The Escape Game's brilliant email strategy

McKenzie Gregory


Ever wanted to solve million dollar heists, decode secret service missions, or navigate through prison passageways? Turns out, you can! But here’s the catch: You only have an hour to complete your mission.

The “escape room” phenomenon is only about 10 years old, but it’s already taken off as a new frontier for gaming. Here’s the basic premise: Players are locked in an elaborately constructed room. Then, they have to find clues and solve a series of puzzles to free themselves before time runs out. It’s interactive and team-building – not to mention a ton of fun – which has led to many different versions popping up around the world. But one of the first American takes, The Escape Game, continues to dominate the industry with six locations in cities across the U.S.

Such rapid growth means having to find ways to scale their business – and that extends to their email marketing efforts. Here’s how working with Emma has helped The Escape Game get more strategic about using email to compel first-time visitors to make their escape again and again.


Getting on board with Emma

A few years after the brand was first conceived, the time came for The Escape Game’s team to find a new email marketing provider.

“We realized we had outgrown our old platform,” said Max Magura, marketing coordinator at The Escape Game. “I wanted to find a provider that would offer some sort of consultation on better ways to reach our audience, teach us how to improve our design and implement automation – basically, work with us to move beyond what we were already doing and get smarter about email."

After shopping around, Max landed on Emma.

"We were looking for an upgraded experience,” he said. "And one of the things that drew me to Emma was that ability to have face-to-face, personal interactions.”



A BIG transformation in a short time

Soon after getting started, Max began to work one-on-one with Elizabeth Duffey, Senior Email Specialist at Emma, to fine-tune The Escape Game’s email strategy. A couple of their first projects?


New templates

Elizabeth connected Max with David Saunders, a member of Emma’s Design Services Team, to begin conceptualizing new templates for each of The Escape Game's cities. Then, David got to work. Not only do the final templates look amazing – they help create a more cohesive through-line from their brick-and-mortar locations to the inbox.

“Each template has hard-coded information about that city: Links to our social channels, paths to the proper pages on our website, booking information, phone numbers – you name it,” said Elizabeth.

“It’s really helped make our individual subscriber’s experience more targeted and relevant,” said Max.

New subscribers who sign up via their website receive these personalized emails, and they’ve generated a staggering 68% open rate on average!


Before implementing automation, The Escape Game would only reach out to subscribers when they added a new game or had a special offer to promote. But since one of their primary business objectives is to drive repeat bookings, Elizabeth had an idea to help Max do just that.

“We automated a follow-up email that reaches new visitors within five days of them playing their last game,” said Max. “The header contains an image of the location they just visited, and the email offers them a discount code to play again and suggests other games they might enjoy. That way, we’re able to capture first-time visitors and convince them to come back when the excitement of their experience is still fresh in their mind."



The automated email is already producing some seriously impressive results: Not only does it generate a 38% open rate,  but in just three months since activating the workflow, they’ve seen over 200 repeat bookings!

A/B Content Testing

Another way The Escape Game entices people to come back and play again? A/B Content Testing. Recently, their team has been using testing to see what types of calls to action work best in their follow-up emails. In this test, for instance, they experimented with CTA copy to see what would drive more conversions:

As you can see, the more straightforward “Book Now” (13.89% click rate) tested better than the witty “Blast off!” (8.33% click rate). Their takeaway? “I guess the call to action button isn’t the place to get cute,” said Max.



Help whenever they need it

Working with our Services Team – plus quick and easy access to account support – has been one of Max’s favorite parts of his Emma experience.

"Anytime I want to implement a new strategy, I’m able to sit down one-on-one with Elizabeth, who then has an entire team of designers and coders to help. On the flip side, if I have a more basic question about my account, I can get in touch with your Support Team on chat. Every time I’ve used it, someone has answered my question within 5-10 minutes, they’re extremely friendly, and my problem always has a clear resolution,” he said.

"It’s that dual experience of being able to immediately resolve the small issues and also have a full team of strategists, designers, coders behind me help make our bigger dreams a reality.”

Elizabeth was quick to note that working with Max has been a true partnership.

“The Escape Game is a super savvy brand, and the work I do with Max is very much a back-and-forth, 50/50 relationship. It’s so cool to get to help such a smart team get even smarter about their email marketing,” she said.



What’s next?

Max already has big plans for amping up The Escape Game's email marketing in 2017.

“Right now, we’re setting up a new automated workflow that includes dynamic content: When someone plays one of our games, they’ll get an email about how that specific game was conceptualized, designed, and created.”



"When people are in our escape rooms, they get so taken aback,” he said. “It really feels like stepping into another world, whether it’s a forest in our Gold Rush game or a spaceship in Mission: Mars. That’s one of the things that impresses people most about their experience, so we’re working on incorporating that feeling and the magic behind it in our content marketing.”

That emphasis on providing value and catering to subscriber interests shows just how savvy The Escape Game’s team has become, and we can’t wait to see how these emails perform!



Want to learn more about The Escape Game? Visit their website here.


About the Author

McKenzie Gregory

McKenzie Gregory is a senior content manager on Emma’s marketing team. A Nashville native, she can be found covering all things email on the Emma blog, debating hyphenation rules, and watching obscene amounts of Netflix without a trace of shame.

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