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Sunday, 28 February 2010

Advertising Tips for Nightclubs and Bars

Here are my three tips to improve the advertising of your venue's events and drinks.

Before I start, I should explain that I'm no expert in the subject, but with 10 years experience working in and with the nightclub/bar industry, I've learned and observed a few things over the years!

(In case you're wondering - I started out with a Saturday job in a sound and lighting shop, which led me to a four year spell working as a lighting designer, programming light shows in nightclubs among other things. I also taught myself to beat mix which led to DJing and promoting a successful club night for six years. In 2004 I became a motion graphics designer and have been supplying nightclubs and bars across the UK and internationally with custom visuals and advertising ever since.)

So, on to the tips:


I never cease to be amazed by the number of bars/clubs who ask me to make an advert for an event that's only a week or two away!

I would recommend that you begin promoting any event at least a month before it happens. By 'begin promoting' I mean you should have all of your advertising in place. Therefore you should aim to get your designers briefed 5-6 weeks before the event.

It's equally important not to advertise too early (although this is rare!) - start too early and the impact and momentum of your campaign will be diluted.

By thinking ahead you will give your event the best promotion possible, and you will get the best quality work from your designers rather than a rush job.


There is nothing more frustrating than being faced with conflicting information from different sources when all you want is a simple answer. Imagine a potential customer looking up information on your venue - if one website says your venue is open on Friday nights and another says it's closed, the chances are they aren't going to take a gamble - they'll just go somewhere else. I would guess that over 60% of venues have conflicting information on different websites.

Make a list of all of the places that your marketing appears, print it out, stick it on your wall, and use this as a checklist whenever you make a change to your listings etc.

Here are some obvious ones:

Your website
Networking sites: Facebook, Myspace, Bebo
TV Screens
Posters & Flyers
Event listings sites (Don't stay in, Tilllate)
Magazines & Newspapers (Mixmag, etc)
Directories - etc

Always look for the most clear, concise way of getting your message across, and use that same message on all of your websites, adverts etc.

Close down out-of-date profiles on networking sites so that you have just one 'page' for your venue - you don't want your punters to search for your venue and be faced with a choice of four different groups/pages/profiles for the same venue!


The drinks industry is well known for clever and entertaining advertising campaigns. Why not try to emulate this with your own adverts? Rather than just stating a product and a price, think up a funny, clever, or attention-grabbing message and you are sure to see increased sales.

Selling on price is rarely a good idea - unless you're a giant with huge buying power like JD Wetherspoon you are much better off selling the benefits of your products (drinks/venue/events) rather than the price alone.

As a simple example, imagine an advert for Tequila shots. Rather than just stating "TEQUILA SHOTS £1", you could play on the well-known song lyrics "Tequila, it makes you happy!" perhaps accompanied by a good stock photo of a group of people at a bar laughing (although you'd probably want to put a small disclaimer saying that tequila isn't actually guaranteed to make you happy!).

Think about your typical customer and what would make them tick - are they students who would have an 'off the wall' sense of humour, are they sophisticated people who are sold on style and glamour?

A picture is worth a thousand words - so, for example if you're putting together an advert for cocktails, go to the effort of making up each of the cocktails and taking a good photo of each (and by good, I mean well lit, in focus, and nicely composed with spotlessly clean glasses - don't just take a quick snap without thinking about it!).

Finally... unless you want to date your venue by 30 years, please please please don't spell nightclub as "niteclub" - just a personal niggle of mine, but I never cease to be amazed by the number of clubs still doing this - it was fashionable in the eighties, but definitely isn't now! 

I hope these tips will help you to promote your venue more successfully.

Friday, 5 February 2010

There aren't enough hours in a day

Lack of time is my biggest source of frustration!

Being a bit of an 'ideas person', my mind is constantly bursting with new ideas - ways to improve my workflow, marketing, website, new products, etc., but obviously these things come secondary to doing actual jobs for clients which, thankfully, I'm never short of!

I've been known in the past to take a week's "holiday" just to make some headway on some of these ideas! Of course the downside to taking time off when you're self employed is that it's unpaid - a week off means losing quarter of your monthly income!

I'm hoping to be in the position to take on an employee over the next year which will be great as it will free up some of my time to spend on these ideas, although employing somebody will be a big and scary jump!