In the hospitality industry, you could design the most magnetic, captivating nightlife concept, but it won't amount to much unless you can get people inside of it. Developing a strong marketing strategy is the first step in achieving this goal. From the basics to cutting-edge ideas, the right mix of techniques can attract, acquire, and retain customers while helping to generate revenue and increase profits. We're breaking it all down in a two-part post that will get your business exactly where it needs to be from a marketing perspective.
When building out a marketing plan, it's easy to overlook or even forget about the fundamentals, leaving you at an immediate disadvantage. Though some of these seem self-explanatory, ensure you've checked every box for your own venue before moving on to more out-of-the-box plans.
Have a Consistent Brand Identity
Simply put, presentation is important. Your brand should be easily identifiable so that when people see it, they instantly recognize it's yours. Use color palettes, font styles, logos, and imagery that are unique to your business, and promote them consistently across the board: on your website, your social media pages, your email marketing, and even at your venue (e.g. drink and food menus). This methodology also applies to the tone and voice used in your messaging on social posts, emails, paid advertisements, texts, or any other means of communication.
Keep Your Website Up-to-Date
If simple information about your nightclub or bar is difficult to find online, you run the risk of losing customers who don't have time to actively seek it out. To prevent this, keep your website fresh and current, and make the information as easily attainable as possible. The answers to common questions should be shown in places that are quick to find. Not sure where to start? From displaying a calendar of events to sharing contact information, we put together a list of elements every venue's website should have.
Maintain All Social Platforms
Your website is only one small piece of the pie. Having an active social media presence is an effective way to build credibility, reach your target audience, engage with your customers, and grow your business. Even if you've been told, "No one uses Facebook anymore," don't let that stop you from neglecting it—or any other platform. In nightlife especially, the ones to focus on are Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, Google My Business, and Yelp.
For each site, complete every designated field that's provided including a brief tagline or bio, address, phone number, email address, and a link to your website. Consider listing other important information, too, such as the type of music played, dress code, and refund policy.
Once you have it all ready, make the most out of your social media pages. Keep a consistent posting schedule across the board, and don't be afraid to post the same exact content on different accounts. Highlight upcoming events, share recap photos or videos, tease big announcements, and repost positive press. After you post, interact with those who leave comments, tag your venue in posts, and use your venue's geotag.
On Facebook, basic promotion can include creating event pages for your events or posting in groups that fit your demographic and are local to your business. On Instagram, use corresponding hashtags in the comment section of your posts to reach more people. Include a Linktree or alternative link-sharing platform in your bio, pointing customers to specific areas of your website (e.g. your FAQ page or booking page). Set up a Google My Business account and confirm your location for greater reach. For more ways to make the most out of your social media strategy, read about it on AppInstitute.
Hire a Professional Photographer and/or Videographer
A common mistake nightlife marketers make is using event flyers as the majority of posts online. While this can be effective at being to the point, it doesn't properly show customers what kind of experience they will get by attending that event, nor what they can expect in general. In other words: the more high-quality photos and videos you share, the more likely someone is to attend.
Hire a photographer to cover a big event and, if you have a tight budget, have them capture enough to cover several weeks' worth of social content. Pictures shouldn't be limited to one area of your venue; get ones of the DJ booth, guests at a VIP table or on the dance floor, birthday and bachelorette parties, bottle girls making drinks, neon signs or bottles with sparkles being delivered, scenic aerial shots, and any other form of beautiful imagery that showcases your venue in the best light. The same can be said about videography; use the same components to make a recap video or sizzle reel. As a bonus, you can then share it on video-centric platforms like TikTok and YouTube.
Build Your Website for SEO
SEO stands for “search engine optimization," which is the process of improving your site to increase its visibility when people search for products or services related to your business online. Ranking higher on the results page subsequently leads to more traffic, leads, and revenue, so it's vital to consider your SEO. To begin, review Ahfref's Beginner’s Guide to SEO Success, which explains the most productive ways for your business to improve its SEO.
On your website:
- Get a good domain
- Use a website platform
- Use a strong web host
- Create a positive user experience
- Create a logical site structure
- Use a logical URL structure
- Install a good SEO plugin
Once you have this base for SEO success, optimize it through:
- Site structure
- Page layout and formatting
- Keyword research
- Relevant content
- Link building
- Title tags
- Call-to-action buttons
- Social media
- Analytics tools
When operating a venue, it's essential to make it as easy as possible for guests to purchase tickets, cover, or VIP tables. One way of doing this is by turning your website into a selling tool and allowing customers to make bookings on there, as opposed to on a third-party site. Be intentional in choosing a platform that provides a fast, frictionless buying experience for your guests—one like TablelistPro, a real-time reservation, ticketing, and venue management platform used by nightlife venues and events around the world. One of the most sought-after features offered is the instant booking widget, a small snippet of code pasted onto the backend of your website that allows you to start selling inventory online almost instantly. Widgets are incredibly user-friendly for customers, enabling them to make a booking in just a few clicks, without ever leaving your website. Consequently, utilizing them will help you free up time, save money on marketing, streamline data entry, and drive more business to your venue. If it sounds too good to be true, it's not: read about our widgets and why you should use them on this blog post.
Launch Paid Digital Ads
When it comes to paid ads, Meta (Facebook and Instagram) and Google AdWords are two of the top choices in the nightlife and hospitality space, but there are other ones, as well. Twitter offers a promoted option that can be used for select tweets. If you hire a videographer, they can create video ads for TikTok, Snapchat, and YouTube. Targeting can be done by age, gender, interests, location, demographics, behaviors, and so much more. Don't be shy about going after your competitors directly, either. Because attention spans can be so short, make your content of ads straightforward and to the point, with copy or voiceovers that are concise and informative. You do run a nightlife business, however, so ensure your brand identity, tone, and personality are incorporated.
Online reviews are a critical part of any business as both potential and current customers rely on them to decide if they should make a purchase. In a sense, positive reviews act as a form of advocacy, and negative reviews act as feedback on what you can do to improve. Take this into consideration by motivating your customers to leave them on Google My Business, Yelp, or Facebook. Set up an automated email campaign to past attendees, biggest spenders, or most-frequented quests with links to each review site, and propose a monetary incentive or prize they can be entered to win for submitting.
If a positive review comes in, say thank you, reinforce the positive, pass along the compliment, tell the customer you'd love to see them again, mention other products or services (i.e. an upcoming event you hope to see them at), and even share the review on social media. If a negative review comes in, respond quickly, acknowledge the complaint, apologize and empathize, take responsibility, and move the discussion offline to help make it right.
Create a CRM Database
By having a database of your customers, you can truly learn who the people are that walk through your doors. From there, you'll be able to build relationships with your guests, create memorable experiences for them, and keep them coming back night after night.
TablelistPro's CRM database collects and stores copious amounts of customer data on every purchase, giving you insight into their buying patterns, demographics, purchase history, and preferences. Type of admission, date of first or last visit, the total number of bookings, the origin of booking, party guest count, gender split, lifetime spend, and average minimum are just some of the key insights provided for you. Automated tagging informs you of traits like the day of the week visited, name of the event attended, type of music played, or specific items ordered; custom tagging is available as a supplement to this. There's even a section for individual notes pertaining to the customer like preferred beverage order or favorite table location. Everything listed is easily exportable if needed.
All in all, if used correctly, this abundance of customer data has remarkable benefits like:
- Better customer relations
- Increased sales
- Improved customer retention
- Detailed analytics
- Higher productivity and efficiency
- Centralized, easily accessible information
- Automated sales reports
- More accurate sales forecasting
You're on your way to becoming a marketing rockstar, capturing new nightlife enthusiasts and retaining existing ones—but shouldn't you have a way to track them? Invest in TablelistPro as your all-in-one venue management platform, proven to help drive sales, simplify operations, and deliver guest experiences that scale. Set up a free demo or discovery call today on tablelistpro.com.