With more than 2,000 escape rooms in the U.S. alone, it is safe to say the concept is booming in popularity. Thanks to their immersive, entertaining and challenging game designs, escape rooms are a fun activity for the whole family — and as an escape room business owner, it can be fun and rewarding, too. It is a creative industry where the games are as endless as your imagination. However, with all of the different options available, how do you make sure your escape room website stands out among the rest?
We sat down with Teddy Cheek, the marketing and brand director at The Escape Game, one of America’s top-rated escape room concepts, to learn some tips and tricks.
Why is having an escape room website so important?
Escape rooms are very tactile experiences, where customers solve clues in-person to “break out” of the game. Many businesses might experience walk-in traffic, if they are located in a tourist area or a street frequented with pedestrians. Yet, they might also need to draw in crowds in order to keep their games running at full capacity, and having a digital presence is key.
First and foremost, the domain name you choose for your escape room website will set up your businesses for a path to success, so it has to be just right. Be sure it aligns with your company’s name exactly, so customers don’t confuse it for a competitor, as many brands have similar names.
“There is so much brand confusion in our category,” Cheek says. “If people attempt to find you and don’t, there are several other escape rooms there waiting to win that business.”
Editor’s note: Ready to find your perfect escape room domain name? Search for it now!
Cheek also mentions that if you have multiple breakout room locations, keeping all of the information together on one site and under one domain can help with search engine rankings, ensuring that customers can easily find you online.
“Our category is exploding so there’s a lot of online search volume right now,” says Cheek. “Most of this volume is generic so there’s a lot to be gained from having a beautiful site and an effective SEO/SEM strategy. Everyone is fighting for those same visits and those same conversions. Getting people to your site and converting them is the best way to fill your game slots.”
5 ways to make your escape room stand out
Once you have a strong domain name established, it’s time to evaluate the content of your website and your digital marketing strategy to make sure you are utilizing all possible opportunities to bring in new customers. There are five easy steps to start this process.
Educate the consumer.
Identify your unique selling point.
Make booking simple.
Show off your ‘wow’ factor.
Use social media to your advantage.
Let’s get started!
1. Educate the consumer
Many people might not know this, but “escape-the-room” actually started as a video game concept back in 2004 before it became a real-life attraction. In 2007, a Japanese company called SCRAP built out the first live-action, immersive escape room experience. The concept became a hit all over Asia, Europe and North America, and eventually evolved into the high-tech, intricate escape rooms we know today.
A potential customer might not need to know the full history of escape rooms, but some might still need to be educated on what an escape room is and what to expect from your particular escape room.
For example, a potential patron who has a fear of being spooked might think that an escape game is like a haunted house, and therefore would not want to participate. Another example of where you could lose a customer is if they don’t understand the simple logistics of your business, such as how long playing a game will take and how many people they can play with at a time. Cheek suggests:
“Describe the experience as clearly as possible. If you can be both clear and clever in your copywriting, great. Otherwise, just be clear.”
Having an “About Us” section or paragraph on the site that briefly explains the industry and what your escape room offers is an integral step for a successful website.
2. Identify your unique selling point
Again, some folks might have misconception about what an escape room offers. Cheek mentions that customers might wonder why they should select one escape room over the other.
In reality, though, not all escape rooms are created equal, and some might even be targeted toward polarizing demographics, like a game for kids, a game for adults-only or even a city-inspired game (for example, The Escape Game’s flagship location in Nashville has a “Music City” themed game).
To make your business stand out, it’s important to decide what makes it unique and push that messaging on all your digital platforms.
“Highlight what makes your games amazing, can’t-miss experiences,” Cheek says.
On your website, if this messaging is easy to find and easy to read, it will be easy for potential customers to understand why they should book a game with you over anyone else.
3. Make booking simple
If a customer understands the escape room concept and decides they want to play at your location, you don’t want to leave them scratching their head as to how to actually book a game. Cheek explains:
“The actual escape room should be a challenge, not the process of booking it!”
He adds that he’s escape room sites without a booking button above the fold, and sites that asked people to solve a puzzle during the booking process.
“The other day I was booking an an escape room for my team,” Cheek adds. “I visited the company’s website and had to search for their booking widget. Once I found it, it wasn’t working properly. I then called the number on the site and couldn’t reach anyone.”
Not being able to contact a support line or customer service rep can be even more frustrating for someone who just wants to plan a fun day out. If you make the process simple, your conversion rates will improve. Thus, you’ll get more people in to play, and more buzz around your location.
Editor’s note: Looking for an easy way to integrate scheduling into your website? GoCentral’s Online Store features online appointment scheduling so you can be sure customers can easily book your escape room. Even better? It syncs to the most popular calendars so your schedule is always up-to-date.
4. Show off your ‘wow’ factor
The next step to success is bringing a “wow” factor to the site. To be visually pleasing and continue to distinguish yourself from competitors, employ cohesive branding throughout the entire website. If your site does not look professional, consumers might think the games are not professionally done, either.
Cheek also recommends including plenty of high-quality photos of your rooms on the site.
These striking visuals will excite people who are coming to play. By investing in a professional photo session, you’ll have visual assets to use in all aspects of your digital marketing — in email blasts, advertisements and on social media.
5. Use social media to your advantage
The last tip Cheek recommends is to explore online promotion beyond your website. Social media is a great tool to connect with current fans and to recruit new ones.
If guests say they love your challenges, puzzles or “the feeling of a great ‘aha!’ moment,” as Cheek puts it, then posting pictures of your retail offerings might not resonate well. Instead, use the imagery of the games to entice people to come play again.
If you are looking to encourage people to come play a game for the first time, try running targeted Facebook ads with these images, too, aimed at your target age and location demographic.
You can also use social media to run fun contests that further connect people with your escape room brand.
“Recently we started releasing free games monthly and our audience has been loving it,” Cheek says, referring to their digital Monthly Mystery series, where internet sleuths can play an online game to win prizes. Since launching the series, thousands of people play each month. By making your own social media content highly engaging and shareable, you can gain online momentum that drives users back to your escape room website.
With a saturated market, it can be hard to make your escape room website stand out. But, by following these easy steps, you can start attracting customers and setting yourself apart.