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 get your marketing numbers down to a science, you’ll need a few simple tools to help you track and analyze your efforts. 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? You’ll be able to answer that and make sure you’re spending your money in the right places and getting the results you want.
1. Digital Referral Links
Using digital referral links is going to allow you to track all your online 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. We at Vēmos have referral links built into our system, so you’re able to track not only clicks on your link, but also if that click resulted in a purchase. After all, getting 1,000 impressions or clicks doesn’t mean much if it didn’t result in anyone taking the action you wanted. Now you can track both and truly understand which channels, staff, and efforts are driving the most traffic. You can then compare your cost to your return to understand your ROI.
2. Front of House Tools
Along with tracking digital efforts to drive guests through your door, it’s also important to track day-of results as well. There’s a combination of front of house tools that will allow to track every guest who walks through your door — who they are, what brought them in, what type of guest they are. It’s all important information to understand your night and to understand if your marketing played a hand at it. Use a system at your door that tracks guest list, reservation, and general admission arrival all in one. You can even set this up so you’re able to track which promotion or referrer brought a general walk-up guest. Then, over time, you’re able to compare your results to identify consistencies and become more predictable with your marketing investment.
3. Customer Database
It may not seem like a customer database is a tool needed to be successful in marketing, but it’s one of your biggest assets. Make sure all of your digital referral links and front of house tools are equipped to create an individual guest profile once that guest converts. After all, this is how you provide personalized marketing. Each guest should have a profile that shows their lifetime spend, average spend, lifetime number of check-ins, and whether they’ve checked in as a walk-up guest or a VIP guest. What tickets have they bought in the past? What are their favorite liquor types? All of this comes back to individualized data that you can use for targeted, trackable marketing. When you have this detailed of a customer database, you can use it to filter your guests into like-minded groups to send targeted messages specifically to them, tracking the open, click, and conversion rates along with that targeted message. Now you’re able to provide a complete circle of personalized service both online and in-person.
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.