Okay you’ve got your LAN Center started. You have awesome gaming rigs, the coolest new games, and the perfect atmosphere. Its opening day and you have NO Customers. Guess what sir. You didn’t do your marketing right. You need to build a buzz a month or longer before you ever open your doors.
You need to make sure everyone you possibly can knows you are opening the next coolest thing since sliced bread. But how? I’m going to cover the basics for building a buzz and then I’m going to get into my more unique Ideas. Just a warning before you continue on some of my marketing methods will make you personal look extremely silly. If you haven’t got the gump to do it, or at least the money to pay someone else to do it. You should stop now.
Buzz Building (pre-opening)
Social Marketing: Churches, Schools, Bars, town events, and pretty much anywhere your targetted customer might be at. You need to goto these things. You need to be social not just kinda social but extremely social. You need to talk to everyone and tell them what it is your starting and how cool its going to be. I went to a town event with 1000 Lanyards with inserts that had my Logo, my rates, and it said V.I.P. I handed them out to people stating that if they had these and brought them with them when the center opened it would allow them to buy the VIP membership and would give them better rates. I met some highschool kids and give them a few free hours to have them pass out flyer’s all over school. I went to football games and passed out my gizmo’s and gadgets with my branding on them. I went to cars wearing my Shirts and had all my friends with me wearing my shirts. It got alot of people asking questions. I went to a festival that allowed vendor booths I purchased one and setup a Computer at it and let people come set down and try out the games. Bottom line, word of mouth and personal interaction is going to be your best return on invest. More people that know you personally and think your awesome the more people that will be at your opening. These benefits also extend past opening also. So get out there and start meeting people.
Billboards: Your next marketing tool will be billboards. I personally picked up three around town in high traffic areas that people I believe would be interested to see. My billboards only had my logo (It didn’t explain what I was) and my opening date and website address. Guy I worked with to put these explained to me the only thing that tends to get reaction outta people with billboards is a cool design, not enough information, and a place to go to get more information. People will go to the website to figure out what the hell is going on or is about to happen. People are just curious like that.
Locations Advertising: Get your sign up on your building Early and put an opening soon sign in your window. This is actually one people forget but I know personally I see something getting ready to open I tend to look ever other time I pass by there.
Guerrilla Marketing: Dress up like video game characters and re- enact some amazing battle in a very public place. Make sure you are all branded with your logo and game center name and that there is a Stationary Sign setup up close by with flyers for people to take. I personally did a Left 4 Dead parody. We did this in front of the Shop, in a walmart parking lot, in a local park and even on the side of a major highway (That last one wasn’t so smart the cops got onto us) This was probably my most successful stunt due to the fact a radio station heard what we were doing and talked about it on air and even sent someone out to talk to us while we were doing it (FREE AIR TIME YEAH!). People still talked about out stunt a year after we opened.
Radio Advertising: Radio advertise up until the Store opens. Make sure its not on the Conway Twitty all the time station because you general audience won’t be listening to that. Use on of the pop stations and use one of the rock stations. You invest enough money advertising with the station before opening it might be possible to get them to do a remote broadcast on opening day for free. If you don’t spend enough money to get them to do a remote broadcast on opening day. Pay them to be there. And make sure they have crap to give out when they come. People like free crap and they really like free crap from radio stations.
This article is going to be a two parter. I thought it could all fit into one post but once I got writing I realized I’m going to have to cover online marketing techniques also.