The Definitive Guide to Promote Your Club

Nightclub Marketing: The Definitive Guide

Marketing plays a critical role in the success of your nightclub. All nightclubs, dance clubs, lounges, and local bars need strategic marketing to keep patrons coming through the door and maximize profits. PsPrint has created this definitive guide to nightclub marketing so you can promote your nightclub and boost ROI.

Our nightclub marketing guide includes:

Read on to pump up your sales volume with a powerful nightclub marketing campaign!

1 How to start a nightclub

ENightclubs represent a $26 billion industry, one that’s incredibly diverse with no dominant brands. That means there’s plenty of opportunity to start your own lounge, open your own nightclub, or go into the bar business.

How much it costs to start a nightclub

The cost to start a nightclub, sports bar, brewpub, taproom, or lounge varies significantly depending on factors such as rent, location, whether you’ll be serving food, necessary equipment, furnishings and remodeling, and more.

In comparing two example startups, Entrepreneur.com pegs the total nightclub startup cost at between $141,982 and 431,618.

Investopedia gives the following bar ownership startup costs:

  • Purchasing an established bar: Could be as little as $25,000
  • Starting a new bar (rent/lease location): $110,000 to $550,000
  • Starting a new bar (purchase location): $175,000 to $850,000

Your startup costs could be more or less; the only way to identify an accurate number is to create a solid nightclub business plan.

How much nightclubs make

The biggest nightclub in the U.S. makes more than $100 million in annual revenues, and plenty of nightclubs on the “Top 100 list” earn between $3 million and $5 million. Those figures are total revenues, not profits, and do not reflect what the average nightclub or bar owner earns.

According to Investopedia, the average bar has monthly revenues of approximately $25,000 and costs of approximately $20,000 – leaving roughly $5,000 in profit for the owner, or $60,000 per year.

Of course, how much you can make in the nightclub business depends on your ability to manage your company, take advantage of profitable opportunities, promote nightclub events, and successfully market your nightclub.

2 How to market your nightclub – branding

When you're operating an entertainment venue, nothing could entertain you more than increased revenue. To make more money, you need to launch a heavy-hitting nightclub marketing campaign that doesn't break the bank.

As a nightclub, you’re not only selling food and drinks – you’re selling an experience. Still, a successful marketing strategy is remarkably similar to that of other businesses. Add in the fine-tuned nuances of nightclub-specific marketing, such as event promotion, and you’ll be dancing all the way to the bank.

Nightclub branding

Nightclubs present some of the most creative branding opportunities of all businesses. The unlimited ability to theme your night club in any way provides a plethora of branding potentials. This also means your competitors have plenty of opportunities as well, so it's important to take a multi-faceted approach to branding your nightclub for success.

Importance of a branded image

If your nightclub is not branded, then you're just another bar. There's nothing special about you. If there's nothing special about you, what do you have to entice customers to spend their evenings at your club, especially when your competition is constantly telling everyone how special they are?

A nightclub brand elicits emotion, spurs recognition, and fuels sales. It identifies the theme and atmosphere of your club and what experience your clientele can expect. That's why it's so important to brand your nightclub.

How to identify your branded identity

Though it can be tempting to hit the market running, taking the time to carefully develop your nightclub's branded identity is well worth the investment. It can even mean the difference between failure and success. Follow this five-step process to help you identify your branded identity:

Define your niche

What is your niche in the nightclub industry? Keep in mind that your niche and your brand are two different things: Your niche is your primary product or service offering, or what makes it different from your competitors; while your brand represents the psychologically-based ideals associated with your company. A branded image encompasses both. To define your niche, ask yourself how you differ from the competition. What type of acts grace your stage: rock, hip-hop, comedy, country, etc.? What is the theme of your nightclub: a stylish uptown venue, a western saloon, a rough 'n' tumble biker bar, an industrial taproom, or something else entirely?

Describe your benefits

What are the benefits of an evening at your nightclub? Consider whether you provide the best atmosphere, music, food, service, seating, prices, drinks, crowd, and any other benefits that make your venue more attractive to your target audience.

Know your customers

Who comes to your nightclub, and why? Which of your benefits are the major motivators for your patrons? Don't make assumptions here; you should ask your customers why they like coming to your nightclub. Maybe it's the music, maybe it's the drinks, maybe it's the atmosphere, or maybe it's something else entirely. One thing's for certain: If your nightclub can attract a good crowd with similar interests, it will become a gathering place and you will make money.

State your mission

Where are you now, and where do you want to take your nightclub? What are your core values? How do you do what you do? Your branded identity should reflect not only who you are now, but also who your customers are, and what they want to be.

Sum it all up

Now, take everything you've listed and brainstorm. How can you express what you do, how you do it, and what that means to your customers in a concise phrase or tagline? Your tagline is at the core of your identity, ingrained in everything you do.

Branding through design

Skilled graphic design transforms your nightclub's branded identity from an idea to an image. This image is what the world will see, and when it does so it will perceive the ideals and emotions that your image expresses. The power of design is limitless, especially when you incorporate sound brand identity design principles for your nightclub.

Your nightclub company colors, logo , website, advertisements, marketing materials, and other collateral are all a reflection of your brand; so familiar, cohesive design must be applied to all mediums. The goal is for customers to be able to glance at your materials and instantly recognize who it's from and what you stand for. When you achieve that, you've developed a good nightclub brand.

3 Nightclub marketing materials

A little bit of marketing savvy can go a long way in promoting your nightclub. Use these marketing materials to help your nightclub rock the competition.

Business Cards

Add value to your business cards by listing upcoming events on the back.

Postcards

Promote upcoming events, specials and your brand with highly targeted direct-mail postcard campaigns.

Flyers

A staple in the nightclub industry, flyers are perfect for handing out to potential customers. This is especially true for nightclubs in areas of fierce regional competition, and a necessity if you're trying to draw tourist traffic. Create attention-getting flyer designs to drive crowds to your bar.

Posters

Posters are excellent for party promotion. You can print posters that feature your upcoming events, your acts on stage, your Saturday night crowds, your bar, or your building. Make sure your branded message is attached loud and proud!

Brochures

Brochures are incredibly diverse. Creative uses for brochures include placing them on local hotel night stands and golf courses to entice new visitors to your venue.

Magnets

Print magnets to send to your target audience. Feature special coupon codes, event dates, and other promotions so your nightclub is visible every time they go to the refrigerator.

Rack cards

If you're in a tourist venue, placing rack cards at local visitors' centers and hotels can be a boon for your nightclub business.

Stickers

Stickers can be affixed to anything and used in many clever ways. With stickers, you have the element of surprise - a memorable technique that aids branding.

Newsletters

Some nightclubs take advantage of the power of newsletters to promote upcoming events and stay in touch with regular clientele.

Vinyl banners

Vinyl banners are affordable, bold tools for drawing attention to your special event, contest or concert. Print a vinyl banner large enough to be noticed from across the street and down the block, especially if you have a lot of competitors in your immediate area.

Menus

Food and drink menus are marketing tools, whether sent in the mail or placed on your bar or table tops. Use creative menu marketing devices such as highlighting special drinks of the week or month to quench your thirst for sales.

Coasters

Every great nightclub has its own custom-printed coasters, perfect for promoting events, specials, and branding.

Website

A good website acts as a central point for listing upcoming events. Use your print marketing materials to drive traffic to your website for reservations, feedback and more.

Other materials you should consider producing include:

  • Social media (Facebook, LinkedIn) pages
  • Email newsletter
  • Door hangers
  • Television, radio, and newspaper ads

Use a state-of-the-art printing company

One of the biggest mistakes many small nightclubs make is printing their own marketing materials. They consider marketing to be an expense; but, in fact, marketing is an investment that carries an expectation of return.

The entire point of marketing is to profit from it, and you stand a much better chance of making a positive impression on your prospects if your message is delivered with professionalism.

High-quality printed materials are relatively inexpensive, so don't fire up your desktop printer. Send your print jobs to a state-of-the-art G7 Master Certified Printer such as PsPrint to make a positive impression on potential customers.

4 Nightclub copywriting and design

Nightclub marketing materials should take advantage of professional copywriting conventions and compelling design to motivate your prospects to take action.

Follow this four-step process to incredible copy that boosts your return on investment:

Four steps to winning copy

Craft an attention-getting headline

An attention-getting headline doesn't mean that you have to pen prose that stands the test of time; only that you have to write directly to your audience's desires.

Having a ladies' night with $1 drinks? That's your headline: "Ladies' Night: $1 Drinks Friday Night Only!"

Highlight your benefits

Amateur copywriters often include features in their sales pitches, but neglect to include benefits. Features represent what you do or offer; benefits explain how your features help your customers. For example, if your nightclub has the best crowd in town (feature), then your patrons can meet up with old friends and make new friends every night (benefit).

Develop an incredible offer

A great offer spurs response. Approach your offer from your customers' viewpoint. What would it take for you to act? If your offer isn't valuable, then you won't get much response; but if it is perceived to have great value to your customers, your response rate will shoot through the roof. Your offer could be a free item, a discount or something else entirely. Your offer should be time sensitive so your customers have to act fast.

Motivate with a call to action

What do you want your prospects to do once they've read your pitch? Define this in no uncertain terms. Does your clientele simply need to show up, or do they need to reserve tables via a phone call or website?

Here is an example of night club postcard copy:

Ladies' Night: $1 Drinks Friday Night Only!

Ladies, head over to NightClub this Friday night for an unforgettable experience that'll leave you hot 'n bothered all weekend long. Starting with $1 drinks for ladies, NightClub is dedicating the night to you!

  • DJ NightDawg takes the stage to pump up the volume with free cover requests all night
  • Table-side service from the hottest bartenders in town (private tables for parties of four or more)
  • NightClub's signature food samplers keep your taste buds tantalized
  • Party with a full house of old friends and plenty of new faces you can get to know better

With more than 10,000 square feet of fun space, NightClub offers the most exciting Ladies' Night you've ever had. So grab your girlfriends, put on your party dress, and reserve your spot in the most electrifying venue in town today.

RESERVE YOUR TABLE.

Call xxx-xxx-xxxx or stop in at 555 N. Street by Thursday and your first round is on us! Call now!

Add value to your marketing material

You can increase the shelf life of your nightclub marketing promotions by adding value to them; for example:

  • Include a band or event schedule on your promotions
  • Distribute menus to local patrons and businesses
  • Send a humorous list of how to (or how NOT to) impress guys/girls at a night club
  • A short booklet on performing various dance moves would be an excellent direct-mail piece - once your patrons know the moves, they can twist and shout on your dance floor
  • When you hand out flyers, include a perforated VIP Pass that gives presenters access to a VIP bar, VIP service, or a free or discounted menu item

How to design nightclub marketing materials

Once you have your copy down, it’s time to design your nightclub marketing materials with one of the following options:

  • You can design them yourself, if you’re an experienced designer; or have an employee do it
  • You can hire a professional designer

It’s free to create your own designs; however, if you are not a skilled designer you could do more harm than good. Remember, you need visually-attractive, attention-commanding design to attract visitors to your nightclub.

On the other hand, professional designers can be expensive. A third option is to get the best of both worlds with free templates and PsPrint’s free online design tool.

Here’s how it works:

  • Select your favorite template and color scheme (you can start with these free postcard templates)
  • Open your template in the design tool, then follow the prompts to add your own custom text, logo, and photos
  • Choose your printing options and check out – your marketing materials will be printed and delivered to your door in just a few days

5 Nightclub marketing distribution

Getting the word out about your nightclub takes more than simply printing postcards and launching a website. You have to get the right message in front of the right audience, at the right time. Here are some tips for nightclub marketing distribution:

Direct mail

Direct mail is one of the best ways to get patrons through your door and on your dance floor. A calculated direct-mail campaign represents an investment in profit and should be approached with dedication.

Familiarize yourself with the 40/40/20 rule of direct marketing, which states that 40 percent of your success is contingent on the quality of your mailing list, 40 percent of your success is contingent on the quality of your offer, and the remaining 20 percent is contingent on your design, copy, printing and other factors.

Consult a list broker - or use the mailing list building tools available at PsPrint - to develop a database of your own customers and define a list comprised of likely patrons.

Repetition is key: Instead of one postcard campaign, develop a strategy that incorporates multiple direct mailers during a six-month period. This contributes to your branding efforts and allows you to begin to develop a relationship with your patrons.

Your promotions, specials, and events change week to week, so you can send direct mailers every week or every month without seeming bothersome. The effort is justified and appreciated; and keeping patrons apprised of club happenings will increase your response rate.

Display advertising

Place posters in prominent areas potential patrons will find them, hand club card flyers out to passers-by in your neighborhood, tack posters, flyers, and brochures to community bulletin boards, and place vinyl banners in high traffic areas frequented by your target audience.

Print stickers to hand out or to affix in creative areas. The more people see your nightclub, the more likely they are to visit.

Advertisements

You can deploy advertisements online as well as in newspapers, entertainment magazines, on the radio, television, billboards, local websites and blogs, and any number of published mediums.

Of course, you shouldn't stop there! There are plenty of opportunities to market your nightclub "street side". Handing out club card flyers and posters to passers-by or in areas where your target audience congregates comes to mind.

Word of mouth is the most powerful advertiser, so get to work telling your family and friends all about your nightclub so they can spread the news. Offer your customers additional perks discounts for bringing a new guest.

Following up

Test, track, and tweak - these three T's will help you develop winning nightclub marketing campaigns with predictable response rates.

Before you launch a massive direct-mail marketing campaign, you should always test variations of your headline, design, copy and offer on small subsets of your mailing list to see what yields the best response rate. Sometimes changing a single word can make a big difference.

Track your response rates and record who responds so you can further identify your target demographics.

Tweak your subsequent marketing materials to cater to this audience. Keep a database of customers and respondents, and evaluate recognizable trends so you can customize your offers. This is just another form of knowing your customers, but from an analytical perspective that allows you to make intelligent business decisions based on honest, proven statistics.

6 Nightclub marketing creative ideas and resources

Creative marketing ideas can generate buzz, deliver value to your customers and increase profits for you. Try these nightclub marketing creative ideas and resources to boost your business this year.

Creative ideas

Host an event

Events are a good way to connect with customers, build your brand and makes sales. Try a ladies' night, a male revue night, an amateur comedy night, a battle of the bands night, a karaoke night, a theme band night (Beatles, Jimmy Buffet, AC/DC, Elvis, etc.), a charity event or even a contest (best costume, egg races, best motorcycle, etc.). Nightclubs are excellent venues for a multitude of entertaining events, and if you are creative and unique you can build a loyal clientele.

Partner with others

Partnering with complementary businesses is a great way to network and develop cross promotions that benefit everyone. You could partner with a masseuse to offer "bar stool" massages; or you could join in a poker run or a putter golf tournament, whereby people go from club to club to win prizes.

If you're in a more rural area, see if other venue owners want to pitch in together on a van or bus route that visits each nightclub according to a predetermined schedule. In areas where nightclubs are spread throughout a large distance, this helps patrons safely indulge in a favorite activity: bar hopping. You might lose a few customers when the bus comes around, but you'll also pick up new customers and have the opportunity to impress and retain them.

Creative message placement

You don't have to stick with traditional advertising outlets. In fact, the more creative your message placement, the more likely your nightclub is to stand out from the crowd.

See if you can purchase ad space from local businesses. You can put stickers, wall graphics, and window clings on walls, windows, barber and beauty salon mirrors, office workers' computers or cubicles, car bumpers - anywhere your clientele hangs out and doesn't necessarily expect to see a promo for a nightclub. This simple element of surprise is memorable and gives you an edge over your competitors.

Promote unique angles

Capitalize on what makes your nightclub unique. Develop creative product and service names so you can brand not only your company, but individual product and service offerings.

Instead of simply stating you're offering pitchers of margaritas, give your drinks custom names: "Magnificent Margarita," for example. Add your own recipe twists for a truly unique nightclub experience you can promote.

Sell complementary products and services

Some nightclubs only sell drinks, others also sell food; but the best nightclubs recognize the retail potential of their establishments: T-shirts, hats, beer mugs, shot glasses, and other items can be sold from a gift store or from behind the bar. This shtick has a dual purpose - not only can you profit from sales, your buyers will essentially give you free advertising every time they don your gear in public or use your glasses with others.

Sell holiday and birthday gift certificates for free food, drinks, or merchandise to drum up business and potentially earn new customers. Encourage your current patrons to purchase gift certificates with a special offer that rewards them for doing so.

Resources

Here are a few links to nightclub marketing resources you can use to bolster business: