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Turn your one-time customer into a regular with Wi-Fi marketing.


Photo: Shutterstock/ Art_Photo.

ave you ever signed up for one of those newsletters that you see on bar and restaurant websites so they can market to you?

Me either. Almost every restaurant and bar website still has a newsletter sign-up form somewhere on it, yet the public hasn’t actually trusted or used them in a decade. The bar industry for some reason tends to keep doing what every other competing bar or restaurant does just because “that’s how it’s done.” I see the same thing going on in social media every day with people using outdated methods or practices that just don’t work. But for some reason, bars look at their competition and think, “Well, if they’re doing it, I should be doing it too. Maybe they know something I don’t?” Chances are they don’t, and the merrygo-round of useless marketing techniques continues. What makes things worse is that the miniscule amount of data that actually is collected this way never really goes anywhere. Marketers often forget to actually send out an email blast to these people for multiple reasons. Sometimes they have nothing to say, or they can’t find the password to their Constant Contact or MailChimp account, or they just plain forget they are collecting this data in the first place. Wi-Fi marketing has changed all that. These days if you’re not leveraging free Wi-Fi in exchange for a customer’s email address, phone number, or Facebook account, then you’re missing out on a huge opportunity. Not only do people use free Wi-Fi and are more than willing to give up their contact information in exchange to get online, but the customer already sitting in your bar is the most valuable person to be collecting this information from. The people that are already aware of your bar or restaurant are true customers and not a “potential” visitor. They are


by Erik Shellenberger not somebody who entered their email address via your website and lives five states away, or somebody who lives in the next town over but is nowhere near your target demographic. Leveraging existing customers and cultivating them into regulars is a hell of a lot cheaper and light years more effective than mindless online data collection. Keep in mind—I do not get compensated by any of these companies to promote them. This is all based on personal opinion. There are several Wi-Fi marketing routers available out there including Zenreach and Yelp WiFi (Yelp recently purchased a platform called Turnstyle Analytics and renamed it Yelp WiFi).

Use free Wi-Fi to gather customer data for marketing.

Bar Restaurant Success has a Wi-Fi marketing feature built into their suite of products as well. There is a new player in the market called CoGoBuzz, which allows you to market via Facebook, email, or text. So far this one looks like the most diverse. I am currently testing the platform out and like what I see so far. I will provide a full product review soon on barmarketingbasics.com. My go-to favorite is Zenreach because of their Smart Email feature. This feature allows automated emails to go out dictated by certain criteria. Yelp WiFi has a similar system, but I personally prefer the ease of Zenreach. For example, after a customer signs up the first time, it’s able to send an email out

hours after their visit asking them how their experience was. It basically can be used as a reputation management tool in order to field any negative reviews or complaints before they end up on Yelp for the world to read. Zenreach also has easily redeemable offers that cannot be fraudulently duplicated that you can send out to loyal customers, return customers, or lost customers. The redemption process is usually where everything traditionally goes wrong, and the customer ends up getting annoyed by the amount of hassle a simple offer usually creates. The Zenreach redemption process cannot be any easier. The server or bartender just has to read the screen and do what it says. As long as the conditions for the offer are met, the server taps the “redeem” button on the customer’s phone, and the offer disappears, never to be used again. Do not forget the step of adding a button for this in your POS system to track redemptions. Don’t guess on how many were redeemed—know your numbers. Zenreach can also capture customer’s birthdays and send out smart emails a week prior to the special day for a specific offer geared to getting large parties in for a special birthday celebration. Something like, “Free bottle of champagne for every 6 people in your party.” It sounds impressive but costs the bar under $20 in most cases to bring in a large party. No brainer. The reason why I like smart emails is because it’s kind of a set-it-and-forget-it type of system. In my opinion, automated emails are typically a bad idea because you lose that personal touch, and they might come off robotic. With the Zenreach offers, you can create and word these however you’d like, and it’s up to their system to send these offers out at the right times, with the right conditions (that you choose), and with the right frequency. You’re hitting the most important customer at July 2018

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Bar Business July 2018