Last Terrifying Tuesday, we severed some limbs from the body of the advertisement hydra. This sequel will indeed be bloodier. The more appendages we slice through, the more rise up. Grab you hatchet and let’s hack through these together.
Yes. Believe it or not, people still read printed news. Most area newspapers allow free submissions for seasonal events and area happenings. Free advertisement should never be ignored although I have noticed many haunts disregard newspapers. Don’t limit yourself locally. Communicate your information to all large news companies around your region. Sometimes, this can conjure up exclusive articles about you.
Printed haunt guides are free seasonal publications compiling information on scare spots and other Halloween happenings. Although free to the public, theses unfortunately can be quite expensive to be in. As discussed in Scarevertisment, Issue #8 of this blog series, incorporating sponsors can reduce your cost. Prices usually increase with additions of graphics, color, and layout size. Our area has two major haunt publications. The Fear Finder and The Haunt Guide. We have found these to be beneficial in legitimizing your image and bringing in out of area business. Research your options. Thrill seekers from a far might be coming near you to visit a haunt with a large color graphic ad. You may be able to spend less money with a smaller ad and parasite off haunts near you with bigger budgets.
Last time I checked, the going price for traditional billboards was $800 to $1200 per month and even more for newer digital boards. The price includes materials and the variation depends on if the billboard is in town or what they call “bullets” along the highway. I have heard that companies are starting to require bulk deals as opposed to single sign rentals. Put in some field work to find the highest traffic area for your buck. Make your designs bright, easy to read, and have the best placement possible. Don’t counteract your efforts and dollars with a dark image on a board on the wrong side of the highway with a bad angle on it. I have also seen attractions pay for billboards right next to other haunts. A great idea for targeting your audience, but money might have been saved by a cross promotion flyer exchange. (We will get into cross promoting in a couple of weeks)
You can spend a lot less by having smaller vinyl or mesh banners printed up. A 4ft x 8ft banner can cost under $100. We use esigns.com. Spend even less by distributing small plastic signs about with your logo on it but don’t expect to get all of those back. Some get stolen. Some blow away. You need permission from the land owner to place banner signs of course, but might also need to check with the township. Some local governments don’t care while others require permits and fees. We have found here in Michigan, that even with land owners permission, you cannot place a temporary advertisement that faces a national or interstate highway or state controlled road way.
Your local sign shop can print up vinyl decals for you to distribute. Vinyl decals can stick anywhere. The typical location is on vehicles to create moving marquees for all to see but they work just as well on stationary objects too. It is fairly inexpensive to purchase your own vinyl cutter and produce vinyl art yourself. This requires more time but reduces cost dramatically and offers a wide variety of uses. We have made our own professional looking advertisement and warning information signs, haunt font stencils for T Shirts and paint applications, and brand decals for sale and giveaways. It did not take long to recoup the initial investment at all and has made additional money through custom projects for other people.
Garment advertisement, much like vinyl decals, is an easy way to mass market your haunt. We tried using vinyl as a stencil to produce our own shirts. This is cheaper and works but you will have a better quality product to offer if screen printed instead. Different shops have different prices but there will be room to up sell for a profit. When budgeting for your purchase, keep in mind, white shirts with one color on one side will be the cheapest to acquire. The Corpse Barn now offers screen printing and vinyl art production services through CorpseSylum Studio. Email firstname.lastname@example.org for your T Shirt needs.
Participate in off season events all year round. This will keep you in the public eye and allow you to participate in your community, offer a chance to get feedback from current and potential customers, and continue to sell merchandise. You can sell your brand stuff cheaper off season to keep it moving. We participate in such charity events as Relay For Life and Zombie Walk Jackson with our Mobile Haunt, BReaking SCared. Renting a booth at comic and horror conventions is another way to stay connected with your audience. Lucky for me, I’m a fan so it’s more like playing then networking. We will be a part of Meggacon; Mid Michigan’s own everything con in Jackson Michigan, for the second year in a row this September. Hosting off season functions at your haunt such as group photo shoots is yet another way to engage, advertise and sell merchandise all year round.
Even though we sliced off these hydra heads from the monster, others have already sprouted. Most of these could be discussed in greater length. We will revisit their graves from time to time while exploring other topics. Next week, we move onto multi-media advertising.