The Ultimate Guide to Marketing Your Haunted Attractions
What is event marketing?
Before we dive in: what is event marketing, and how can it help your haunted attraction? It’s simple! Event marketing is how you promote your haunt and can range from asking your friends and family to spread the word, to posting on social media, to developing a multi-pronged digital marketing campaign. To put it in layman’s terms, it’s an opportunity to connect with potential attendees in a way that makes sense for your business. Building a quality marketing strategy is a key step in your overall success!
Planning for success with KPIs
Before getting into the weeds on how to market your most terrifying haunt yet, it’s vital to have attainable goals on your event’s overall performance that are specific to you. Then, you can set benchmarks along the way to measure whether you’re making good progress towards your goals or not. These smaller milestones are called key performance indicators (or KPIs, for short). As your team markets your haunted attraction, use those KPIs to gauge the success of your efforts. While the season goes on, you can assess your data and adjust your marketing strategies accordingly. Here’s a few examples of KPIs that could benefit your haunted attraction:
Number of tickets sold
The number of tickets you sell is directly tied to your overall revenue and how many attendees you can expect on the big day, so it’s a great way to measure the success of your haunt! Start selling tickets early so you have plenty of time to reach as many potential buyers as possible.
Your haunt has multiple revenue streams coming in such as ticket sales, merchandise, and additional onsite experiences. Review what has historically been the most popular, and try to determine why. You can adjust your marketing efforts to showcase your staple haunted attractions, or bring more awareness to experiences that attendees may not know about.
Number of event check-ins
Sometimes, the number of event check-ins can be even more important than the number of tickets sold. If you notice a large number of people are buying tickets but not showing up, you might want to adjust your marketing efforts to keep people hyped up between the time they buy their tickets and finally enter your haunt.
Keep an eye on the number of shares, likes, or mentions your event gets on social media, and which types of posts perform the best. If you’re sending email blasts, note how many opens and clicks you get, and be sure to track which email is getting the most people to buy tickets.
Gauge your attendees’ opinions of your attractions with in-checkout questionnaires and post-event surveys. Customize your questions to discover how they found your event, how scary their experience was, and how to make your haunted house even better next Halloween!
Event marketing strategies to drive more revenue
Sell online tickets on a branded event page
First thing’s first: you need an eye-catching, easy-to-navigate event ticketing page to link to from your marketing campaigns. You want your event page to look like an extension of your brand and have an easy purchase flow, so it’s important to work with an online ticketing system that can tailor everything to your liking. Bonus points if they offer professional-looking templates to help get you started, or put the power in your hands to build a fully branded event page from scratch that looks great on both desktop and mobile. Be sure to highlight all the most important aspects of your event, including the dates and times, where it’s located, the best aspects of your experience, and any other additional information your attendees should know before they arrive, like parking info.
Send targeted email blasts
A great place to start with sending email campaigns is to target your attendees from past years. You already know this audience has an interest in your haunt, so now you can wow them with all the new thrills you’re going to have this year. Consider using discount codes to get them to buy now. Send a 10% off discount code if customers purchase their tickets by a certain date to incentivize an early sale. Or capitalize on your attendees’ social circle by offering a friends and family discount, like 15% off when they buy four or more tickets.
For the most successful email campaigns possible, be sure to follow these tips:
- Include an attention-grabbing subject line that stands out in the inbox (emojis encouraged)
- Ex: It’s Aliiiive! 🧟
- Make use of your preheader text to expand on your subject line
- Ex: Casper’s Haunted House is back and bigger than ever! Get your tickets today!
- Personalize your emails by using dynamic content to add your recipients’ names either in the subject line or in the body of your email
- Add a terrifying image of your haunted house to get your audience hyped up
- Add details about your event, like where and when it is and a description of what to do there
- Add a clear call to action to buy tickets now and link to your event listing
Lastly, be sure to check if you can send out free email blasts directly from your ticketing system. Not only will it help keep costs down, but your ticket buyer information will already be stored there, so it’ll make segmenting your customers and building branded emails a snap!
Spread the holiday fear on social media
When it comes to scaring up interest in your haunt, never underestimate the power of social media! All year long, and especially during haunt season, you should be posting regularly on your Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, and other social media profiles so you can engage with your fans and connect with new audiences. No matter what platforms you advertise on, your haunt’s social media marketing presence should be focused on giving audiences a taste of the thrills and chills they can expect to see at your event (and encouraging them to buy tickets right away, of course!) Post high-quality video and photos, and keep your captions short and to the point. Grab readers’ attention fast and always end with a direct call to action, like “Get your tickets while they last!” After your customers purchase tickets, you can keep the engagement going and even turn them into free brand ambassadors by inviting them to share your event to their own social profiles!
To get the most out of your social media campaigns, try out these tips and tricks:
Post at least once a day and aim for 7-10 posts per week leading up to your event.
Quality over quantity
Post content that is super interesting and helpful to your followers. Spread the word about your event and promotions, and also highlight your community and give shoutouts to fans.
Create event hashtags
Hashtags are a fun tool for getting discovered by new audiences. Use 1-3 hashtags per post, including a brand-specific hashtag. That way, each platform will serve up your posts in search results, making it easier for you to #SpreadTheHolidayFear
Invite people to follow
Directly invite your friends and those interested in your haunt to follow you right from an action on your Facebook Page!
Include your Facebook and Instagram handle on everything (and we mean everything)
The more places your social media handles appear, the more opportunities there are for people to follow. Include your handle on all your online posts, printed materials, and offline advertising campaigns.
Design Facebook and Instagram posts to generate followers
Include calls to action in the post text, like, “Tag the friend you’d want to be stuck in a zombie apocalypse with!”
Engage with existing communities and follow relevant accounts
Use Instagram Search to find hashtags, geotags, and handles of people who are in your area. Get involved by liking, sharing, and commenting on their content! Many people will return the favor and follow you if they like what they see.
Regularly post video content
Post videos on TikTok and Instagram to take advantage of their massive Gen Z user-base to reach a younger demographic and find new repeat customers for years to come. Take your followers through parts of your haunted house, introduce them to artists, show time lapses of setup, and more. In the lead up to opening day, post content of behind-the-scenes tours to get people excited to see your haunt.
Share user-generated content
While at your event, encourage attendees to post from your haunt using your custom hashtag (exp: #HauntedHillsManor). Whenever you need content, simply search your hashtag on Facebook, TikTok, and Instagram, and look for smiling faces enjoying your experience and re-share their posts on your profile!
Create special promotions for your haunted attraction
The key to a good haunted attraction advertising campaign is keeping the focus local. Start by making a list of news outlets, online magazines, blogs, and other locally-targeted, high-traffic websites you want to purchase online ad placements from. A lot of these outlets offer banner ad placements, in-article ads, and even paid inclusion in their email newsletters, which will get your haunted attraction in front of thousands of potential customers. (Pro tip: make the most of these placements by offering a small discount to those who purchase tickets right away!)
Your local community is the perfect audience for some offline engagement, too! Classic marketing tactics like flyers, print magazine and newspaper ads, and even billboards are tried and true ways to drive more ticket sales. For example, consider partnering with local restaurants, retailers, and grocery stores to pass out discount coupons for your haunted attraction to their customers. A partnership with local businesses might be just what you need to give your ticket sales that extra little boost.
Beyond these more “traditional” routes, you should also consider the benefits of influencer marketing. Scope out local personalities and social media influencers with a devoted following, and work with them to arrange a partnership. You might even find that influencer marketing can be more affordable and much more powerful in reaching new audiences than other paid advertising methods!
Track discounts, promotions, and special pricing
Offering special discounts to specific audiences is a sure-fire way to boost ticket sales. Encourage attendees to buy early with early-bird discounts. Offer special group rates for families and friends to attend together for less. Create a loyalty program to reward recurring thrill-seekers and keep them coming back throughout the season. You can even sell tickets to VIP experiences or speed passes to skip the lines for all your haunted attractions! No matter how you offer specially priced event tickets, ensure you’re tracking your efforts. Attach unique tracking parameters on the links to your event page for each promotion or discount code to determine exactly where your ticket sales are coming from.
Get the word out with online paid advertising
Paid social advertising
Depending on your budget, interest targeting on Facebook is a great way to increase awareness, gain new followers, and sell out tickets to your haunted attraction. Facebook Ads Manager provides a bunch of ways to target potential customers across both Facebook and Instagram. When it comes to interest targeting, a user’s “interests” is based on what they share on their timelines, the apps they use, the ads they click, the pages they like, and more. That means you should target your ads to interests relevant to your haunt, like other haunted attractions and events, horror films, and Halloween in general.
You may also want to explore Lookalike Audiences to unlock a new audience and grow your brand awareness even more after you’ve collected enough purchase data. Lookalike Audiences are created from a source audience of already existing customers. Facebook then identifies common characteristics and creates a new audience that mirrors the source. Basically, that means all the heavy lifting is done for you, and you reap the rewards!
Important note! You’re most likely reaching a new audience who may not have heard of your haunted attraction before, so make sure your text is friendly, informative, and sufficiently spooky. Include your haunt’s details, location, run time, and a fun call-to-action to purchase tickets alongside the “Book Now” button. For your ad creative, test between static images, short videos, and carousel ads to see what your audience likes best. Select the most thrilling photos of your event to stop people in their tracks as they’re scrolling. Remember, this is a new audience, so you want to feature the most popular aspects of your haunted attraction!
Social media remarketing
Did you know you could specifically target website visitors who checked out your haunted house but haven't purchased a ticket yet? Remarketing helps you zero in on people who have shown interest, but haven’t quite sealed the deal. Since they’ve already engaged with your website, these users are way more likely to place an order, so it’s usually more efficient to re-target them again than start a new, broader campaign. Social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram are great places to run remarketing campaigns because that’s where your customers already spend a lot of their time. If you have customer lists from previous years, it’s also a good idea to remarket to them. Uploading a list of email addresses and other contact information to Facebook lets you target those specific users with your social media ads. Well-timed, targeted, and interesting remarketing ads can easily be the most effective part of your social media marketing toolkit!
For remarketing ads, use reminder language to get them to buy tickets, while also adding new information about your haunt, featuring a testimonial from a recent visitor or influencer, or highlighting a part of your event they might not already be aware of. Create a sense of urgency to get customers to buy tickets right away. (exp: “Halloween is approaching - don’t miss out on the fun of spooky season!”) Offering a discount to these audiences is another great motivator, like 20% of children’s tickets or free parking. Sometimes the opportunity to save a few bucks is all it takes!
Start working with a free, user-friendly ticketing system
While it’s possible to create a successful, multi-pronged marketing strategy on your own, using an event ticketing and management system sure does make it a whole lot easier! With Ticketleap’s free, easy-to-use ticketing system, you can get your haunted attraction on sale in less than five easy steps. Plus, we have built-in email blasts and social sharing tools to help promote your event, integrations with Google Analytics and other services to learn more about where your ticket buyers are coming from, and branded event pages that can frighten even the bravest soul! So what are you waiting for? Get your haunted attraction on sale with us today and watch the ticket sales roll in!