Know what clientele you want
Whether you’re a new bar-owner or an old pro, when making an effort to actively attract a fresh crop of customers, the most important thing to think about is what kind of customers you’re looking for. Are you hoping to completely change your clientele base or just diversify it? Are you seeking to serve a crowd of blue-collar folks, trendy hipsters, gung-ho sports fans, or slick young professionals?
The clientele you want to attract is a big factor in determining how best you can (or can’t) reach out to them. Consider if your current average customer is compatible with the new ones you hope to bring in. If not, you have to ask yourself if losing your usual business is worth potentially attracting some new business. It might be better to split your business pursuits between two locations or rebrand your current one from the ground up.
On the other hand, if you simply want to expand your current clientele, it’s worth investigating what it is that attracts the customers you already have. Then go about refining that.
Bring in some live entertainment
One of the most successful ways of attracting new customers is to provide new enticements, and one of the most effective enticements is entertainment. Maybe think about replacing that old jukebox with an actual live band. It might seem difficult if you’re not located in a bigger city, but smaller regions have their own advantages when it comes to bringing in new customers.
For instance, it may be easy to find musicians for hire in Minneapolis (population: 400,000), but if it’s easy for you it’s easy for your competitors as well. Being somewhere like Lake City, Minnesota (population: 5,000), however, means it’s easier to specialize. With fewer competitors, you might just be perfectly situated to become the happening after-hours destination for locals and out-of-towners alike.
Either way, even providing live entertainment just one night a week can effectively double or triple your customer base. It’s a simple but powerful way of becoming more than “just a bar.”
Take social media more seriously
This goes for every bar-owner regardless of what target audience you may be courting. Maybe you think that the customers aren’t the type that use social media, but in this day and age everyone uses social media. Everyone. Your business’s social media accounts are incredible tools capable of helping you grow your clientele through advertising and establishing a rapport with your existing customer base, making them feel more personally invested in you.
Making good use of social media doesn’t necessarily mean paying for sponsored ads, mind you. It doesn’t even mean being that active. Just having an online presence with your business information and menu available for people to find (and, more importantly, share) can go a long way. Leveraging social media for all it’s worth (by posting regularly, promoting upcoming events, announcing daily specials, etc.), however, can pay off even bigger.
You don’t have to be an influencer to reach people through social media. Any business can use it, allowing for a potential reach far beyond the limits of local marketing.