Get Your Escape Room Customers Coming Back: How Mailchimp Can Help

Posted in Marketing by Katie on Mon 2 December 2019

Do you collect email addresses from your escape room guests?

Collecting them and building a list is a great way to keep in contact with customers and market your business. The trick is that you have to know a thing or two about email marketing to do so successfully.

Fortunately, there are some great email marketing tools available to help, and with a few good strategies, you can use them to keep those customers coming back.

We like and recommend Mailchimp, especially if you’re looking for a good email marketing platform to get started with. It has a number of useful features that will help you to market effectively. We have a Buzzshot integration with Mailchimp, so that information gathered via Buzzshot can be saved in your Mailchimp account automatically. (But we also recommend Mailchimp, whether you use Buzzshot or not!)

Let’s take a closer look:

Free download: Email ideas for escape room owners

About Mailchimp

Mailchimp is an email marketing tool that allows you to store and manage email lists, and create and send professional-looking emails. One of the things we really like about it is that it has a simple user interface. You don’t have to be a tech genius to start using it, they have good tutorials and the layout of the platform is intuitive and easy.

Another plus for Mailchimp is that you can start out with a free plan. This allows you to send up to 10,000 emails per month to 2000 subscribers. When you reach the point that you need a paid plan, the pricing is quite reasonable.

Mailchimp’s template editor makes it easy to send professional-quality emails that reflect well upon your business. The reporting features are thorough and the platform integrates with a wide range of other tools (at last count, more than 800!). If you’re willing to go on a paid plan, they also have an in-built CRM tool, where you can set up customer profiles.

Lastly, you can set up segmentation of subscribers, rules and automations. While the features aren’t as comprehensive as some larger platforms (Ontraport, for example), those platforms also cost a lot more money.

Of course, the tool is only as good as the operator, so next up, let’s look at a few tips for making the best use of Mailchimp to stay in contact with customers and keep them coming back:

#1. Have a reliable method for collecting email addresses

One of the first things to nail down is that you must have a reliable method for collecting email addresses in the first place. You want to collect as many emails as possible, and get their permission to send them email.

What usually happens is that the escape room only has the email address of the person who made the booking on-file. They might collect email information off other players when they arrive, but a reliable means of doing so is needed. The most efficient method is to use a form of electronic check-in, where guests directly fill out their details using a tablet or computer. If you use a program that integrates with Mailchimp (like Buzzshot), you can have those email addresses automatically added to your list on Mailchimp.

The second thing to look at is how you might get people onto your email list who haven’t come in and played yet. Mailchimp gives you the tools to embed a sign-up form on your website or even on your Facebook page so that you can get people to sign up for emails from you.

escape room
Source: Mailchimp

Define your audience

When you consider any sort of marketing for your escape room, you should always start with a very clear definition of your target audience. If you’re looking at collecting email sign-ups, you need to think about who it is you want on your list - this gives you a better idea of how to attract those people.

In terms of email marketing, defining your audience can give you a good place to start with segmentation (which we go into next). This helps you to send the right email to the right people.

A helpful way to define your audience can include thinking about the following characteristics:
  • Age, gender and other demographic information
  • Location
  • Their interests or goals
  • The sorts of offers or content they might like.
When email marketing, start with a clear definition of your audience

#2. How segmentation can drive better engagement

Segmenting your email list simply means that you divide it up into clear subgroups. When you identify segments, this means you can send out email campaigns with more relevance to the particular segment. When you send emails that are highly relevant, you increase your chances of driving better engagement.

For example, a basic segmentation would be people who have played a room in one group, while people who have never come in go into another. This way, you might send introductory offers only to the second group.

Mailchimp allows you to create groups and segments. Groups are a way of organising your list into categories so that you only need to maintain one list. For example, your escape room might choose groups such as “corporate” and “public,” or even “frequent guests,” to distinguish those who come in often. You can add people manually to a group, or they can self-select on sign-up by checking a category box (see the image below for an example).

escape room

Segments are a way of filtering your contacts based on key information or actions. It is used to create a target audience based on certain criteria. For example, maybe you keep track of each room that contacts have played. That way, a logical segment would be to send an email promoting a certain room only to those who haven’t played it already.

You can collect all sorts of information that can be used to create groups or segments, but you must have a clear idea of what it will be used for and the data collected must be necessary for that purpose. Data for data’s sake can end up being a mess.

If you have European customers or are based in Europe, you must follow the rules of the GDPR. The GDPR states that data must be; “adequate, relevant and limited to what is necessary in relation to the purposes for which they are processed.”

You should also tell people why you are collecting the information. For example, some businesses collect birth dates so that they can send a birthday offer to the individual. You might make something like this optional.

#3. Have an email marketing plan

You’ve collected email addresses and perhaps created some groups or segments too; the important thing now is what you do with them. A key aspect of successful email marketing is that it is consistent and regular - your email list shouldn’t be left to go “cold.”

An email marketing plan is an excellent way to organise your strategy. A good place to start is with your goals for email marketing. These might include some overall goals, as well as goals for individual groups. Then you need to think about the sorts of emails that will help you achieve those goals.

Mailchimp can help with features like automated email sequences. So for example, let’s say someone signs up to your email list via a form on your website. You can have them automatically receive a series of “welcome” emails that you put together. (Yes, Mailchimp will also automatically send that “happy birthday” email if you set it up!).

escape room

You should also think about the sorts of emails you want to send out as part of your plan. Some kind of regular contact is advisable for two reasons: 1) so your emails are less likely to be relegated to the spam folder and 2) so customers recognise your emails and look for them. The idea is that you want to keep customers engaged so that they will come back.

One thing you want to avoid is simply sending an email for the sake of it, so it’s important that you choose a schedule you can manage while keeping emails interesting. For example, some escape rooms will choose to send out a newsletter or offer once or twice per month.

#4. Keep your emails interesting

The bottom line of keeping emails interesting is that they must deliver some kind of value to your audience. This “value” might mean different things to different people, which is why those segments can come in handy.

It’s not that people always have to receive offers or discounts; value to some will mean that they’re kept updated with events, new rooms and other things of interest. Maybe you can help to keep their brain challenged by sending out a riddle or puzzle to solve, or maybe you send out leaderboard updates, or “team of the month” recognition.

There are many possibilities for what you might do to keep your emails interesting - the content is up to you, but Mailchimp can help you to send it out in an easily digestible template. You can use one of their pre-made templates, or drag and drop to create your own. Part of getting your emails read and responded to is that they look attractive!

escape room
escape room

Download here: Email marketing ideas for escape room owners

Final thoughts

A big part of getting customers to come back to your escape room is finding ways to stay engaged with them. Email provides you with a great way to stay in touch, if you follow an effective strategy.

A tool like Mailchimp allows you to automate tasks like building an email list, or even the sending of some email sequences. You can use it to keep your current customers engaged as well as reach out to people who have joined your list but aren’t yet customers.

Finally, Mailchimp integrates with many other tools, including Buzzshot, meaning that you can automate things like data transfer between them. It’s a great tool for saving you some time, too!
7 Email Ideas for Escape Rooms