I for one cannot wait for this pandemic to be over and de-stress at my favourite nightclub and I’m sure you feel the same (hopefully you’re over 18).
However, this guide is for nightclub owners and marketers who need ideas on how to market their brand because COVID-19 has changed the dynamic of how businesses operate and market themselves to customers.
While things are expected to get better soon and lockdowns are easing, the virus is expected to stay around for a while until treatment or cure is found.
This is exactly why businesses need to adapt and come up with creative solutions so that they can regain lost profits and get their businesses going again.
Check out these ideas on marketing for nightclubs and see how you can incorporate them into your business:
Planning your marketing strategy
If you’re new to all this or are completely restructuring your brand’s image and strategy, then you need to do some research and planning for successful implementation.
Here are some things that you need to consider:
This is one of the biggest determinants of how marketing for nightclubs will pan out.
Usually, businesses are classified into 3 categories: small, mid-sized and large and you need to set your budget according to the size of your business.
Underspending could lead to failure because of lack of awareness and resources to implement the strategy whereas overspending (which is very common) could lead to bankruptcy or even the suspicion of authorities – causing a lot of legal issues.
Create an entire list of departments and categories that you need to allocate your budget to.
Then, allocate a realistic range of budget to each category; a range is better than a specific value because it allows for changes later on.
Since nightclubs are restricted to physical locations, you need to decide the number of citizens or areas around your club that you need to target.
Again, this depends on the size of your nightclub and its capacity.
When it comes to nightclubs, always market it to more than your capacity. If your club can hold 100 persons at a time, advertise your brand to 400 people.
Make sure they live in surrounding areas. If you market it right, all 400 will be there on weekends and having to wait in line shows exclusivity.
Similarly, on weekdays at least a 100 will show up; thus, making your nightclub full and we all know that a happening club is always trending!
Branding is one of the biggest marketing trends of 2020, which proves that there is no survival without it.
Think of 20 years ago. Maybe there were 1-2 popular nightclubs in your area that people regularly visited.
Today, you’ll have a lot of options to choose from. And the best nightclubs usually have one specific advantage.
This is where branding comes in. As a structure and offering, all nightclubs are similar. So why should customers choose yours?
To attract customers, you need to differentiate your brand from others by marketing your unique selling point. This could be a themed nightclub, special drinks, DJs, events or even a logo.
With densely populated suburbs all over the US, even targeting a small niche can get you a heavy crowd in your nightclub so choose one factor in which your brand can excel and market that to customers.
Choosing the right marketing channels
Think SMS is too old? Think again. The platform has a 98% open rate out of which 90% of texts are read within the first 3 minutes.
As a marketer, I can say that these stats are better than any other marketing platform out there.
Plus, it’s cost effective and highly under-utilised so it’s a great way to break out of the marketing clutter and focus on a platform that your competitors might not be using.
With the help of SMS platforms like ExpressText, you can enjoy advanced features like scheduled texts, customised birthday texts for your loyal customers and performance measuring features such as link tracking etc. to see how well your campaign is doing.
Normally, I advise each marketing platform to a specific type of business but SMS is great marketing for nightclubs – no matter what your USP and target audience may be!
- Social Media
When it comes to social media, a lot of businesses make the mistake of creating profiles on each platform in order to expand their reach and awareness.
However, what this does in the long run is that it exhausts your resources which eventually degrades the quality of content as social media managers have too much on their plate.
If you hire more personnel to manage your social media profiles, it’s a waste of money and I’ll tell you why.
Your target audience uses only a few among all social media platforms.
For example, millennials (roughly aged 18-35) use Instagram and Snapchat, Gen Y uses Facebook and Linkedin.
Pinterest has no age group classifications but it’s definitely for those who have a creative mind.
Gen X, Y and Z all use Pinterest but it’s most popular among millennials so creating a brand profile on it is under your discretion.
Now as a nightclub, you’re most probably targeting millennials. That means you only need Snapchat and Instagram profiles only.
By making a Facebook account, you would be attracting a few customers, but in most cases, that won’t be generating enough ROI – especially if you’re running paid Facebook ads and hiring social media page managers.
This is because only a small portion of your target audience uses the platform.
Secondly, even though Facebook and Instagram are integrated in a way that allows you to post the same content on both platforms, remember that you’d still have to deal with a lot of comments, messages etc. which requires a full time customer service representative.
Thus, you need to calculate whether the number of potential customers a platform hosts could bring in enough money to cover your costs of maintaining a profile on it with a relatively good profit markup.
If you really feel the need to market your brand on multiple platforms but you have a small business with a limited budget, a great idea (tried and tested) is to hire marketing interns.
It costs nothing (or a small fee if it’s a paid internship with a heavy workload) which is a win-win situation because it benefits interns by giving them a chance to improve their resume and build their career.
- Online ads
So we’ve already discussed social media but let’s delve a bit deeper into social media ads.
You want to make sure you target the right people. Both Instagram and Facebook allow you to customise the demographics of the audience you tend to target:
This is an example of how you can really lay into the specifics so you’ll want to go back to Step 1 of planning where you determined the characteristics of your target audience i.e. age, location etc.
This ensures maximum effectiveness and ROI of your advertising campaign.
Marketing for nightclubs can also be done via pay-per-click ads.
Similar to SMS, I can tell you from experience that these will generate great results with millennials.
As you’re reading this, more than a million Google searches were just made, which is exactly what makes PPC ads so effective.
It offers a 100% ROI, which means that for every dollar that you spend on them, you’ll get an average of $2 in return.
The great thing about PPC ads is that you can place them anywhere on Google itself. If you’re looking to create brand awareness, place your website ad in search results:
This way, it’ll show up on top of search results so if an individual is looking for the best nightclubs in a specific area, they’ll find out about yours.
This is perfect for you if your nightclub is new, just relocated or you’ve decided to target more clientele.
However, if you have a good customer base but you want to push them to make a purchase, it’s best to go for retargeted ads.
Now these ads have a very specific purpose and they’re very effective because they boast a high success rate.
But as a nightclub, when do you need retargeted ads?
You can use them for events, gigs and special weekend passes.
For this, you’d have to offer online bookings via your official website or ticketing platform such as TicketMaster.
Here’s how they work.
Suppose an individual visits your website and clicks on the event page details/booking section and does not make a purchase.
Google will automatically retarget that individual by showing an ad on the next website that he/she visits.
However, most nightclubs want a sense of exclusivity and retargeted ads don’t exactly portray that.
To get around this, you need to create a sense of urgency, such as ‘Hurry up and book your tickets to our weekend event now. Only a few left!’.
This indicates that you’re almost booked fully which will make a person feel that there is hype about the event and many people are going; thus, enticing them into purchasing a ticket as well.
However, it is very important to be transparent with your customers so you cannot lie to them about tickets.
A lot of customers are vary of the tricks that brands use to get them to purchase so the first thing that you need to do is build a good brand reputation and secondly, quote exact numbers which indicates that there is a software keeping track of how many tickets have been sold.
This is a very common tactic used by the retail industry to get customers to purchase as well.
I was shopping a while ago for a friend’s birthday and here’s what I came across:
This notification indicates that this particular item has been quite popular among website visitors so it’s likely to be good, even though it shows no indication of how many of these viewers purchased it.
Marketing for nightclubs in COVID-19
This is tricky because nightclubs are all about the physical presence.
Retailers, restaurants and other product offerings can easily be sold via online channels and deliveries but it’s not the same case for services or experiences.
However, as a marketer, there is one great solution.
You need to make sure that you remind your followers and customers that you’re still waiting for them when this pandemic ends.
Host live sessions on social media with your regular DJs, famous artists etc.
Post content (i.e. videos, photos) of previous great nights at the club and what customers can expect when they come back to create a sense of nostalgia and excitement.
Here’s an example of a hilarious video that will give your customers a good laugh and give you ideas for life after COVID-19:
Most importantly, since many states in the US have opened up most industries, you need to prepare yourself for life after COVID-19.
To make your visitors feel more comfortable, place chairs at a distance.
Sanitise the area in front of them because that creates trust (I recently went to my eye doctor who sanitised every equipment before I got checked, which really put me at ease).
Similarly, you can start by hosting a very small group of people. Allow only 1-2 groups on the dance floor and ensure that they have proper protective equipment such as masks and are maintaining social distance.
Sure, that kills the fun a little, but safety should be every business’s top priority for now so do your best to create a balance between both.
Unfortunately, lower capacity means lower profits but it’s a good way to get back in the game.
Plus, you can slightly increase the price of tickets to retain profits as well.
So that sums up marketing for nightclubs. We’re all going through a difficult time business wise but it’s all about coming up with creative solutions to adapt because the business industry is ever changing.