Bar promotion and marketing can satisfy a range of goals, and the strategy you use to advertise your watering hole depends on what you’re trying to achieve. At the end of the day, you’re trying to increase your bottom line. But how?
Are you trying to attract new customers? Turn occasional patrons into regular visitors? Extend the amount of time customers spend in your venue? Increase the amount of money patrons spend in one visit? All of these options are legitimate ways to increase profit.
Depending on what outcome you’re aiming for, there’s great bar promotion ideas to achieve just that.
Happy hours are one of the most tried and tested bar promotion ideas. Not only do they bring more people through the doors, they bring them through at a shoulder time where, without the promotion, there would be few people in the venue.
There are multiple ways to run a happy hour, but one of the most effective ones is to encourage more people through the door with group specials and discounts. For example, focus on the after work crowd. Getting a bunch of colleagues to come in is going to create more revenue than if one lonely bar fly comes in. So, create a “cheese platter and bottle of wine for you and your colleagues” special rather than a “cheap pints of lager” special.
People who come in for happy hour are more likely to stay on after happy hour if you’ve got something to keep them there. Live entertainment, a quiz night, themed music – anything to keep your audience interested. They’re then going to spend more money on full-priced drinks after happy hour has ended. So, instead of just promoting your happy hour, promote your entertainment instead. Let people know what your bar is offering that they won’t find anywhere else.
The old “throw your business card in the bowl for a chance to win a drink tab for your workplace” is always a fruitful bar promotion idea. Give a bunch of thirsty office workers some free drinks on a Friday night and you’ll have them eating out the palm of your hand forever (or, drinking your beverages, as the case may be).
Advertise all of your events and special promotion at your bar using table top signs, posters, or chalkboards. If your patrons are having a good time at your bar tonight, they’ll come back again if they know they’re guaranteed another great night. Converting patrons into regular customers is not only great for your bottom line, it’s great organic advertising for your bar. That regular customer is going to bring more friends and spread the message of your bar via word of mouth.
Competitions where patrons can influence the menu are always a great way to foster a sense of community among your patrons. People love having a drink named after them – it makes them feel like they’re involved.
Bad Frankie in Melbourne, Australia, nailed this bar promotion method with their Jaffle Making Competition. The bar offers boutique spirits and jaffles, and ran a competition where patrons could enter their own jaffle idea into a social media based competition. The jaffle which won the most votes on social media was added to Bad Frankie menu.
This was a very clever and unique bar promotion tactic. Best of all is the lack of effort required on the bar’s part. The punters did all of the heavy lifting by promoting it and pushing for votes on their own social media pages. It was the perfect combination of social proof and user generated content for Bad Frankie.
Consider running a similar promotion for your own bar. Whether it’s allowing patrons to create the next cocktail or name the next bar snack, getting them involved is a great way to foster loyalty and turn customers into ambassadors for your brand.
So, adopt any of these bar promotion ideas to achieve the desired marketing result.
Foster loyalty with a competition that gets the patrons involved. Offer a happy hour that targets groups rather than individuals to get more people through your doors. Hosting your happy hour at a quieter time boosts business in the shoulder time slots, and offering some entertainment after happy hour ends gives punters a reason to stay and spend more money. Whichever way you do it, you’re bound to increase your bottom line.