If you’re like me and pay attention to the latest in marketing news and trends, you’ve probably seen the word “funnel” thrown around a lot in recent years. “What’s your funnel like?”, or, “how deep does your funnel go?”, or better yet, “hey bro, need help crushing your funnel?”. It kills me. Regardless, a marketing funnel is extremely important to your business and today we’re going to talk about how it relates to haunts and what you can do to work on yours.
What Is A “funnel”?
The easiest way to define a funnel is this…a sales/marketing funnel is a consumer focused marketing model which illustrates the theoretical customer journey towards the purchase of a product or service. Now, the only problem I have with the term “funnel” is that it’s very…marketing. When really we should be calling it…the journey. “What is your clients journey?”, or, “What’s your post-conversion plan in your client’s journey?” See, this starts to open up a fresh set of ideas and concepts just by calling it something different that is more client-focused rather than marketing/sales jargon.
A typical haunts funnel may look like this:
It starts with awareness. This includes your marketing plans: billboards, radio, social media, flyers…general outreach for your haunt. The goal of this section of the funnel is to make your market aware of your brand, and is where your customer journey begins. When you’re working on this section of the plan remember that first impressions are EVERYTHING! Make them count.
The second part is consideration. This is where your market starts to legitimately consider buying into your brand. This section features plans like: Radio (again), couponing, word of mouth, offers…and generally just being closer to Halloween.
The last section is where your haunt makes the money, the purchase section. This is where your market literally buys into your brand. They either go online and buy a ticket or show up to your box office and buy in person. Either way, this is where you make a sale.
Pretty simple, right? There’s only one GLARING problem…this is a sales-focused, broad funnel and not a customer-focused journey. Your funnel should NOT end at the purchase point and is leaving out some crucial steps in the journey.
What Does The Modern Customer Journey Look Like?
This is where it gets interesting. Today’s “funnel” is drastically different and all-encompassing of your customers’ needs. Today’s customers require more touch points and engagement pre-conversion. Then, after the sale, require more nurturing than ever before. Let’s take a look at what a modern customer journey should look like for your business:
Let’s start at the Top Of Funnel (TOFU)…this is your “awareness” section from before. Now it’s broken out into two different sections: SEO/Social Media and Click-throughs. This is your brand’s very first touch point with a customer. This is most likely platforms like Facebook, Snapchat, Twitter, or YouTube, but could also be a billboard or radio spot. Theme campaigns must be structured and planned so it encourages customers along their journey with your business and into other sections. First impressions are EVERYTHING so do not waste them.
The next section is the Middle of Funnel, or MOFU. We’ll skip any witty Samuel L. Jackson quotes and jump right in! The MOFU is broken up into three sections: Bounces, Readers, Leads. This is the same as the “consideration” section of the old-school funnel. Here, customers will start to consider spending money with your business. They’ve engaged with your TOFU campaigns in some manner and are now taking the journey into consideration.
This could be:
- Engaging with your Facebook post
- Clicking a Google Ad
- Subscribing to a Messenger/Email list
- Following your social pages
How a customer interacts with your brand determines how they travel along the customer journey. Use tools like Facebook Analytics and Google Analytics to better understand their journey.
PRO TIP: You should be creating custom audiences for each customer group and the path they’re on in your funnel. You can then use these audiences to both target and/or exclude them in your ads depending on how you want to set them up.
The final section is the Bottom of Funnel, or BOFU. This is where the money is made. This section is broken into four parts: Prospects, Sales, Loyalty, and Customer Advocacy.
Let’s talk about each one specifically since they’re all very important:
Prospects – These are the customers MOST LIKELY to buy a ticket to your haunt. They’ve traveled through your funnel and are now primed to make a purchase. Messenger and Email marketing are the best ways to “push them overboard” to make a purchase. But don’t rush them…this engine still needs mild priming before it can work.
Sales – You’ve done it! A customer has made a purchase to your bad-ass haunted house. This is the traditional “conversion” factor. Granted, not even the best business or marketing agency in the world can be 100% sure of what generated a sale, but if you have the right ticketing company, the proper tracking and pixel setup, and a handy method of keeping track of it all…you will start to see conversion data flowing in. Now, if we could just invent a way to track conversions from billboards and word-of-mouth! (And please do not come to me about surveying your customers at the haunt! Those are NEVER accurate and are legitimately the worst way to ‘judge’ your efforts).
Loyalty – Say what? Let me ask you this…do you prefer Pepsi or Coke? Why? Myself, I’m a Pepsi man. I’ll never buy Coke and when it’s my only option, I drink water. Why is this? Because Pepsi has spent billions of dollars over the years building customer loyalty to their brand, and somehow they got me. This doesn’t mean you need to go out and spend all your money building loyalty, but, a little spent won’t hurt.
So what does this mean exactly? This means providing customers with the best haunt possible. Not gouging them on pricing. Making the experience at your show pleasant and friendly. Then, after they’ve attended the haunt, keeping up with them with the same quality experience online they expect, and deserve. A little bit here goes a long way. Once that conversion is made you need to set up systems to further nurture them into becoming loyal customers year-after-year.
PRO TIP: If you’ve setup a custom audience of “ticket purchasers” on Facebook, use this audience later to buy another ticket at a STEEP discount. You’ve already got them. Bring them back again with a great discount. This is a great way to nurture this audience into being loyal to your haunt, and a great way to get a return on your off-season shows!
Customer Advocates – These are your “favorite children”…the customers so in love with your haunt that they’ll go out of their way to promote it for you to their friends and family. If someone’s journey through your brand has landed them in this spot, you’ve got a customer for life! In a previous blog, Patrick Stanger talks about his love of Nike. How did he get to that point of being an advocate for the Nike brand? I can promise you this…it took time, consistent quality of product, and a nurturing program that gives him offers on sales, coupons, etc. Nike doesn’t look at Patrick like someone they need $70 out of right now, but HUNDREDS (if not thousands) of dollars from him over the course of many years.
For your haunt you must think long term, and think of your customer’s long term. It’s not about getting that $20 ticket sale now. The fact is, nobody can force someone to buy a ticket. But once they do, you need to nurture that person to become an advocate for your business. Grow your list. Create your custom audience. Use those lists to specifically target them with ongoing offers and sales and keep them coming back for more.
Did I beat this dead horse enough? I’m curious, what does your customer’s journey look like at your haunt? Have you even thought about it? As always, whether you are a client of Fearworm, or growing your business on your own, if you want to discuss your marketing plans, contact us today.