After the last bit of confetti has been swept up, your focus shifts to 2016. How can you ensure that the new year is your best one ever? Here are 12 marketing/social media tips, designed to boost your brand and your business and engage your customers.
January: New Year/New You
If you don’t yet have a full-year plan for your bar, nightclub, or spirits brand, put one together. It doesn’t have to be super formal or detailed. Just commit to a month-by-month calendar of activities (and resolve to stick to it!). Think about your current customers and how to attract more of them, and reward them for social media shout-outs and referring new customers. As part of your plan, consider the training you or your staff may need this year and schedule it for slower months.
February: Love Your Team
No manager likes to make tough people decisions but we’re in a service business. Do a little “pre-spring cleaning” to ensure you have the right people and training to lead you to success. Reward your top employees (perhaps with a free trip to the Show in March). Prepare for the month of love with specialty cocktails for February 14th – and post pictures of them on Instagram, Facebook and other social media outlets. Throw a big singles event for those who don’t have a sweetheart to cuddle with.
March: Just One Word – Vegas!
Take full advantage of the experiences at the Nightclub & Bar Convention and Trade Show. Talk to your peers about what’s working and what’s not, peruse the aisles for great new ideas and products, and attend workshops. If you’re bringing a team, divide and conquer! Take pics of your attendance at the show and post to your blog and social media channels.
April: Spring Has Sprung
Review the first 3 months of the year, analyze your social media and other marketing results and budget, and fine-tune your plan for the rest of the year. Take action on the contacts and new spirits/technologies/ideas you brought back from Vegas.
May: School’s Out & Vacation is Starting
Develop a plan for targeting the summer crowd. The spring is a great time to hire as students graduate and look to supplement their incomes. Take it to the streets! As outdoor festivals and other events spring up, look for sponsorship and sampling opportunities.
June: Brides & Grooms
Have a special events business? Take full advantage of wedding season. Say “I do!” to new ideas as part of your January planning. Perhaps you can offer a special on cocktails for 2 to every newlywed couple who comes in with their marriage license!
July: Vacation Season!
Summer drinks, outdoor events, and a heavy-up to appeal to out-of-towners are all things you should consider. Vacationers will be consulting Yelp for places to go, so be sure your profile and reviews are full of sun and joy, not seaweed. See these Yelp tips.
August: See July
Plan for the fall, and holiday season too.
September: Back-to-School Season
How about hosting events for parents after they’ve put their kids on the bus or driven them up to college? Speaking of school, campuses will be abuzz with new students. Perhaps you can host fundraisers for fraternities or sororities. Now is the time to review your underage drinking rules and re-train your staff. Does your staff need more skills? Make it back-to-school season for them as well. It’s also not too early to get local business groups thinking about their holiday soirees.
October: Fall is in the Air
Start experimenting with wintery cocktails and spirits. You’re in the home stretch of 2016, so review your plan and make sure you’ve been able to deliver on your goals. Get ready for the holiday season.
November: Give Thanks
The Wednesday before Thanksgiving has become one of the biggest bar nights of the year. Team-up with a local taxi or limo service to ensure your guests get home safe. Themed cocktails are always a big hit. Pumpkin was hot in 2015. We’re eager to see what’s new and festive at the Show in March! The rest of the year is going to fly by, so be get your holiday season plans in place
December: Joy to the World!
The year is almost over. Whew! Have a jolly holiday season: gift certificates, drink specials, parties, and a fabulous New Year’s Eve. Remember to thank your staff and best customers for a wonderful year. Perhaps you’ve even started on your 2017 planning already. If so, cheers!
Nancy A. Shenker is Founder/CEO of theONswitch marketing, a consulting company that blends the best of digital media with conventional branding and marketing wisdom for small businesses. A speaker at the Nightclub & Bar Show, she speaks nationally and writes about marketing and innovation in the food, beverage, and other industries (www.badgirlgoodbizblog.com and The Huffington Post). She has been featured in Forbes, Entrepreneur, and other media. She is a graduate of the University of Michigan Ann Arbor.