Bar Promotions Are Worthless

bar promotions

Bar Promotions are worthless.

One of the things I speak to not just bar owners but all business owners, is you need to be constantly promoting your business. To bars specifically, you need to have promotions ALL THE TIME. Typically bar promotions are worthless, but if you do it correctly they can be priceless. But to start let pretend you are doing bar promotions.

But are you doing them constantly, consistently, persistently without fail?

It goes to the old adage that “you always need to have something to invite people to.”

Whenever someone comes across your business, you should always have something going on that you can tell someone about and invite them too. Hey just so you know on Wednesday we are having Customer Appreciation day with free hamburgers and hot dogs from 5 to 7. Stop by if you can, I hope to see you there.

If you don’t have anything to invite people to, when they come by or are leaving you just say see you later, or come back soon, that’s an entirely different situation. If you tell someone on Wednesday there is an event and they are even slightly interested in it, that fact will float around in their subconscious mind, whether they like it or not.

Unfortunately, the way the mind works, it won’t remind them in time for the event, most likely they will remember it again long after the event has past, but make no mistake it is in there. So, the next time, they are looking for somewhere to stop after work, you will be more likely to pop up in their mind.

It will sit in their reticular activating system. Which means when they drive by your bar, they will notice it, instead of the car dealership across the street.

So, if this promotion thing is so powerful, why did I name this “promotions are worthless?”

Well, for one reason. If you don’t have anyone to promote your promotions to, they are worthless.

bar promotions

If we go back to the example of free hotdogs and hamburgers for customer appreciation night. Say you spend a few hundred bucks on food and condiments, and no one shows up? The promotion was not only a big waste of money but a big waste of time and effort which is costlier than money.

So, what can you do, spend a bunch of money on advertising, to tell people about a free promotion you are having? What the heck kind of sense does that make. Then, can you imagine you spend a couple thousand dollars on advertising and still no one shows up! Quadruple the wasted costs now.

So, here is why bar owners have given up on promotions. Here is the problem, promotions are worthless if you have no one to promote them to. But they are priceless when you do. That is why you need to build a block of customers that you can promote your promotions to. In the old days, it was collect their addresses you can send them something in the mail to remind them about the promotion you are having.

Now it’s so much easier (and free) to collect their email addresses and remind them for free! The number one thing any business should do, especially bars is to build a customer database of customers so you can market to them for free, forever.

There are other things that are important, like how to keep them from unsubscribing, which I can teach you later, but that is irrelevant when you aren’t even building a list anyway. Also, how to get people to subscribe to your list is another discussion altogether than I can teach you, but why teach you that if you aren’t building a list anyway?

Also, they are cumbersome to maintain these large email lists. Which I can teach you easily to do as well, but, don’t want to sound like a broken record but once again, why even get into it if you aren’t building a list. So, if you are building a list and its gets too cumbersome and difficult to manage, reach out to me and I will show you how to fix that.

bar promotions

If you are getting lots of people on your list, only to find them unsubscribing later, call me and I will tell you how to fix that. And, if you have an email list and are building one, but are having a hard time getting people to sign up, yes, reach out to me and I will show you how to take of that little problem as well.

So, the point is, forget promotions, forget advertising, forget marketing until you have begun building a customer database of some sort. Stop all other marketing and advertising related tasks until you have this ALL IMPORTANT task complete. Then get back into all the other things as they will only become more valuable if you combine them with a house list.

Now, one last thing. Do Facebook fans and twitter followers etc. count as people on your list. Not really, I mean they are highly valuable, but they are not the same. You do not own them. As you may have already heard, if you have Facebook fans, Facebook still charges you to get your posts in front of those people on a consistent basis and can change it anytime they want. They can charge you more or block you altogether and there is nothing you can do about it.

If you own your own list, and the method of contacting them, you are in control and that is a much better position to be in. Once you have a plan and start to build your list, the main thing you need is a name and email. Don’t start with anything else. Later on, you can add stuff like Birthday and Physical Address but for now just keep it simple, first name and email that’s it.

I hope you found this helpful, if any of this seems confusing or difficult please reach out to me, I would really like to help you get this most important step squared away once and for all. Thanks for reading.


Free Bar Marketing Consultation

free consultation

I have to admit, I advise my clients to never do anything for free. Normally, it just doesn’t work out the way you think, the word “free” just incurs all of the wrong things you don’t want in a promotion, and therefore should be used very sparingly. For the most part, you don’t want customers who only responded to a promotion because it was free.

However, that being said, the majority of bars just won’t be able to afford my services. That is why I give out so much free information, in hopes that even though a bar or tavern can’t afford to use my direct services, they can still benefit from the information I provide, and use it to get more customers at their place of business.

But, that doesn’t mean I don’t want to help in person. I have to admit, my FAVORITE thing in the world, is to find a bar or tavern and go over with the manager or owner, ways to get more people in the door. I honestly can’t think of anything I would rather do.

So for a limited time, I am going against my own advice and offering a free 1 hour consultation on how to get your bar or tavern busier with ideal customers who want to spend money at your bar. One hour only, but heck, if I am having a lot of fun, I may even stay longer.

One thing is for sure, you will leave the meeting with several ideas both free and paid on how to promote your bar or tavern more effectively. I honestly feel that most bars that have failed recently, just aren’t doing anything at all to promote their bar. They just open the doors and hope people come in. When in reality you need to be constantly and consistently promoting your bar or tavern. Constantly.

But look, I get it. So many people have spent money on advertising and gotten no results whatsoever from it, believe me I know. I remember the time I spent 8,000 on a postcard campaign and didn’t get one call or redemption at all. Bam, $8,000 down the drain, so believe me I understand. But, the fact remains that you need to be promoting your bar, you just need to do things that work, and you should probably start with all of the free things you could be doing.

Here’s a hint

digital marketing

So enough for now, just send me a message if you would like to discuss how to get your bar busier and of course make more money, I look forward to hearing from you.

5 Easy Ways

bar marketing skills

I’ll be the first to admit, I am no bar expert, in fact I know nothing about the bar business. I keep it that way for a specific reason, I’ll discuss later. So why would I send you a letter about helping your bar if I am not a bar expert? Well, for one very good reason, I am your customer.

First off, let me introduce myself, my name is Craig Osterhoudt and I help bars, pubs and taverns in Las Vegas make more money with effective digital marketing. I have been an entrepreneur since I graduated from UNLV. Having owned businesses in several industries such as finance, construction and contracting, automotive, marketing and advertising and many others, I have extensive knowledge of many different business types. I have been able to do this for one reason.

bar marketing skills

“What I do have are a very particular set of skills. Skills I have acquired over a very long career. Skills that make me a nightmare for, your competitors.”

Bar Social Media Marketing

So, like I said, I have no experience with running a bar, none whatsoever. However, my experience, my expertise, my “particular set of skills, is Marketing. Marketing is a skill that translates to any industry if you know how to do it right. However, there is one issue I have come across with all of the businesses I have owned and run. The more I got to know about the business, the more I had difficulties marketing the business.

You see marketing is about identifying with the customer, and showing them (in a cost-effective way) that you are offering what they want, in a way that entices them to use your product or service. The more you know about the nuts and bolts of a business, the more you alienate yourself from being a customer and evolve more into an owner/operator etc.

This is why I don’t learn the bar and tavern business from the inside out. I view bars and taverns solely as a customer and that helps me market bars and taverns more effectively. And believe me, I am your perfect customer.

I am the guy who just stops in a bar for happy hour, late night, in between etc. If I like the place I will stay and hang out. If I like it a lot I will throw 20 bucks into a machine. Then 40, then 200. I’m the guy you want to stop by your bar. I don’t eat at Applebee’s and Outback. I eat at bars and taverns. When people want to meet up for drinks or dinner, I don’t invite them to the strip, I meet them at a local bar, somewhere between our homes that is convenient for both of us.

I grew up in Las Vegas, eating at places like the Lift, Instant Replay and Four Kegs. I used to be in a pool league that played at the Rice Paddy, Dealers Choice, the Hard Hat and Foothills. When I need WiFi, I don’t stop into a Starbucks or McDonalds, I keep a list of bars near me who offer free WiFi. To this day, I can be still be found in my old time favorites like Champagne Café, Larry’s Hideaway and Dino’s.

You will NEVER catch me at a Dotty’s though.

Which leads me to, “Why I Choose to help bars and Taverns.” I have been a bar and tavern customer since I was just a kid. Some of these places are as home to me, as the house I grew up in. However, I have to sit here and watch these places fall like flies to Dotty’s or something similar.

My favorite Philly Cheese Steak was at Triple Play, now a Joanie’s. My favorite Karaoke place was Bailey’s, now a Dotty’s. My favorite late night stop on the way home for amazing food, Foothills Express is also now a Dotty’s. It’s maddening. All of the places I used to love to go are dropping like flies and it has to stop.

So, that is why I choose to help bars and taverns in Las Vegas, get more customers via an effective digital marketing campaign. Every time I see another bar or tavern fall to the mini-casino, I read another marketing book or gain another certification. I learn more and more how to effectively market bars and taverns to hopefully help one of my places stick around for the long haul.

So, what does any of this have to do with you? Why am I bothering you with all of this?

Well, I wanted to introduce myself and let you know there is information free available to you, to help market your bar or tavern. Pretty much all of my ideas, tactics and strategies can be found, for free, on my marketing channels. Here are a few you can take a look at if you get a chance.

Website –

Facebook – @barandtavern or

Twitter –

There are some other resources I have available for those bar owners who feel like they could use some help especially with social media.

The fact is marketing and advertising has completely changed over the last 5 to 7 years and many of us have found ourselves lost when it comes to marketing. When we used to do ValPak, Yellow Pages and Radio, now there’s Google Adwords, Facebook Ads and Social Media Marketing. A client of mine asked me, why should I use Social Media Marketing? There is no way to measure the return or find out if its working or not. I referred him to a quote by Gary Vaynerchuk –


If you look at the most successful, busy bars in Las Vegas, you will notice that they have a strong social media marketing program, and the fact remains that it’s the way things are now and as bar owners we need to embrace it. Luckily, it’s pretty easy and its cheap. Also, the best thing about social media is it makes if very easy to spy on what your competitors are doing.

Free Tip – Watch what successful bars are doing on social media and mimic that. Boom, you don’t have to be a social media marketing expert, just a good, “mimicker?” (is that a word?)

To get started check out a few of my resources, they will teach you everything you need to know about how to market your bar or tavern effectively.

Don’t get me wrong, Social Media Marketing isn’t all that I do. There are still several conventional marketing methods that work great, however they don’t work the same as they used to. You have to use them smarter, since they are more expensive and less effective than they used to be. I know several businesses that all they ever did was take out a yellow pages ad each year, and that was all they needed to stay in business. My how things have changed.

Anyway, if you want my help, feel free to give me a shout. I don’t charge for meetings and I will give you a free consultation at your convenience as both our schedules permit. As a parting gift as a way of saying thanks for fumbling through this letter of mine, I would like to offer you free access to my special educational booklet.

“5 Easy Ways to Turn Your Bar Staff Into a Full Time PR and Marketing Department.”

Don’t take this booklet lightly I charge bars and taverns $1000 to come in and train their staff on these techniques but I am giving it to you for free. You can find it on my website

So, there you have it, if you are looking to get out of the bar you own, and are looking for someone to take over and maybe give you some walking away money so you don’t have to leave with nothing, please give me a call I’d like to see if we can work something out. Either way I wish you success in whatever you do and I really want to thank you for reading my letter, I hope to hear from you soon.


Craig Osterhoudt

PS – I just wanted to mention one more thing, if you feel like your bar really has potential and could make good money but really just needs someone to take it over that has a zeal for running and owning a bar, then I would really like to talk to you. Maybe if what I am offering up front isn’t enough to make the deal we can work out a small payment plan.

Bar Marketing Idea Restroom

bar marketing bathroom

For most bar owners, the restroom is pretty much just an afterthought. It’s hard enough for most owners just to keep the bathroom clean and tidy. But taking your bathroom game to the next level is a simple way to elevate your experience for your patrons.

There was a bar/nightclub at the top of a major casino hotel in Las Vegas, where the restroom was essentially on the edge of the building 42 stories above the ground and was all glass. I heard from 10 to 12 people about how awesome the bathroom was there, yet I never heard from anyone about how good the drinks, staff, design or music was. Everyone spoke about the bathroom and I heard it enough that when I made it by, I made it a priority to check out this bathroom.

restroom marketing

You may not have a high-rise to work with, but I promise you there is something you can do to improve your restroom. You don’t even need to have everyone talking about your restroom. Just walking back to the people, they are with and mentioning a cool thing in the bathroom they saw, is enough to separate yourself from the competition.

Unfortunately, in 99 percent of bars and taverns, visiting the restroom is a negative experience. This is such an opportunity to separate yourself that I can’t understand why most bar owners don’t take advantage of it just baffles me. Also, you don’t have to spend 10,000 to 20,000 dollars remodeling the bathroom either. Just some simple changes and decorations is really all you need to elevate the experience.

Bar Marketing Idea

In fact, one simple thing you can do, that is not only creative but will increase awareness of your bar is to make your bathroom mirror, “bathroom selfie” friendly. You can create around your mirror a frame similar to a “snapchat” filter, that brands your bar in a cool, fun, lighthearted way. A simple frame around the edge of the mirror with some vinyl text that brands the bar, makes fun of bathroom selfies, and brands the bar at the same time. You can even experiment with different backgrounds each week, so that every other week there is another reason to take a picture and share to social media. Possibly a poster of a famous person, or a different backdrop like a high-rise one week, and rolling hills the next week, etc. etc.

restroom marketing

It’s no secret that the “social media sharing spot” is the big thing for businesses. This idea combines both ideas into one powerhouse way to elevate the experience, brand your bar, get social media exposure and word of mouth advertising, all for about a $100 upgrade to your bathroom mirror and some creativity. The point of this article is that promoting a bar or tavern takes constant attention.

It’s not something you work on for a week or two and then check it off your to-do list. It’s something you work on every day, day after day, as long as you own your bar or tavern. Unfortunately, as a bar owner, you get caught up with the 20 other things you gotta worry about on a daily basis, and promotions get pushed to the back burner. Well I have a solution for this. If you would like to discuss it, go to the contact page and enter your details and I will send you some information, free of charge.

Best Way to Bigger Tips for Bartenders

bigger tips for bartenders

There have been several studies on how service workers can increase the amount of tips they receive from their customers. I have heard several things such as to touch the customers hand, to smile when taking an order, and even to write thank you with a smiley face on the receipt to try and get bigger tips for bartenders.

However, studies have shown that this one method will incur bigger tips for bartenders more than any other and it really makes sense when you think about it.

Bigger Tips For Bartenders

I want you to imagine the last guy that ordered a Jack and Diet from you at your bar, can you remember him? Now, I want to walk you through what’s going through his head when he orders that drink.

bigger tips for bartenders

Customer, “Hi I’d like a Jack and Diet”

Bartender, “Coming right up”

Customer thinks, “I wonder if she heard me correct?”

Bartender takes some money from another customer, gives change, runs out of ice, fills back up with ice, says good bye to a leaving customer, then makes his drink.

Bartender, “Here you go, $4 dollars.”

Customer thinks, “I wonder if this is Jack, tastes like well Whiskey. Wonder if she used diet coke? This speed gun cola all tastes the same, I bet she made it with regular coke.”

Especially for picky drinkers, from the moment they order a drink from a bartender, until the drink is gone, they wonder if the drink was made correctly, especially on a busy night where bartenders are making multiple drinks at a time, serving multiple people and ringing up several tickets all within a short time period.

The best way to alleviate this, which is also the number one way to increase your tips is to repeat the order to the customer before you walk away. No other technique, tactic, practice whatever is as effective as this one thing to increase your tips. This is how the conversation should go. (You should repeat the drink order twice)

bigger tips for bartenders

Customer, “Hi I’d like a Jack and Diet”

Bartender, “One Jack and Diet, Coming right up!”(enunciating clearly)

Customer thinks, “Cool she heard me correct, hope she remembers to use diet its busy in here. . .”

Bartender takes some money from another customer, gives change, runs out of ice, fills back up with ice, says good bye to a leaving customer, then makes his drink.

Bartender, “Here you go, one Jack and Diet Coke, that will be $4 dollars.”

Customer thinks, “About something totally different since they are no longer worried that the drink was made incorrectly.”

Such a simple thing, yet some studies I have read have shown a 15 percent increase in average weekly tips for bartenders who adopt this practice. If your customers and their experience at your bar is important to you, then you will adopt this practice in your bartender work. Not only will your customers tip more but they will have a better experience, since instead of worrying if they got the right drink they can relax and enjoy the atmosphere.

If you would like to learn more about how to make more money as a bartender, I would like to email you a free workshop on how to use digital and social media marketing to make more money as a bartender. This  series (delivered once a week for the next few weeks) will show you several ways to increase your loyal customer base, using the latest social media tactics. We discuss things like

  • How to separate personal from work related social media interactions.
  • How to get buy in from your superiors to let you use social media during work hours.
  • Best practices for Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat, Twitter and YouTube.
  • How every platforms Live feature will get you insane response.
  • Best ideas for social media posts, specific to each Social Media Platform
  • Ways to use Social Media to get job security and make it easier to get another job if you ever need it. (This one idea will have other bars fighting over you)

Don’t worry everything is totally free, and there will be nothing for sale at the end, its just a course to help you make more money as a bartender. If afterwards you feel like giving me some shares or plus ones or re-tweets, or heck you may even follow my snaps or my Instagram account, if so, then that would be awesome but if not, the course is 100 percent free and I will never try to sell you anything.

I am a firm believer in the saying that you can get anything you want in life, if you just help enough other people get what they want.

So click the link below and enter your First Name and email below and I will start sending you the Social Media Marketing for Bartenders Workshop, free of charge, once a week for the next few weeks. I look forward to getting to know you better. Sign up today!

Click here to sign up for free.

Free Marketing for Bars

free marketing for bars

Never before in history has free marketing for bars been so easy. Never have you been able to get so much exposure for your business for free. In today’s day and age, it is entirely possible to have a full blown marketing plan, that works, and drives customers to your business, for free. Look back as far as you like, but businesses and yes bars, have always needed to spend money to market their business, from TV commercials, to newspaper ads to direct mail, heck even handing out flyers yourself costs more than sending out an email.

Free Marketing for Bars is easier than you might think.

If you are a bar or tavern owner today, you are very lucky. I remember when I had a business doing about 5 million a year in sales, once a week, a different advertising person would come by trying to sell me advertising. First it would be the Yellow Pages guy, and the next week, the radio ads salesman would come by. Then, shortly thereafter would come the ValPak’s and Local Magazine and yes, even the newspaper guy would stop by, even though I never bought.

Today it’s a bit different but you still have everybody and their brother trying to sell you some marketing help. Now it’s the Yelp people (man they are relentless) and the social media managers and some of the others are still around like radio and TV, (thank God the yellow pages aren’t.) However, as someone in the marketing business, I am often asked, what should I spend my money on first?

Facebook ads?

Pay per click?

Radio? TV?


My answer is always the same. Why would you spend money, when you aren’t first maximizing the free advertising venues that are available to you? I see people spending thousands of dollars every month on advertising but still haven’t claimed their free google my business listing. I mean It’s absolutely insane!

The number one thing any small business can do to promote their business is to claim and maximize their Google My Business listing, yet I see hundreds every day that aren’t yet claimed. IT IS FREE! Wow, so needless to say, there are many, many awesome things you can spend money on for marketing and advertising, so don’t think that you don’t have to spend money to market your business.

What I am saying is do all the free things first, then worry about how to spend your budget. Here is the fact of the matter. If you aren’t maximizing your free marketing channels, you probably aren’t maximizing the ones you spend money on either. Most small businesses decide on a monthly budget say 2,000 per month or 6 percent of sales, or 1 dollar per visit, whatever it is, they decide on some monthly budget to spend on marketing and advertising. Then, because they are busy, they spend that money on whatever sounds best and they can get done the quickest so that they can move on to the next item on their to-do list. This is very bad marketing management. Every single dollar you spend on marketing needs to be tracked, measured and compared to other marketing methods to see which works best.

The other problem is that there is just too much to learn, I mean it’s hard enough learning how to do your business, let alone learning the business of marketing and advertising. I actually know a guy who was spending countless hours building his Facebook page and had no idea that no one was seeing the work he was putting into it. He told me, but I have 2500 likes, all of those people are seeing my posts. I felt bad that I had to break it to him that, no, sorry, they aren’t. If you want people to see those posts, now you have to pay Facebook, to get in front of those people whether they liked your page or not. He was shattered and just felt like giving up, after all the hours and effort he put into it. I explained to him some of the new free things he could be doing, still the fact remains that there is so much info out there on the web, on free marketing for bars,, how do you stay on top of it all?free marketing for bars

Well the first thing you do, is follow a blog like this one, written especially for you the owner of a bar or tavern and specializes in marketing for bars. If you follow this and a few others, you will always be on top of the things you need to be doing as far as free marketing for bars. You can also hire someone, but I would be careful with that. Once again you are paying for something that could be free if you know how to do it. For example, you could build up a social media following and them let them do the work for you for free.

However, eventually yes, it is a good idea to just hire someone to do the marketing for you, but just make sure you really vet them, and make sure they know what they are doing and are going to provide you trackable, measurable results, otherwise do not hire them. My favorite thing to do is to ask a bar owner his customer counts for the last 6 months. If they don’t consistently go up, month after month, you don’t have to worry about firing me because I will fire myself. I will not let someone pay me if I cannot get them results I am after. But I will still teach you all of the free marketing for bars ideas that I know.

I once spent 8,000 on a postcard campaign that did not generate one sale. Not one phone call, not one customer visit, NADA. I have wasted too much money on bad marketing and advertising to ever let anyone else go through the same nightmare if I can do something about it. So, once again, are you taking advantage of all the free marketing channels available to you.

Do you have a Twitter account? Instagram? Snapchat? How about a fresh and consistently updated website? Have you claimed your Google My Business Listing? Are you updating it and working on it. Most importantly, are you collecting the emails of your customers and building a email list? Dear lord, if you are not building an email list, you are missing out on the absolute most important thing you will ever do. And all of these are included in the genre of free marketing for bars.

From time to time I dabble in business brokerage and help people sell their businesses. So, I know from first-hand experience (I’ve also owned 10 businesses of my own) that the number one asset of any business is its customer list. The better your customer list is, the more valuable your business is, simple as that. Luckily, I can help you with all of these free marketing ideas. If there is one you are particularly interested in, and you don’t see and article or blog post on that specific topic, drop me a line and I will help you out.

Twitter for Bars

twitter for bars

5 Reasons Why Bars Need a Twitter Strategy – Twitter for Bars

  1. PR – Let’s face it, PR as you may know it, or PR of the 80’s and 90’s is dead. Twitter for bars is the fastest method now to take on a PR campaign for your business. It is beyond the scope of this article to explain how to use Twitter to get free PR exposure but the short version is to follow prominent PR professionals in your area, and add them to a list. Interact regularly with them. Then when you do something PR worthy, reach out and ask for assistance. You can still use conventional PR methods, but you can still drive an Yugo as well, but twitter is the 2017 Ferrari. Don’t get me wrong conventional PR as it used to exist is very valuable. However, getting access to that type of PR is either very difficult or very expensive. Twitter for PR, is not expensive or difficult but it is time consuming. You must put in consistent effort over the long haul. This isn’t something you can outsource either. Getting followers, retweet and so forth, that type of stuff can be outsourced, I guess, but starting meaningful conversations with PR people and interacting effectively with them is not something that can be done by anyone else but you.

    twitter for bars
    twitter for bars
  2. Longevity – Twitter is here to stay, and Twitter for Bars is here to stay. Even though other Social Media channels have become more popular or have more users, Twitter will still be around. It is the easiest way for celebrities, politicians, and social media influencers to reach their fans and the public with quick reliable uncensored speed and efficiency. Even my 78 year old grandfather knows what Twitter is, because it is constantly on the news and TV shows. No other social media channel does what Twitter does and it has a time and place for everyone. When you place an ad in a newspaper, that is pretty much done in a couple days. That ad is gone forever, and so is the money you spent on it. But if you make an interesting Twitter post, that can last forever. You post it to your Twitter feed and it will be there forever. You can re-share it as well with a click of a mouse and it is doing its magic all over again. But the reason I say longevity for Twitter is that there is some sort of idea floating around out there that Twitter isn’t going to be around much longer, sort of like Yahoo. People talk about how fast Instagram and Snapchat grew to more monthly users than twitter and so forth. But that really has nothing to do with anything. How important are the things someone does on Instagram vs. Twitter? No one can really say for sure which is more important, but seeing a picture my friends posted on Instagram and interacting with the journalist at the local paper are two totally different things.twitter for bars
  3. Access – Your customers will feel like they have a level of access to you that they normally wouldn’t be able to have. Knowing that I can reach out to a business and have a discussion there, visible for the entire world to see is very empowering to the customer. I once complained about the customer service I received from a specific Wells Fargo branch bank in a tweet. I was immediately contacted by a rep from Wells Fargo with a solution to my problem and 3 other branches within 5 miles of my location, that had a customer service employee who had been briefed on my situation and was willing to assist in taking care of the service that I needed that the first branch messed up. Pretty powerful. Even more powerful when you consider Twitter for bars. But, for this to work, the main thing is you need to actually engage and interact with the people trying to reach out to you, otherwise it could have an opposite effect. Disgruntled customers could be having an entire conversation about your business, on your business page, tagging you in all the discussions and unless you use your Twitter account, this will all go on, for everyone to see without you knowing about it. The worst part is they will be on your page encouraging you to respond, and if you don’t respond it shows indifference on your part and that’s what really drives customers away. .twitter for bars
  4. Trends and Conversations – Twitter is the easiest way to stay on top of trends and conversations that are going on in your industry. Do you want to be a “cool” bar? Just follow the “cool” bars and see what they are talking about and tweeting about and you are right there with them. The trend for early 2017 is Mescal in mixed drinks and craft cocktails. Most bars don’t even carry Mescal. Never before have you been able to easily spy on what the trendy bars in New York and LA are doing like now. You would have had to send secret shoppers all over the world to be able to get the information you can get from 6 or 7 minutes browsing lists that you have made in Twitter. Injecting yourself into conversations that are already happening is also very powerful.
    Its an old copy-writing tactic that you should inject yourself into the conversations going on in someone’s head already. If you have a target market say “mothers of grade school age children” you can easily craft your message to the conversations going on in their head. For example, for the entire month of August, the conversation going on in the Mom’s head is getting the kids ready for back to school. Crafting your messages for this is very powerful. But with Twitter for bars, you don’t have to guess, you can inject yourself into the REAL CONVERSATION, that is actually happening, right in front of you. If there is a local event that is going on in your area and people are talking about it, you can take advantage of that in ways that use to cost a fortune can now be done for free. For example, say your local sports team has made it to the finals series and you want people to come by after the game. You can tweet to the people interested in and talking about the game, that you have 2 free beers for every person that brings in a ticket stub. To do this before, you would have had to pay for a radio commercial or advertise in the stadium, but now, a couple smartly placed tweets, with the right hashtags and you’re in business.twitter for bars
  5. Marketing? – Oh yeah, you can actually get customers from Twitter. Every marketing program you undertake can be enhanced by using Twitter. There are a million ways to market on Twitter but the best part is it is very hard to overdo it on Twitter. You can post 20 to 30 times a day and no one is going to care. That’s what people expect you to do. If you post more than a couple times a day on Facebook or Instagram, you are going to irritate and agitate your customers. Those who were happily following you before will start to unfollow and block you if you fill up their feed too much. But with Twitter, no worries, it will be very difficult to do that. Especially because Twitter moves really fast. Anyone who really uses Twitter a lot and follows a lot of people probably doesn’t look at the actual feed, because it moves too fast. They have interesting accounts separated into lists, that they can review as they are interested in that list. For example you may find yourself on a list called happy hour or nightlife. Then when that particular person is looking for somewhere to go to happy hour or a cool place to have a drink with a friend after a movie, they will scroll through that list to see if there is anything interesting going on. If you are using your Twitter account effectively, chances are, they are going to come by your place. Twitter is great for so many other things as well when it comes to Marketing. You can test ideas, you can post live videos of what’s going on at the bar, there are just so many things you can do its endless. The best thing you can do is use Twitter to cheaply test out ideas before you take them to more expensive Social media channels like Facebook and YouTube. This article isn’t to teach you how to use Twitter for Marketing but rather to explain why you need a Twitter strategy, and the main reason is to get customers in the door.

Here are a couple awesome Twitter accounts to follow to get you started. If nothing else, just emulate these accounts and that will be a good start for you and your bar or tavern.

Social Media Marketing for Bars and Taverns

The first thing I always tell people about social media marketing for bars, especially when it comes to Nightlife and Taverns, is that social media is about people. Its about friends and family and seeing what your friends are up to and interacting with them via these new channels that make it easier for friends and relative to stay in touch. You don’t have to write a letter to grandma anymore, you can just “snap” her a message. Also you don’t have to reach out to every friend individually, when you get that new promotion, you can just make an update post to your social media channel of choice and let everyone know all at once.

social media marketing for bars
social media marketing for bars

Social media marketing for Bars can be tricky.

Social Media is about people. Many folks get irritated when businesses try to come in and force marketing and advertising into the feeds of friends and relatives and being social with their acquaintances.  So most clients I have who have tried social media and complained that it didn’t work, did not keep this in mind as they went about their social media marketing campaign.

They interrupted the feed of their prospects with irrelevant, obtrusive ads that just irritated the customers instead of engaged the customers. When you are using social media for advertising, you have to remember that people do not want you messing up their social media feed, so if you do, you better make it good.

The majority of adults understand that things have costs. They realize that in order for them to keep using this awesome tool, there will have to be some advertising, and they are ok with that, they don’t let it bother them too much, but eventually, they do get bothered if they see the same crappy irrelevant ad blocking up their screen space all the time.

With a billboard, there really is no intrusion, because if the message on the billboard doesn’t apply to them, they can just ignore it, it doesn’t get in their way, or slow down traffic, it just is there and they drive past it and even if it does really bother them, there isn’t anything they can do about it.

However with social media, they can do something. If the same stupid ad shows up 5 times a day for a week or two, eventually, no matter how capitalistic they are, they are going to block that ad. Then when you get too many blocked ads, the social media channels will begin to penalize you and charge you more to show the same ads.

I will go into each social media channel individually later on, in other posts, but the thing to remember here is that, you are interrupting a feed of someone who is wanting to see information about their friends and family, make sure you do something that they aren’t going to be frustrated with and make sure it belongs there.

One good way to do this is to make your marketing messages about people. Did you know that Dave, from the Wendy’s commercials, HATED doing those commercials? He detested it. He hated the lines, the cameras, he hated getting makeup done and was known to snap at make-up people because he just could not stand the whole notion of doing those commercials. But guess what, they outperformed every other type of commercial they tried so they had to keep doing them.

People are social beings (which is why social media is so dominant) and prefer to see things about people, so your ads and marketing messages should be people based. That is why you should turn your employees into small individual mini marketing departments inside your bar or tavern. If I see a advertisement from the local bar, saying Happy Hour 3pm to 6pm Mon Through Thursday, I don’t care and if I see it too much I’m going to block it.

But, if instead, I see a post from “my local bartender” and she says, “come hang out with me today we’re slowest from 3pm to 6pm, lets catch up!” That is an entirely different experience when in reality it is the exact same thing, just said and executed differently. Both cost the same amount in time and effort, but one works for social media, and the other doesn’t work. In fact the first example may even have a worse effect than doing nothing at all.

Subscribe to my blog to be notified when future posts come out on each individual social media platform and how to effectively use them for social media marketing for bars and taverns. Also drop me a message if you would like a copy of my booklet, “How to turn your staff into Mini Marketing Departments.”

Bar Marketing Idea 2

One bar marketing idea that many local bars have used to grow engagement with the community is to create a contest.

I recommend that you promote this contest for several months before completing the contest. The key to this contest is to get a lot of local customers to participate since they will be the main ones to promote the contest once its in place.

The best way to maximize the results from this bar marketing idea is to run the contest for 30 days, but promote the contest for several months before it starts. So, for example, I would begin promoting the contest on January 1st and promote the contest that Begins on April 1st or something like that.

Bar Marketing Idea #2 – Craft Cocktail Contest

How the contest works is to have a craft cocktail recipe contest. The winner receives a certain prize, whatever you deem to be a really good prize, because in fact the better the prize the more participation you will have in the contest.

However, in addition to the value prizes (I recommend 1st, 2nd and 3rd) you can have the winner receive an honorary place on your house cocktail menu. They get to name the cocktail and see their recipe on your cocktail menu for a year.

A way to really ratchet it up a bit is to offer five places on the cocktail menu, this works great for local bars who don’t necessarily have a craft cocktail menu. Then they can have the top 5 winners all get their drink on the menu for a year. Then whichever cocktail sells the most over the 365 days, that person wins another major prize.

In comparison to other bar marketing ideas, this one gets  5 local craft cocktail enthusiasts promoting your bar for you and the encouraging everyone they know to go to your bar, and buy their drink so they can win a prize. The business you receive from this promotion will far outweigh any costs associated with the prize. I don’t know another bar marketing idea that achieves this result better.

Getting More Mileage from the Contest

You see an average person knows 250 people they are connected with on social media. If that person shares something on social media the 250 people they know, and the 250 people those people know, means you have the chance to have your message in front of 62,500 people. However, if that person posts something and says,

craft cocktail contest
Bar Marketing Idea – Have a Contest

“Hey everyone, can you please re-post this and share with all your friends, I would really appreciate it, I am trying to win this trip to Hawaii, and I need to sell the most cocktails at XYZ Tavern. If you are looking for something to do this weekend, please go by and buy one a cocktail made from my own recipe. Etc etc. When someone posts a request like that, it gets shared fanatically, and you reach a much higher percentage of those 62,500 people.

There are a million ways you can get more mileage from this contest. You can require people to record a video of themselves and post it to YouTube or Facebook. Then whichever video gets the most comments or shares, wins a spot on the menu.

Then you can share those videos on your own channel and ask people to vote for their favorite. You can also set it up to where there are three types of winners. You can have Staff Choice where your staff votes for one, the owner can pick one, then the public can vote for one and you can also have one that the entrant who has the most likes, shares, comments etc.

The key to this program is not to run a contest and forget about it. You really have to milk it for all that it is worth. This is a great way to get PR as well, because you are involving the community and offering a prize that is worth talking about. It makes a great story and that is what local news channels are looking for.

If you want more information on how to profitably and cheaply promote this promotion through inexpensive Facebook ads, give me a call, I’d like to work with you.

Relevant Social Media Posts

Making relevant social media posts are the most important thing to remember when marketing your bar or tavern.

Social media posts
Relevant social media posts

The PITH method is an easy way to make sure your tweets and FB posts are the maximized to the most effective way of communicating with your prospective customers. Before I explain the PITH method, there are two things to remember. You are not posting to your customers only. You are posting to the average 250 people they know, and the average 250 people they know. Therefore the post/update/tweet has a reach of 62,500 people and that’s only if it’s somewhat useful. The number could rise exponentially if the social media post is more effective. The point is, just because you may not think it speaks to your followers, it may be of interest to someone they know. It is so easy to pass the information on these days, that if your social media post is effective, it will get forwarded on to someone who may be in need of your services.

Second, the main reason people join Instagram, Facebook and Twitter is not to be marketed to! Most business owners forget that people go on Facebook to check out their friends and what they are doing. So, if you are constantly bombarding your fans with sales pitches, they will just block you and that is the worst thing that can happen. If you have 300 friends but 250 of them block your posts (which you don’t and cannot know) then all of your efforts are for naught and you are spinning your wheels and not getting results. Use the PITH method to make sure you are providing the most effective posts to your friends and followers. Your posts should include one of the four categories listed below and the best ones will have two or more categories satisfied in the same post. Remember, very rarely any of your posts be a direct sales pitch to buy your products. Unless it’s a wildly great deal, for a very limited time, you should never post blatant sales pitches in your post. They should be subtle references that reminds your followers that “Here is what I do, if you ever need it, this is a reminder to remember me if you do, meanwhile I am going to provide you with posts that are P,I,T or H.”

P – Personal / Private – The fact of the matter is that people are interested in other peoples personal and private lives. That is why Facebook grew so fast and why it is what it is today. Same holds for Instagram. No other reason. Therefore you need to make your social media posts of a private/personal nature, for people to engage with you via Social Media. When you make a personal social media post, they see you as part of their Facebook community and allow you in to their circle. Most marketers fall into the trap of thinking, “Oh, I am using Facebook for business so I need to keep in professional.” That is the easiest way for you to get lumped in to the group of people that only get viewed if they are extremely bored. If you want to stay in their feed and have your posts show up on their page on a regular basis, you cannot come across as a business sales person. Of course, you don’t want to put pictures of you acting inappropriately or being crass and rude but your social media posts can be personal things that your followers will find interesting. There are a million examples but you need to let people into your life a little bit if you want them to follow your posts with interest. I follow Lebron James on Twitter and of the hundreds of posts he made since I started following him, the one I remember most, was the night before the season opener. He said he was getting those “First Day of School” jitters, and even laid out his clothes for the next day. It was a simple, yet still professional, insight into his personal life.

I – Interesting. – If you find something that is interesting, go ahead and pass it on. If you look at Twitter page @UberFacts, they only post interesting facts that you might have never known. They are very interesting. They have thousands of followers without having to follow back (which is the key to knowing if someone is truly providing customer perceived value through their Twitter account) and the people follow just to see the interesting tidbits that they share.

The trick is to post things that are of extreme interest to the masses, but have a slight correlation with your product or service. Do not reference articles that are boring and scream “Hey, here is a reference to my product.” I knew a security contractor who sold alarm systems. Anytime a news source reported on a crime, he re-posted it in his feed, because he thought it would entice his followers to do business with him. However, the articles were not interesting, and people see right through that. Eventually, his friend/followers just end up blocking him (I did) because he only posted articles about break in’s and stolen property. Who wants to see that on their Facebook home page every day?

He would have been more successful if he posted a personal tidbit and only posted articles that had maybe a smaller reference to his products, while being more interesting, such as a “5 million dollar painting goes missing from the local museum, police say it’s an inside job.” This would be more interesting to the general public and doesn’t scream, “Hey you’re not safe in your home, buy an alarm from me!” Yes these articles are fewer and farther between but it beats alienating your audience via, boring, sales intent loaded bait and switch articles.


T – Timely – Another way to make sure your posts are read and your feed isn’t blocked/unfollowed is to provide timely discussions. I like the example where the police re-opened the investigation of Natalie Wood’s accidental death 30 years after it happened. If at that time you were to make social media posts about Natalie Wood, Robert Wagner or Christopher Walken say a year or two before that, your posts would’ve gone unnoticed. However, the exact same post the day after the announcement would get 100 times the response that it would’ve gotten only a week earlier.

If you are going to make a social media post and it doesn’t meet one of the other three PITH criteria, make sure it related to a timely subject and watch your response rates sky rocket.


H – Helpful – Make your posts helpful to the everyday person in their everyday lives. You should be in the business of helping other people if you hope to be successful in business. Zig Ziglar says, “You can get anything you want in life if you just help enough other people get what they want.” If you want to get followed and have your posts read with interest and passed along to others, go out of your way to find things to post in your feed that will help others make their lives easier and less stressful. If you come across an article, webpage or product that is truly helpful to others, by all means, share that with your followers whether it helps you or not.

If your fans/followers see you has someone who consistently provides help, value and assistance, they will associate that type of behavior with your business endeavors as well. They will think, “all of these photographers are the same, except, John Smith. He really goes out of his way to help people,” Now, when they need a photographer, or when they know someone who needs a photographer, they will be your best salesperson because you have provided them with consistent value over time.

So, remember blatant sales pitches should never be used on any social networking sites. You should have a nice rotation of PITH posts, updates, tweets. Also only 33% or less should even have a vague reference to your business via articles or products. If you are a photographer, sure post tips on how to be more photogenic, or how to take a great picture every time, but they should be 33% or less of your overall posts. The others should be of a personal nature or helpful in general. If you would like more help with social media posts and social media management, see my new article titled, 4 Social Media No-No’s: How Most Marketers Are Annoying Their Followers.