How to Test New Promotions

 In Marketing

So you’ve come up with a great idea for a themed night at your bar, or a new special you can run during happy hour to attract a new demographic. As exciting as it may be, don’t rush to implement your new bar promotion immediately. Like any idea, bar promotions should be refined and tested before you invest some of your marketing budget toward promoting it.

But how do you determine what ideas are most likely to succeed? How do you know if a promotion will break even, make money, or end up costing you in the long run? For bar managers who have the time and the resources, there exist many options to market test promotion ideas and ensure that your next themed night or live entertainment promotion will pack the house.

Classic A/B Testing

In order to market test your product, you must first realize that the promotion itself is only one part of the puzzle. Other decisions, such as how you phrase the promotion and on what channels you market the promotion, may play bigger roles in determining its success. With this in mind, learn how to reach your audience via social media, email, and other digital marketing channels by running A/B tests of similar promotions.

Let’s say, for example, that you want to offer your signature craft beer at a discount, and you want to attract new customers with this promotion. There are two basic ways of phrasing this promotion while offering a discount: reducing the price on all beers, or a “buy 3 beers, get one free” type of offer.

Invest in two separate Facebook ads targeting the same demographic, one offering a discount and the other offering a free drink after a certain investment. Instruct customers to bring in the ad to qualify for the discount (to make this work, maybe make the discount or offer more substantial). This way, you can collect ads and see what type of phrasing speaks more to your existing customers. Going forward, you can frame your promotions around this particular phrasing.

Offer More Value

Let’s say that you really enjoy doing theme karaoke nights, dance evenings, live band performances – when it comes down to it, you’re an event-centric bar manager. These types of promotions are always fun in theory, but if you don’t attract more customers than usual you’re looking at an overall loss each night you host an event.

In order to succeed with event-based promotions, don’t scale back – offer more value. Get a bigger name band, or fancier specialty drinks. When customers know that you are offering something more valuable to them, they are more likely to make the trek and pay an entry fee. However, all this investment will be wasted if you do not communicate this greater value to your customers in your marketing. Let them know – this is a truly special occasion!

Get Feedback In-House

Promotions online, via email, and on the radio cost time and money – but utilizing the digital signage in your own bar is free. Test your new bar promotion ideas with Buzztime so your patrons can rank and react to your promotions and offer feedback. You can turn it into a fun distraction or game to engage more customers.

For example, you can run a poll: on one screen, you can advertise three different options for an upcoming theme night or happy hour special, and ask your patrons to tweet at your account or text a number to express which one they’d prefer. This kind of feedback is quick, simple to collect, and can help you avoid investing in a promotion that doesn’t connect with customers.

Try out these strategies to vet your ideas and craft winning bar promotions!

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