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4 Simple Bar Marketing Tips

You put a lot of work into running your bar, but unfortunately, no one will know your amazing venue exists unless you market it properly. Check out the following bar marketing ideas to get your creative juices flowing and help solve any visibility or awareness problems that you might encounter.

1. Social Media
Many people, specifically millennials, are constantly on their smart phones. What better way to reach your target audience than through mobile devices? Social media is a cost-effective and personal way to reach your patrons. Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram allow you to reach a large audience and in a forum they are already visiting.

  • Create event invitations on Facebook – This online invitation distribution can spread like wildfire, reaching a broad audience quickly and all for free!
  • Use and advertise a hashtag – Write it on your message boards or light-up menu boards to encourage patrons to post on social media.
  • Run special promotions and contests – Promote Instagram challenges or Facebook photo contests at your bar. Be sure to establish a set of rules to ensure your business is marketed by asking guests to include your bar’s name and hashtag in the photo caption.
  • Advertise tournaments – In addition to flyers or outside signage, mention upcoming beer pong, pool, or poker tournaments on social media. This interaction allows you to provide links to online registrations, which gauges interest and assists in assigning brackets.
  • Select brand advocates – Consider asking loyal customers or employees to act as brand advocates and talk about your bar on social media. You may want to offer these individuals discounts in exchange for their work and ensure they remain loyal to your bar.

Remember, social media alone may not be enough. Consider creating a website for your bar and signing up for local directories such as Google+ Pages and Yelp.

2. Seasonal Promotions
You don’t have to wait for a major holiday to run promotions or host special events. Think outside of the box and consider creative options to generate excitement and increase sales. Large, traditional holidays are hectic times and your patrons most likely already have plans. Instead, pick holidays that relate specifically to your customers and business. Consider these unique occasions for your bar.

  • Beer Can Appreciation Day (Jan. 24) – Start off the new year by offering discounts on canned beers, citing this day as the occasion for celebration. Try serving uncommon and locally-brewed beers for beer can-collecting enthusiasts.
  • National Irish Coffee Day (Jan. 25) – Bring Irish-themed celebrations to your bar by offering special Bailey’s drinks in festive Irish coffee mugs.
  • St. Patrick’s Day (Mar. 17) – Deck out your bar with leprechaun green decorations for St. Patrick’s Day parties. You can run Guinness specials and add green coloring to specialty drinks.
  • National Chocolate Day (Oct. 28) – October is filled with Halloween-related festivities, but you don’t need a trick-or-treat theme to celebrate sweets! Offer chocolate-rimmed cocktails, chocolate martinis, beers, and wines to celebrate this flavorful day.
  • Oktoberfest – This may be a two week festival occurring in Germany, but that doesn’t mean the merriment of beer, food, music, and dancing can’t be recognized in your own bar.
  • Local Events – Always cater to your environment. If your bar is located in a college town, offer a students’ night and plan specials during high volume events like homecoming and graduation. Plus, if your city offers First Fridays or other local commerce events, consider offering promotions in conjunction with the area’s increased traffic.

3. Diversify Your Menu
Encourage patrons to stay at your venue by offering an all-inclusive environment including beverages and food. Consider pairing your food and drink specials together for additional deals! You could offer something like half-priced appetizers in conjunction with its happy hour specials. If customers hear about combined specials, they’re more likely to buy both, increasing your overall sales. Venues not previously serving food should look into doing so.

4. Activities
Successful bars create an inviting environment that keeps patrons coming back for more. Create a fun hangout location by providing various entertainment options. Such as Air hockey, Dartboards, DJs, Foosball, Karaoke or Pool as just a few examples.

Furthermore, consider bringing in special entertainment. Start with local talent to attract the community’s support. It could be the first time some guests enter your venue, so you’ll want to make a good impression.

Your bar could also host a fundraiser or charity event. It’s an excellent way to give back to your community and increase your visibility. For live entertainment and charitable events, consider contacting the local media via press releases or radio advertisements. Designate one staff member to serve as your public relations coordinator to ensure effective organization and promotion.

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