Michael Galatte, Assistant General Manager at Ellis Island Casino and Village Pub in Las Vegas shares his experiences – good AND bad – with Nightclub & Bar to help your small business avoid dangerous promotions and focus on the ones that you are guaranteed to reap the benefits of.
What are examples of promotions that are guaranteed to be profitable on little to no budget?
Michael Galatte: Our NFL $1 menu during all NFL games has proven to be successful. We offer $1 hot dogs, $1 20oz. craft beers, and five wings for $2. We also give away autographed memorabilia after Monday Night games, which helps keep people interested until the end of the game.
We’ve also seen major benefits in working with new liquor brands trying to break into the market. They provide us with samples for our guests to taste and use during “ladies nights” and “industry night.” It costs next to nothing for the product.
Another fun and profitable promotion is our “suit of the day” pit promotion where we give away a growler of our own craft beer when guests get a natural suited blackjack of the day. People love playing for the growlers.
What are some tricks of the trade to cut costs on bigger/more substantial promotions?
Galatte: Teaming up with other vendors and/or companies makes a big difference on the bottom line of your budget. If you have left over promotional products from past events, do a “spring cleaning” promotion.
What audiences are best suited for these types of promotions and how can you turn a "promo-seeker" into a loyal customer?
Galatte: The social media crowd is a great audience for our promotions because it is a very quick way to reach a lot of people in real time. If they let you into their world, you have earned their trust. Once you have their trust, they are more open to buying from you when you are promoting your product.
What are a few examples of risky promotions that a small business should not take a chance on?
Galatte: If you are a new small business with small margins, beware of experimenting with BOGO’s or 50% off! There is no way to make up the difference if you don’t have the volume.
Also, don’t think you have to advertise because someone on the phone tells you to. Advertising adds up fast and if you are not careful, it will kill your profits. There are tons of inexpensive ways to get the word out like social media or local papers looking to do a story. Tip: invite the local media to try your food for free.
What's the best/most economical and most successful marketing vehicle to get the word out about promotions?
Galatte: Social media is still the best vehicle at this time. It’s FREE! Build advocates and they will help market for you.