5 Dos and Donats of Running Contests and Giveaways

Dos and Donts of Contests and GiveawaysGetting people thought the door, staying longer and spending more money at your bar sounds easy enough. However, it’s probably one of the toughest parts of running a successful venue.

So, what’s the secret to drive traffic and increase sales?  Promotions, of course!

But, smart promotions start with smart planning. A well-planned and executed promo program draws in customers and gets them spending.

Here we’ll take a quick look at 5 dos and don’ts of pulling of a stellar contest or giveaway at your bar.


1.  Make sure it is legal; you might even consider hiring a lawyer to help create the rules. Also check the various social media platforms. Social media contests have grown more and more popular, therefore the rules have also grown more defined.

2.  Offer a prize that’s relevant to your audience such as tickets for a chick flick movie premiere at a female-focused bar.

3.  Pinpoint exactly what you want the contest to achieve — increase repeat business, capture personal information for marketing, promote a product, etc.  — then build your promotion around that.

4.  Make sure to provide clear instructions. Tell people how to enter and when; the entry process should be simple and intuitive.

5.  Start planning the promotion three months out, and then heavily market two to three weeks prior.


1.  Don’t tie a contest to the number of drinks purchased, due to potential legal ramifications. You’re going to put up a sign for the police department to come sit outside door.

2.  Offending the community or causing a controversy will undermine all the hard work you have done.

3.  Being lazy with and not following through with the disclaimers or rules you create for the contents. Confusion over this will anger customers.

4.  Permitting cheating by staff or regular customers is the easiest way to ruin a good contest or giveaway.

5.  By making the barrier for customers to enter to high will cause the promotion fall short of expectations.


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