Case Study

The Situation

“The Place” is a chic bar in an up-and-coming town in the UK. They have recently refurbished their premises, and have already seen an increase in customers on Friday and Saturday nights. However, they want to increase their takings on other nights of the week, and build their lunchtime trade. They also want to avoid being just the latest fad, and establish a loyal clientele who continue to visit even after the buzz of the refurbishment has died down.

They’ve got a web site that reflects their new image, and has a reasonable number of visits. They also regularly hand out flyers in the town centre. However, traditional marketing methods such as newspaper and radio advertising seem to be less effective with their target demographic of 18-30 year-olds. They are looking for something that will reach their customers more directly and enhance their overall experience of the venue, as well as being able to communicate special offers, feature nights and guest DJs. They would also like to drive more traffic to their website and build their brand identity. They have a number of options, including:

Option 1 – Introduce a membership card

By asking guests to fill in an application form for a membership card, “The Place” can glean contact details as well as generating an “exclusive” feel for those that choose to sign-up. They can mail special offers and information directly to members, and ask for feedback on specific aspects of the bar in order to introduce customer-driven improvements. However, customers are typically more interested in socialising and are not too keen on spending their free time filling in forms. Some very good customers are simply not interested in sharing their personal details, even if “what’s in it for them” seems really powerful. And lets face it, “snail mail” does seem rather last century for such a modern establishment.

Option 2 – Employ email campaigns

Using their website, “The Place” can encourage online visitors to subscribe to an email newsletter in order to receive details of such things as lunch time offers and information about events. Marketing tools can be used to monitor the effectiveness of their communications, and adapt them as necessary. However, this may not do much to build the desired sense of “community” around the venue, as marketing emails can be perceived as impersonal. It also requires clients to be motivated to visit the website in the first place in order to subscribe.

Option 3 – Engage with Social Media

“The Place” could set up a Facebook Page and a Twitter feed, and begin to track down and engage with both existing and potential customers based on, for example, their target demographic and location. Using social media, “The Place” can not only broadcast information about special offers, new menus, feature nights and guest DJs. They can also converse directly with their customers about their experiences at the venue. They can encourage existing customers to share photos and videos from their visits to “The Place”, and to chat online about their experience with friends, other customers and the venue itself, building a sense of loyalty and attachment to “The Place”. Furthermore, any customer satisfaction issues can be aired and addressed in a timely manner. Social media can also be used to manage the reputation of “The Place” by seeking out online conversations and actively engaging with the participants. Finally, and equally importantly, all this social media activity can be used to drive traffic to their website, increasing their website activity and raising the profile of their website on search engines.

The solution

Of course, all three options have value, and there is certainly a place for any of those approaches. But today social media is the glue that, when used in conjunction with more traditional marketing methods, can create an extremely potent mix and will go a long way towards establishing a strong brand image. Social media can not only bring new customers to “The Place”, but will keep the venue at the forefront of their client’s minds, and keep them coming back for more.

Social media is 21st Century word of mouth. Don’t be left out of the conversation, contact Sarah Steel Social Media RIGHT NOW to become a part of it.

Note: “The Place” is a fictitious venue, but the situation described is based on real experiences.

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