If you’re wondering how much longer you can roll with the ‘Chocolate Strawberries and Cava’ package before it looks tired, you’ve probably answered your own question. Rejuvenate your Valentines game with 10 of the freshest promotion ideas.
Ahh Saint Valentine. The man that has us impulse buying every February and manically scattering rose petals everywhere. Valentine’s day seems to divide the nation into two categories: those that are stressed because they have someone they have to buy something for, and those that are stressed because they don’t.
However you feel about it, there is no-denying that February 14th is a massive money-maker, seeing an average sales figure of $13.3bn (as well as an average of 11,000 babies conceived, but that’s rather another matter..)
So how do you drum up business on one of the most competitive days of the year? What can you do that’s original and exciting? Ahh, well thank goodness you stopped by. Cluboid have only gone and compiled 10 of the best bar and nightclub promotion concepts for the season of love. And not one of them involves a man in a nappy, we promise.
Tinder parties are a new concept based around- you guessed it, the hook-up app that is Tinder. The idea is that users set their search parameter to 0 kilometres and live-match with other people in a venue. Want to know whether the girl in the white skirt is looking at you, or your mate? Well now you can, and in a way which doesn't risk soul-crushing rejection. Think how much time would be saved if we only ever approached people that were actually interested…
It’s a bit of a contemporary spin on the ‘traffic light party’ concept, whereby people announce their availability to the room. People are less inclined to risk getting turned down in person now, especially when there’s a way of doing it online without compromising their ego at all. So if you want to entice singles out these days, you’re gonna have to meet them in the middle.
This is a great concept, as let’s face it, the world and its wife are on Tinder. That might be an ironic turn of phrase considering, but there’s clearly something to it if everybody is using it and it means that there is already a mass-market for it. Tinder Parties present a clever way of converting a popular virtual media into a social opportunity, and when better to throw a Tinder Party than on Valentine’s day, eh?
Cater to the singletons. After all, there is now actually equal (if not more) revenue to be had in the protesting of Valentine's Day, than there is in the celebration of it. This might take form of a 'Love sucks' vampire series movie night, or screenings other films known for the rejection of the lovey-dovey stereotype. You might throw a themed event with games and a specialised menu for those more interested in shunning Valentines altogether. Think cocktails like: 'Ex on the beach' or 'On-the-Pull Punch', or games such as 'Beer Goggle Pong' or 'Pin the tail on the love rat', where attendees can tack little tails into photos of, say, MIC's Spencer Matthews.
Make Valentines fun again by stripping it of all it's traditions and instead creating games for the people than just want to escape the commercial Valentine's rubbish. Whatever you do, make sure your games focus on the group mentality, and invite people to 'come and join the party'. That way, it also encourages people to interact with each other, and everyone likes to feel part of a team. We'd personally quite like to see a Flip Cup tournament: Team Aniston vs Team Angelina. Winner gets to keep Brad Pitt.
Use exciting new variations of set meals and package deals to ensnare those girl/boyfriends that want to look like Billy Big-spender without actually exerting much energy. By making packages pain-free and all inclusive, you can preemptively secure business for Valentine’s day and therefore relax a bit in the lead up to the big day itself. Packages might include an intimate activity like ‘Romantic mixology for 2’ or something more private such as Prosecco by candlelight, accompanied by nibbles in your very own decorated booth and a pudding designed for sharing.
The trick with these deals, is to be discrete. Everyone is witness to the '6 roses for a fiver' deals run by supermarkets or online greeting card companies, and therefore to the receiver, the gift is completely devalued. What those ads do do though, is remind us that there is a huge market for those that want to save time and a certain amount of effort. You might consider directly targeting those individuals, and reaching out to them on Twitter - they'll be easy enough to find using the hashtag search tool. The simpler you can make it for them, the better your chances of secured custom. Many people just want to get Valentine’s day 'sorted', so with a spot of outreach you can swoop in as the perfect solution.
People like the idea of speed-dating, but generally won’t go because A) It’s super stigmatised, and B) Because cringe. However, market it as a hilariously ironic event and watch how many people are suddenly all ears. ‘That sounds hilarious, I’d obviously never do it for real, but for a laugh? Put me down.’ Take it upon yourself to rebrand the concept of speed-dating and hold a something of an exclusive, singles only ‘fixer-mixer’. Okay, maybe don’t call it that exactly but you get the idea. Mock the cheesy nature of Valentine’s day by writing ridiculous ice-breaker questions or have potential participants send in their own ideas for questions via social media. Have every ticket match up with one other particular ticket and instruct people to find their match or send them to a ‘stupid cupid kissing booth’. Take an original spin on the form and carve your very own, unique event. People always need a spot of Dutch courage on a first date anyway, so just think of your bar sales!
Consider hanging a whiteboard/chalkboard outside your venue on the lead up to Valentine’s Day, and invite passersby to write messages to their loved ones on it. You might leave the prompt ‘I love ____ because ____’ and include your company website, Twitter handle and logo on the board. That way, when people take photos of their sentiments to upload to social media, your company name is visible and your marketing begins to take care of itself. You can even have a little look through what has been uploaded, and regram your favourites to the venue’s social media account. Ta-Da! Autonomous marketing and content. You’d be surprised how many people actually do get involved when they’re asked to participate anonymously, too. Alternatively, get creative and make a DIY ‘Face-in-hole’ board and wait for people to take advantage of the photo opportunity. Anything to circulate your brand that little bit further has the potential to do wonders for your sales figures.
Valentine’s day isn’t all just about romantic relationships anymore. It’s now used more broadly for expressing affection for anyone from family members, to friends and coworkers and get this… even pets. (We’ve not quite reached that stage yet, but when we do, send help).
The more niche an event you can provide, the more interest you will generate. Stereotypical Valentine’s events saturate the bar and nightclub circuit this time of year so it can be really difficult to set yourself apart. Try getting more diverse with your social media marketing by posting things about your special best-friend packages or Mum-and-Daughter drinks. Eliminate the romantic element, whilst keeping the sense of occasion, by offering guests an evening to celebrate with their nearest and dearest.
Join forces with companies that are equally keen to get imaginative this Valentine’s Day. This might mean doing a spot of cross-promotion with other local businesses, websites or bloggers with a wide social reach. Bloggers will sometimes review or even plug your venue if you shell out for their nights keep. This can be a fantastic way to get your company name heard by a certain demographic and is an extremely worthwhile investment. The blogger gets free content and you get your brand heard by thousands of online subscribers. Win, win.
You may even consider offering out your space for a mutually beneficial purpose, perhaps a Valentine’s market where local traders come and showcase their wares like lingerie, baked goods or floral displays similar to a wedding fair. As always, do make sure that you’re legally able to do so and have the appropriate paperwork or licences required. Various activities may already be included with your Premises licence, although certain things may be restricted or require permission from local authorities if offered to the general public. Have a scroll around the Citizen’s Advice Bureau website if you’re unsure.
We mentioned outreach with regards to bloggers, but we mustn’t forget our most important recipients… customers. Try circulating emails on the lead up to Valentine’s Day with something like: ‘We heart our customers’, and offer your customers a discount or promotional code for their loyalty. This wouldn’t necessarily bring customers in on Valentine’s Day itself, but it is a seasonal reminder that you value them and encourages them to stop by. You might even want to incentivise them a little further by offering the first 15 bookings an additional reduction.
Make sure you make the subject line as enticing as possible though, because some won’t even bother to open the email. Sure, a strong subject line will improve your open rate, but it is also an opportunity to impart a message even if they decide not to. ‘You’ve earned yourself a MASSIVE discount, well done’, or ‘Loyalty deserves rewards, so here’s one…’ Everyone loves a good discount, so it may very well prompt them to check out your Valentine’s specials or at least take a look at your website. And as we all know, any web traffic is good web traffic.
If you don’t have a mailing list database at your disposal, not to worry, you can still make quite the impact on social media using a similar strategy. Use the holiday as a reason to send direct messages to your followers offering the same sorts of discounts as a reward for their follow. The trick with this is to push your brand on as many social media platforms as possible, without appearing spammy. Aside from the power 3 (Facebook, Twitter and Instagram) use Tumblr, Pinterest, and LinkedIn as well as comment forums on appropriate websites. Try to ingratiate yourself in as many relevant discussions as possible, and scatter links back to your website along the way. For maximum impact, use calls to action/ imperative language (Verbs like: Try, Book, Visit, Watch...) which give readers a specific action or instruction. This kind of phrasing encourages participation, and uses of it see significant rises in tickets sold and bookings placed.
Street marketing. At the end of the day, it’s an oldie, but goodie. Get a team of people together to take to the streets and press the flesh. Valentine’s Day gives you a great excuse to get costumed up too, so the bigger the commotion you can make - the better. If it’s particularly ridiculous. E.g. one of your poor bar girls dressed in a giant love heart costume, roaming the streets and handing out flyers, you could even get some good content for your social feed or YouTube channel. Have them distribute free entry passes or flyers that can be exchanged for a reward at your bar or nightclub, this way, they’re more likely to hold onto them instead of put them in the bin the moment your back is turned. You could even have event information printed out onto sweet labels to people have more of an incentive to take them from you. Get imaginative, and run with the Valentine’s theme to drum up as much attention as possible. People may even want photos with you if you look that hilarious. You want to take our picture? Sure, let us just smoothly slip this flyer into shot…