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Best Practices

Email Marketing for Bars & Nightclubs

A long term email campaign conducted with tact and sensitivity is your venture’s most advantageous opportunity to derive positive financial results from your online promotional budget. Committing to a campaign over this extended period of time requires a considerable investment in energy, manpower, and resources. So if you are considering launching a campaign without professional assistance, it is not a step to be considered lightly. When you are ready to make the commitment to email marketing over the long haul, there are a number of highly significant factors that must be taken under careful consideration.
Implementation
Email marketing differs significantly from the traditional Yellow Pages listing or discount drink voucher ad in the local newspaper. In conventional media, any advertising liability that is created by the ad placement is essentially only limited to whether the claims that are found in the copy are verifiable and factual. If the ad copy passes that test, then the advertiser need not fear the meeting of any further legal qualifications. When email marketing campaigns are scrutinized from a legal standpoint, it is discovered that there are actually two different sets of legal criteria that have to be satisfied: federal and state laws, as well as bar & nightclub industry self-regulatory standards. If either of these regulation restrictions are not met, the result can be serious legal problems for any bar & nightclub business that has violated the legislation.
Compliance
You might generally not give it a second thought when a customer hands you their business card or fills out a contact form. It seems second nature to simply go over to your office computer and enter their email address into your newsletter subscription list. You might feel justified that since you had a face to face encounter with the customer when they were on your premises and they handed you the card or filled out the form of their own free will, they have essentially consented to receive your emailings. Unfortunately that misconception would be a violation of both governmental and industry standards.

The applicable regulatory standards and government legislation states that absolutely direct approval must be gleaned from the client to send your emails, and that approval should be permanently stored on your computer record systems for any future audit. If you fail to do so, you are prohibited by law to place any of the customer's information on your email campaign subscription list. Managers and owners who are under the misunderstanding that these laws in some way do not apply to them should note that the legal penalties for violation can be so overwhelming as to cripple a bar or nightclub's business.
CAN-SPAM Must Be Observed
United States CAN-SPAM legislation is very strict in determining the extent of the proper approval by a customer to be included on any venue’s subscription list. CAN-SPAM is a legislative act based on the ability of a prospect to opt-out from your list. It defends the right of any subscriber to be deleted from your email list at their first request. The best practice standards of email marketing avoid any violation of the CAN-SPAM Act by confirming that irrefutable permission is obtained from all your customers before placing a single byte of their data onto your subscription list. Violating the CAN-SPAM legislation can lead to very severe penalties that any manager or owner must try to avoid at all costs.
Unsubscriber Facilitation
If at any time your prospect informs you that it is their desire to leave your subscription list, your bar or nightclub business must ensure that the customer's unsubscribe procedure is simple to enact, readily available, and totally effective the first time around. Each unsubscribe demand must be acted upon swiftly as federal law is unequivocal about the fines and other penalties that can be levied to violating companies that render unsubscribing from their subscription lists difficult or even impossible.
Bouncing Email Control
Emails that cannot be directly delivered are returned to the sender, which in email parlance is called a "bounce." These functions are executed by an integral internet program known as a Mailer Daemon. The two different ways that emails are bounced back are known as either soft or hard bounces. Both types demand some type of action on the part of the sender. Soft bounces can usually be set to be resent but careful attention must be paid on the specific reason why they are returned. That information can indicate a situation on your prospect's inbox side that may have to be rectified through other means of communication. The act of resending an email to an address that has already been notified to you as a hard bounce is a grievous error. Resending to hard bounce addresses can swiftly trigger a highly unfortunate situation where the rest of your ongoing emails may be treated by a number of the major ISPs at various nodes along the internet as if they had been sent by a known blacklisted spamming organization. Such an identification of your bar or nightclub venue as a spamming business can do massive damage to your online reputation, which will make the sending of any future emails extremely difficult.
Privacy Policy
If you do not have a custom-composed and directly relevant privacy policy, your bar and/or nightclub may be subject to serious liability under the law. Your privacy policy cannot be simply copied from the website of a competitor as it must be drafted specifically to suit your venue's particulars. To avoid legal problems that can turn out to be extremely complex and expensive, you should consult your business attorney to have an accurate and appropriate privacy policy drafted that adequately covers all of your online activities.
Proper List Segmentation
Segmentation allows you to stratify your email subscription list according to a variety of lifecycle, demographic, psychographic, and behavior patterns. By performing this form of analytical process on your subscriber base and thereby developing particular content for each section of your list, you will be able to more accurately appeal to the individual's needs and discover that the type of refreshments, entertainment, atmosphere, hours, and other bar & nightclub elements that your prospects are likely to prefer may be considerably easier to ascertain.
Ongoing Content Testing
It is insufficient to structure your email newsletter content solely on a belief, feeling, or hunch of what appeals to each individual segment of your email subscription list. You are strongly advised to engage in a sequence of what are known as A/B tests. This requires sending out content particularly designed to appeal to specific strata on your email list. Then test small samples in order to determine the types of replies that are received. By comprehensive and longterm A/B testing, you will focus your marketing strategy to best suit your venue customers’ needs.
Obtaining the Prospect's Data
In the bar & nightclub business it goes without saying that no customer wants to divulge significant amounts of personal information unless they believe it is absolutely necessary. A delicate balance must be achieved in gleaning as much of this data as possible without alienating your customers and driving them to your "less nosy" competition. It is recommended that you state clearly and repeatedly that their personal information will be kept in a thoroughly secure manner and that it will not be traded, sold or bartered to any third parties at any time. As you are able to continue to build your subscriber information database, you will discover that your segmentation activities will continue to improve in accuracy and precision, allowing you to serve your customers' preferences and requirements to a greater degree.
Analyzing the Prospect's Behavior
Open & click-through rates are excellent indicators of subscribers' overall behavior, which they display at the time that they receive your emails. Some subscribers stubbornly refuse to open your emails at all - which can lead you to wonder why they subscribed in the first place. Continuing to send emails to these subscribers are essentially wasted sends, so you should feel free to prune these individuals from your subscription list as repeated email sending will have little positive effect. Some other prospects open and read your emails but consistently fail to follow up with a click-through. It is advised that these clients should be kept on your subscription list. The reality that they are reading your email newsletters is significant and can lead to their future patronage of your bar or nightclub. Then there are the clients who both read and click through to your web pages: these are the most desirable prospects and should be duly valued. The information that you may gather by analyzing your subscribers' behavior patterns can be invaluable in determining ongoing marketing strategies.
Good Email Practices
A broad spectrum of industry standard good practices should form the basis of your email campaigns. Subject lines should be meticulously composed to ensure that the reader is provided with more than enough incentive to open and read the email. You should implement multiple landing pages that contain varied but highly targeted content in order to assist with your segmentation activities and A/B testing.
Email Metrics
The statistical data integrated into this guide demonstrates that nearly nine out of every ten of all bar & nightclub business owners and managers who are engaged in email marketing were not even aware of what their click-through rate was, and over four out of every five did not have the statistics for their critical open rates. This regrettable shortcoming in knowing and understanding the most critical email metrics when carrying out marketing campaigns is a serious failure. Without the comprehension of this data, the business manager or owner does not have the capability to analyze the performance of their online marketing and promotional campaign.