Running a sports bar is always fun… unless you’re not getting any customers, that is. People should be flocking to a sports bar because it is a fun environment that encourages social interaction with friends while catching a big game. Beer, wings, and fun speak to the classic experience, but even if you’re doing good, you could be doing great. That’s what these marketing ideas are intended to help you become: the best sports bar in your community.
It all starts with the value that you can provide people. If you can provide entry to a pay-per-view sporting event for no-cost or our able to air special events that other locations in your community don’t provide, then you’ll set yourself apart because people will see you as having more value than your competition.
Sports Bar Marketing Ideas that Work
1. Throw Support Behind Local Teams
You might love all of Chicago’s sports teams, but if you’re in Seattle that’s a problem because you won’t get any local support except from people with a similar point of view. You need to show your customers that you love what they love, so adopt a local team you’re comfortable with supporting and then put up plenty of paraphernalia to prove your support.
2. Offer Specials During the Biggest Games
People love a good deal about as much as they love a playoff game. By airing the game they want and by offering people an extended happy hour, for example, you’ll create a high level of temptation and that often results in a lot of extra purchases.
3. Make Social Media Work For You
Social media always works to attract customers when approached in the right way. Instead of making your Facebook page about you, for example, make it about the customer. Offer your followers special deals, give discounts to people who share your posts, and you’ll increase your business over time.
4. Get Out There and Speak
If you’ve got a special deal or event coming up, then talk to people in your community at every opportunity to spread awareness of what’s going on. Everyone should be a target, from the cashier who checks you out to the stocker you run into at the grocery store.
5. Sidewalk Signs Bring Lots of Attention
If your sports bar is in a high traffic area, then sidewalk signs are a great way to advertise the various specials you’ve got going on. Make sure your sign is visible from some distance so people can see what’s going on with you even when there are heavy levels of traffic.
6. Run Special Promotions
A special promotion will help to bring in a target demographic, but go beyond holding a weekly ladies’ night. You can target a major employer in the community to offer their employees a special discount, run birthday promotions for people, or even offer a free drink to musicians who come to share their talents on an open mic night.
7. Contests Are Always Good
Free stuff will always attract people in some way to your business, so make the contest great so you get a lot of people headed your way. The bigger the prize you’re willing to award, the better the turnout is bound to be.
8. Allow Private Parties
Your sports bar is an amazing environment that is perfect for a private party if you’re willing to provide people with this opportunity. Charge enough that you’ll still make money from the concept, close your doors so that people really can have a private event, and you’ll be able to bring in an extra revenue stream over time.
9. Holidays Are Always Good to Market
As a sports bar, you’re undoubtedly aware of the key date of St. Patrick’s Day, but there are a number of other holidays that deserve recognition in your establishment as well. You can even create your own holiday if you want. Celebrate the seventh day of the seventh month at 7pm with some kind of special to attract attention if you want. Any idea is an excuse to create a holiday.
10. Make Your Website Fun
Your website is an extension of your sports bar and if you’re website is dull and boring, then that’s what you’re communicating about the experience at your sports bar. Add some zest to the images and engage people with stunning content that will encourage their imagination to start working overtime.
11. Host a Sporting Event
There are a wide variety of activities that are considered sports today and by hosting a sporting event, you’ll draw a specific niche of people to your bar. Poker tournaments are a common way of making this happen and it doesn’t even need to include gambling. Give the winner a free dinner or something if local laws forbid entry fees. There are also tons of poker games, like Omaha, and variations to these games, like Hi-Lo. You can host a different game every night of the week if you wanted! As long as there is something to play for, people will battle.
12. Book Live Music
Even if you don’t have a traditional staging area for a live band, booking local talent to play every weekend will give you two unique resources: the band’s friends and family will come to see them play and you’ll score points with your community because you’re support local music. Consider hosting a battle of the bands for prizes for an extra push if your community doesn’t have something like that.
13. Run a Bikini Car Wash
Who doesn’t like looking at attractive people washing cars? You can raise money for charity and have traffic literally drive onto your property. Many bars focus on having women in bikinis, but have some guys in there working so there’s more eye candy out there – though you might let the guys wear swim trunks.
14. Change a Life
If your sports bar gets involved with something meaningful, you’ll create a level of goodwill that will always pay you back. Work with a local charity, provide support to a local food bank, or even sponsor the local Little League.