I get it: it’s hard to set aside your hard-earned money for marketing efforts. It seems like you’re blowing those dollars away and not knowing what you’re getting in return. But that’s the issue in and of itself; your marketing is seen as an expense instead of an investment.

Marketing used to be about blasting mass messages on channels that were expensive and nearly impossible to track. And in that case, marketing was an expense. But today, you can track nearly every marketing effort to understand what’s bringing in the most guests and the biggest spenders (both to your website and your venue). You’re able to easily see what you get in return of what you put in. This not only saves you from wasting your dollars, but helps to bring in more money than before. Even the smallest of budgets can see advantages from smart marketing.

To do this, you’ll need to get your marketing numbers down to a science. What is your investment going toward? Which channels are and aren’t working for you? How do you replicate the efforts that work to get even a bigger return? Find out with these four tips.


1. Define Your Goals

In any investment, you have to know what you want to achieve to understand if it was a good investment. The same is true with marketing. What do you want your marketing campaign to do? Bring in new door traffic? Increase pre-sale tickets to an event? Drive up bar sales? Defining this right away will help you craft the right message, choose the right channels, and set up the right tracking tools to later identify if your marketing worked for you.


2. Identify Your Audience

Marketing is irrelevant if you don’t have an audience. Identify who you’re targeting and get a grasp of what inspires them to act. What’s their demographic and geographic makeup? What are their habits? Which social channels are they on the most, and what are they looking for in a night out? These are all important answers for you to know so that you narrow in on a specific group of people with a specific message on specific channels. The more narrow you get, the more impact you’ll see.

If you don’t have any data to start with, think through who you typically see inside your venue and use that as a starting point. Market on channels that have the highest likelihood of your audience being there, such as Facebook and Instagram. The first few times will be trail and error, which is why it’s even more important to track your efforts. Which brings me to point three.


3. Track Your Efforts

Set up affiliate marketing links so you can track all your marketing efforts. Every channel and every staff member should have its own link to use in promotions. You can even create links for different types of posts on the same channel, including one link for your Facebook cover photo, another for an organic Facebook post, and another for a Facebook ad. As your links get used, you’ll be able to see which efforts (and which staff members) are garnering the results you want to see.

It’s also important to track day-of results as well, including those who walked through your door. Use a system at your door that tracks guest list, reservation, and general admission arrival all in one. You can set this up so you’re able to track which promotion or referrer brought a general walk-up guest. This way, you’re not only tracking what happened before you opened your doors, but also during and after as well. Then, over time, you’re able to compare your results to identify consistencies and become more predictable with your marketing investment. We at Vēmos automate the affiliate link processes and have a full check-in system at the door so you save time and energy with these tracking efforts. Results are tracked within your dashboard so you can always see how you’re performing and if it lines up with your goals.


4. Start Experimenting

Once you have your marketing down to a science, start experimenting with your budget to get even more out of your marketing efforts. A good rule of thumb is the 80/20 rule, where 80% of your budget goes into channels you know work for you, and 20% is to experiment with new channels and new audiences. This is how you continually evolve your marketing efforts and turn it into a smart investment without being afraid of wasting your marketing dollars.


To learn more about how you can better use your marketing dollars with live examples, attend Whitney Larson’s session during the 207 Nightclub & Bar Tradeshow.