Get to Know Your Market and Competition
Before you start an Escape Room business, make sure you know that there’s a need and want for it in your local community. There’s hundreds of escape rooms in the US, do some research and understand how your competition operates.
STRATEGIES TO UNDERSTAND YOUR MARKET:
- Visit Existing Escape Rooms: Take time out of your busy schedule to visit your competitor's facility and identify the good, bad and ugly. Put yourself in the consumer’s shoes and experience the escape room how a paying customer would.
Figure Out Your Escape Room Theme: Based on your targeted audience, you will need to come up with a theme (ex: Zombie Apocalypse, Alien Invasion) that will best serve their curiosity and interest.
- Join Escape Room Associations: There is a large following within the Escape Room industry. Associations, groups, or clubs are there as a place to gather a collective community. The Escape Room community is for intuitive ideas and collaboration. Groups like Escape Room Startup, International Association of Escape Games, and Escape Room Enthusiast.
Be Unique, Be Different
Make sure that your Escape Room stands out. If you are planning on running a successful business you have to make sure that it is unique and different from other surrounding escape rooms. No one is going to want to visit your escape room if it’s similar to the ones around your area and has the same theme.
But just because you have a unique idea for your escape room that doesn’t mean it will be successful. Listen to your community and learn what their needs and likes are and go off that. Just add your own twist to it.
Is Your Escape Room Up To Code?
Before you go and start taking bookings, make sure your Escape Room is up to the safety code. Businesses get shut down all the time due to fire codes which will cause you to lose business and time. Contact a contractor/city planner/fire marshal to make sure that there are no violations that can cause your business to be shut down.
HERE ARE A FEW THINGS YOU NEED TO KEEP IN MIND BEFORE YOU ARE OPEN FOR BUSINESS:
- First and foremost is if you are allowed to lock people in rooms in your county: because if you can’t then there’s no reason at all to start building an Escape Room business in your community.
Parking restrictions are also a big deal. Know where your customers are able to park and where they are not.
- The legal occupancy for your business: You should also be aware of the number of people you are allowed to have in the building. The legal occupancy depends on the size of the space where you are holding your business.
Marketing Your Escape Room
To ensure your consumers know about your brand and company, you need to market your business. Make it a priority. As a small business owner, it is likely that only a handful of people that will know that you have recently opened your business, which probably only includes your family and close friends. But you can’t rely on word-to-mouth to let consumers know about your exciting new escape room.
HERE ARE SOME OF THE AVAILABLE MARKETING CHANNELS TO HELP PROMOTE YOUR BUSINESS:
- Blogs and Forums: Posting articles on blogs and forums are good sources of distributions to further reach your consumers.
Social Media: As you can tell at this day and age most businesses have moved toward online marketing.When marketing your escape room use all social media channels.
-Facebook & Instagram
Facebook and Instagram allow you to create advertisements and set goals for your business. Either to gain more brand awareness, conversions, and traffic to your website.
ADVANTAGES FOR ADVERTISING ON FACEBOOK AND INSTAGRAM:
- Wide Consumer Outreach: Facebook is a very well-known social media platform with many users so creating content and posting it on Facebook could get a lot of people to view your advertisement
Conversion Measurement: By creating a Facebook pixel, you are able to track actions users take when they view your ads
Mobile: Facebook has over a billion active mobile users. When creating an ad Facebook allows you to target users anywhere on mobile devices
Split-testing: When creating an advertisement of Facebook you can create a split-test ad where you can target 2 different audiences for the same ad and then get results to see which one gives you better results.
Even though there’s a lot of pros to advertising on Facebook and Instagram not a lot of small businesses have enough experience to promote their business or a Marketing budget to cover those cost.
DISADVANTAGES YOU NEED TO BE AWARE OF WHEN ADVERTISING ON FACEBOOK AND INSTAGRAM:
- High Advertising costs: Advertising through Facebook can be really costly. Many companies spend hundreds to thousands of dollars a month when they advertise through Facebook and if you are just starting your small business it is likely that you don’t have a Marketing budget.
Inexpensive Marketing: Creating social media posts is a really useful too but that doesn’t mean that will always be successful. If you don't have any experience in Marketing knowing who your main consumer audience is and targeting them might be something you will have trouble on. If you aren't sure what kind of consumers you are trying to reach when creating advertisements your ads won’t always be successful and won’t receive the conversions results you wanted.
Identifying Target Markets: When distributing content you want to make sure that the right audience is seeing your advertisements.Facebook and Instagram won’t know who your target audience is but will target an audience that it thinks will best fit your ad. Sometimes it does an okay job in distributing content but most times it fails to deliver the information to your main audience.
Unable to Create Discounts and Promotional Codes: Although Facebook provides many helpful tools, it does not allow you to create discount or promotional codes.
A lot of small businesses don’t even have a budget for Marketing but there are platforms like Verlocal that are dedicated to helping local businesses, which provide and handle all of the Marketing for your business for FREE.
HERE ARE SOME TOOLS THAT VERLOCAL PROVIDES THAT WILL SAVE YOU TIME AND WILL FACILITATE RUNNING YOUR BUSINESS:
- Marketing Tools at NO COST: When you sign up with Verlocal they will handle all of the Marketing for your business for free. They manage all of your customer interactions so that your time and money are better spent on improving your business.
Facebook Retargeting Ads: Verlocal retargets customers visiting your website and create Facebook advertisements that appear on their newsfeed. So there’s no need for you to spend hundreds or thousands of dollars a month on Facebook ads and your advertisements are more likely to reach your target audience. Your brand and product remain visible, as consumers scroll their social media feed.
Ability to Create Discount and Promotional Codes: When you become a Verlocal host you have the ability to create promotional codes on their website at no extra cost.
- Newsletters and Retargeting Emails: Verlocal also targets consumers with their daily newsletters to help promote your brand, keep them updated on information about your company, and special promotions.
Customer Reviews: Past customers are able to create reviews on their experiences and will be posted directly to your website. A feature that you should consider is a review reminder that collects reviews from previous consumers. Mention that these customer reviews will be posted right next to our book not page. Customers can access customer reviews without opening another window to access the customer review on Facebook/Yelp
Easy-to-use booking tool: They provide a booking system that is easily embedded onto your website, allows you and your potential customers to see how many spots are available for your listing.
Get Feedback and Learn From Your Mistakes
Actively ask your past customers to give a review on their experience. By knowing what the consumer’s thoughts and suggestions are, you are then able to fix the issues and improve your business. It is better to know what the problems are with your escape room before it drives all of your customers away and puts you out of business.
SIMPLE STEPS TO ENSURE CUSTOMER SATISFACTION:
- Allow Customer Reviews: Create a page or section for customer reviews on your website or have customers fill out a survey at the end of their experience rating and giving you suggestions on your escape room.