Well as the title hints at if you do not market your haunt you will not survive. Marketing is by far the most important business aspect of running a haunted house. For Profit that is. If your just doing a general neighborhood haunt then this is not as big but I did run some free marketing things and posted some local online links for one of my home haunts and say my traffic double so it does work for both but if your for profit then this is a key aspect of your business.
If you do not follow Haunt World Magazine then you may not be aware of the insider information. But I am going to tell you that right now. Out of all the haunted houses they do interviews with the number ONE thing I have seen over and over is that they all have a big focus on marketing their haunts. Many of them spend most of their budget on Marketing and they are super successful so take a page out of their book because they are where you want to be.
Good marketing can lead thousands of visitors to your website which if you have any sort of income generating items on there can produce some income and during the time of the year your doors are open for your haunt it will make you or break you. I know my biggest fear is opening the doors and not having anyone on the other side waiting to buy tickets and come in. That is pretty much one of the biggest fears for a haunt owner. The question of how do you prevent this is simple its Marketing and there are dozens of forms of this. Local and regional radio ads if your a large haunt, billboards, your website, press releases are just a few things that will drive traffic to your website and to your haunt. Some things you can do for free such as internet calander postings, soliciting the local news papers and news channels to come do an interview and such. Other things such as radio ads, billboards, newspaper ads, tv commercials will cost you a lot of money and may not be things you do till you have been in business for awhile. Things on a cheaper scale are flyers to local haunt shops and Halloween related stores and if you have any local college campuses do not pass up the opportunity to get flyers our to there.
Some more creative forms of getting your haunt out to your audience is things like local parades where you have some monsters in costume with a float or something to local niche events. An example of a niche event is a local event i go to here in California, the Northern California Pirate Festival and there is a haunt just south of me this past year called Pirates of Emerson that had several costumed pirates wondering around doing pictures and handing out tickets and flyers to all the visitors and they even had a big pirate shack setup for a booth which was very cool. So there are creative things you can do. I have even heard of people sending out there costumed monsters to local malls and shopping centers to do flyer and ticket give aways.
In the end if you have not figured all this will drive large amounts of traffic to your attraction. If you choose to ignore this then your worst nightmare may come true and when your open those doors your all alone. This is the lead into our next section on the starting a haunted house business article series which will dive more in depth into your marketing and marketing plan. If you are going to do marketing you will want to have a layout or plan for what you will be doing and when you will be doing it because running ads in January through June is a major waste of effort and money if your spending it unless your doing some special event. So there is a method behind this and we will dive into that and I love marketing so will have future articles on specific items in marketing for everyone.
One last thing if you know of a creative marketing method I would love to hear about it so we can spread the word to fellow haunters so they can benefit from these methods too. We are here to grow this industry and spread the word that Haunts are safe and fun in the end so help out in that and share your ideas and experiences.