So you’ve recently opened your new bar, and now is the time to take your foot off the pedal and relax a little right? Wrong! Now is the time that you ensure that footfall doesn’t fall off and that you start to build up a loyal customer base.

Here are our top 10 tips for maintaining interest in your brand:

Make your busiest times even busier
A crowd attracts a crowd! If your lunchtimes are busy, work on making them even more of a hub. You want the ripple effect: people telling other people what a great place they’ve been to. Word of mouth recommendations are the most powerful form of marketing, and they’re free!

 

 

 

 

If it’s not broken don’t’ fix it: Market that next
Work with what’s already working well. Look at what is the second busiest time period and highlight that to customers during the busiest time via point of sale (POS) offers, as well as pushing it out on social media channels. If you’re too busy to push out via social channels on the day, why not try using some social content tools that have a built in scheduler that can help you during peak times.

 

Where are all my customers?
If a timeslot – say weekend evenings – isn’t performing, then consider doing a relaunch. Build buzz, host an event and invite friends, well-known local people and the press, promote with exclusive time-bound offers. One way of doing this inexpensively is by jumping on your social channels and creating an exclusive incentive for your audience.

 

 

Get out and about
Just because you’ve opened, that doesn’t necessarily mean that customers will come to you. By employing basic marketing tactics such as doing a flyer drop in the busiest parts of town can help drive traffic towards your bar. People like knowing the face behind the business, if they see you proactively promoting your bar then they are more likely to buy in to you and what you are offering.

Get staff to engage recipients in conversation, help them out with a script, and highlight the top messages you want to get across, and then after each session, gather their detailed feedback. Monitor how many people are redeeming the vouchers each day thanks to your physical presence out of the premises.

 

Show people why they should come in
Offering free samples just isn’t what it used to be. People are looking for the ultimate USP or to be the very first to experience what you are offering. If you’re on a budget then you can try whetting people’s appetite and heighten awareness about your offering by choosing samples that are portable, look great, and that will deliver an experience reflective of your offer. However if you’re on the other end of the spectrum and have a large sum of money to invest in this activity, an outdoor experiential pop up event that builds brand awareness could be for you. You might ask yourself “when will I see a return on my investment?” but the answer to that is, immediately. This type of sampling gives you the opportunity to capture data from those who are interested, build your brands awareness, drive consumer engagement towards your website/social channels and once you’ve collected your data you can build your database that can send regular updates to your new audience.

 

 

 

Engage local journalists
PR during the post launch phase of a new bar is very powerful and cost effective. Unlike advertising, PR is about third party endorsement, often by well-respected members of the public. Good PR tells stories, conveys provenance, mixes in key messages, highlights points of difference, and share aspirational images.

 

Look vibrant online
Use social media to share daily specials, and create an aspirational brand. Upload behind the scenes info, interiors shots, reviews, and beautiful food and drink photos. Show off your personality (TIP: Posts which show personality and humanise your brand have higher engagement because people prefer digesting visual data rather than plain text. These posts should be used in unison with all of your other posts), and encourage visitors to share their experiences as well. Get bloggers and influencers to share your message and shout about your offer. Social channels are like a virtual mantel piece – so show off your bar’s best bits!

 

 

 

 

Make your website look smart
Your website is arguably your most valuable marketing asset. It’s a 24/7 shop window and one that by continuous low level maintenance (after the initial investment) will increase in value over time.

There is no such thing as a perfect website design but there a few points to note. Make sure it looks great on mobile phone or tablets. Customers generally like to know about your brand, the owners, your background and your inspiration, they will more than likely look you up on the go. So great photography and a busy blog or news section is a bonus. Menus, directions and a highly visible means of booking a table or asking a question is essential.

 

Get to grips with Google
There is lots you can do to improve the visibility of your restaurant when people are searching for their next place to eat. Search engine marketing is all about keywords. Be clear on the type of bar that you are. If you’re a gin bar in Bristol then that should be the corner stone of the content on your website. Here is a beginner’s guide to search marketing: https://moz.com/beginners-guide-to-seo.

 

 

 

Maintain a competitive edge
Know what your customers like and don’t like about you, as well as where else they go and why. Visit places yourself to review successful competitor offers, or get people to visit and give you feedback. If your place is too cold, or Joe Bloggs down the road offers an after dinner cake for free, or plays better music then it’s really helpful to know – and it will ensure that you can make changes to your business that are based on customer preferences and the competitive landscape. A great way of doing this inexpensively is by asking your followers online what they’d like to see more of and the one thing they’d change about your establishment. Giving them some kind of incentive like a redeemable voucher the next time they come in should entice them to take part.

 

Posted by: Rakhee Rathod on