New bars need a lot of marketing effort to get them competing favourably with the old ones, or even surpass them. Marketing is the process of promoting your bar to your intended audience, and effective bar marketing attracts customers and encourages brand loyalty.
How to Market a Bar in 5 Steps
Here are the five steps to follow when marketing your bar:
1. Identify Your Target Market
Your bar’s target market is the ideal group of consumers you’re trying to attract. To identify your market, consider the characteristics of your local population, preferred clients, and foot traffic near your location.
The ways to identify your target market include:
Demographic Data: Demographic data are information about the physical characteristics of your target market. Relevant characteristics include age, gender, education, occupation, and income.
Psychographic Data: Psychographics are the mental characteristics of your customers and preferred clientele. This includes behaviour and beliefs like personality, hobbies, style, and humour.
Once you collect demographic and psychographic data, use the information to create a client profile that describes your bar’s ideal clientele. From there, you’ll be able to determine the best products, marketing, and promotions to reach those customers.
2. Create Your Bar Culture
Your culture is the type of experience you create at your bar and should be based on the customers you’re targeting. Bar promotions are the methods used to attract those customers. These include; events and giveaways. To do this:
Define Your Bar Experience
What kind of bar experience are you creating—a high-end wine bar with a lounge atmosphere, a noisy sports bar with big screens, or a dive bar with loud music?
It is possible for your own bar experience to blend between different types depending on your style and the patrons you want to attract.
Schedule Regular Bar Promotions
Bar promotions include events, discounts, and theme nights that help define your culture and attract your ideal customer. Your bar’s promotions should complement the culture and clientele.
3. Create an Online Presence
Online presence is key to your bar’s success. Your bar’s online presence is a primary way people will discover, visit, and review your bar. Create profiles on Google, Facebook, Instagram, and Yelp to start developing your online presence by targeting your ideal customer and using the platforms to announce bar events and promotions and encourage the right kind of people to visit and review your bar.
Do the following when creating an online presence:
Design an Informative Website
Your bar’s website doesn’t have to be complex, but it should include relevant information like location, hours, and events.
Get on Google My Business
Sign up for Google My Business in order to get your bar listed on Google’s extensive business directory and in maps listings. Listing your bar on Google My Business helps people locate your bar.
Create Your Facebook Business Page
Create a Facebook Business Page for your bar to gain visibility and online exposure and share details about your location, hours, and promotions. Facebook pages are great because they give you more significant presence, additional reviews, and social buzz.
Sign Up for Yelp
Yelp is the foremost review site online, with over 140 million visitors each month and more than 148 million reviews posted. Because Yelp is such an influential review site, you should create a business profile and keep it updated. Then, ask customers to leave reviews to improve word-of-mouth advertising and increase new business.
Actively Monitor Online Reviews
Each of the platforms described above allows customers to leave reviews of your bar—star ratings with a description of the customer’s experience. These online reviews are critical because they’ll either encourage or prevent future customers from visiting your bar. You should read these reviews and make any necessary adaptations to your bar culture or promotions.
4. Encourage Word-of-Mouth Marketing
Word-of-mouth marketing involves encouraging people to recommend your bar to their friends and acquaintances, but make sure you already have an online presence in case people look you up. Word-of-mouth can be your number one source of customers, but it’s only as effective as your bar is appealing. Harness your bar’s culture and promotions to establish your identity as the music bar, sports bar, or karaoke bar in your area, and word-of-mouth will spread like crazy.
About 88 percent of customers place the highest level of trust in recommendations from friends, and word-of-mouth impressions drive five times more sales than paid media.
Here are some of the ways you can encourage word-of-mouth marketing:
Give Away Bar Merchandise: Bar merchandise includes items like branded shot glasses, koozies, T-shirts, and hats. Give away merchandise as prizes during promotions, as a reward for loyal customers, or to entice customers into your bar on slow nights.
Craft Unique Experiences: The greater emphasis you put on having a good time, the more your bar will benefit from word-of-mouth marketing.
Offer Discounts: Offering discounts on drinks or food is a surefire way to spread the word about your bar.
Engage Employees: Word-of-mouth marketing is all about getting other people to market your bar for you. The best people for this task is your own team members.
Network: Be friendly with your customers and employees, and you should foster relationships with other bar owners in your area.
Sponsor Local Sports & Rec Teams: Sponsoring a local sports team can involve providing branded jerseys, T-shirts, and other swag to a local intramural team as a way to advertise your bar.
5. Develop a Social Media Strategy
Your social media strategy is the ongoing promotion of your bar through social channels. Use social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram to promote events, share drink specials, and engage potential customers. A social media presence gets your bar in front of the community, helping old customers remember you and new customers discover you.
The two most effective ways to use social media for marketing your bar include:
Communicate Using Facebook
The majority of American adults are on Facebook, so it’s likely your bar’s target customers are already on the platform.
There are four specific actions you should take once you claim your Facebook Business Page:
• Post regularly
• Respond to messages
• Monitor reviews
• Pay for advertising and boosts
Share Pictures on Instagram
Instagram allows you to advertise your bar’s drinks, events, and promotions through enticing photos and optimised hashtags. Publish a post on Instagram at least once a day and post three to ten Instagram stories to keep engagement high. Include geotags and popular hashtags in your posts and stories to increase your bar’s exposure.
In addition to Facebook and Instagram, your bar can benefit from other social media platforms like Twitter, Pinterest, and Snapchat. As you grow your social media presence, experiment with other platforms to see what works best for your community and target market. Just remember it’s important to first focus on the outlets that give you the most significant return on investment.
10 Bar Promotion Ideas
Bar promotions can go beyond traditional methods by infusing your marketing scheme with potentially viral and attention-grabbing ideas.
Here are 10 creative ideas to get you started:
1. Pay-your-parking ticket night: Boost the mood and grow business by offering to pay off the parking ticket of anyone who brings in an unpaid parking ticket dated within the last week.
2. Celebrate a totally random event: Pick a night to celebrate a random event, for example, Hottest Day in May (with discounted margaritas)
3. Offer gift cards for game winners.
5. Host events.
6. Flip-a-Coin penny night: When customers order a beer on tap, they get to flip a penny. Heads, the drink costs a penny; tails, they pay full price.
7. Sponsor Release Parties: Sponsor a local band or artist who is releasing a new album. The more buzz you and the band generate around the album release, the more visitors your bar will be able to welcome.
8. Run bar rallies for hometown teams: To generate team goodwill, offer free drinks if the hometown team wins by more than 10 points or if everyone’s favourite home team player sinks a three-pointer in the fourth quarter.
9. Purchase custom mugs for super customers: Once a customer purchases their one-hundredth drink, it’s time to celebrate. Order a custom engraved cup with the customer’s name on it.
10. Host Bar Olympics: Instead of the drone of games in the background, pump it up to Bar Olympics—a full spread of bar games from beer pong to billiards.
In addition to maximising your bar’s online and social media presence, publish your own monthly newsletter to promote bar events, live music, and other local businesses.
Use this as a way to promote your bar while building a positive reputation in the local community.