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Marketing Your Family Entertainment Center

(The Ultimate 12-Step Guide)

What's A winning FEC Mindset?

Your Family Entertainment Centers is out to give people an experience.  Fun, surprise and excitement. Its super to be able to do that on the day but you've really succeeded when people remember their experience when they are back in their regular lives. You're in the magical business of creating memories. If people don't remember you fondly then they wont tell their friends they wont be back. More dramatically if it isn't in your memory then did it ever really happen?

We are in the experience economy.  How quickly we are changing. From the local newspaper that was text heavy and proportionately minimal photos (in b&w) look how quickly we as a culture have moved to one continuous stream of dazzling images on Instagram.

Not everyone will return for many reasons. They change tastes, try new things, get older, move away so you need to always be creating new opportunities with new people. But how can you build awareness and get those families into your FEC? Marketing is one of the most critical components of your FEC business model. As an FEC owner or operator, life can be pretty chaotic. You don't have a ton of time to spend on your marketing. And you don't have to.

Instead of marketing in the moment, think about how you can be a step ahead of your potential customers. How can you proactively market your FEC? By thinking ahead with your marketing efforts and goals, marketing your FEC will come with ease. Businesses that are reactive in their marketing are playing an expensive game. Don't pay the consequences of letting your ineffective marketing strategies continue. Reactive marketing will cost you time, and time is money!

Instead of having a game-plan and analyzing the effects of your marketing in the moment, your reactive marketing forces you to pay for it later. After working with Family Entertainment Centers, we've created the ultimate 10-step guide, to successfully market your FEC.

What's a winning FEC mindset?

When you started your family entertainment center you needed to create massive interest out of thin air. It took a lot of marketing, promotion and hustling. That takes huge energy and resources.  Once you opened your facility people started coming in and coming back. You moved your energy and resources over to supporting your customers and your center. A winning FEC mindset knows that they cannot apply  

Now you cant possibly apply that much focus and energy to only one thing now but you can reuse the energy you've been creating. So ask yourself...

How to create a customer inquiry out of thin air? Are you waiting for things to happen or are you making things happen?

A winning mindset creates activity by making things happen. You currently have customer inquiries which your staff are selling and closing and generally making things happen. Good. It's all business that your marketing system is generating without you. Your staff are reacting to the enquiry. That's good. What's tricky is you cant make inquiries happen. Lets say its  you're having a slow Tuesday or you need to book more corporate parties? What if you could flip into proactive mode and actually create a customer inquiry out of thin air? Yes, just make it happen!

Not possible even a few years ago and only available to fortune 500 companies

1. What's Your Brand

Some say, I'm married to my business, or at least you probably feel like you are. You spend a lot of time with your FEC, and have gotten to know it pretty well. Asking the simple identification questions of Who are we? What is our purpose? is the very first step a brand needs to take to have successful marketing efforts. If you don't know who you are, then no one else will.

Running a Family Entertainment Center means you're in the business of fun. You likely opened your FEC to provide entertainment to your community, and ensure your customers get the most out of life. Your messaging and marketing should do the same. Your brand identity and language has to exude fun and excitement. When potential buyers see your logo and branding they should think, Wow! That looks fun! We should go there.

2. Setting Goals

Every business has an ultimate goal of creating revenue and providing the customers with fun. However, your goals will be unique to your FEC. Think of your big picture goal. What is something that you want your FEC to reach? Lets say you have a goal of increasing business traffic by 10% in the next three months. How are you going to win?

Big picture goals are made up of smaller micro goals.

Marketing will definitely impact your traffic and whether or not that will increase. By boosting your marketing efforts, you're getting your business in front of more potential buyers. Micro goals could include:

  • Generate content for a website
  • Building out a website
  • Creating a blog post once a month
  • Creating a Facebook and Instagram account
  • Develop and present offers to each person who visits the website. **Pro tip, track your offers. By seeing who is redeeming offers when and from where can give you a lot of business insights. See how here. (Link to a breakdown of tracking coupon offers.)
  • Post fun and interactive offers on social media to drive people into your FEC. Encourage people to share the content- this will help the word spread more.
  • Post flyers around local announcement boards to generate a traditional presence.
3. Strategy to Win (The Buying Cycle)

Understanding the Top 3 Strategies for Marketing Your FEC can set you apart from the competition, and help your FEC increase revenue. No matter what you're selling, proactively taking the journey converting an Unknown potential buyer, a Buyer who Buys More can make or break your business. FECs that follow the Top 3 Strategies for Marketing FECs can see immediate results in their business.

The three strategies of taking the:

1. Unknown potential buyer to Known potential buyer

If a potential buyer is Unknown to your FEC, turn them into a Known potential buyer. Unknown potential buyers show interest in your FEC, but you don't know that they are there. If you see a potential buyer that is Unknown to your business  visiting your website, one tactic you can use to make them a Known potential buyer, is to add a form that pops-up to capture their name, contact information, interests, and timelines. As soon as you gain that information, that potential buyer transitions into a Known potential buyer.

2. Known potential buyer to Buyer

Now that your customer is Known to the business,  you can turn them into a Buyer. By having a way to contact a potential customer, and knowing what they show interest in, you can tailor your marketing to be relevant and timely to that potential buyer, increasing the likelihood of them buying from your FEC. Don't forget to give them an offer!

3. Buyer to Buy More

Once you convert a potential buyer into a Buyer, you can continue your presence with the customer, and get them to Buy More. Continue sending them offers based on their interests. Build your loyalty with that customer and continue sending content that is relevant to them. You'll see customers returning to your FEC!

4. Make Your Content Tell The Story

Content is really anything. Businesses commonly send content through email, social media, newsletters, traditional media (flyers, newspapers, billboards), and any form of communication. When marketing your FEC, it is crucial that you create content to put in front of your potential/loyal customers. The more relevant and personal your content is, the higher chance those consuming your content will buy into it.

Remember that your content should reflect your business purpose and brand identity. Your content should reflect the brand's story whether it be through written content, graphics, videos, etc. Keeping a consistent voice and brand identity will help increase brand awareness. Take the potential buyer on a journey. Allow them to gain insight on your business, who you are, where you're coming from, what you have to offer them, and where you can go together.

What should my content have?

Your content needs to have relevance.

If your content is not relevant to your FEC, or your customer, why bother consuming it? By collecting customer information about their interests and timelines, and then using that information in your SMS, your emails, and your phone calls with buyers, your FEC can direct content that is more relevant than ever to your potential and existing customers. Having relevant content can keep your marketing practices current with what your target audience is looking for.

Relevant content makes the clients feel like we remember every detail.

Brook puts notes in her customer database on what type of parties they've had and the family's children ages. 90 percent of the people who book parties with us are people who have either been to a party or already had a party with us. When somebody comes back to me for a second party it gives us a bit of information so we remember every client that walks through the door. I love the idea that I don't have to worry. Brook can send relevant content in a timely fashion to the families that continue to visit her FEC, making them feel special.

If your content is being put out on social media, make sure you promote and share the winning content. Again, if it is not relevant to your audience, why would they pay attention? Optimize your social media by researching hashtags. Hashtags are a search tool on social media, and many platforms, especially LinkedIn, will tell you how many people follow that hashtag. The more followers are engaged, the more likely your content will be seen.

Your content should always have an offer.

What can you do for your customer, and how will they benefit? Just about every human being in the world thinks, Whats in it for me? Offers can come in the form of coupons or a service. A coupon might look like a $10 off your first treatment. Or even, Im happy to send you more information on that, how does that sound? Your offers have to make the benefits or whats in it for me? clear to the buyer. When you present an offer that a consumer sees as of value to them, the chances they transition to a buyer increases.

Jared collects data on his clients interests, timelines, and contact information. Jared decides he wants to get more clients back in his FEC during the holiday season. He decides to send out an offer. Jared sends an email to his customers for a Cyber Monday Special.

Examples of offers:

  • Your favorite restaurant sends you an email with an offer for a free appetizer.
  • A local retail store sends its customers a coupon for 20% off their next purchase.
  • You visit a website for a retailer, a screen shows up offering you $10 off your purchase if you provide your email to continue getting offers.
  • You call the local landscaping company inquiring about pricing. The staff member answers your questions, gives you pricing verbally, and offers to send you more information through your email.

Each of the above examples have an offer that will benefit the customer and get them to continue a conversation with the business and buy more. You FEC can run similar promotions to get more customers in the door, and to continue buying from your FEC.

Intelligent content will give your customers a personalized experience curated specifically for them.

Intelligent content is content that is in the right place at the right time. For example: my gym has people that want to lose weight and people that want to bulk up and gain weight. I want my newsletter to reflect that specific potential members goals. By sending a newsletter with content specific to that potential members weight/fitness goals, they are more likely to secure a membership with my gym. The easiest way to generate relevant, intelligent content is to use a cost effective customer experience software.

Proactively analyze the effect of your content.

Keep track of how your content is performing. Is anyone reacting to it? Are ads being clicked? How are your conversions fluctuating after making change A or B? By asking these questions in the moment, you are proactively assessing your marketing efforts. This will help you find out what content is working faster, so you can continue using those strategies. Don't pay the consequences with money out of your own pocket!

5. How-to evolve your website, without getting rid of your old one

Your website is your new, digital front door. Nowadays its most people's first experience with your brand and your facility. When people land on your website, think of it as they are walking through the front door of your FEC. Your site needs to be as exciting, full of discoveries, and as interesting as walking into your physical door.

How-to evolve your website

Inter-activity is everything in a modern website. People want to be engaged in simple, easy to find content. Modernizing your website can be simple, here are a few simple ways to update your website, without completely starting over:

  • Add easy to find call to actions that encourage visitors to contact your business
  • Add (the good kind of) pop-ups that encourage visitors to utilize an offers
  • Implement an easy website navigation bar at the top of your site
  • Ensure your site is mobile-friendly for visitors using tablets, smartphones, etc.
  • Use clear, up to date images and text that speak to your brand

Website are themselves evolved now that you can mix and match components from different companies whether you have

  • Wordpress
  • Square space
  • Wix

So you are (thankfully) no longer restrained by what your web company offers. Now you can mix in features & technologies from many other vendors. This is a beautiful thing.

6. Why worry about testimonials and reviews?

91% of an FECs target audience researches and trusts online reviews of products and services.

When consumers are looking at a new product or service, especially virtually, they are going to look at the reviews and testimonials. Testimonials weave the effectiveness of word-of-mouth marketing into your digital efforts. Taking reviews and testimonials into account helps you stay ahead of your customers. By analyzing their emotions and reactions to different products and services, you can alter future marketing efforts to better perform.

Consumers don't always trust advertisements. If you have a testimonial that is sincere, positive, and reflective of your products and services, posting testimonials onto your digital platforms will help potential buyers who are unsure gain confidence in their purchasing decisions. Building up multiple positive testimonials on your website will increase confidence in consumers. 20% of consumers who say they trust in testimonials, believe testimonials that are backed by several similar reviews. Positive reviews and testimonials can be found on several marketing campaigns. Especially in the beauty industry. People trust other peoples opinions on products and services.

Businesses that produce med-high decision purchase products see a higher conversion rate, faster, if they have reviews attached to them.

Its very easy to get the customer testimonials. There are free automated systems that will contact the people who have physically visited your FEC over the last 30 days, and ask for their testimonials. These testimonials will instantly be captured in your media library and you can use it in your emails, texts, website, etc.

How negative reviews affect your business

82% of consumers seek out negative reviews when researching a business. Negative reviews of your business are inevitable. Everyone has that one customer that will leave thinking their experience was negative. Negative reviews can lower your Google ranking, hurt trust, and make it difficult to rebuild a tainted image. Combat negative reviews by using them to better your business. You can even use them in your marketing! Show growth in your FEC by listening to those customers and making positive changes to your business. You can even respond to some of those negative reviews to show you care.  

Testimonials and reviews can be written and/or audiovisual.

Should I respond to reviews?

Yes! Responding to reviews shows that you are active and present in your business and builds your awareness of the responses your FEC is receiving. This helps you make improvements in your FEC products and services. Responding to the consumers who may have had a negative experience can help you turn those reviews into a positive one. Making them feel heard and offering a reparation will help change their perception of the FEC, to a positive one.

7. Who should you be talking to?

What do you think your target audience is? If your answer is everybody, well, no.

Narrowing down your target audience will help make you successful in the end. Knowing who you are reaching out to with content and offers helps your family entertainment center understand who exactly you're having a conversation with. Without a defined target audience, your FEC marketing efforts will not have as large of an impact.

How to identify your target audience:

  • Build a customer database
  • Record information like age, location, interests, and spending timeline
  • For a FEC, record ages of the family members, this will help create content made specifically for different members of the family
  • Who makes the spending decisions in your target audience? Could be head of household?
  • Who spends the most time at my FEC?
  • Who should not spend time at my FEC?
  • Who is visiting the competition?

Record this information through digital forms, either in person or when potential buyers visit your website. Your FEC has to know who they are marketing to, and send their content to the right people. If you have a family of five, and the dad is booking all of the visits, generate content that will get his attention. Maybe you have younger customers that cant afford an extravagant event, so send them offers on deals and exclusive pricing! They'll eat it up.

8. Strategically placing marketing efforts

What good is marketing your FEC if you are not putting your content in the right places. Your FEC has to market to that audience in the correct places. What social media platforms should you be present on? What age group should you focus on?

Pros to marketing on Facebook

Facebook is easily recognizable as one of the largest social media platforms in the United States. But who is using it? According to PEW Research Center, 69% of adults (18+ years old) in the United States utilize Facebook. Facebooks largest age group users range from ages 2549. The average age for new mothers in the U.S. is 26 yrs, steadily increasing. For new fathers, it is closer to 30 yrs. This means Facebooks largest audience group demographic includes parents. For FECs, this means Facebook would be a useful advertising platform.

Marketing your FEC on Facebook can include:

  • A Facebook Business page
    • Post relevant content/offers, newsworthy stories, to various age groups that largely use Facebook
  • Creating Facebook Ads that target demographics in the family age-range

Cons to marketing on Facebook

On Facebook, your audience is limited to users on Facebook. There are less opportunities for organic search, and it can cost (depending on Facebook Ad usage).

Pros to marketing on Instagram

If you decide to advertise on Instagram, it is seen as an eye-catching way to get in front of your target audience. Since Facebook owns Instagram, there are some overlaps in Ad marketing, especially with target audiences, and unique ad formats.

Marketing your FEC on Instagram can include:

  • A business Instagram account/page
    • Post relevant content/offers for a younger target audience (teens/young adults)
    • A consistently used hashtag associated with your FEC, and other hashtags used in the area (city hashtag, industry hashtag, etc.).
  • Announcements for deals, offers, closures, reviews, and so much more!
  • Create Ads on your own account, or that will have a higher reach. Do more research on whether your target audience is on Instagram, and if the investment is worth it to your FEC.

Cons to marketing on Instagram

If you're thinking about marketing your FEC on Instagram, you might want to think again. Although Facebook owns Instagram, most users range from 1824 years of age. Instagram may be a useful way to target the younger demographic, but remember where your business ranks in cost of products/services. Who is making that purchasing decision in the household? You can market to a younger demographic events/services for teen/young adult activities. An FEC will have a higher ROI on a platform like Facebook, where there are more decision-making age users.  According to PEW Research Center, Instagram is one of the top 3 social platforms adults utilize. Although their biggest demographic is 1824 years of age, there are still users in the family age group. The smaller user platform limits audience reach. Instagram is also photo heavy, and the written content is often overlooked.

Pros of using Twitter

Twitter is easy to post written content to, with limited characters. You can choose to share graphics and utilize hashtags, similar to LinkedIn.

Marketing your FEC on Twitter can include:

  • An account dedicated to your FEC
  • Using a hashtag (similar to Instagram) that is consistently used in posts related to your FEC. Use local hashtags, industry hashtags, and fun hashtags.
  • Written content communicating announcements (deals, photos/videos, closures, newsworthy content)

Cons of using Twitter

Only 22% of adults use Twitter. Being one of the lesser used social platforms, Twitter is probably not the best place to market your FEC. Twitter allows users to like and retweet that they deem deserves so. However, this is actually more difficult than it sounds. Twitter has fewer users than Instagram, and is often hard to gain traction on if you are a lesser known entity. Twitter is also a magnet for negative reviews and comments.

Pros of using Google Ads

For many users, Google is the go-to search engine tool. According to CNBC Google owns roughly 70% of the search ad market. Amazon is the second largest owner, coming in at almost 13%.

Creating a website for your FEC, and properly marketing on Google can make huge strides in your marketing game.  Google Ads are a faster alternative to getting your FEC in front of potential buyers browsing for fun in your area. Google Ads makes it possible to target, and retarget the audiences searching those keywords associated with your FEC. Not to mention, you're able to track how effective your Ads are, and build out different types of Ads. Google Ads does cost money, but you are able to control the budget and amount spent on the campaign.

Cons of Google Ads

Ad blockers can defeat your purpose of using Google Ads. Google Ads also can be time consuming to learn and implement.

Cons of Groupon

Groupon is a great platform for families looking for deals. Brands can gain awareness by using sites like Groupon, but is it really worth it? Long story short, not really. Unless you have room in your budget to lose money. From what businesses tell us:

A restaurant decides to put a coupon on Groupon to get potential buyers to buy chicken wings. The restaurant gives the offer Get 50% off your first order of a family size bucket of chicken wings. Right in this offer, the company is already slashing their profit in half. Groupon isn't free either. Your chicken wings are already discounted 50%. Groupon is going to take half (50%) of the profits you make off of the deal you put out on their platform. This leaves the restaurant with 25% of the proceeds on that bucket of chicken wings. So at the end of the day, they lost 75% of the chicken wing bucket value. They lost a huge amount of money on this, and the odds those customers will return is not very high.

Pros to using Groupon

Groupon would make sense in this situation if that restaurant had a crazy deal from their chicken wing provider. Say they go each chicken wing for $0.50, and they normally pay $1. So that $25 value bucket that normally costs them around $12 to put together, is only costing the restaurant $6. So with that 50% off your first order of a family size bucket of chicken wings would cost you $14.50. Groupon takes their 50%, and $7.25 is left for the restaurant. Since they only spend $6 on the bucket, they make a profit of $1.25. Still not great, but there is a profit.

9. Smart and easy ways to increase your FEC's ranking?

When potential customers are Googling your FEC, where are you ranking? Contrary to belief, you don't have to spend a huge marketing budget on ads to get your FEC in front of people (although it does help the process go faster).

  • Start by typing in relevant keywords to your FEC
    • FEC near me
    • Best place to have a birthday party near me
    • Things to do in city, state
  • See if your website is ranked, and on what page of Google
    • Google ranks the quality of Google Ads on the quality of your landing page, so make sure your landing page is quality
  • Another helpful tip- scroll to the bottom of the page. Are there Searches related to? This can help you find other useful keywords to use in your content.
  • If you're using Google Ads, there is a tool keyword planner you can insert the keywords and Google Ads will tell you the likelihood of clicks and impressions you will get. Including locations and devices.
  • Encourage consumers to post and provide reviews of your business to Google. The more stars you earn on Google, the higher you will rank when consumers search something relating to your business and keywords.

Google feeds off of content. They are constantly changing what websites rank. Here's a helpful video explaining the magic behind SEO ranking.

After building a list of keywords for your FEC, use them in your ads and content. This will help boost your Google ranking and where your Ads will appear. A great way to keep track of keywords is to document them in a spreadsheet. Make sure to highlight which keywords are generating more traction, whether that be through search, or ads!

If you're stuck on keywords, you can use tools like Spyfu to see what keywords competing FECs are using.

10. Invest your marketing budget wisely

You work hard for your money. You want your FEC to be the most fun place in town, but you also want it to be profitable. You don't have millions of dollars to spend on marketing efforts like Disney World, nor should you! Marketing can be inexpensive.

Free marketing practices

There are actually ways you can market, for FREE. By using social media platforms, you can post content without cost. Using hashtags, video content, newsletters, blogs, and implementing keywords into your content, your marketing efforts wont cost a dime.

Cost effective marketing

If you want to make a more immediate impact, then paying for advertisements on the platforms you choose to market your FEC will definitely get you ahead. Realistically, to really light a fire under your marketing efforts, it will require dedicated resources (time, personnel, money). But who says it needs to be expensive? Most advertisement platforms will allow you to set a budget, and control what is coming out of your pocket. If you're going to spend money, don't waste it on a software that is going to bleed your budget dry. Look into Customer Experience Software that will not only make you stand out from competitors, but put you on a whole other level.

Check this video out on budgeting your marketing

11. Revenue

Measuring return on investment is how your FEC will know if the marketing efforts are having a positive impact on the business. But how do we measure the monetary value of your marketing? What offers did you present to customers?

How to measure ROI

If you are using offers in the form of a coupon, tracking redeemable coupons will come in handy when measuring ROI. For example: Your FEC runs a promotion for $50 off when you book a party for 15 people, Monday-Thursday. A two-hour party for 15 costs $500. After tracking the usage of the $50 promotion, you see the offer was applied to 10 parties. Lets do some math.

$500 party - $50 promo = $450/party

$450/party X 10 bookings= $4500 ROI and more foot traffic during the week

Coupon tracking is one of the easiest ways to measure your ROI. Especially when you have a Customer Experience Software that can do the math and tracking for you. However, you can easily track this yourself by simply counting how many purchases were made using that coupon.

ROIs are trackable through putting a value on something as simple as a phone call or text message. If your FEC utilizes SMS Text Messaging a measurement of ROI can be seen. If you're sending an offer to a customer through SMS, and they respond to gain more information and eventually book an event with your FEC, that text messaging had an ROI worth that event booking price. Relating to the event above, if the potential buyer you are SMSing books an event on the weekend, that text conversation was worth $600 for a weekend booking. A text message that produces a $600 ROI? How amazing is that?!

Lets say your FEC has a call to action on your website to call your business. A customer clicks the call button and books a party for 30 people on a Friday . That call to action to phone call has an ROI of $1,000!!!

Platforms like LinkedIn and Google allow users to set a value for conversions on their advertising platforms. Automated platforms like these directly shows you the monetary return the conversions are worth.. Conversion values are used to help business owners place a monetary figure on clicks, views, shares, etc.

12. Bringing it all together with Customer Experience Software

Whew there's a lot to do right? Right. Well relax and take a deep breath. There are tool kits out now that are built to help you create and manage a lot of what we've covered. The ultimate step you can take to level up your marketing game is to invest in a Customer Experience Software. You're busy running your FEC! You don't have a lot of time to spend on marketing your FEC. What if we told you its possible to have your youngest staff member implement all of the steps above, in a matter of minutes. Yes, its really that easy.

More revenue, less investments

Your business invests more than just money. It invests time, people, room for error, passion, and more! Customer Experience Softwares help businesses to create a positive customer experience using less time, money, people and errors. CRMs help marketers direct their messages directly to their target audience with the same passion you have in your business. CRMs also keep track of your customer database, your ROIs, and if you're using a software like Shopwindow, it does so much more.

Shopwindow is a Customer Experience Software that helps your business influence and manage potential buyers perceptions in a way for you to convert them into buyers or members. Find out how.


Your job is to have and provide fun at your Family Entertainment Center. Marketing your FEC with the right tools and practices will put you at the top of every familys fun day out list. Remember throughout every step to think about your branding and its purpose. What do you want to convey to your audience? Who is your audience? Spend your money wisely, and make sure you are getting a positive ROI. Marketing is a fundamental driver in revenue. How you market determines how well your business will perform.

Customers Who Love Shopwindow

There's a lot of noise about marketing products out there, but nobody has quotes like this:

Shopwindows allows us to be visually stimulating but succinct. It just made it feel like one marketing tool that had the same look because we could adapt it to make it appear like we own Shopwindow in a way.
As You Wish Parties
Shopwindowing 5 years
Shopwindow is mission-critical to my business
Family Entertainment Center
Shopwindowing 8 years