Bars and pubs face stiff competition to attract and retain customers. In fact, the market size - measured by revenue - of the bars and nightclubs industry reached $35.3bn in 2022, an increase of 10.8 percent from the previous year.
So, in a world where consumer choices are vast, and brand loyalty is hard-earned, how can bars stand out over their competitors to attract customers and increase brand loyalty?
Innovative bar marketing strategies hold the key. With the right approach, it's possible to increase foot traffic and turn casual visitors into loyal customers who will choose your establishment as their go-to spot.
To help you achieve just that, we’ve listed 10 bar marketing and operational tips that will help your business increase visitors, improve the loyalty of your customer base and sell more products. Let’s start increasing those profits!
- Make Sure You Have a Unique Brand Identify and Value Proposition
A strong brand identity and value proposition sets your bar apart from all of the competitors in your area. Achieving this will help you create a compelling story and aesthetic that resonates with your target audience. Whether it's a speakeasy vibe or a sports fanatic's haven, ensure your bar's theme is consistent across all marketing materials and customer touchpoints - and make sure that you have an extra edge over your competitors that are offering the same thing.
- Leverage Social Media to Reach New Customers
Utilizing social media platforms can help you create a buzz for your business. Regularly posting engaging content that showcases your special events, signature drinks, and happy hour deals can bring in new customers who want to check out what you’re all about. Make sure to encourage check-ins and user-generated content from patrons to extend your reach organically.
- Don’t Sleep on Managing Your Bar Inventory
This may not sound like a marketing hack, but trust us, it can do wonders for your business. News of not being able to serve your customers items from your menu will quickly spread, and you’ll lose potential customers before they even walk through your doors. Efficient bar inventory management is vital for both customer satisfaction and your profit margins. Overstocking leads to wastage, while understocking can disappoint customers.
Successful inventory management will ensure you have the right stock levels to meet demand and, at the same time, you can continue to increase your profit margins.
- Host Themed Events
Themed parties and events can draw in crowds. Whether it's a 90s night, trivia competitions, or holiday celebrations, events give people a reason to choose your establishment over others. Promote these events well in advance through all your marketing channels.
- Offer Loyalty Programs
Consider rewarding repeat customers with loyalty programs. This could be through a points system, discounts on certain days, or a free drink after several purchases. A well-structured loyalty program not only encourages repeat business but also gathers valuable customer data.
- Provide Entertainment
Live music, stand-up comedy, or open-mic nights can enhance the customer experience and bring a new competitive edge to your business. Entertainment can draw in foot traffic to your bar, providing customers with more than just a drinking venue but a place to be entertained and relax.
- Foster a Sense of Community
Collaborate with local businesses and participate in community events to build a network that can refer customers to your bar. Sponsor local sports teams or charity events to increase the visibility of your brand and goodwill within the community.
- Carefully Craft Your Menu
Depending on the ambience and theme of your bar, you’ll want to create a menu that meets customer expectations. This could include offering a dynamic menu that caters to a variety of tastes, or it could involve sticking to your theme and really honing in on your target customer. Keep the menu fresh and exciting by introducing new items regularly, which can also be a talking point to engage with customers.
- Make Use of Technology
Incorporate technology to streamline operations. From a modern POS system to apps where customers can order ahead of time, technology can enhance the customer experience and make your operations more efficient.
- Train Your Staff to Provide Exceptional Service
Your staff are the face of your business. Train them not just to serve drinks but to provide an exceptional customer experience. Friendly, knowledgeable bartenders who remember patrons’ names and preferences can make all the difference.
Interested in learning more ways in which you can improve the profitability of your bar, particularly through better inventory management processes or bar marketing? Get in touch with the Sculpture Hospitality team of experts today.