Your Bar Marketing Plan in 4 Steps

bar owner creating a marketing plan

Your Bar Marketing Plan in 4 Steps

Every bar owner hosts promotions with one goal in mind: increase business. That’s why they spend weeks or even months to develop a business plan. Much time and energy goes into creating this document. When it comes to marketing and promoting their bars, some owners aren’t as diligent. They simply host a promotion or special event and hope that enough people will show up. If they approached marketing like their business plan, they’d enjoy more success.

So, what should you do? The answer is easy: create a bar marketing plan, then put in place.

Your bar marketing strategy works very much like your business plan. You identify why your business needs to host promotions. You also develop an idea of who your target demographic is, and what you need to do to attract them to your business. It’s more than a promotional idea; it’s a well thought plan that helps attract more customers over the long haul. With the info here, Signal Connect helps you develop your bar marketing strategy.    

Step 1: Take a “Snapshot” of Your Bar 

To know where you want to go, you first have to know where you are. The first step of your bar marketing strategy urges you to identify your bar, pub, sports bar, or nightclub. What defines your business? What are its unique products and services? Most importantly, you also must identify what sets you apart from your competition. Take note of your strengths, weaknesses, and threats. You also should make a list of opportunities that your business can take advantage of.

Granted, it might take a while to gather and compile all this information. Don’t let that discourage you from doing this very important work. If the task seems too big, ask your manager and other trusted employees to help you. Their input will differ from yours, but that’s a good thing. These different perspectives will give you a better picture of your bar’s place in your market. You’ll need this snapshot to plan a successful bar marketing strategy. 

Step 2: Identify Your Bar Marketing Goals

So, what would you like to achieve at your bar?  There are a variety of overall goals that you might have.  It’s important to narrow it down to something very specific, such as choosing a target demographic that you’d like to attract.  Here are just a few of the possible goals you could choose for your bar, tavern, lounge, gastropub, or nightclub:

  • Attract members of targeted groups such as corporate workers, sports fans, Millennials, etc.
  • Identify what your competitors are doing and top it
  • Encourage patrons to show up earlier and spend more money while they’re there
  • Sell more top shelf drinks, specialty wines, and craft brews
  • Sell more unique, festive, and special appetizers and meals
  • Attract people who want to celebrate special occasions and milestones at your bar
  • Getting involved with local charity events

A word to the wise when setting a goal of attracting a certain demographic. For this to work, you need to know your audience and your bar. For example, if you own a gritty dive bar, you might not sell many pricey wines and fancy beers with fruity notes. The key is establishing a goal that’s realistic and achievable for the bar you have. Again, it never hurts to involve employees, friends, and family. You can get a lot of valuable advice from people looking at the situation from a different angle.

Step 3: Establish a Social Media Marketing Strategy

In the third step of your bar marketing plan, you list the various bar promotion ideas you plan to use. We suggest you list all forms of advertising, PR, and direct marketing. This also goes for social media marketing, which you need to thrive in today’s marketplace. To help get you started, we’ve listed four social media marketing strategies for bar owners. These should help you list some unique bar promotion ideas for your business. Feel free to use these tips as is, or tweak them to fit your bar’s needs.

Here are four proven methods for using social media marketing to promote your bar:

  1. Post Your Events: Are trivia night or Monday Night Football events part of your bar marketing strategy? If so, your community needs to know about it. The first thing you should do is get your event posted on event listing websites in your community. Once that’s done, it’s time to post your events on your social media channels. Create an event and invite people you think might enjoy it. Also, remember to use artwork, photos, and even clip art to help you market your event. Studies have shown that people are more likely to read a post if there is a pic or video attached to it. Some social media platforms such as Instagram are pic-based. Play to your crowd if you want to attract one!
  2. Encourage Customers to Check In on Social Media: This is another reason why you need a social media identity for your bar. When customers check in, they show their contacts that they’re having fun at your bar. Savvy bar owners reward customers with a free drink or burger, for example, to people with the most check ins. (FourSquare is one service that keeps track of these things.) This serves your marketing strategy if your goal is to attract a target demographic. Your customers are actually promoting your bar for you!
  3. Post Photos to Encourage Interaction: Whenever you have an event, take pictures and post them on social media. The old saying that a “picture says a thousand words” is especially true on social media. It could even get you a thousand likes and upvotes. Pics of people having a great time helps promote your bar. You also want patrons who are in the pics to tag themselves and share it on their social media channels. People who don’t know about your bar might check it out if they see pics of their friends having fun there.
  4. Post Videos on Social Media: We said it earlier but it bears repeating: people will watch a video on social media before they’ll read a text post. As a bar owner, you can use this to your advantage when promoting your marketing strategy. Here what you do: record short clips of various people enjoying a special event at your bar. Piece the footage together into a 60-second video, such as “Karaoke Night at Rocco’s Bar & Grill.” Post it on YouTube and your social media channels. You’ll be surprised by the responses this will generate.

Step 4: Create a Bar Marketing Budget

You might come up with 100 great marketing ideas in step three, but you won’t have enough cash to use them all. Except for social media posts, most marketing and promotions cost money. Establish a percentage of your projected gross sales to your yearly marketing budget. If you’re starting out, you might have to borrow or self-finance your marketing at first. Yes, bar promotions and marketing is that important. In fact, it’s a direct investment in the success of your business.

Here’s a marketing budget tip for newbie bar owners: don’t be alarmed if your first draft comes in over-budget. It’s easy to get excited about all those bar advertising ideas you and your team come up with. It’s also not very realistic to be able to do them all right out of the gate. That’s okay too. This will teach you how to trim your marketing budget down to something more affordable. (It’s a great lesson for all new business owners.)

The fourth step isn’t where this process ends. Once you’ve developed and honed your bar marketing plan, you have to put it into action. If you’ve followed the four steps we’ve shared here, you should be off to a great start. Always remember that social media marketing, such as posting on Facebook, doesn’t cost a thing. Use our social media marketing tips often to keep your page alive. This can help fill the gaps until you start earning more money to have a bigger bar marketing plan.

Bonus Tip: DIRECTV is Successful Bar Promotions

When it comes to cool bar ideas, DIRECTV is one of the best ones you can have.  Why?  Because it’s more than entertainment, it’s an investment that delivers solid, reliable returns.  It’s all very simple.  When a bar owner gets DIRECTV, the business becomes a top sporting event destination.  People will come in to watch the big game, match, or race.  When they do, they stay longer and order more food and drinks.  It’s called “beer math,” and it’s how you increase your profits with DIRECTV in your bar.  Is DIRECTV the best bar promotion of all time?  It might be, considering that it’s a great way to get people into your establishment and keep them there for at least a couple of hours.

Would you like to know more about DIRECTV for bars, pubs, and restaurants?  You should give Signal Connect a call.  Not only are we an AT&T preferred dealer, we’ve also helped many bar owners deliver this popular form of entertainment to their clients.  Our commercial satellite TV experts, Essa Alijelat and Nicholas Mily, are happy to answer any questions you have about DIRECTV.  There’s no pressure and no commitment.  Just give either one of them a call at 866-726-4182, and they’ll be happy to help you.  Yes, it really is that easy!