'Cluboid takes a look at some of the most successful campaigns on the ad circuit and examines just how you can use those techniques to boost business in your bar or nightclub. Don’t just get good at marketing, MASTER IT.

Business-Boosting Bar & Nightclub Marketing Tactics

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Effective marketing. Hmm. How do we make sure that our marketing makes not only an impression on our potential customers, but also encourages them to take action? Actually compels them interact with us, grab our faces and scream ‘take my money’. That’s a very good question, and people are paid lots and lots of money on a daily basis to work that out. We however, like many a successful advertising campaign, adhere to the MASTER plan…

Memorable: Characters, slogans, jingles, consistent themes or colour combinations. Unusual or shocking content. Controversy and anything designed to make a strong impression on your audience, however the emotion is triggered.

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Examples in advertising:

Go Compare’s singing tenor

Money Super Market’s ‘Epic Dance off’

Cillit Bang - ‘Bang and the dirt is gone’

How to apply it to your bar/ nightclub: Be consistent with colours and themes on all company flyers, posters, tickets and additional marketing. Patent a phrase or slogan which can be used to circulate hashtags. Consider a company mascot or celebrity advocate that sells event tickets with your street team.

Appropriate: Consumer fit, show the customer how it would integrate with their life and demonstrate how it could even improve it. Good marketing appeals to a huge scope, but feels as though it was written with one person in mind, with those all important personal touches.

Examples in advertising:

Apple device campaigns

Dyson instructionals

Barclaycard ‘The Waterslide’

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How to apply it to your bar/ nightclub: Go-pro promo videos brilliantly let people see exactly what they can expect when visiting your venue. POV videos let someone experience a little bit about what your club is about, and can do wonders for the customer that is on the fence. People also like it when things are made easy, so any kind of walkthrough or demonstration regarding a sale is also a worthwhile marketing angle.

Sack off ‘Sales’ speak: People don’t actually like to overtly be told what to do, believe it or not. A lot of successful ad campaigns are more about reminding the consumer that they exist and not bombarding them with sales jargon. A friendly little ‘remember us?’, similar to the effect of sponsorship, that filters into our subconscious and the forefront of our memory.

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Examples in advertising:

The Cadbury’s drumming Gorilla

Uber’s door-to-door icecream sales

Redbull’s Stratosphere jump with Felix Baumgartner

How to apply it to your bar/ nightclub:Guerilla marketing and publicity stunts. This could be as simple as pavement chalk designs anonymously directing people to your venue. Twitter polls and questionnaires unrelated to sales can also be a great way to direct users back to your social media pages without appearing spammy.

Topical: Sometimes known to marketers as ‘newshacking’, drawing inspiration from social and political trends can be great for getting people to accidentally come across your website when Googling. It also shows that you’re concerned with staying relevant and offering exciting, fun and new experiences to your consumers (or guests).

Examples in advertising:

Lynx’s ‘Sorry Harry’ campaign

Veet’s cheeky ‘Goodbye Bush’ ad

Redbull’s Stratosphere jump with Felix Baumgartner

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How to apply it to your bar/ nightclub:Reach out to popular bloggers for endorsement and backlinking to your website. Throw topical events or make ad parodies using what there is buzz surrounding - even look to what is trending if necessary. Invest in having a proper web presence. This can mean posting interviews with your Guest DJs and performers, podcasts or vlogs that further market your venue and humanise your company.

Emotionally Compelling: Inspiring, story-telling and genuine. Many companies opt for an emotional angle to engage with their customers. Something that touches you in a heartfelt way is far more likely to be further discussed around the water cooler so to speak. It’s that ‘word of mouth’ wildfire that John Lewis rely on for their annual Christmas release.

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Examples in advertising:

John Lewis’ ‘Buster the Boxer’, ‘Man on the Moon’, ‘Monty the Penguin’ etc.

TalkTalk’s ‘Family Matters’

Channel 4’s Paralympic ‘Meet the Superhumans’

How to apply it to your bar/ nightclub:Web testimonials can help make a more emotional engagement with those visiting your website. You can also consider taking inspiration from the episodic nature of this style by drip-feeding exciting information over social media to your following. Things like unveiling the name of guest you have attending, or counting down the days to ticket releases/competitions etc.

Radical: Bold campaigns with big inspirations. They have a message or company ethos that they want to share. These types of campaigns usually spread virally, getting shared thousands of times over by supporters of the cause or message.

Examples in advertising:

Coca Cola’s ‘Remove the Labels’ campaign against prejudice.

Skittles go Monotone for #LoveWins - Gay Marriage Rights.

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How to apply it to your bar/ nightclub:Just to be clear: we’re certainly not advocating that you jump on political bandwagons for publicity here, but a lot can be said for demonstrating the kind nature of your brand. Showing support for things that you believe in on social media will tell people more about how you run your company and will further personalise what was once a somewhat faceless, corporate persona.

Interactivity: The same way that kinesthetic learning (learning by doing/movement and muscle memory) is the most successful way to remember something new, physical involvement in a marketing campaign can greatly improve your brand’s ability to be remembered. During your day, are you more likely to remember an ad you briefly read on the tube, or one that you stopped to take a photograph of?

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Examples in advertising:

‘Look at Me’ Interactive billboard for Women’s Domestic Violence

Nivea’s Solar power panel on print

QR reactive campaigns by Ford/ Volkswagon/KFC

How to apply it to your bar/ nightclub:Include QR codes on tickets, flyers, social media etc. to add an element of curiosity to your event. You can then track the QR open rates to see what is getting the most consumer engagement.

Targeted: Use big data to help you identify the most appropriate audience for your business. Tailoring your marketing to your audience is perhaps the most effective and important tool at your disposal. It’s obviously very important to attract new customers, but if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. Let’s say you’ve noted that your product or service is particularly popular with females between 25 and 30- let’s go about finding more of those!

Examples in advertising:

Dove’s Real Beauty campaign

BT Infinity’s Student Wifi series

Old Spice’s ‘The Man Your Man Could Smell Like’

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How to apply it to your bar/ nightclub:Use CRM software to track and reveal patterns in your customer data. You can then experiment with drinks promotions and activities known to be of interest to this demographic specifically.

About the Author

Karim Kaling is a regular writer at Cluboid focused on helping large and small businesses achieve better bookings and reservations.

You can read more posts by Karim on our blog.

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