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Planning unique bar marketing promotions and new events to lure new customers and reinvigorate business is inherently costly. While social media marketing doesn’t cost money, it certainly costs time, and putting out ads and flyers can add up quickly. When you want to push your restaurant marketing to be more visible, but don’t have many bar ideas within your budget, what’s the best course of action to take?

The most logical events to host on slow nights are ones that create their own marketing. But what exactly does this mean? Regardless of what type of event you host, you need to raise awareness of the event, and make the rounds both in your city and online to ensure the public is aware of your event. If you host a screening of a popular TV show, its viewers must somehow learn about your event. If you decide to host a karaoke competition night, special notices and bulletins within your bar won’t be enough to generate buzz.

One of the most cost-effective promotions that still packs a bar on a slow night is a musical performance. Don’t waste money trying to get a top-tier name on the marquee – rely on local musical talent and let them do the bar marketing work for you. Choose a typical slow night, like a Wednesday, and slate a local rock or indie band or performer at your bar. Hiring local as opposed to hosting a touring musician makes the most business sense on multiple levels.

Firstly, you save booking costs when you offer a performance venue for a local musician. Great bar ideas pack your location with minimal costs. You don’t need to land a famous rapper to boost drink sales on a weeknight. You simply need to get bodies into your bar. With that in mind, spend less on your event. Many local bands, even modestly well-known acts, will forgo payment altogether for the exposure. And even established acts will perform for a modest sum that you can make back with a successful event.

Featuring a local musical talent at your bar is one of the best bar ideas from a marketing standpoint because the marketing that you, as the bar manager, must do decreases significantly. Whenever a local band is performing, they will do as much self-promotion as they can to draw a crowd. Expect a large social media push from the musical talent in the weeks leading up to the event to draw a decent crowd.

Offering any kind of promotion for half-off drinks can seal the deal – seeing a performance and saving money on alcohol creates a winning experience for most casual bar hoppers. However, only do this is your venue is large enough to negate the dip in profit-per-drink this would entail.

When planning an event for a musical performance, be sure to take into account the demographic that the performer’s music caters to. As hip as a young performer may be, keep in mind that certain local musicians will only attract attendees in the under-21 demographic. Going with a heavier rock band or rap artist tends to help skew the age in your favor. Pop-heavy local talents should be investigated so that you know what kind of audience to expect. Go all out for the event only once you’re confident that the target audience isn’t the teen scene that can’t get into your bar.

Bar ideas like local musical performances help bring in fresh faces to your bar or restaurant, so feel free to put up more visible menu promotions and do an extra clean of the location during the closing shift the day prior. Since you don’t have to focus on marketing as thoroughly as with other promotions, do your best to make your bar appeal to first-time visitors. And, it goes without saying, have the band rehearse in your location beforehand so that the acoustics are pleasing. Nothing will ruin a live performance faster than feedback or unbalanced levels. Follow these tips and you can attract new customers with the free marketing afforded you by hiring a local musical talent.

Could you use a guide of more tips like this one on how to put on profitable bar promotions? Get our free whitepaper now! “50 Best Bar Promotions” is your resource for breathing new life into your bar or restaurant.
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