Guests are the No. 1 source of good marketing and as the bar and nightclub industry becomes increasingly saturated, it’s effective to have a strong word-of-mouth strategy in place to ensure longevity.
Paul Rand, CEO of Chicago-based marketing agency Zócalo Group says word-of-mouth marketing is how “people figure out what is hot and current.” Word-of-mouth marketing shouldn’t be a defensive conversation, he explains, but a proactive one. Rand provides five tips for bar and nightclub owners to create an effective word-of-mouth marketing strategy:
1. Be smart about social media. Word-of-mouth marketing is growing increasingly popular through social media, Rand says. “Word-of-mouth marketing in the nightclub and bar industry has always been important. Social media put the entire thing on steroids.” 92% of all consumers will tell their friends to try a new product or service and restaurants and bars are the leader in the word-of-mouth marketing category. Additionally, he says, owners should use Facebook, Instagram and Google+ to build out the community and engage people.
2. Monitor your online reputation. People overwhelmingly want to share positive experiences and discoveries on review sites, Rand explains, but negative reviews can negatively affect revenue. 67% of all consumers reading three or more negative reviews about an establishment is enough to convince them not to try it. “Bar and club owners have a two-fold challenge and opportunity,” he says. They need to figure out how to minimize the bad reviews while maximizing the good ones. To mitigate the bad reviews, Rand says that an owner needs to proactively act against the negative review by inviting people back and offering a complimentary drink or appetizer.
3. Have a shareable story. As a bar or nightclub owner, controlling the narrative by targeting it to a niche audience helps the bottom line. Rand says, for example, if you want to be the No. 1 dart bar in the neighborhood, host tournaments, create in-house promotions and have the best manufactured darts—anything that will reinforce to customers that this bar is the best place to go for darts. Bar owners need to know how to make a story come to life, he says. They need to own the establishment’s identity.
4. There needs to be some consistencies. A bar and nightclub owner needs to determine what the establishment stands for to make it a place people want to talk about. Customers need to know what to tell their friends about an establishment, and if the bar doesn’t have an identity, it will lose that word-of-mouth marketing opportunity. Owners need to know what they “want to be recommended for,” he explains. “The first thing is … to understand how people are talking about you today,” Rand says.
5. Create a social business. Rand said the world is becoming multinational and multi-social. Everyone has feedback and a voice. Employees talk about you on social networking job sites, such as Glassdoor. Owners should determine how they want to be talked about so the bar or club is also recommended by its own employees. Not only that but distributors and supplies also have a voice and “a bar owner needs to be cognizant of that,” as well he says.