According to Statista, there are more than 60,000 bars in the US. You’ve probably noticed new hotspots popping up in your city regularly. Whether they stick around or they take a couple of years to fail, it can still greatly affect your business. You need a marketing strategy to keep your business on the growth path.
Staying afloat in the bar industry is no easy task, which means your company is going to have to get creative. Learning how to market your business properly is vital in this new world. Bars that are of a lesser quality are shown to beat out higher-quality establishments if they’re putting in serious marketing efforts.
Here are seven top bar marketing strategies.
1. Use Social Media Like a Pro
If you’ve ever been to a bar’s Facebook page and noticed its random pattern of posting, you know that that doesn’t draw the visitor in to see more. If anything, it might prompt people to check and see if the establishment is still open when they haven’t seen a post in a while.
In 2016, the average person spent more than two hours a day on social media, and the numbers are going up.
Your potential customers are spending more time on platforms like Facebook and Instagram now with the introduction of Facebook Live and Instagram Stories.
Sprout Social has reported that there are more than 200 million posts with the hashtag #food and 23 million with the hashtag #drink on Instagram. With this many posts going up online, you already know people are posting about your bar with or without your help. Instead of allowing your patrons to control the narrative, you can help them help you by having a true social media strategy in place.
Whether you buy ads or not, staying consistent with your social media strategy builds trust. A consistent social media strategy also keeps your business top of mind. If you do have a budget for ad spend, then social media is a great place to start. You don’t have to be a professional digital marketer to get set up with ads. Whatever platform you choose to advertise on will have a step-by-step process that will help you get started.
2. Do You Deliver?
You can thank convenience pioneers like Amazon for spoiling your patrons with quick and easy access to just about everything. While establishments may not have had to deliver in the past, convenience is key now. Pizza isn’t the only food people want to be able to accept at their doorstep.
With apps like Uber Eats and Grubhub, more people are opting for food coming to them instead of having to go out all the time. The more convenience you offer to your customers, the likelier they are to do business with your bar.
3. Offer an Experience
Your customers get bored easily. The boredom challenge is especially real with Gen Z and Millennials. Millennials and Gen Z-ers want to have an experience when they come to your bar. If you don’t make the night memorable, it’s unlikely they’re going to come back or tell their friends.
Storytelling is an effective way of marketing to your audience. Telling a story about your bar and sharing more about the establishment will allow your customers to document their experience on social media. They need interesting content, and you can provide that interesting content through storytelling.
4. Cater to the Socially Conscious
In days gone by, people would come into establishments without worry about where the food came from and how it got there. Now people want to know their food is safe and that their purchase is doing some good. This social awareness can allow you to create marketing strategies that showcase the good you are doing.
When you purchase your ingredients from local farmers, you might want to go as far as showcasing the local farm where your ingredients are sourced. The more you can share with your customers about your good practices, the likelier they are to share with their friends and bring more people into your establishment.
5. Throw Away the Cookie-Cutter Approach
If you want to expand your business to another area and want to duplicate your success, that might not mean having a cookie-cutter location. There is a continued trend of bars expanding but not staying the same. Instead of staying the same, they are adding a local touch. The extra customization allows people to get the experience they want.
6. Do Major Promotions
If you’re tired of customers who only buy bottom-shelf alcohol, it’s time to get them a taste of “the good stuff.” If your customers have never tasted the best of the best, they’re unlikely to lay down the dollars to get it.
Once a week, have a major promotion that cuts the price in half for all drinks. Cutting the price this much will cost you, but if you can get your customers to find a new favorite (and more expensive) drink, the cost to you will ultimately be worth it.
These major promotions can also create a buzz and bring people into your bar who might have otherwise gone down the road to your competition. People love telling their friends about a good deal, and a major promotion like half off all alcohol is definitely worth sharing.
7. Up Your Mocktail Game
As a bar owner, you might feel a little strange focusing on marketing beverages without alcohol, but mocktails are growing in popularity.
Dieters, pregnant women, and people who can’t consume alcohol for other reasons are saying hello to the mocktail. According to Technomic’s Beverage Consumer Trend report, 51 percent of Millennials and Gen Z-ers purchased more mocktails when compared to purchases two years ago.
If you attract a big lunch crowd, here is another group that’s in the market for mocktails. The basic fountain drink isn’t going to bring as much cash into your bar as a high-margin mocktail, so make sure it's on the menu.
Using these top marketing strategies will increase sales in your bar. And as sales and patronage increase, you’ll need to increase your ability to serve customers. One of the easiest ways to increase your staff’s abilities without increasing your staff number is through the use of an automatic bartender machine. See how you can make your bar more productive with a single push of a button.