Nightclub Marketing Strategies: A Complete Guide To Club Marketing
Implementing perfect nightclub marketing strategies has never been more important for club owners to survive and flourish in a time where nightclubs are closing at an alarming rate. In figures seen by Newsbeat, the amount of nightclubs have halved in 10 years, from 3144 down to 1733. This is largely due to culture and also an increase in different venues and experiences that people can go to instead.
This doesn’t mean that nightclubs are dead, quite the opposite. Partying, clubbing and nightclubs are still so ingrained in UK culture, it’s not going anywhere, but it means a clubs marketing strategy needs to be right. This is our complete guide that looks at nightclub marketing strategies, and if done correctly, can mean an increased customer base and increase in revenue.
1. Goals and Objectives
The famous saying goes, ‘If you fail to plan, you plan to fail.’ This couldn’t be more accurate, especially when it comes to marketing. For your marketing strategy you need a clear plan and strategy which begins with your goals and objectives.
Your goal for your marketing should be quite general, but should be used as a reminder for what you’re trying to achieve. You can use this as a reference when decision making and strategizing. E.g. will this decision help achieve our overall goal. Examples of good marketing goals could be:
Be the busiest Reggae club in London
Make £10000 in revenue every night we’re open
Have at least 300 people in our nightclub every night we’re open
Objectives are slightly different whereby they are more specific, time-based and are used as milestones to be put towards completing your goals. The goal is an idea, but objectives are fact based. They should be SMART. Specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and time-limited.
Taking the example of the Reggae club in our goals above, an example of a marketing objective could be:
Get the email addresses of 2000 Reggae fans in London within 3 months.
‘Get the email addresses is ‘specific’. ‘2000’ is measurable. You decide whether that’s actually achievable (play devils advocate). It’s ‘relevant’ to ‘Reggae’ and ‘3 months’ is the time-limit.
Using SMART objectives and goals is excellent practice as it means you can keep on top of what you’re doing and where things are going well or not so well. You can then tinker and plan according to make sure your nightclub marketing strategy is executed the best it can be. Once you have your goals and objectives, it’s time to move onto the next, slightly more boring, aspect of your marketing strategy, budgeting.
Without a carefully planned budget (and a sizeable one) your nightclub marketing strategy is bound to fail. For your nightclub marketing strategies to work you need to analyse the current state of the industry. Many would argue it has become increasingly difficult to fill a nightclub. You have to be realistic with how much it’s going to cost to market your nightclub properly. If your nightclub is ever less than half full you will be damaging your brand and reputation that could lead to a spiral and eventual closure of your club. A fate that too many nightclubs have seen before.
The best way to set the budget for your marketing is to go through each medium you’re going to use and allocate funds to each one. A monthly cost is the easiest time-scale and you should keep on top of this with your accountant/spreadsheets.
Now you have your goals, objectives and forecasted budget set we can explore different mediums and best practices you can include in your marketing strategy:
3. Marketing Mediums and Best Practices
Your nightclub marketing strategy should be multi-level and combination of lots of different mediums. This way you can reach your target audience across more than one platform. This will not only make sure you actually reach them, but if you hit them more than once it will strengthen your brand and likelihood of getting the results you want from your marketing.
Branding for your nightclub goes way further than your nightclub logo and interior. Your brand needs to be remembered as a positive experience. The best way achieve this is to define your niche, practice what you preach and be clear on what your brand is. An example could be a ‘high-end nightclub offering a glamorous experience’.
Once you have defined your brand you need to be clear on what customers to target. If you’re a high-end glamorous nightclub your target audience is probably wealthy individuals. By knowing your customers you can tailor your brand to them, e.g. with plush interior and expensive cocktails in this example.
Your brand message should be remembered across every medium that you use. Going back to the high-end nightclub, promoting £1 drinks probably isn’t a good idea as it doesn’t correlate with your brand message.
Digital marketing should be at the forefront of all your marketing efforts. Everyone can be reached by the internet and by mobile these days, especially the target audience for nightclubs.
We go into more detail with different digital marketing mediums in this article but here is a list of good practices for digital marketing:
1. Have a modern, minimalist and multi-device compatible website. Top tip: check your website on every single device, there are many, but it needs to be optimized on them all.
2. Use good lead magnets on your website to compile an email list.
3. Offer free WiFi if they give their email address (for your email list as well).
4. Be active on social media. A post every two days at least.
5. Become an expert in email marketing. It’s powerful.
6. Encourage tags on photos on your social media.
7. Be everywhere, Google Local etc.
8. Get influencers and celebrities to post on social media.
9. Get in press online.
10. Stay on top of reviews like TripAdvisor and Google.
11. SEO – get your website to the top of Google’s listings.
12. Use Google Adwords and have an ad at the top of Google.
13. Use Facebook and Instagram advertising to reach your ideal customers. Offering deals and special offers works best.
14. Use Snapchat and Snapchat advertising (if you want to target the 18-24 year olds).
15. Loyalty programs. Incredibly important for repeat customers.
16. Use Bloc for brand awareness and advertise for £2 per customer.
There is still a place for traditional marketing especially when it comes to nightclub marketing. It should definitely be trialed and explored in your nightclub marketing strategies. If you’re in a tourist heavy location then the simple process of handing out leaflets can work very well. Here are a list of some traditional marketing mediums to trial:
1. Leaflet handouts
3. Get your leaflets in front of travelers i.e in hotels
4. Use a street team if your club is on a busy road
5. Hire promoters and pay them for every person they get in via a guestlist
6. Get in local papers/magazines
7. Hand out material at universities
8. Freebies + merchandise. People love free things, especially students. Get other people to promote your nightclub by getting them to wear your logo.
Social proofing has become an increasingly important part of any marketing strategy with the rise of social media. If masses of people are seen or heard attending your nightclub then more people will want to follow suit. If it’s regarded as a ‘cool’ place to go then more people will want to be seen there. Some of the best nightclubs utilize this strange human behavioral trait by making sure influencers and ‘cool’ people are seen at their nightclub.
Watch this TED talk on ‘how to start a movement‘.
You can optimize people being seen at your nightclub by making sure photos are taken. ‘Photo ops’ are a great place to start, an example is having wings on a feature wall or having a backdrop with your logo and a photographer waiting for people to arrive. You could also host events where celebrities attend, customers are sure to get their cameras out.
It’s imperative your customers have good things to say and have a good experience. As social proofing can work the other way. If no one seems to be going then it will appear to be an uncool place to go. The wrong celebrity being seen there can also be damaging. It might seem like a good idea to get a ‘Love Island’ celebrity to appear but think twice, as this could be damaging in the long run.
Hiring your nightclub out for private functions and events can be extremely beneficial for your brand. Product launches, award ceremonies, and charity events are always up there with the best events to attend which means your venue will be linked to a memorable evening. This positive experience pay dividends in the future for your brand in the form of word of mouth.
Influencers and celebrities are commonly seen at such events and it means lots of photo opportunities with your brand.
You can make partnership deals with different stakeholders that can lead to guaranteed business.
1. Companies. Nightclubs are notoriously known to be expensive and is regarded as a ‘luxury item’. A lot of people don’t like to spend their own money on clubbing which is where company partnerships come into play. People love going out on their bosses or companies dime, so by creating partnerships with businesses that like to take their employees or clients out then you can get an influx of business. It’s a win-win-win. You get the customers, win, the company keeps their employees or clients happy, win, and the client or employee go out for free, win. You can partner with them by offering 20% off their bill for example.
2. Universities. Although students are strapped for cash, clubbing is still very much the culture at universities. Partnering with a university or universities and having a specific ‘student night’ can mean business even on slow nights. Students have different time-tables to the usual 9-5 so Monday’s and Tuesday’s can work well. You can find ‘uni reps’ to sell tickets and spread the word. Make sure to offer good student deals so it’s not too expensive.
Experience and Word of Mouth
The most powerful form of advertising is still word of mouth. If you provide the perfect clubbing experience then more people will hear about it and want to come. So invest in your nightclub, staff and your service before spending any money on advertising. Even small things like having to queue over 5 minutes to get a drink can be detrimental and mean a customer might not want to come back.
You can make a clubbing experience incredible for word of mouth by hiring the best DJs and including themes, promotions and one-offs as part of your marketing strategy. Put yourself in the shoes of your target audience and ask yourself what sort of night would you remember.
You should also consider not being open every day of the week. We mentioned earlier that a venue that’s less than half full can be extremely damaging in the long run. Building a buzz for only a few days of the week can mean positive outcomes for your brand and eventually, your wallet. On the other days it can be available for private hire.
The secret to a good nightclub marketing strategies is to analyse what works. By constantly analysing, you can see where you’re getting the best results and what’s not working so well. You can then pour more resources into what’s working and get even better results.