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?
Pay per click?
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?
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.