We have been writing a lot about nightclub marketing but we noticed that we hadn’t really tried to bring all of these aspects together into a single article that takes an overview of all the aspects of club marketing in one. So here is our article that will give you a sense of how all the aspects of club marketing—from advertising and nightclub promotions to creating websites and fliers—all fit together.
Nightclub Marketing Basics
So let’s start with a quick definition. By “marketing” we mean the actions that you as a nightclub owner or manager can take to draw customers to your club in order to get them to buy drinks and pay cover charges. Technically, when you placed your club name above your door, you were engaging in marketing. In fact, you were doing one of the most important aspects of marketing, you were beginning to create a brand for your nightclub.
In the nightclub marketing business, this act of brand creation is essential to success. The most successful, long lasting and lucrative clubs are those that convey an experience in the very name. From Studio 54 in the 70’s to the 21 Club today, the most famous nightclubs have been those that had a distinctive feel. People have an expectation even before they arrive.
The purpose then of your nightclub marketing is to convey this feeling of anticipation to your patrons in whatever way works best for the brand you are creating.
Bar marketing, I should say, by way of contrast, is a little bit different. Of course, you want to create a sense of your brand no matter what your business is, but in bar advertising it is often as much about just creating a comfort level with customers. Bar marketing for a good neighborhood bar, for example, might be less about creating a feeling excitement than a feeling of warmth and refuge. For more on bar promotions see Bar Promotions 101
Traditional Club Marketing
Nightclub advertising is what many people usually think of when they think of nightclub marketing. Typically, nightclub advertising runs the gamut from taking out print ads in local newspapers or magazines to the more basic creation of fliers that you have staff members hand out on a busy part of the street near your nightclub. Making fliers is often a weekly practice that is often combined with other nightclub promotions (see below) to create buzz for your club.
You can also do a big mailer with fliers with your current nightclub promotion highlighted, although this is no longer the only way. In fact, most nightclub owners no longer send out written bulletins and mailers. Instead, they send mass e-mails which are far cheaper.
If you want to find out more about creating compelling fliers, check out our article that details all the in and outs: How to Design Effective Night Club Flyers.
For more about nightclub advertising you can look at our advertising article: Nightclub Advertising Tips.Promotions: These days, the big focus of most nightclub marketing revolves around creating promotions. Promotions are special events that nightclubs stage in order to attract either more of the type of clientele they already have, or to try to attract a segment of locals who are either underserved in the area (say gays or Goths). They are also often a great way of bringing more customers to your nightclub during slow weeknights.
The two main components of nightclub promotions are discounts and themes. For many kinds of promotions you will offer visitors (or a segment of visitors such as ladies) a discount on the drinks or a waiving of the cover fee. Theme nights such as Disco Thursdays or Ladies Night Wednesdays are also a way to create a fun atmosphere for new customers. (Bar promotions also often involve theme nights like this, but bar promotions can afford to be more low key events like Trivia Tuesdays or that perennial classic Happy Hour. For more on bar advertising, see Bar Adverstising 101.)
Live acts and cross promotion can also work well for marketing purposes. Having live bands booked to play in you club allows you to build a marketing campaign around these events in the same way that theme nights do. (Live bands, by the way, are also a good strategy for bar advertising. For bar advertising, you usually need a promotional event and live music is one of the most popular ways of achieving this sense of an event. In addition, good bands will often have a bit of a following.)
For more on nightclub promotions, see our article: The Ins-and-Outs of Club Promotion
Non-Traditional Forms of Marketing
These days, of course, there are a number of new options for those looking to promote a nightclub. The internet offers a number of options. In fact, having a website for your nightclub is now what having a phone number and listing in the phone book used to be to our parents’ generation. A website gives you an easy method to communicate with your customers and promote new nights, menu items, and musical guests.
For more on creating your nightclub website, see Creating a Nightclub Marketing Website
Nightclub Merchandising: Of course, another great form of marketing is selling shirts with your club name on them or that kind of thing. The shirts themselves can sometimes be given away to visitors who you believe may promote your bar well. So, for example, if you happen to have celebrities over to your nightclub for another promotion, give them a pair of your cool shirts and hope that they wear them next time the paparazzi capture them for their magazines.
Gorilla Marketing: There are also a number of strategies that we categorize under the term Gorilla Marketing. These are ways of marketing that don’t look like marketing. For example, paying a celebrity to show up and photographers to document the “event” or paying for some beautiful partiers to heat things up at your place can make your nightclub marketing fly under the radar.
Regardless of what kind of nightclub marketing you employ, you should be sure to adopt some kind marketing, if you want to succeed. Clubs who don’t think much about how to effectively market tend not to last very long.
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