If you are starting a new haunted attraction, here are some free suggestions for getting it known:
- Get listed in Google. You want it to be findable in Google Maps, and this also allows people to review and post photos. (This is the source used for Android phone users when they look things up in Maps.) Be sure to claim/own your listing so you can control the information and ensure it is accurate.
- Get listed in Yelp! This is the data source used by Apple iPhone/iPad devices when they look things up in Maps. Be sure to claim/own your listing to you can control the information and ensure it is accurate.
- Make a Facebook Page (not just an Event from your personal account). Be sure to give it a name that includes your location. If you try to look up “Haunted Barn” you will get dozens (hundreds?) of them. Name your page something like “Haunted Barn – Ankeny, Iowa” so it is easier to find when someone tags you in a post (free publicity). Also make sure you update the shortcut name, so it is easy to type: https://www.facebook.com/dmhauntedhouses/
- Also create an Instagram account, even if you do not use Instagram. You can link your Facebook page to it, and any post you make on Facebook (with a photo attached) can automatically be posted to Instagram.
- Even if you do not plan to use it, try to get accounts at other social media sites such as Twitter/X, TikTok, Mastadon, etc. YOU may not plan on using it, but it could get very important later and you want to have control over the name, not someone else.
- Try to make account names similar, if possible: twitter.com/dmhauntedhouses, facebook.com/dmhauntedhouses, instagram.com/dmhauntedhouses, etc.
- Have a website that lists all the important information right on the main page: Event Name, Event Dates, Event Location, and Event Price. Do not make people have to dig through multiple pages just to find this basic information! (You can still have larger pages for more information or more details, but at least have the basic stuff on your site.)
- Use a real e-mail address. If you are dmhauntedhouses.com, you want to use something like “email@example.com”. If you use some free e-mail address like Gmail, not only does this mean you don’t control it (Google has shut down many free services over the years), it also means anyone could make a similar account there — “firstname.lastname@example.org” could be anyone, and if that is what I used, someone could make “email@example.com” and spoof me.
- Use a real domain name. If you host your site at a free hosting service, or some place like Wix.com, it won’t look professional. Some folks will see that and think you are not serious about your haunted house.
- Make a Foursquare/Swarm check in. Not many use these today, but if you don’t make it, someone else will, and then they get to decide what they say about you.
Much more to come…
Main page should have all the required information:
- Event Name
- Event Location
- Event Dates
- Event Price
Anything else can be linked to other pages. Don’t make people dig around looking for information. Some sites have important stuff on “FAQ”, or “Info” or “Visit Us”… Which is it? If you make a bunch of page names, make them obvious – “Location”, “Dates”, “Tickets/Admission/Price/etc.” and so on.
If you have a ticket booth, make sure your visitors know they can buy tickets at the front gate. If it is cash only, make sure that is declared. “$25, cash only”. If you are credit card only, make sure folks know that. “$25, card only, ATM available”.
If you sell tickets online, make sure you declare extra fees up front. You can look at reviews and see there are people that get upset when their $60 haunt becomes $75 due to fees, taxes, and parking. It is very misleading/false advertising to promote an $18 ticket that really costs 20% more. If you are afraid to tell your customers what it actually cost, you should at least do something like “$25 + taxes + service fees + parking” so they can be prepared.
DON’T MAKE PEOPLE THINK YOU ARE TRYING TO DECEIVE THEM OR RIP THEM OFF.
Flashy images and text is great for publicity, but be sure you actually tell your visitors what the experience is. If there is crawling, let them know. If there are strobe lights and fog, let them know. If you have a waiver folks must sign, or a disclaimer at the entrance, put that online. Don’t make people drive across town (or from hours away) only to get there and find out they can’t go through due to having bad knees or an allergy to fog juice.