Friday, September 11, 2009

A Marketing Plan for Promoting a Club or Bar

For the past several years, my main specialty has been online marketing. Being from Miami, this town runs on marketing. The club scene (known worldwide) are heavy hitters here in the world of marketing and there are some who have sparked movements of music down here. I've followed some of these people for years and learning what they do that shakes up the scene around here and I've taken notes. Recently, a friend of mine asked me for a solid plan to get his club up and running. Following what these movers and shakers have done around town I've compiled a quick marketing brief as an initial marketing plan. We plan on following the plan below and I'll update from time to time how this plan is redefined and shaped as an outcome. I'm sure there are a lot of you out there that want to start your own promotion company and are sick of handing out flyers as a "promoter". From someone who's full-time job is online marketing, try using some of these as pointers.

Marketing Plan for a Night Club

1. Twitter 2 messages a week (between 10am - 2pm as that's when most activity online is happening). People are stuck in their cubicles so it only makes sense that they rely on email, text messages and twitter as a form of entertainment.

2. Website - Facebook/Myspace profiles. Create a profile in as many social networking sites as you can. Even if you don't have a website, buy a domain and redirect it to your Facebook or Myspace pages.

3. Partners - Find yourself some online partners (online stores that sell fashion for the type of club or bar you are promoting. Exchange links with them so they have a link to your party night and they have a link on your website back to them. Try your best to make the links promotions like "MY NIGHTCLUB - buy one drink get one free with this link." This makes the link time-sensitive and appealing.

4. Pay for online/offline marketing. Don't rely on your friends to bring people. If you are looking to make a successful night, you need to invest some money.

4a. Google Adwords - $50/month budget
4b. Facebook Ads - $50/month budget
4c. Myspace Ads - $50/month budget
4d. Paid space advertisement in local alternative news press (2-3 weeks in advance of your party)
4e. Get an advertisement on your website through Google Adsense so you can make some money from the website.

5. Audio mix for the week as a Downloadable/Streaming Podcast. Get your resident DJ to record some of their mixing that night or ask them to make a mix at home that you can use to promote the club night. Most importantly, take down each show as soon as the next club night finishes so the mix is no longer available. Once again, making it time-sensitive forcing people to constantly return to your website.

6. Sell Locally. Get a local store to work with to sell your stuff (mixes, videos, flyers, etc...).

7. Locals Help Locals. Get a local store to sell their stuff at the club. Let's say you work with a local fashion store, try to get them to set up a stand (which is basically a 6-ft. table) at the bar, club and let them sell some of their stuff to patrons of your club. This allows the club to offer more to your patrons other than drinks and music. This also entices tourists to buy something before they leave. When else will you be in a nightclub in this particular city.

8. Online Video Commercials. Post videos and create a Youtube channel of clips of the club night. Show off your sexy crowd and get people to come by making music videos/commercials of your best night.

9. Get your photos out there. Get a dedicated photographer for the event. Don't ask your girl/boy-friend to do it (unless they are photographers). Get someone who actually likes photography and offer them free drinks and free admission for them and a number of guests. Most likely they know some photogenic people who will come with them to the club and make the nightclub look better in the photographs that they take. There are many photographers out there and it's their trade to make things look good. Take care of them. Also, allow them to have rights on the photos so they can promote your night while distributing their work as a portfolio. You never know where you will attract new fans.

10. Do the show in another city. Try taking your best night and throwing it in another bar in another city. This will give your nightclub a sense of being more than just a local night. Think of it like Hard Rock Cafe. It does seem impressive when you see so many shirts with so many cities labeled on them (e.g. Moscow, Miami, Seattle, Los Angeles). If you work with a local fasion shop and sell these during the club night, you may generate even more profit. Once again, pay particular attention to young tourists. Ask yourself, will they want a t-shirt saying "New York" from the airport or from your club night.

11. Email. Send an email at least 1 time a week that advertises your partners, photos, videos, music and your future events. Adhere to the 10am - 2pm rule I've noted in #1 above. Email marketing works. I'm not telling you to spam. Collect email addresses from your patrons at the door and offer them $1-2 off (if you charge at the door) for offering their email address. This entices them and your list will grow with time. Concentrate on this list to send email promotions and offer a link to Forward to a Friend.

Following the above plan we estimate growing at 10% each and every month. Try this plan yourself and let me know how it works for you. If you are a seasoned promoter and have more to contribute to this please contribute in the comments section and I'll update this post.

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