Might have my first break into local marketing

by Rob28x
28 replies
So I have a good friend who has a friend who just opened a bar in town. I guess he spent $200,000 getting it going. It's been dead from what my friend was telling me, and the owner has no idea what to do. It's been open for a couple months now.

He wants me to meet with him tonight to see if I can help market the place. I searched online and can't find a single thing about the bar so I am not real surprised he is not busy.

I am hoping I can handle all of his marketing for him which would be huge for me. I am meeting up with him shortly to find out more about the place and what his goals are.

I am not going to go into any pricing with him tonight as I have learned from this forum. I want to just get a feel for him and his bar, find out what he has done so far if anything for marketing, and what his future plans and goals are. I will then take that information and come up with a marketing plan and proposal on how I can help fill the place for him.

I would love to hear some suggestions on what you would do to help market a new bar in your area. Thanks in advance for any feedback.
#break #local #marketing
  • Profile picture of the author ewenmack
    One way to knock out any semblance of him knowing what he's talking about when it comes to marketing is to rapid fire questions before he has time to answer them.

    This has him mentally putting up the white flag and surrendering.

    At this point you have a open mind to what you can do to help him.

    But be quick to move him from the feeling of hopelessness to seeing the bright light at the end of the tunnel.

    Examples of questions you can ask him...

    What advertising and marketing have you done?

    What worked and what didn't?

    What tracking do you have in place to
    know what's working?

    What is a customer worth to you over a year?

    How much are you prepared to pay to get that customer?

    Fire them all off one after another.

    You will have control of the meeting doing that.

    Best,
    Ewen
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    • Profile picture of the author RedShifted
      Originally Posted by ewenmack View Post

      One way to knock out any semblance of him knowing what he's talking about when it comes to marketing is to rapid fire questions before he has time to answer them.

      This has him mentally putting up the white flag and surrendering.

      At this point you have a open mind to what you can do to help him.

      But be quick to move him from the feeling of hopelessness to seeing the bright light at the end of the tunnel.

      Examples of questions you can ask him...

      What advertising and marketing have you done?

      What worked and what didn't?

      What tracking do you have in place to
      know what's working?

      What is a customer worth to you over a year?

      How much are you prepared to pay to get that customer?

      Fire them all off one after another.

      You will have control of the meeting doing that.

      Best,
      Ewen
      Finally my suspicions have been proven true.

      You work for the CIA.
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  • Profile picture of the author karlmay1980
    You obviously want to start with what he has got going on online and offline in terms of promotional material and advertising.

    Where does this send people, websites, social media or the bar?

    Does the website work on mobile and does he collect leads and what details, think of using email and sms marketing techniques.

    Get places claimed on Google, Facebook and bing, plus directories that rank high in the categories for the business, who are the target market.

    Consider mobile apps and what they can do?

    Put a reputation management plan in place to gather reviews that can be used in promotional material and also as social proof online, and think about how you can gather info on what the customers would like to see going on in the bar.

    Put systems in place to track the effectiveness of each element so you know what to ease off on if it isn't working and where you can ramp things up when it all going right.

    Take advantage of highly targeted online advertising to speed up results and awareness and also look at how press releases could gain exposure.
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  • Profile picture of the author Steve Solem
    Watch a few episodes of "Bar Rescue" or "Restaurant Impossible" and that should give you a number of good ideas, but I'd start with identifying WHO his ideal customers are and then work from there to figure out how best to reach them.

    One thing almost always done on Restaurant Impossible is to give away food samples (assuming you've got great food) and once you get the ball rolling and customers coming it, positive word of mouth can take you pretty far.

    I'd also be sure they take advantage of as much free publicity as they can get, issuing press releases to local media and maybe he can offer some free gift certificates to the local newspaper or radio station as a freebie to giveaway to their listeners.

    HTH some,

    Steve
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    • Profile picture of the author misterme
      Originally Posted by Steve Solem View Post

      Watch a few episodes of "Bar Rescue"
      Yup. I love that show. I wants me a John Taffer bobblehead doll.

      And what he does is figure out the major psychographic of the immediate area; who's the type that's going to spend money in a bar, and for what will they spend it for, and then he develops a USP for that bar that ties right into that, from its name, to what food and drinks it sells, to its decor.

      And he goes for creating reactions. He wants customers to be wowed. Everything has to be the best. And no excuses for anything less.

      Watch the show. It's entertaining and informative. And after a couple of shows you'll also see what hampers success.
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  • Profile picture of the author bob ross
    You better be thinkin' of doing some direct mail!
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    • Profile picture of the author ewenmack
      Originally Posted by bob ross View Post

      You better be thinkin' of doing some direct mail!
      You know Bob, I really think reputation management will be the ticket.
      Best,
      Ewen
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      • Profile picture of the author karlmay1980
        I think you have all the right ideas and the guy seems keen on what you can offer, the work involved could be quite a lot for a small bar, shame it didnt really have some size to the place and could offer food, you could do a good job on it then and charge big money.

        One consolation could be that packing the place out and doing the best job possible can look good on your CV even if doesn't bring such financial rewards this time, all good when approaching the next potential clients!
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  • Profile picture of the author Rob28x
    Thanks guys for all of the tips. Here's how the meeting went...

    It's an interesting place for sure. Not very big. Can fit about 45 people in it at most I would say. Occupancy says 85 but it would be very tight. Plus, there's not much room for parking. They do not serve food and they do not have anywhere to add a kitchen, which is a huge loss out of the gate. They do have a small stage and a good sound system. I also found out they have been open for 3 weeks now, and the only marketing he has done so far is turning on the open sign. Basically it's nicely done but a terrible location. I think he only did it because he owned the little strip mall it's in (shared with his gas station/convenience store and a Tim Horton's) and had a liquor license he could transfer over. Doesn't seem well thought out at all.

    We sat there at 9 pm, and there was a table with a guy and two girls, and another table with two guys. He also had a live DJ there playing some music. That was it. After about 10 minutes, the table with the guy and two girls got up and left. Then shortly after, the other table was left. So it was after 9 pm on a Friday night and it was empty.

    I did notice and point out that the guy and two girls were both on their smart phones before they left. I asked the bar owner what he thought they were doing. He said he had no idea. So I grabbed my smart phone, and typed "Bars Grand Blanc" into the Google search bar. I then showed the bar owner the results.

    I explained, they were probably looking for another place to go. There was nothing going on there to keep them there. People can sit at home and drink a beer while they are listening to music. He then grabbed his smart phone, hit the Google places app and asked how does he appear there as well. I explained I can make that happen.

    He then asked what I could do to help him advertise a grand opening special. I advised him I would do a saturation mailing around him with direct mail. He liked that idea.

    On top of that, I am thinking Google Places, Foursquare and Facebook needs to be done. Also, he needs some kind of a website that is mobile friendly. I am not a bar person, but I know most of my buddies who are grab their smart phone when deciding where they want to go for the night.

    I am also going to handle the email list capture using WillR's method, I explained how important a good list is when it comes to spreading the word about upcoming events and he agreed.

    I found out he also owns a few convenience stores in the Detroit area and I am sure they do not appear on Google Places or anything either, so that could be future business once I get the bar marketing running. He said flat out he doesn't have a clue when it comes to marketing and is looking for someone who can just handle it. He wants to be able to tell me "Hey, I have Joe Blow coming in to play in 3 weeks, can you get the word out?"
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  • Profile picture of the author hayfj2
    What is the most popular bar round about a 5 mile radius?

    Who do they attract?

    What do they offer?

    Why do people go?

    Why do people return?

    Compared to his bar, whats missing?

    What does the other bar owner do with their marketing that your client doesnt?

    What other bars are in the area, adn if you were to draw up a league table of the top 5 what positions would they come in and why?

    What can he offer (food for example) to attract a particular audience?

    Do the other establishments have a "theme" or even "theme nights" etc?

    Food for thought.

    He's expecting you to have the answers. Just ensure you got the right questions for that first meet

    regards


    Fraser
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  • Profile picture of the author Eddie Spangler
    Did you shy away from talking about money.
    I know you didnt want to discuss prices and solutions BUT do you have any idea
    of his budget?
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    • Profile picture of the author Rob28x
      Originally Posted by Eddie Spangler View Post

      Did you shy away from talking about money.
      I know you didnt want to discuss prices and solutions BUT do you have any idea
      of his budget?
      We didn't discuss any pricing. He never even asked. He has money (at least he comes off that way by how he was dressed, two smart phones on his hip and the new Mercedes CL in the parking lot), so that doesn't seem to be an issue. His main focus was on getting bodies through the door.
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      • Profile picture of the author Aaron Doud
        Originally Posted by Rob28x View Post

        We didn't discuss any pricing. He never even asked. He has money (at least he comes off that way by how he was dressed, two smart phones on his hip and the new Mercedes CL in the parking lot), so that doesn't seem to be an issue. His main focus was on getting bodies through the door.
        Who is the target audience of the bar?

        This main sound weird but that CL in the parking lot may be part of the problem. If the target clients are blue collar they may be turned off by the owner and how they perceive he treats or will treat them.
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  • Profile picture of the author Rob28x
    hayfj2 - Thanks for the suggestions but I met with him last night as outlined in the post above yours.
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  • Profile picture of the author jayspann
    Unless you REALLY wanted to work with this guy I would stay away from it... Lets say you pack the place with 40 people 4 nights a week...

    If you do the math based on the 2-4% margin that the SBA website states they average how much could you stand to gain even if you got 50% of the left over profit?

    Just a thought.
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    • Profile picture of the author Rob28x
      Originally Posted by Aaron Doud View Post

      Who is the target audience of the bar?

      This main sound weird but that CL in the parking lot may be part of the problem. If the target clients are blue collar they may be turned off by the owner and how they perceive he treats or will treat them.
      From what I saw, 21-35 year olds seem to be the target. Other then that, no specific type such as a country bar. They played top 40 and rock music while I was there.

      I know what you mean about the car.

      Originally Posted by jayspann View Post

      Unless you REALLY wanted to work with this guy I would stay away from it... Lets say you pack the place with 40 people 4 nights a week...

      If you do the math based on the 2-4% margin that the SBA website states they average how much could you stand to gain even if you got 50% of the left over profit?

      Just a thought.
      I was thinking the same thing, how much could this place really make. I know if I was spending $200,000 opening a bar... that would not have been my final result by far. I think right now he is doing about $200 a night, which is crap.
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  • invest is not all about success.Proper training is most important to get seccess.
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  • Profile picture of the author Rocket Media
    Getting 100 extra customers in the door each weekend might actually SPEED UP the process of this bar closing down.

    this guys got no experience running business.

    if theres people in there and no ones really eating have him offer up a few free meals to some of the customers inside LOW KEY. others will see them eating and get hungry. have the person post a facebook status or something tagging the bar sayin it's DOPE
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    • Profile picture of the author Rob28x
      Originally Posted by Rocket Media View Post

      Getting 100 extra customers in the door each weekend might actually SPEED UP the process of this bar closing down.

      this guys got no experience running business.

      if theres people in there and no ones really eating have him offer up a few free meals to some of the customers inside LOW KEY. others will see them eating and get hungry. have the person post a facebook status or something tagging the bar sayin it's DOPE
      That's half of the problem... they don't sell food :rolleyes:
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  • Profile picture of the author reboot38
    I used to go to a dive by the name of "The Cubby Hole" in Dayton, Ohio. They didn't have a menu but they did sell food. They had a small pizza oven and served personal sized pizzas (which were excellent when drunk) and breadsticks. They had a whole array of snack food. I believe they had pre-made cold cut sandwiches too. They did very well w/o a kitchen.

    I don't know the laws surrounding food service in Michigan but there's a chance that he can serve food with or without a kitchen. Although nothing large scale - something is better than nothing.

    Does he have flat screen TVs, pool tables, mega touch, golden tee? Patio of the front, or back? Is there a happy hour? NFL drink specials, college football drink specials, give aways - fans are loyal to their team and favorite bar

    If his prices are right and the service is decent then he should have no problem pulling in $500 - $750 a night through the week and more over the weekend.
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    • Profile picture of the author Rob28x
      Originally Posted by Meyerbytes View Post

      I used to go to a dive by the name of "The Cubby Hole" in Dayton, Ohio. They didn't have a menu but they did sell food. They had a small pizza oven and served personal sized pizzas (which were excellent when drunk) and breadsticks. They had a whole array of snack food. I believe they had pre-made cold cut sandwiches too. They did very well w/o a kitchen.

      I don't know the laws surrounding food service in Michigan but there's a chance that he can serve food with or without a kitchen. Although nothing large scale - something is better than nothing.

      Does he have flat screen TVs, pool tables, mega touch, golden tee? Patio of the front, or back? Is there a happy hour? NFL drink specials, college football drink specials, give aways - fans are loyal to their team and favorite bar

      If his prices are right and the service is decent then he should have no problem pulling in $500 - $750 a night through the week and more over the weekend.
      He does have flat screens. No patio's or anywhere to put one. No pool tables or room for one. I suggested a dart board. He does have happy hour from 4-7pm.

      Great ideas for selling food items. Can offer nachos & cheese, hot pretzels and more I am sure.
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      • Profile picture of the author Rob28x
        Ok so here is what I am thinking I want to offer him:

        Grand Opening Direct mail package:
        • Mailing to his choice of 1,000 or 2,500 local homes
        • I will design and print the post cards (6.5" X 9" 16PT UV on 4-color sides) and I will make sure they have a good offer from the bar to help the response rate.
        • Will use the EDDM program to distribute the post cards

        My Cost - (Qty 1,000) $125 printing/delivery + $145 postage = $270 (.27 ea) Charge customer $.40 ea = $400 ($130 profit)

        My Cost - (Qty 2,500) $217 printing/delivery + $362.50 postage = $579.50 (.23 ea) Charge customer $.35 ea = $875 ($295.50 profit)

        Online Marketing:
        • Google Places Listing
        • Facebook fan page
        • Four Square
        • Mobile Website
        Not sure what to charge for this.

        VIP Club Email Capture
        Includes table tents with qr code and website address, landing page and aweber account. I will handle sending out all e-mail blasts (up to 6 per month)
        $197/month

        I think that would be a good start to get him going. I was thinking about trying to come up with a decent package I could charge him $500 a month for, but not sure if I can pull that off.
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  • Profile picture of the author Eddie Spangler
    This is why talking about budget is so important. As I understood the problem he needs you to handle ALL the marketing rather than just add to an already established marketing program.

    There is NOTHING you can offer him for $500 a month
    that is going to bring prosperity to him and you.

    That amount is a joke to spend on marketing for that type of establishment to break through, especially after hes spent 200k to get it this far. You need him to commit to something in the thousands per month to get started, he may as well go out of business now if he is not prepared to promote the hell out of this place.
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  • Profile picture of the author Rob28x
    I would love to be able to charge him that much to handle his marketing. I need to learn more what that would involve.
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  • Profile picture of the author MikeBailey
    Banned
    You should definitely do some Local SEO on his website, also hold a grand opening event and advertise it in the local newspaper then tell the Local chamber of Commerce (they would be glad to help)
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  • Profile picture of the author Rob28x
    At this point there isn't a website to do SEO for. His marketing to this point is an open sign. It's starting to sink in what I am getting myself into with this one...
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  • Profile picture of the author NewParadigm
    Market to women. Guys will find them. Bars are all about boy meets girl, or at least the possibility. Bachelorette party promotions, chick flick nights, happy hours for women, female birthday party specials. DIVORCE parties for women, a huge untapped party promo. Fashion night, makeup night. I.e. use it as kind of an event center to get other biz to recruit people their for their event. Gee, people will drink while they are there.
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  • Profile picture of the author rugman
    Here is an idea - I know of a similar place in NJ - very small - no food (free popcorn). You can order a pizza and bring it in. The sell nothing but really good - really pricey high end micro brews and they are packed! They open at 4PM. They have about 10 tap beers and a ton of bottled high end stuff. Micros are HOT now and it is a great niche to be in - if you have it - they will come!
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