Nightclubs, bars, and restaurants have been using offline marketing since the beginning of their time. This includes posters, flyers, and of course radio and television. Now that the Internet is well matured, many other strategies for bringing in more customers have proved to be more powerful, leaving other forms of advertisement, such as billboard advertising and the yellow pages have quickly degraded in returning your investment. This brings up the question of whether offline advertising is even worth investing in anymore.
There are still some small areas of offline marketing that work and work well. The only real way to know for sure what works and doesn’t work for your business is to test things out to see what brings about the best ROI (return on investment). If you don’t test the waters to find out what works, there’s no use doing any marketing at all, and that includes social media.
Flyers and posters could still be a useful marketing tool in the bar, nightclub, and restaurant industry to a certain degree. Concepts such as placing promoters on the street that let people know that a particular special is being offered, like a free drink pass, works well for bringing in walk-in traffic. Just give a little spiel and a reason to come in. This has always worked pretty well in the past for this industry, and for the most part, you can still rely on tactics such as this today.
What about when you are doing a big event, like a ticketed event. Get offline by using promoters, meaning actual people with tickets in hand. Yes, these types of promoters use social media as well, but they become hard ticket locations that allow people to make a purchase without having to go online and share their credit card information there if they don’t want to. A lot of people like to have this choice, even in this day and age, and it’s a good idea to give your customers offline purchasing options whenever feasible.
There are definitely certain strategies that don’t work anymore, and people are having a hard time transitioning away from them. You just can’t stick with the ‘80s and 90s ways of doing things and stay old school. For example, you probably shouldn’t order 20,000 beautiful looking flyers and have promoters place them on cars in nearby parking lots. It also doesn’t work well to place 11×7 posters all over the streetlamps around town anymore. These types of marketing efforts don’t work like they used to, and truthfully, are a waste of money at this point in time.
It’s kind of sad when you see someone walk by a poster advertising a business and the whole time they are looking down at their smartphone. People aren’t going to stop and look at your poster, and they really don’t want to take the time to pull the flyer off their car either. We didn’t even look at the flyers on our cars back in the day when you could hardly park anywhere without one being placed on the windshield. Do you think that people would really care to look at these types of ads nowadays? This kind of advertisement has long been dead, and this was true way before social media came about. There’s just no way in hell that a flyer on a car is going to work in today’s time, especially with all the social media posts competing for our attention.
The point is that while some offline tactics aren’t a waste of money and can still work, you’ve got to be smart about which ones to use and how much to invest in each. A lot of people know this to be true, but they struggle to know how much they should invest in offline marketing as opposed to online. This is where strategy really comes into play, and this is something that’s going to vary a great deal from business to business. In general, my client roster is now spending 90 of their advertising budget on digital marketing. Offline techniques have been taken off the table almost completely, and if such a tactic is used, it’s usually because the business owner knows that it works and they have continuously tested it’s ROI.
It’s likely that even you, the business owner, is on your smartphone all day long as well; so why would you think that any other type of advertisement is going to bring people into your establishment any better than the medium you are engaging in yourself? Do you really think that you are going to respond to a flyer on your car nowadays either? If you’re not going to respond to something like that, it’s pretty unlikely that a millennial would even give it a glance.
That’s typically the case nowadays, but again, it all comes down to your market and the types of customers you are reaching out to. If you mainly target 50 year old males without much tech expertise, then a mailer might be the best way to reach out to that particular group. That being said, this may not be the case for long. These older members of society are starting to use social media more and more, and the number of people you can reach online is ever-increasing. So, even if your market is easier reached with a flyer right now, that may not be the same in a couple of months years. Truthfully, most groups are online right now; it’s just a matter of knowing how to target them.
Go to a coffee shop and sit down for a while. It’s been a long standing tradition for groups of old men to gather and read the newspaper in places like this, right? Well, not anymore. Now you’ll notice that these guys aren’t reaching out for the paper; they are staring at their smartphones. They may not be on Facebook, but they are on their phones and tablets looking over the news. If your target audience is looking at the news online, maybe you should invest in banner ads there instead of the actual newspaper. Think about how many of your parents actually use social media nowadays, sharing their grandkids’ pictures.
What it comes down to is running your marketing properly. In some ways it’s unfortunate that it’s not as simple as it used to be. You used to be able to open up a bar, make it look nice, throw out some flyers, and people would come flooding in. Those days are long gone, and it really shows which business owners know what they are doing and utilize what’s available to them. This requires business owners to truly get involved with their business marketing and test different tactics. The bottom line is that you have to make sure you’re getting a proper return on investment instead of just blindly pushing buttons and boosting posts. If you don’t know how to go about marketing your business, you need to either learn how to do it, or hire a professional to do it for you.
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