There are legions of nightlife marketers constantly struggling to come up with new tactics to have their weekly, monthly, and even annual events reach a larger audience and rake in more revenue. But lets face it - if there were a clear-cut recipe that could be applied to any event in order to maximize its potential, everyone would apply it. However, there are some characteristics that your marketing strategy should hone in on to ensure you’re taking steps in the right direction.
Brands all over the world - both in and out of the nightlife realm - are beginning to produce relevant content for their audience to hook them in. With vast amounts of information traveling at light speed, it’s impossible for the average consumer to read a majority of the content served to them via social media channels, websites and their favorite mobile apps that provide aggregated news feeds. Simply put - it’s a hell of a competition, but as the saying goes, content is king. Be it your website, social media channels, or any other medium, be sure to provide your audience with relevant content they can relate to. Is it a Q&A with a popular DJ that’s coming to play your venue? Perhaps a brief blog post on a popular new cocktail? Maybe it’s a thought-leadership piece by your resident DJ on how a new music genre is making waves across the nation. No matter what format it’s in, create interesting and digestible content that your audience can consume on a regular basis. That’s a great way to create brand awareness for your business.
Social Messaging is Key
There’s no denying the effectiveness of social media when it comes to event marketing. “If social media marketing isn’t a core part of your event marketing strategy, then you may as well quit,” says Karla Ortiz, Southeast Regional Director at Wantickets, one of North America’s largest event and nightlife ticketing companies. “Even though MySpace was a platform where events began to be marketed, Facebook really paved the way. Now you have other channels like Twitter and Instagram. Considering every venue is on these channels, you really have to be unique with your messaging.” It’s extremely important to make your messaging personal. Just as your venue has a personality, so should your social channels. Rather than producing messages that are dry and don’t really connect with the audience, why not try conversing with them? While at the end of the day you’ll be pushing your event, you can also learn a thing or two about your audience by asking them questions and getting their opinions on different aspects of your venue and nightlife in general. These are all things you can apply toward your marketing strategy at the end of the day.
Deliver on Your Word
It’s extremely important to ensure that your venue delivers on what it promises. This is a common pitfall for many venues, according to Ortiz. “If you promise a particular happy hour, make sure you end up sticking to whatever the messaging clearly indicates,” she says. “I’ve heard plenty of complaints from consumers regarding special and even musical guests that were touted by venues, only for them to attend said event and be disappointed when the venue doesn’t deliver on those promises.” Clear communication is the name of the game. Be extremely succinct in your messaging and provide exactly what it is you’re promoting on your social channels and website. If you trip up on this aspect, you’ll lose a good portion of your audience and your event’s reputation will take a big hit.
Evolve Your Themes
It’s nearly impossible to put together a good event without having some sort of theme tied to it. Even when a big act comes into town to play your space, more often than not there’s some sort of theme that’s tied to their sound. Regardless, rather than becoming stale, make sure to evolve your themes, and like we previously mentioned, keep your audience in mind. “A great example of an evolving theme is Miami’s legendary Back Door Bamby party,” Ortiz said. “You never knew what you were going to get when it came to that weekly event, but I feel as though that’s what the crowd really loved.” If you’re hosting the prototypical Thirsty Thursdays event, make sure to mix things up rather than letting your two-for-one two-hour special on drafts be the highlight of the night week in and week out.
Focus on Your Audience
If there’s a bulls-eye you need to be aware of, it’s your audience. Think of your business as a ship and the audience as the island with the buried treasure. You see it in the distance, now make sure you steer straight ahead toward it and never waver. Far too many nightlife venues make the mistake of losing touch with their audience. As Michael Mora, Partner and COO of Miami-based Red Rabbit Presents LLC, recently said, keeping track of the current trends associated to your target market is essential. Your venue should evolve with your audience, not the other way around. There are far too many times where an event attempts to try something new, without taking into account their audience. At the end of the day, a decision like that could lead to a speed bump that derails your coveted weekly event. Which leads to the next point…
Perhaps the best piece of advice that successful nightlife owners and operators offer up is to be consistent, and this goes for everything that both impacts your marketing strategy in addition to operators at the venue itself. “Just because you hit a home run of an event one week, does not mean you shouldn’t worry about what’s on the horizon,” Ortiz says. “Crowds expect the same level or entertainment and service on a weekly basis. When it comes to marketing, you should definitely have the same game plan in mind. Your tactics should stay consistent, and when you combine that with consistency on the operations front, that’s a recipe for success.”
If you're looking to learn more about event and social media marketing, registration for the 2016 Nightclub & Bar Convention and Trade Show opens in October.