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Best Marketing For 2013... what is the best way to market your haunt.

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  • #16
    social media as a marketing tool

    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.

    Content, picture, ask people to share.

    Have a great day.

    Last edited by wchced; 07-17-2013, 04:29 AM.


    • #17
      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., 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.


      • #18
        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?
        How can a man die better than facing fearful odds, for the ashes of his fathers and the temple of his gods.

        What you put into your mind- you put into your life.


        • #19
          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... 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!

          Larry Kirchner


          • #20
            that previous guy?!

            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
            Last edited by wchced; 07-18-2013, 05:27 AM.


            • #21
              Originally posted by drfrightner View Post
              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.


              • #22
                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.
                Last edited by HalloweenHaunter; 07-18-2013, 07:11 PM.
                Brandon Treadway
                Owner & Creative Director | Treadway Events
                Portland, Oregon


                • #23
                  FB use to be mostly teenagers/ college kids now it's the whole family.



                  • #24
                    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.
                    Last edited by Fear Master Hartley; 07-19-2013, 09:53 AM.
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                    • #25
                      Marketing Campaigns have to be tailored

                      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.
                      Travis "Big T" Russell
                      Big T Productions Inc

                      Owner and Operator of "The Plague" and "Camp Nightmare"

                      Customer Quote of the year: "Damn, I pissed myself"


                      • #26

                        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?

                        Larry Kirchner


                        • #27
                          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?
                          Last edited by Toothpaste; 07-23-2013, 08:58 AM.


                          • #28

                            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......
                            Attached Files


                            • #29
                              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

                              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

                              Larry Kirchner


                              • #30
                                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?

                                Larry Kirchner