I love scary movies.
Of all the summer blockbusters in theaters this summer, the one I most early anticipated was The Conjuring. When I finally got to the movie theatre – five minutes late and forced to sit in the neck-craning third row – I spent half the movie curled in a ball; heart racing, palms sweating and uncomfortably squirming as I peeked through my fingers ready to cover my eyes at a moment’s notice. Yet as soon as the credits rolled, I was grinning ear-to-ear, laughing at my own ridiculousness and confidently claiming I knew what would happen the whole time. It was only later that night in the solitude of my own room that visions of the movie had me clutching my comforter over my head for protection… And still, I love scary movies.
Why do we do this to ourselves?
Clearly there is something to learn from these cinematic geniuses who keep moviegoers like myself coming back for more bone chilling experiences every time. Here are three lessons from scary movies that you can apply to your content marketing campaign.
1) Never underestimate the element of surprise.
The collective audience gasp is one of the best moments in a scary movie. Just when your heart rate has slowed to a normal pace and you think you’ve got things figured out, someone appears in a window reflection or a door creaks without being touched. People like to be surprised. It keeps things interesting and makes you eager to know what comes next. A marketing campaign can take advantage of this by occasionally thinking outside of the box. Do something that you wouldn’t normally consider to keep your customer base intrigued. Although you’re trying to establish a brand that is consistent, distinct and reliable, it’s nice to mix things up and create a change of pace once in a while.
2) Make the audience feel involved.
Part of what makes horror movies scary is the idea that this could be happening to you. Things become much more terrifyingly tangible when they have the potential of affecting you personally. That’s why scary movies work to immerse their audiences in the story before hitting them with a scream-inducing, heart-racing climax at the end. The same goes for consumers. They want to be engaged; having a personal stake in a product or a company will motivate them to make a purchase. It makes the end result that much more fulfilling and satisfying. To do this, companies can benefit from employing interactive platforms that ask for greater customer involvement like contests or social media campaigns.
3) Make a lasting impression.
You know a scary movie is successful when people start buzzing about it as soon as the lights are raised in the theater. Later that night, they’ll still be thinking about the movie as they go to sleep, keeping the lights on. Similarly, you want your marketing platform to remain engrained in your customer’s mind. Establish your brand name as a worthwhile topic of conversation and design your strategy to be memorable. For example, a commercial jingle you can’t get out of your head or an emotional, thought-provoking campaign that tugs at their heart strings. Chances are, the more a customer has your product on their mind, the more positive an impact it will have on sales.
As long as you’ve got those three tips in mind, you can spare yourself the heart-attack and go see a rom-com instead.