As I touched on last month, we aren’t creating new customers; we’re stealing them from our competitors. Retaining those customers and turning them into regulars, however, is a whole other matter.
Follow these simple rules, and you'll maintain the edge on your competition by offering customers something they can’t get at the other place:
• Push your email program. Reward your customers for giving you their email addresses through email-only bar promotions.
• Whip your crowd into frenzy. Not the crazy, table-tipping kind. A five-minute happy hour will drive customers to the bar, giving you the kind of notoriety your competitor lacks.
• Submission based promotions. For example, the first 50 guests that take advantage of the five-minute happy hour get a gift receipt for the next time they come in for one complimentary drink.
• Take advantage of social media sites. Contests are a good way to generate activity on your Facebook page. Promote a weekly “Cocktail Challenge” and feature one new liquor each week. Ask your followers to submit their best suggestions for ingredients that will mix well with the featured liquor. May the best mixologist win!
• Generate loyalty. Bar promotions that rely on wearing a bar shirt or bar apparel generate customer loyalty and exclusivity while driving other customers to jump on board with the program. If one of your customers is wearing a competitor’s shirt, trade them for one of yours.
Keep in mind that your competitor will be working just as hard as you are to lure customers back into their bar or nightclub. By giving your customers an experience that is exclusive to your venue, you can turn visitors into regulars and turn your bar investments into profit.