Today the family and I went to an awesome corn maze at the Stony Hill Farm Market in Chester NJ. The farm which we pass multiple times per week has a corn maze that rivals anything you might see at an amusement park. You pay at the typical farm stand but then walk into a large shed to watch a video on how the maze works, how the scavenger hunt works, and then rules about using the maze (don't pick the corn).
The entire maze was planted that way from the very beginning and there are stations with clues and hints for the question scavenger hunt. The entire maze is lined with different color ribbons so you have some idea where you are and then there are always lookout bridges if you can find them. We spent about 80 minutes (no typo) in there and generally had a good time but if you go you should bring food and drink because there are no benches in there even though there should be. After we finished the maze, there was food, more mini mazes, a gem dig, plus a buffalo and the authentic farm stand which has some of the best baked goods around; as I write this I'm eating my second slice of apple walnut pie.
Just as we were leaving I saw a postcard with their URL www.cornmaze.com and I thought wow, what a brilliant URL. This farm has someone helping them with their internet strategy because if they didn't do much else, that URL will help them with organic search results. Then I also thought to myself that unlike other farms that have a corn maze, Stony Hill is a corn maze with a farm attached to it. How disappointed I was when I went online.
That URL is a repository of corn maze locations for farms that I guess participate with the host's (bot Stony Hill) system for building mazes. The site itself looks and feels like it was built in 1995 and rivals my own crappy build for my corporate site (yes a refresh is coming). The site is also national which I guess serves it purpose, but unless you plan on traveling from state to state going through mazes it is a waste of time. So, I keep thinking there has to be a better way right?
OLD SCHOOL FACELIFT #4 NJ CORN MAZES
- Get A New Website - OK this of course is easier said then done but cornmaze.com isn't helping them that much. If it becomes too cost prohibitive (I should know hence the refresh that is one year in the making on my own website) get together with other NJ corn maze farms to spread the costs around. Granted that is less of the national problem version but at least it is a little more local. What would I put on this website? Well besides #2 and #4 below, I'd use Google Maps to mark the farms with pictures and comments.
- Social Networks Is Where It Is At - No this is just not another post on social networks but this is a beautiful match up with a social activity and marketers that don't have much money for well marketing. Facebook, MySpace all have local networks that they can join and push messages out to. Plus, you can start a Facebook group of NJ Corn Maze Lovers. Allow people to upload photos and videos, post tips, and post ratings of their favorite mazes. Imagine the kind of word of mouth marketing that can provide? Figure out a way to let people post their times online that are verified at the location. They could create a YouTube channel to post timed videos...
- Advertise Online - Besides the obvious answer of using search, targeted buys using Facebook flyers as well as cheap local banner ads would work fine. Search is where I would do the bulk of the advertising because of the reach and frequency, but before I do that I'd take advantage of Google's local product. Nobody today is taking advantage of either one right now.
- Film The Building of The Maze - Since the corn maze seems to be the biggest part of Stony Hill, they should take pictures and videos of the maze construction every year and host it on their website. That would be a great way of keeping corn maze lovers engaged during the off-season. Perhaps have a contest to help pick next year's theme.
Anyway that's just a few quick thoughts and since I finished my second slice of pie, I'm ready to get on with the rest of my evening. If you are within a hour of Chester NJ next weekend you owe it to yourself to go the Stony Hill corn maze. Just make sure you bring food, drink, and good walking shoes.
Well it seems that someone is running Google ads for a corn maze as you may be able to see on the Google Ads on my site. Only problem is the folks that bought the ad forgot to geo-target them and had Google serve an ad for an Illinois Corn Maze to a NJ IP address.