Unless you’ve somehow found yourself holding a monopoly in a one bar town, as a bar owner you’ll face stiff and constant competition. In order to truly succeed you’ll need to be creative. You’ll need to use all of your marketing wiles to attract new customers and to keep your old ones. But truly good ideas can be hard to come by.
Fear not – while coming up with a unique bar promotion might be a difficult task, inspiration can be taken from other bars who have done fresh work in the past. Here are just six such ideas that you can make your very own.
1) Drown Your Parking Sorrows
Parking tickets are the bane of many a suburbanite’s existence. A night at the bar, however, can be one of the most fun aspects of city living. So why not take the sting out of one by using the other? A clever New York bar has offered its patrons a free drink if they show proof of an unpaid parking ticket from the last two weeks. Drowning your sorrows has never been cheaper.
2) Give Your Guests a Bit of Flair
Every man wants to be Tom Cruise in Cocktail. Every woman wants Tom Cruise in Cocktail. There’s a romanticism and desirability surrounding flair bartending that is hard to quantify. Thankfully you don’t have to quantify it – you just have to capitalise on it.
If you’ve got a talented bartender, set aside a night for them to give a masterclass on making a specific cocktail. All your patrons need to do is pay for the drink, and they get the lesson for free!
3) Host a Tournament
An organised tournament, be it weekly or monthly, is a great way to get your bar to become a destination for hordes of people, all looking to prove themselves (with the help of some nerve-calming drinks). Offer real prizes – bar credit or drinks are always a safe bet – and they will come.
Beer pong. Darts. Pool. Foosball. The list goes on and endlessly on. Choose a bar sport that attracts your ideal clientele – beer pong will quite obviously attract a different set to darts. Do you want the slow beer drinkers or the Jaeger bomb shooters? The choice is yours.
4) Flip a Coin
Simplicity is sometimes key. How about this for a no-brainer – your doorman/doorwoman has a coin in their hand. Someone shows a bit of interest in your bar. Your door person gives them an offer they can’t refuse: if they pick the coin flip correctly, their first drink is free. If they pick incorrectly, they pay full price. You’ll be shocked at how effective this strategy can be.
5) Give Sports Fans a Reason to Choose Your Bar
The big game is coming up. There are going to be innumerable revellers looking for good atmosphere and plentiful drinks to enjoy the event, and you’re looking for a slice of that pie.
One of the most effective options is to place a fun little bet with your customers. If the home team wins by a certain margin, you’re willing to give them an hour of free beers (or while stocks last). The key to this promotion is to make the bet unlikely, yet have it seem achievable. But don’t stress – if your bar happens to lose, you’ll more than likely make up the giveaways through the weight of drinks sold afterwards.
6) Have Your Finger on the Local Musical Pulse
Bars are built for live music. One of the ways you can prove your bar is the place to be seen is to become the go-to place for local music release parties. This marketing strategy relies on you having an active interest in the local music scene, but if you can identify up-and-coming musicians in your local area you can then invite them to release their new track at your establishment. This will attract not only their fans but also those who simply like some strumming in the background.
All of these ideas will be made more effective with the help of digital marketing, so having a strong social presence is a must. But over and above that, you simply need to be brave enough to have a go.
The hospitality industry is a competitive one. Fresh ideas are one of the best ways to rise above the bar noise.