Visiting a local mall recently, I ran across a new attraction – Escape Room Pittsburgh Mills. You’ve probably heard of escape rooms – they’re the new Big Thing. The premise is that you need to solve clues to “escape” within a certain amount of time. Since I haven’t tried this before, I grabbed one of the flyers they had.
Marketing doesn’t need to be a mystery, and oftentimes there are just a few things that can be done to bring your materials together. The best way to show this is to take real-world examples and show you what they did right and what can be improved upon.
For Escape Room Pittsburgh Mills, I looked at both the handout, which is 1/2 of an 8.5×11 piece of paper, longwise (4.25×11) and their website at www.escaperoompittsburghmills.com.
The handout has a logo which is poorly printed onto a black background. There are images in the background that are very difficult to see (I’m not even sure what all of them are). The “Mills” is placed over Escape Room in a font and color that doesn’t work with “Escape Room.” I suspect the accent color is supposed to be red, but it printed out as a dark pink. The contrast isn’t strong enough with the background for the smaller print. The color should be lighter and a bolder font choice would have made the paragraphs easier to read.
I am not a fan of underlining anything but links, even in print, and the underlined BOOK NOW! is no exception. They get a few points for using yellow for their contact information – it’s the only thing on the page that has a strong contrast with the background.
The biggest, most unforgivable error is the white border that cuts off the text in the paragraphs. Testing your print work is important! I’m sure it looked fine on the screen, but things don’t already print as expected. You HAVE TO CHECK.
At the bottom, barely legible because of the small, thin font in a terrible color, is the line, “Like and share us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.” That’s it. No handles. If you’re asking people to find you, make it easy. A simple @yourTwitter would have been easy to add. As a side note, on their website they only have links to Twitter and Facebook, not Instagram. Do they even have an Instagram account? Who knows?
What They Got Right
Their contact information – both a website and a phone number, which is important, are clearly visible on the handout. They also include their address, although it’s in a poor font, color, and size.
What to Expect
I have never been to an escape room, so I want to know what to expect. You need to get your potential customers over their initial fears of trying something new, and to do this, you need to explain how it works. I found “Stage 1” and “Stage 2” confusing. To me, one stage comes after the other, but this seems like they’re two separate things. Also, how long is it? How many people go into the room at once? Is it just you and your group, or are you with other people? What happens when you “escape?” If you don’t escape?
I have no idea how much this is. Is it $10? $50? $100? Price is important here.
I can’t say this enough – high contrast between your text and background is essential. If your copy can’t be read, it’s useless.
A clear logo gives a more professional appearance.
Their website isn’t terrible. There’s a dark background, which is really tricky online, but fits with their branding. The font is fairly easy to read, although it’s all caps, which makes it harder. The light grey they use for the font doesn’t work for me, especially because it’s on top of an image, but it can be read.
They have better information here, and they explain what happens and how long the experience is. However, price is STILL MISSING! The only way I was able to find out how much it is was to go to the book a spot, and pick a date and time. I guarantee they wonder why they have so many abandoned carts – it’s because there’s no other way to find out the price.
What They Got Right
What to Expect
The basics are here. They explain how it works, how long it takes, and the two types of escape rooms. The website explains the escape room better than the handout.
Who Runs This?
There is no information about the organization or people who operate the Escape Room. Some information about them would increase trust.
The cost should be easy to find. It doesn’t have to be front and center, but it shouldn’t be as hard to find, and a visitor certainly shouldn’t have to go through the checkout process just to discover the price.
Call To Action
I’m not sure that purchasing gift cards should be the Call to Action (or CTA) above the fold on the home page. While “Book Now!” is highlighted in the menu, the eye goes right to that button. I think a preview would be better, with a CTA of “Experience Escape Room” and a link to a video that gives the visitor an idea of what it would be like.
Inconsistencies drive me crazy, and the fact that the handout has three social media sites – Facebook, Instagram and Twitter – and the website only has two – Facebook and Twitter – is a simple mistake that should have been caught.
Branding is important for any business, and when it’s well done and consistent, it shows a level of professionalism that instills a level of confidence in a customer. To demonstrate, I compared the handout and the website side-to-side. Two changes would have made a huge difference – accent color and logo.
Visual consistency matters. Do these two marketing pieces look like they’re from the same company? No. The only consistency is the dark background. Nothing else matches visually. A logo that is used on all marketing materials and consistent accent colors would do a lot to tie these together. If possible, using the same fonts would be even better, especially header fonts (text fonts aren’t as important, especially because not all browsers display fonts the same way, so that’s forgivable).
I’m not saying that everything needs to match perfectly. Every piece of your marketing arsenal should be designed to that type’s best advantage, and sometimes that means using different fonts or font colors, even different images. But they should look and feel like they belong together, and these two pieces don’t.