5 email marketing ideas you should use for your escape room

Posted in Marketing by Mairi Nolan on Wed 26 July 2023

On any given day, our inbox is absolutely full of emails. Seriously, go check yours. I’ll wait…

…That’s right, there’s a lot of noise in our inboxes, and most of the time we either give it a cursory glance, mark the whole thing as read, or at worse - unsubscribe! So why add to the noise? Well, according to a recent study from the Direct Marketing Association, 66% of consumers made a purchase online because of email marketing. The report further states that of all the email marketing campaigns being sent, those that are highly targeted and segmented drive 36% of all marketing ROI.

This means that despite the one or two outliers (I’m looking at you random viral TikTok video!) email marketing still comes out as the top marketing activity a business can do to boost its sales. That includes your escape room business too.

In this article, we’re going to go through a couple of tips and strategies you can use at your escape room to level up your email marketing. Through well crafted and targeted emails, you can stay on your customer’s mind and at the top of their inbox for when they’re in the mood to book their next big adventure.

And if you like what you read, we’ve got a handy new email marketing tool on Buzzshot we think you’ll like. It’s a fully integrated Broadcast Email system that uses your player data (such as team name, GM name, escape time, rooms played and more) to craft powerful, targeted emails to your escape room players.

So, let's get cracking!

Photo by Solen Feyissa

Escape the “Ordinary Inbox” with Seasonal Marketing

Most of the year you’ll be sending out emails inviting players to come and play your escape room. But seasonal events are a fantastic way to do something a little different. From a big blow out sale on Black Friday, to inviting players to play with their families on special events, or even a Christmas campaign that gives back to the community with a festive spin.

According to a 2019 report by Salesforce, almost two-thirds (68%) of customers said they pay more attention to emails from companies during the festive, end of year holidays. Making sure you’re prepared for not just the festive season, but any seasonal event around the year is one of the best uses of your time. After all, it’s on special occasions that your customers are on the lookout for gifts, and activities to get the whole family together.

As well as the internationally popular holidays like Halloween, Mothers/Fathers Day and Christmas, here are some of the escape room specific “marketing days'' you may also consider building a campaign around:

  • 20th January National Escape Room Day

  • 29th January National Puzzle Day

  • 1st April April Fools Day

  • 23rd April World Book Day (note, this is on March 2nd in the UK)

  • 3rd June International Tabletop Day

  • 30th July International Friendship Day

From Seasonal Marketing, to Personal Marketing

Sometimes it’s not enough to send a few extra emails in December. Sometimes you need to go the extra mile to really stand out. Players ignoring your emails? Well it’s time to get personal.

A purpose built email marketing platform for escape rooms will be able to capture game and player-specific data which you can use in your next campaign. Metrics such as when players last visited, whether they escaped, and what their team names are can be used to craft eye-catching subjects. Why not try a variation on one of these:

  • Happy Holidays, Sara! Here’s a gift from us to say thanks for playing our room this year!

  • Hey Team Cipher Sisters, you completed Acme Room in under 50 minutes, great work!

  • Mystery Mavericks! Remember how you escaped Vampire’s Lair last month? Are you ready to be locked in the Tower of Terror?!

  • Tom, it’s been 3 months - we miss you! Ready for another adventure?

Personalisations in the subject and body work well because they’re immediately eye-catching and pull the players in. Depending on how and when a player last interacted with your venue, you can craft memorable emails that reignite the spark and encourage another booking with the same, or brand new players!

Welcome to the Puzzle Solver’s Inner Circle

One of the biggest challenges an escape room owner faces is how to increase the lifetime spend of a customer. A player might absolutely love you and your rooms but let’s face it, once they’ve played them all they’re not likely to come back. There are many ways you can counter this, in fact we wrote about one such strategy you can use here on the Buzzshot blog.

But another way you can keep your loyal escapists engaged - long after they’ve played all the room you have on offer - is to use your email marketing wisely and build engagement with them over the long term.

You already know they love what you do, so why not keep them engaged with a regular newsletter about your venue. If you’re working on a new room - let them know! At the end of the day, they’re your biggest ambassadors, so whilst they may not make use of your booking offers or purchase gift cards, they’ll know someone else who might.

In Buzzshot, you can easily filter out players who have played every single one of your rooms. It’s useful having a separate list so that, if you want to, you can exclude them from the noise of your regular marketing campaigns, and so you can make sure they’re the first to know when you have exciting new news.

Plus who doesn’t love being a member of a special cool kids club?

Okay, I get it. Emails are good - but how do I build my mailing list?

So what about brand new people, I hear you ask? The would-be customers who live in your local area but have never, ever visited your site before. Heck, they might not even know what an escape room is. How do you use your email marketing on those people?

Well, we recently wrote another article about attracting brand new players to your escape room, which you can read through here. But for this article, we want to focus on how to get those would-be visitors onto your email marketing list.

There are many ways you can attract new potential players to your marketing list. Why not try:

  • Engaging with your community with flyers and events

    • Why not run a tabletop version of your escape rooms at a local fair?

    • Go to local business networking events and hand out business cards?

  • Collaborating with local businesses, asking them to feature your business in their newsletter.

  • Run a competition on-site, encouraging folks to enter via email sign-up.

  • Offer free digital content people can access via signing up to your marketing list

    • Free puzzles

    • A printable local outdoor walking trail

    • Activity sheets for festivities

    • Industry talks and explainers

  • Have a pop-up on the website that offers a 10% discount code to signing up to your mailing list

  • Create a referral program for players who have already played to encourage their friends to book

The list is endless, but whatever you do - make sure that when people do sign up they’re greeted with a fun welcome email that showcases your business’ personality. I’m sure you’ll agree, there’s a lot of misconceptions about what an escape room is - so put your best foot forward for your brand new audience. Oh- and don’t forget to add a personalisation!

The Power of the Post-Game Email

So your email marketing worked! Your players were convinced by your emails, they booked in and on the big day they solved, surpassed, succeeded, leaving your escape room with big smiles and whoops of joy.

So, what’s next? After their room you’ll probably want to send them one of three emails:

  • Their team photographs

  • A post-game survey

  • Ask for a review

If you’re not, then you absolutely should be - because practicals aside, the post game email is the perfect marketing opportunity as well. We did a deep dive on all things post-game survey and why you should be using them in two blog posts last year. We came to the conclusion that a well thought out post-game email can be one of the most effective emails in the whole customer journey.

It’s the time players are most excited to hear from you - I don’t know about you but I always refresh my inbox as I walk out an escape room, looking for my team photos. It’s also the time their experience is most fresh in their mind for filling out a survey, or writing a review. And perhaps most importantly, at this point the player doesn’t need to be told how good your rooms are - they know, because they just played one!

Try using some of the following snappy email headers:

  • A message from your GM, Cassandra 👋

  • Breaking News: 5 robbers known as Team Cipher Sisters escaped The Vault with $358,000!

Crack the Code for Email Marketing Success

In conclusion, email marketing doesn’t have to be a strange black box of success or failure, at the end of the day, there’s no “trick”, it’s just simple and honest, personalised communication with your subscribers. But when done well, it can be one of the most effective ways you can market your escape room business.

Here at Buzzshot we’ve been hard at work developing a new email marketing feature that will give you those tools, and we’re super excited to share it with you. It’s fully integrated with your existing Buzzshot account, with no additional cost for up to 20,000 emails a year.

If you’re not yet a Buzzshot user, you can sign up for a free trial today!

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