Improving Your Bar’s Patron Retention: The Power of SMS

Improving Your Bar's Patron Retention

Did you know the average American checks their phone 96 times a day? Or that 90% of text messages are read within three minutes of being received? Retaining patrons is a constant challenge, and these statistics reveal a powerful tool waiting to be harnessed: SMS for Bars.

With nearly 100% engagement rates and an ROI of up to 45:1, SMS marketing offers a direct, personal, and highly effective way to connect with your customers. Ready to transform your patron retention? Let’s explore how SMS for Bars can advance your business.

1. Know Your Patrons

Knowing your audience is the cornerstone of any successful marketing strategy, and SMS for bars is no exception. Crafting a personalized experience that resonates with your patrons requires a deep understanding of who they are.

  • Analyze Your Patrons: Look at preferences such as favorite cocktails or frequent visit times. For example, if you notice a trend in craft beer sales on weekends, consider sending SMS alerts about weekend beer specials.
  • Create Customer Personas: Consider demographics and interests. If you have a younger crowd interested in live music, create a persona that targets them with SMS messages about upcoming bands or music-themed nights.
  • Collaborate and Use Technology: Engage with staff for insights. Your bartenders might notice that patrons respond positively to happy hour extensions. Use this information to send timely SMS alerts. Tools like Customer Relationship Management (CRM) systems can help track preferences, such as a patron’s tendency to order a specific wine, allowing for personalized recommendations via SMS.
2. Write Engaging Messages

Writing engaging messages is a critical aspect of SMS for Bars. Your messages must be concise yet compelling, offering value that resonates with your patrons. Here’s how you can create messages that hit the mark:

  • Speak Their Language: Use a tone that aligns with your bar’s ambiance and clientele. A casual and energetic style might work best for a sports bar: “Game on tonight! Enjoy 2-for-1 wings during the big match!”
  • Offer Real Value: Provide exclusive offers or information that patrons can’t find elsewhere. If you have a new cocktail menu, tease it with: “Be the first to try our exotic new cocktails this Friday. Free appetizer with every order!”
  • Be Brief And Concise: SMS has a 160-character limit, so make every word count. A simple yet effective message for a jazz night: “Live jazz this Saturday. Book now for a free glass of wine!”
  • Include a Clear Call to Action: Guide patrons on the next steps. If promoting a special event, include booking details: “New Year’s Eve Bash! Limited tickets. Call now to reserve!”
3. Personalize Your Messages

Personalization in SMS for Bars isn’t just a trend; it’s a powerful way to make your patrons feel special and valued. Here’s how to infuse personalization into your SMS campaigns:

  • Segment Your Audience: This ties into the “Know Your Patrons” section above. Divide your patrons into groups based on shared characteristics. For example, you could send a special discount to patrons who frequently attend your trivia nights.
  • Use Names to Address Patrons: Include the patron’s name in the message if you use an SMS marketing tool like OtterText (more of this below). A simple “Hi Sarah, we missed you at Jazz Night! Join us next week?” can create a warm and inviting tone. 
Personalization with OtterText And Sample Text Messages

OtterText allows this personalization using the database of patrons who have opted for SMS marketing. By including placeholders like {First Name}, you can create messages that resonate on a personal level. 

Here are five sample text messages that demonstrate this approach:

  • Welcome Offer: “Hi {First Name}, welcome to our bar family! Enjoy a complimentary appetizer on your first visit. Just show this text!”
  • Event Invitation: “{First Name}, don’t miss our exclusive Wine Tasting event this Saturday. Reply ‘YES’ to reserve your spot. Cheers!”
  • Birthday Celebration: “Happy Birthday, {First Name}! Celebrate with us tonight and your first cocktail is on the house. 🎉”
  • Loyalty Reward: “Thanks for being a loyal patron, {First Name}! Enjoy 20% off your next meal as a token of our appreciation.”
  • Personalized Recommendation: “{First Name}, we noticed you love our craft beers. Try our new seasonal brew at 50% off this weekend!”

You can try it out yourself for free. Sign up for an OtterText 14-day trial.

4. Optimize and Analyze

Optimization is at the heart of measuring SMS for Bars’ ROI. It’s not enough to send messages; you must understand how and why they perform. 

Here’s how you can optimize and analyze your SMS campaigns:

  • Track Key Metrics: Monitor SMS marketing metrics like delivery rates and conversion rates. For example, if an SMS about a “Ladies’ Night” special has a 40% conversion rate, it might be a theme worth repeating.
  • Analyze the Data: Identify what leads to success or failure. If a message has a low open rate, analyze the content, timing, or target audience to understand what went wrong.
  • Implement Improvements: Refine your strategy based on insights. If personalized messages increase engagement, consider personalizing more of your SMS content.
5. Scale Up

Once you’ve crafted and optimized your messages, it’s time to expand. Scaling up means keeping sight of what made your strategy successful. 

Here’s how to grow while maintaining effectiveness:

  • Identify Successful Strategies: Understand what works best. If messages about special events consistently perform well, consider expanding your event offerings.
  • Expand Your Outreach: Increase frequency, reach new segments, or both. If a segment of patrons responds well to craft beer specials, consider creating similar offers for cocktail enthusiasts or wine lovers.
  • Explore New Partnerships: Collaborate with local breweries, wineries, or food vendors for exclusive events or offers. For example, host a local brewery night with special discounts on their beers.
  • Constantly Monitor and Adjust: Keep analyzing and improving. Regularly review performance metrics, gather patron feedback, and adjust your strategy as needed. If expanding to a new segment leads to lower engagement, analyze why and refine your approach.
Conclusion: Unleash the Power of SMS for Bars with OtterText

From knowing your patrons to crafting engaging messages, personalizing your approach, optimizing, analyzing, and scaling up, SMS for Bars is a powerful tool waiting to be harnessed. Ready to transform your patron retention and advance your business?

Try OtterText today for your SMS marketing campaigns. With features that allow for personalization and a user-friendly interface, OtterText can be the game-changer in your marketing strategy. Sign up for a free 14-day trial and experience the difference.