For as long as there have been bars, there have been happy hours. It’s that sweet window of opportunity for patrons to nab a deal and for bars to increase sales. It’s a win-win situation.
The happy hour is one of the easiest ways for a business to attract customers to their watering hole. There’s many a take on the happy hour – from discounted drink prices, to special food offers, to exclusive happy hour menus – but at the end of the day they all serve to increase business.
Happy hours increase food and/or beverage sales during periods where there are usually less customers, such Tuesday nights, mid-afternoons, or late at night. They can also attract new patrons who wouldn’t have otherwise visited your establishment.
Once these patrons are through your doors the happy hour can boost your business by encouraging patrons to spend more money once happy hour has ended, turn once-off customers into repeat patrons, and increase awareness of your menu and other events you are hosting.
Happy hour marketing ideas can be as creative and varied as happy hours themselves. The more innovative and organic they are the more impactful they’ll be. People love something new and something fresh. Having cheap drinks for an hour and advertising this special through traditional mediums won’t have as great an impact as devising a new and fresh happy hour special and advertising it through social media.
If your happy hour and its marketing are creative enough you shouldn’t need to discount your product significantly to interest and attract customers. Come up with a special offer that your target audience would be interested it, then all you need to do is let them know about it.
Think about branding and what your establishment is about. Are you targeting the “foodie” market? Design a happy hour where you customers can order a matching food and drink pairing. Are you an edgy, on-point bar? Tap into the zeitgeist and focus your happy hour around the coolest new cocktails.
Now that you’ve got a happy hour to advertise, you can start promoting it. Advertising your happy hour should be a multi-pronged approach, with a combination of online and in-house efforts.
Social media is critical in this day and age. Advertising on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter is essential. Give it a little thought and your social media happy hour marketing can make extra impact. Post just before your happy hour. At the end of the day when people are thinking about knocking off and are scrolling through their feeds, seeing the ad for your happy hour may be all they need to convince them to grab their colleagues and head for a cheap pint at your pub.
As well as your online marketing you should advertise in-house as well. Even if patrons have missed happy hour, you want to let them know when it’s on so they don’t miss it tomorrow or next week. Table-top signs or posters (which can still be hung in the bathroom if your venue doesn’t have posters hanging on the walls) should clearly let customers know what your happy hours entail.
A bounce-back system is another way to market your happy hour. With a business card, a special coupon, or a receipt, customers can return during designated happy hour times and receive a discount or special offer. This type of promotion encourages customers to return during happy hour.
Partnering with associated groups, brands or individuals can be a great way to market your happy hour. Whether it’s a charity, a social club, influential local personalities, professional associates, or neighboring businesses, get them involved in your happy hour. This spreads the word of your happy hour and your venue through good old fashioned networking and word of mouth, as well as through others’ social media accounts.
A truly effective happy hour will be so irresistible that it promotes itself. Your happy hour marketing ideas need only get patrons through those doors once. If the happy hour itself is worth its salt, those patrons will become dedicated regulars.
Everyone loves that magical time frame where the bar, pub, or restaurant offers them an awesome deal. They just need to know about it.