I have friends that work at a haunted house and business from my perspective seemed to be down – but once again I only went up there on nights where business would have been slow anyways. I was thinking yesterday and today how best to market a haunted house in the Web 2.0 World.
Part of the issue lies within the audience. People going to the movies is down. People going to amusement parks is down. These type of attractions do not hold the same pull to crowds as they did a decade ago. Part of this of course is the current generation of kids are different in the earlier ones. They use the social networks online and use those to find friends to do things. Of course big companies are realizing this and marketing right along. What does a small business like the haunted house industry have to do to pull in these wayward souls back into the flock and increase ticket sales.
I pondered this for a while and came up with some interesting marketing concepts that would take time but little or no money to carry out.
1. Podcasts- Video podcasts utilizing the skills of the actors that the haunted house employs would be a cheap easy syndication and marketing method. This would also attract those people outside of the normal regional market that the houses could appeal to. Beyond the standard acting podcast where the actors were in character they could also do a horror story reading/discussion podcast, or a special effect how to do stuff like they do on your own podcast.
2. Utilizing social networks – Businesses such as this should not limit themselves to one or two social networks they should be going anywhere and everywhere to spread their message. People that are friended to an organization have a stronger psychological pull and therefore attract more visitors.
3. A Daily/Weekly blog this should be enough for the creative members of their staff.
4. Utilizing sites like meetup.com to invite others in the area to come show up.
5. Doing announcements on sites like Craigslist.
6. Creating t-shirt and such merchandise through a site like café press.
The main problem is places like this rely on newspaper advertising and word of mouth. Word of mouth however travels best through the Internet. Newspaper ads are going up in price while readership is dropping.
With the steps above and adding in some advertising to increase revenue they could actually turn a profit in the off-season. Also it gives the workers something to da and look forward to weekly. In the end its free advertising that works for them instead of costing them with a larger audience.