a message in your phone inbox, as anyone with an iphone or android (most of our target market) can just search for words they remember seeing (if it gets lost in their phone) and can pull the message right back up and view it or display it to your cashier to get a discount, either way, the point is, not only are you almost guaranteed it will be read, it is less like to be thrown away, (aka deleted).

Not that texting is the end all be all....but even the cost of it is so significantly smaller than sending out just one piece of mail. That's all I'm sayin. :)

07-23-2013, 08:19 PM
As usually this is all dependent on your location, demographics and target audience. If you're metropolitan your advertizing strategy is total different then a rural haunt.

07-23-2013, 09:31 PM
One thing we are adding to our ad campaign this year is a physical presence in the Mall of Louisiana. We will have our hearse and a couple actors passing out coupons at the entrance to the mall every weekend in October. The mall claims to have 950,000 customers a month. Not sure this is true or not, but I know for a fact it's FULL of kids every weekend.

Additionally, we have really concentrated on growing our sponsorship programs over the last couple years. This has enabled us to have POS displays, coupons, and signage in hundreds of locations throughout our area.

13th Gate

Jim Warfield
07-23-2013, 10:18 PM
.. me away!
I guess I should stop sending those hand written messages in those empty bottles now? It's So Easy though, the creek is at my backdoor, just tossem!
The little Waukarusa does run into the Mighty Mississippi River.. eventually.
Almost daily I post about what happened at Ravens Grin the night before ..on Facebook. For some reason we have been getting mostly "First-Time" Visitors here over the last 6 months?
Maybe I know how to tell it in an interesting fashion? Maybe I'm smart enough(with my Wife's help) to Not be negative at all when posting stories of the Ravens Grin experience? (We all do have "Them", don't we? Azzwhole people who make you wish you had graduated from 8th grade instead of joining the Carnival!) But the Freak Show Paid So Well!

I just try to create a show that peaks people's intrest and treat them very nicely when they arrive, especially if they bring those small humans, because "They ARE the Future!"
I see many customers here who have been coming back to see us again since they were 8 years old! And NOW they are... 12!
We change up the show we offer along the way because in 26 years of being open every night, there is SO MUCH I can talk about, (And a fair amount of entertaininfg house to take them through!)

08-07-2013, 08:47 PM
Okay I got MORE PROOF!!! Today I got an email from Interactive Ticket who told me they have added all sorts of new features to their system that provide you valuable data about people who order tickets from your website. Very interesting comment that IT made about Facebook. This is what they typed to me see below... now let me just say this any idiots out there who really believe this is going to help sell tickets for you, and sit there day in and day out posting on facebook realize you are wasting your time! Sure I'm all for growing my page but it does very little and I'm only saying this to you guys so you don't put a whole lot of stock in it... because you are wasting your time!!!!!!!

Believe me or believe a ticketing company doesn't matter... don't believe in facebook!

I do have some interesting reports from last year, see attached.

Out of your 6,195 orders, 461 (6.7%) where made from a smartphone.

As for that Facebook share windows that pops up immediately following the order, only 6 people clicked on that button to share out of your 6,195 orders...
We are finding Facebook to NOT be a significant driver of ticket sales across the thousands of shows we produce each year, this is across multiple market segments for consumer shows, State Fairs, and Haunts. I.E. all of markets segments, these percentages are fairly common.



08-13-2013, 05:30 PM
I'll say it again. Demographics. Know your audience and how they socialize. FB is a medium that many continue to use for some aspects of socialization. FB stocks took a hit recently because they were not addressing mobility, but they have re-energized by putting more focus in their mobile apps and are now seeing more "traffic." Does this mean they make a great marketing resource? No.

However, they are a good vehicle for reaching communities of people and getting them to talk about you. Again, this does not mean they are going to run out and buy tickets, but it is an important aspect of branding (that other marketing exercise that is so hard to monetize). If you want to get people talking, give them something to talk about that isn't a commercial for your haunt (some commercialization is expected, but not 100%).

A lot of the FB pages I look at are nothing more than commercials about the attraction offering discounts and looking for actors. People look for haunted attractions and discounts in the fall (there are exceptions of course). Provide interesting facts and topics that interest your audience, and you are likely to see your traffic increase. Forget the "Likes" by the way. FB does provide stats on how many people see your postings, etc. That will give you an idea of how many people you are reaching.

All this talk about FB though is missing the point. There is not one solution that meets all your needs. Its a combination of tools likeFB that gets your brand out there, and gets your message out there. Twitter, WhatsApps, Instagram; these are all social media outlets that your audience uses to communicate with their community of friends.

But they also read the paper (in some areas). In our rural community, the local paper is still a major advertising consideration because everyone reads it and looks for local events in the paper. We dont put a lot of advertising dollars into the newsprint, but we spend some.

Likewise for the local radio station. At $10 per 60/sec spot, it doesnt hurt to spend a little here too, during the right programming time.

And appearing at local events, doing the physical appearance thing. It brought a lot more people to us last year, so we will definitely be planning on doing more this year. To sum it up,

1. Dont rely on one medium alone, like FB, and know that you are not going to sell tickets through these vehicles. You are branding.
2. Know your audience. Every area is different. You need to understand how the people in the areas you are marketing socialize, and hit them there.
3. Make it a year long effort. Branding throughout the year to build the hype, and then advertise through whatever channels work for your community of interest when it gets closer to time to sell tickets.

I think this is the longest post I have ever made on here, so sorry guys. Marketing is what I do for one of the largest companies in the world (sorry, not going to say who). Even though I have experience I still have the same challenge as everyone else, getting the word out there!

08-14-2013, 09:40 AM
Yup, agree with Mr T. (lol, got a mohawk?)

For us- I feel our priority right now is exposure.

I think selling tickets to those who know about you is different from trying to make people aware that you exist.

I really feel that going to a haunt is like a viral experience- word travels and spreads on its own power after a certain point. But you have to infect the populace first.

We're so young that the majority of our target market still doesn't know much, if anything about us. So we're focused primarily on putting on a good show AND spreading the word. Is that different than a sales pitch or special deal to get repeat customers? Yes, I think so.

So I'm allocating a percentage of our ad budget to different tactics- this year we are going to do direct mail as part of it. It's a small, campaign, which probably hurts the results, but our budget is small and it is different AND it is a physical thing that could sit around "infecting" their minds with our name- much different that radio or billboards. Will we do it again? I don't know- we'll see what the redemption rate is. Again- I think the potential is tied to what your offering through the piece.

Funny side note- So this is my first venture into direct mail, so I'm talking to a USPS specialist to make sure we're all designed up correctly to meet requirements. After a few exchanges we're ready to go and here's his last email- Now I know he's biased because he works for the USPS but still...

"...so if the ad piece is standing longest side top to bottom as it would be placed in the mail box's- the indicia does not appear upside down right? sideways is cool, just cant be upside down. Then yea.. ecrwss indicia is good, lpc is good. If you want to play with the design more. .. not needed, I think yall killed it on this piece. Not just saying that, I do this 8 hours a day and mostly for retail sales promos and real estate and non profit awareness programs etc. This mail out is more than perfect for eddm! The address label doesn't require a border if that helps free up some graphic space. I would keep it just as is, but for future if you want to just type LOCAL POSTAL CUSTOMER right underneath the indicia without a boarder just to maximize the real estate on the ad piece itself I could approve that. Not necessary just lil tricks and loop holes you can get away with, but I like the layout the layout .. the call to action .. the eye popping color.. this is my favorite ad piece Ever since EDDM existed ."

Aw, shucks.... ;)

08-25-2013, 10:21 AM
Out of your 6,195 orders, 461 (6.7%) where made from a smartphone.

As for that Facebook share windows that pops up immediately following the order, only 6 people clicked on that button to share out of your 6,195 orders...
We are finding Facebook to NOT be a significant driver of ticket sales across the thousands of shows we produce each year, this is across multiple market segments for consumer shows, State Fairs, and Haunts. I.E. all of markets segments, these percentages are fairly common.



Thanks for sharing this! I must say I'm a little surprised by the percentage of phone ordering.

As I dance my way around the whole subject of marketing- everything seems to indicate that peoples faces are now affixed to their phones- but they don't use them to order? I assume the rest would be from a pc at home or work, but this article I found says pretty much the opposite- http://marketingland.com/report-nearly-40-percent-of-internet-time-now-on-mobile-devices-34639


08-26-2013, 01:31 PM
Social media aside, what are some other ideas haunts are using to promote?

We have a street team that goes around to local events.

Also, this year we are starting a contest where actors/staff can hand out postcard size ads with coupons attached. The actors can write their number on it and whoever has the most turned in at the end of the season wins a cash prize.

DarknessRising Haunt
08-28-2013, 11:10 PM
I am a VP of Technology in Manhattan and run a pretty successful Charity Haunt on the side, or is my VP job on the side? This time of year I can never tell. Part of my strategic plan for the organization consists largely around social media. I wanted to share some facts with everyone.

27% of time spent online is on a social network (Experian)

Facebook has 1.11 billion monthly active users

751 million monthly active users who used Facebook mobile products

Twitter has over 550 million users

More than 1 billion unique users visit YouTube each month

100 hours of video are uploaded to YouTube every minute

YouTube reaches more US adults ages 18-34 than any cable network

There are more than 2.1 million LinkedIn groups

Pinterest has around 50 million users

40 million photos are uploaded to Instagram per day

Facebook purchased instagram for 1 billion dollars back in April 2012 and will over time merge the two products. At this time it is still seperate and that is mostly due to infrastructure.

The top 10 social networking site are:

1. Facebook - Market share 57.1%
2. Youtube - Market share 24.8%
3. Twitter - Market share 1.72%
4. Linknedin - Market share 1.10%
5. Pinterest - Market share 1.10%
6. Yahoo Answers - Market share 0.98%
7. Google + - Market share 0.80%
8. Tumblr - Market share 0.48%
9. Tagged - Marketshare 0.47%
10. Reddit - Market share 0.45%

Who ever said Face is not being used by kids is not correct. Facebook still has the highest market share by far and by saying kids are using instagram you are only saying they are using another feature of Facebook.

Social Media is tricky at best. They have not worked out the best way to sell advertising yet and that is mostly due to them not totally understanding how people are using the sites on a daily basis.

Use the free stuff they all give you. I would not invest to much money into the paid advertising unless you are paying big bucks or selling a game!

Want to sell your haunt. Figure out how to create a viral video. When you have the ability to do that, sell the haunt and then sell the idea on how you were able to nail down the process on making a viral video. LOL!


09-03-2013, 12:39 PM
Can we hear some other non-social media initiatives?

On-street promotions? Partnering with other businesses? Sponsorship drives?