The bells and whistles that emanate from entertainment centers should be enough to pique the interest of families looking for a way to spend a fun-filled day. However, the truth is entertainment centers ranging from sprawling amusement parks to mom and pop video arcade venues need to implement effective marketing for entertainment centers strategies.
Gone are the days when bowling alleys and restaurant entertainment center such as Chuck E Cheese were able to attract customers through word of mouth recommendations. It is no longer sufficient to merely list your entertainment center in the Yellow Pages or in a newspaper advertisement. No, you have to develop a marketing for entertainment centers that focuses on using digital tools.
The question is not whether digital marketing is the ideal fit for owners and operators of entertainment centers. You have to understand how to develop a digital marketing for entertainment centers campaign that follows a logical sequence of steps.
Start by Attracting a Large Social Media Following
Most digital marketing strategies kick off by initiating a compelling email marketing campaign or by developing a business website that shines with helpful content. For entertainment centers that operate in a highly social niche, the first step for marketing entertainment centers is to get involved on social media channels.
In fact, social media should rule your digital marketing program.
With Twitter, you have a platform that allows you to interact with your loyal customers, as well as customer prospects, in real time. You can announce limited time specials like all the games you can play within a two-hour period. Facebook gives you a social media platform that delivers customer feedback you can incorporate in the daily operation of your business. You might have a cleanliness issue, or you might need to structure your video game tickets policy a bit different. Instagram offers the perfect social media platform to post photos of your customers having a good time at your entertainment center.
Build an Interactive Website
No, we are not talking about the kinds of interactions that bring smiles to the faces of the customers visiting your entertainment center, and we are certainly not suggesting you build a website featuring digital video games. What we mean by interactive is a responsive website that keeps you in tune with what you customers want. By creating a section of your website devoted to real time customer interactions, you will build the level of trust required to encourage your customers to visit your entertainment center again.
Your entertainment center website should also devote virtual space to presenting content that both educates and entertains your visitors. Content that describes the history of an amusement park ride or how to become a master of a certain video game should establish credibility for your entertainment center. You do not have to be a Nobel Prize winner in literature to craft compelling website content.
All you need is to have the enthusiasm for sharing your wisdom with readers.
Email Marketing Supports Your Website
Once upon a time in the entertainment center industry, owners and managers sent out flyers and postcards via snail mail to promote discounts and special events. Fast forward to 2020 and electronic mail has supplanted snail mail as the preferred digital marketing for entertainment centers strategy.
Email marketing represents the most effective method for supporting what you upload on the entertainment center website. The key is to get the approval of your customers, before you send any electronic transmissions. Emails are an effective way to inform your customers about new games and rides, as well as feature a short column every week that discusses a topic relevant to the entertainment center industry.
You can also leverage email marketing by congratulating subscribers for game achievements and for reaching another birthday. In fact, birthday adulations are an excellent way to connect with your customers. Technology allows you to automate congratulatory emails to time exactly when a birthday or an anniversary approaches. You can also segment your email subscriber lists for a number of different reasons, such as focusing emails on the segment of your customer base that is passionate about playing a specific video game.
Get Local with SEO
Unless you are part of the management that runs Six Flags St. Louis, your entertainment center customer base will be located just a few miles from your business. How do you compete for local customers?
That’s right, by getting local with your search engine optimization strategy.
Search engine optimization (SEO) is a digital marketing tool that helps ranks your website high on search engine results pages (SERPs). Local SEO refers to the practice of targeting a local audience and attracting the target audience to your entertainment center.
Google My Business
Google My Business for entertainment centers offers you a prime spot to get your business listed online. The powerful local SEO tool from Google requires you to claim and verify a business listing, before you start to add contact information like your business name, address, and phone number (NAP). The NAP established for your company is like your digital business card. It provides visitors to your Google My Business page with important contact information that you have to keep accurate and consistent across all digital marketing platforms.
Every time an online platform mentions your NAP, you earn what is called a citation. The more citations of your entertainment center online, the more Google rewards you with better search engine results. An effective way to increase the number of citations for your entertainment center is to list your business in online business directories like Yelp, MapQuest, and the digital version of the Yellow Pages.
Online Reviews: Digital Word of Mouth Advertising
Here’s an indisputable fact: Entertainment centers still rely on word of mouth advertising to increase sales. The buzz for your business goes through the proverbial roof when you add a hip new video game, build a thrill seeking roller coaster ride, or create a popular theme night for your bowling alley.
Now, word of mouth buzz happens mostly online in the form of customer reviews. Although Google My Business features a section for customers to leave feedback, you can expand the venues where your customers review your business by encouraging them to post positive reviews on sites like Yelp and Google.
Let’s face it: most customer decisions boil down to how other customers perceive your business. Not only should you encourage online customer reviews, you should also foster the growth of the relationships you have with your customers by responding to the reviews posted online.
Lights, Cameras, YouTube!
Think about what grabs your attention when you pass a vide arcade or drive by an amusement park. It is the sights and sounds of the venues that get you energized. From the humming of video games rewarding player points to the sight of a roller coaster taking a sharp bend at 60 miles per hour, it is the two senses of sight and sound that motivate potential customers of your business to take action by stopping by your entertainment center.
Take advantage of the sights and the sounds coming from your entertainment center by making and uploading videos of your business on YouTube.
As part of the Google family, YouTube represents an effective way to get your entertainment center noticed online. Google places a lot of emphasis on ranking YouTube videos, which means you should make the social media channel a prominent part of your marketing for entertainment centers strategy.
Shoot and upload videos of your most popular amusement park rides or if you operate a bowling alley, capture the joy of players making strikes. Video arcade owners can shoot close ups of the best players setting venue records.
Search and Pay Per Click Ads
All of the digital marketing for entertainment centers ideas we have mentioned do not cost much money to implement. When you want to boost the effectiveness of your digital marketing efforts, you should spend a little money for paid search engine and pay per click (PPC) ads.
PPC advertising involves paying for an ad every time someone clicks the ad. An ad pops up on a web page and when someone clicks the ad, the PPC application will take money out of an account. You pay only when someone expresses enough interest in your business by clicking an ad promoting your business.
Paid search engine ads like the ones run by Google AdWords appear on SERPs. The more exposure you want for your ads on highly ranked search result pages, the more money you can expect to pay for an online advertising campaign.
Paid online ads are an outstanding digital marketing strategy that complements your other marketing for entertainment centers strategies.
The Bottom Line
Because of the high cost of overhead, as well as the variable costs of running an entertainment center, you need to find a way to recoup the return on your investment, and then some. By implementing a sequence of digital marketing for entertainment centers tactics, you will expand awareness for your business to attract more customers.