In this episode Nick interviews Greg from Interactive Promotions where he’ll give you 3 new bar / restaurant promotions that will grab massive attention and get new customers in your doors. If you’re looking for something totally new, fresh, and BIG – you’ll find 3 ways to make that happen here!
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Nick: Welcome, everybody to episode number eight, Three New Bar and Restaurant Promotions to Out-Beat Your Competition. Today, I have Greg Esterhai on the line with us. Greg is with Interactive Promotions. And Greg, instead of me explaining exactly what Interactive Promotions is, why don’t you give us a quick little intro to what your company does, who they’re for, and then we’ll dive into some of these bar and restaurant promotions to help increase sales and out-beat the competition.
Greg: Certainly. I appreciate you giving me the chance to explain what we do. We are in a unique industry, in that we provide prize indemnity insurance for groups that are running contests and games.
So what that really means is if you are ever out there and you see a contest or a promotion or a game where somebody is offering to give away a really large prize like a car or a trip or a million dollars in cash or something like that where there’s the potential for contestants to come out and potentially win a prize like a half court shot at a basketball game. Or you’ll see it on the golf course a lot with hole-in-one insurance, where there’s the chance to win that big prize, but it’s certainly not guaranteed that you’re going to have a winner.
And so what we do here as a company is we essentially insure that prize and cover it such that if somebody does come out and makes that half court shot in the middle of the stadium at half time and they win a $50,000 brand new Lincoln, the sponsor or the team or whoever it is that’s putting on that promotion is not on the hook for that $50,000. They, in turn, have purchased an insurance policy from somebody like ourselves prior to the contest such that if it happens, we’re the ones that are on the hook for that.
Nick: Awesome. And I’ve used your company over the last couple of years for a couple of different promotions, and we’ll talk about some of those. Why don’t we dive into it right away with promotion number one? Which one do you want to start with?
Greg: I like your Pot of Gold concept that you guys have done in the past.
Nick: Actually, we just released a podcast episode about that, but I’ll dive into that just briefly. I believe it’s episode number five, the Pot of Gold promotion, and that’s where we gave people a chance to win $10,000 dollars. And you guys don’t necessarily offer this pot of gold promotion, but you guys do the envelopes, the envelope game.
So why don’t you explain the envelope game and how this works, because this doesn’t just have to work for St. Patty’s Day. This could be used at any time of the year. So let’s talk about your envelope game first, kind of like we did with the pot of gold, and how bar and restaurant owners can use that. And maybe I can throw in some different tidbits on different ways that that can be used throughout the year for different bars and restaurants.
Greg: That’s what’s nice about a lot of the promotions that we offer, is a lot of times, they’re really based on the same concept. For instance, this is a concept where we have an envelope promotion where you have individuals who have to come up to a stack of envelopes. And we use the word ‘envelopes’ because we are literally seeding prizes within these envelopes that are sealed. But essentially, you use an envelope mechanism like this where you have prizes that are seeded in these envelopes.[inaudible; audio cut 0:03:52 ] do this in all sorts of different ways where you have somebody who has to come up to 100 envelopes and pick one out of 100. If they do that and they open up that envelope and – like you see on The Price is Right, Bob Barker opens it up and looks inside and says, “Congratulations, you just won the new car” or whatever it might be. But you can do that for promotion in an almost unlimited number of ways.
So you guys have come to us saying, “Hey, we want to do something that’s unique for a bar. We want to do this where we can tailor it toward St. Patty’s Day.” And it’s just one of those things where you can now say, “OK, we’re going to take this simple envelope concept.” And with you guys, you did I think it was 20 envelopes, and the individuals had to – basically what we did – I think you used those envelopes and you put them in pots. Is that how you did it?
Nick: You’ve got to pick three. With the pot of gold, we put them up on the wall. We found and printed out a pot of gold image online and then I had my designer put numbers one through 20 on 20 different files and then we printed them out and put your security sealed envelopes into a bigger envelope with the pot of gold on there, just to have it themed with the promotion.
That’s how we did ours, and then we added some free drinks, t-shirts, free food, party packages to all the other ones. Some were just no winners, but we added other prizes throughout that and then let people pick up to 10, because we didn’t want them to open up the first three and if they weren’t grand prize winners – or let’s say they open up the very first one and it’s not the grand prize winner, boom it’s done, it’s over. So we wanted to prolong it and let them open up at least 10 of these envelopes.
So for some of the bar and restaurant owners that are listening to this right now, how else could you use this? You could use this for March Madness. You could use this for football. You could use this for anything you want and say, “Hey, you’ve got a chance to win $10,000 dollars on this day.”
And what I love about this is when you run these types of promotions, as you probably know, Greg, is if you write up a press release about this and send it out to your local newspapers, TV stations, you’ll get some free exposure based on this, because it’s something outrageous that a lot of other bars and restaurants aren’t doing. Hey, you’ve got a chance to win $10,000 grand. That draws attention, and that’s one of the most important things today, is getting the attention of your prospects, your customers, and the chance to win $10,000 will grab that attention.
Greg: Absolutely. You basically put it with a theme like you did with St. Patty’s Day. Like you said, you do it – revolves around the Super Bowl. Or, you say, “Hey, we’re just going to make this a weekly promotion and we really want to push our sales on Tuesday nights, so we’re going to do a 99 bottles of beer on the wall promotion.”
We do that a lot with bars and restaurants where you have 99 bottles that are lined up on a shelf somewhere, and each Tuesday night you allow one patron to come up and pick a bottle off the wall. And if they’re bottle matches the predetermined winning bottle, they win the prize.
Nick: I like that idea, Greg. What would that cost? Let’s say we want to do $5,000 bucks, and we want to run this as a weekly promotion. You’ve got a chance to win $5,000 grand every single Tuesday from – you come in from 6:00 to 8:00.
One person gets to pick, because obviously if you say, “I want 10 people to pick,” obviously the insurance goes up. But let’s just say for one person, 99 bottles of beer on the wall, what would approximately $5,000 in insurance be per week on that if you wanted to do this?
Greg: Let’s say you wanted to do this for a month, and you were going to have, once a week, somebody come up and pull that bottle off the wall. If you had 99 bottles up there, and if they were able to do it, they win $5,000 grand. You could be looking at a premium as low as $550 dollars for that.
Nick: For each week?
Greg: No, that would be total. That would essentially allow four people to do it, one a week for four weeks.
Nick: That’s pretty cheap. What I always like to tell my clients is “You shouldn’t be paying for that. Go talk to Miller. Go talk to Bud. Put their beer on special and see if they can cover half or see if they can cover it all. Do you know a local insurance agency? Do you know other small business owners who would want to help promote this or get more exposure? $250 bucks to a business owner isn’t a whole lot of money, but if you could show them the value and say, “Hey, we’re running this promotion. We want you to be the sponsor. Here’s what you’re going to get.””
And I always tell them, “Tell them you’ll do an email blast for them. You’ll let everybody know at the promotion, “Hey, this is sponsored by this company.” But in order for them to see some kind of results, hand something out that’s going to direct business to them where they can track and measure that to see if it was worth doing this or not, but not just branding their logo out there, because that does nothing for you to see and track results.”
But that’s one of the great ways. So anybody listening to this, I want you guys to understand that you can run these promotions, and if you’re like, I don’t want to pay $500 bucks or $1,000 bucks out of pocket to do these things, number one, it costs money to make money. But number two, you can find other people to cover some of these costs. Again, look at it as an investment, not a cost, because you’re investing into your business to get more people in the door and stand out from the competition.
Greg: Absolutely. And if you can get multiple sponsors, that’s another thing. If you get a couple sponsors to chip in and you say, “You know what? Offering $5,000 grand to my patrons isn’t a lot of money because we’re a pretty high-end restaurant” or whatever it might be. So bump that up.
You could do $10,000 or $20,000. Your premium is going to go up pretty much linear. If you’re going to double your prize, your rates going to go up about double. But if you can pull two or three sponsors together to do this, feature one sponsor a week for those four weeks or something like that, you can certainly have it pay for itself.
Nick: Yeah, definitely. Let’s dive into number two. Let’s talk about the Cracking the Vault. Isn’t that what’s it called, or Crack the Safe?
Greg: Yeah, our Crack the Vault promotion.
Nick: I haven’t done this yet, but when you told me about it, it excited me. And it’s definitely going to be something I do within the next two to three months. So tell us about Crack the Vault.
Greg: Yeah. It’s a great promotion just in the fact that it’s pretty versatile. You can offer this in a couple different mediums within your bar or restaurant. The essential component to it is it’s a digital game.
You’d have customers come into your store location or your restaurant, and they would essentially be walking up to some sort of a device, whether it’s a kiosk that we could send you – we’ll send you out a kiosk that’s standing up there in the corner of the bar or restaurant – or this game can be hosted on an iPad. You can host it on your own computer if you have a computer with a screen. We’ve had bars and restaurants that will actually project this game on a large screen on the back wall of their bar.
So it can be hosted in all sorts of different ways, but essentially the promotion is this digital game that patrons will come up to. As they approach the screen, it will ask them to touch the screen to start. They tap that screen.
They then have to enter information if you want to require that of them, put in their first name, last name, email address. You can ask for more information if you want. You can ask for less if you like. You can ask custom questions of them.
Nick: So it’s a great list-building tool as well.
Greg: Yeah, it’s great. You get all that data in real time. You have the ability to download that data really whenever you want. So it’s a great gateway to be able to gather that data.
Then once you have that, they are presented with this game which is a vault. And they have a little keypad there that they need to enter in their lucky digit number, and you have them enter in a four, five, or six digit number to “crack the vault.” And if they’re able to enter in that lucky digit number that’s preprogrammed into that game, the vault door will open, bells and whistles will go off, and they will have just won themselves whatever it is, $10,000 grand or whatever prize you want to give away.
But what’s so great about it is, like we talked about, you can gather their registration information. That’s great. But you can also give away guaranteed prizes throughout the promotion. So you have the ability to give away hats or posters or free beer for the day. Whatever it is you want to give away, we can basically preprogram that for you and give away certain guaranteed prizes throughout.
You have the ability to set it up where if they’re being asked for their phone number or asked for their email address, you can automatically email them or text them a message as they enter. Once they get that guaranteed prize, it will ding up on their phone, saying, “Congratulations, you’ve just won” whatever it is that they’ve just won. So it, again, allows you to keep that constant communication with them.
What else is really great about this promotion is it allows you to have a lot of people participate. So you can really do this contest pretty inexpensively but have say, 500 people over the course of the month walk up to this machine and enter in their lucky digit number because you can control the odds of somebody winning. You obviously have them enter six digits versus entering four digits, to make it more difficult which allows you to let more people do it.
Nick: So let me ask you this. Like you just said, let’s say you buy enough insurance for 500 people. Let’s say we’re going to do this on a Wednesday, and from every Wednesday from 6:00 to 8:00 you get a chance to crack the safe to win $10,000 dollars. And you said 500 times, but what if you go over that 500? Like if a bar or restaurant wanted to do this over a month’s time, and let’s say they go through that in the first two weeks and now they need another two weeks, can they just call and upgrade that?
Greg: Yeah, absolutely. It’s really easy. You just let us know, “Hey look, we’re on pace to blow this in the first two weeks. Can we increase this?” And you just do that, so that’s not too difficult.
Nick: Awesome. And I think one of the best ways to promote is the idea that I have in mind for when I do this. It’s going to be doing a video and showing the vault, because as you said, another thing that you can do is actually we get the vault there that people get to punch in the numbers. When people can see that and how it’s displayed in the business and kind of just talk and, “Hey, come in from this time on these days, and you have a chance to win $10,000 or $50,000,” or whatever it may be. And then people can visually see that.
With Facebook ads, we pay probably three to four cents per video view, sometimes as low as two cents per video view. And again, what I love about Facebook advertising is you can pinpoint and target people based on their purchase behaviors such as if they’re buying beer, wine, liquor or meals at other bars and restaurants on their credit and debit cards.
But for something like this, we also have a promotion that I run called the Pick the Joker promotion, and it’s all about winning money as well. We don’t buy insurance for it. It’s just something that we add $100 bucks to the pot each week. One of the things that I do for that that I would do exactly for this same promotion, same thing that I did with the pot of gold promotion, is on Facebook you can target people who like gambling or have [inaudible; audio cut 0:15:51] VIP program at a different casino or something.
Facebook has all this information from all these data compilers, or all these people who play these slot machine games on their phones and their apps. You can target directly those people. So this is a perfect promotion.
One of the things that I always try to teach my clients is if you’re running a promotion, you need to think, OK, who are going to be the best prospects for this? Not everyone is our customer for certain promotions and special that we’re doing. Who are going to be the best people to go after? The types of people to go after are going to be the ones scratching lottery tickets, who are already gambling.
Greg: Most likely to play.
Nick: Yes. So this gives you the perfect target audience to pinpoint and target for this type of promotion rather than trying to hit the masses where you could be wasting hundreds if not thousands on advertising. Here, you can really pinpoint and target down the best types of prospects to go after.
Greg: I agree.
Nick: So that’s great with not just Crack the Vault or the Pot of Gold, but any of these promotions through your company, it’s exactly the way that I would promote that. Let’s get into promotion number three. What’s the third one that you think is best that bar and restaurant owners could use with Interactive Promotions?
Greg: It’s essentially like a variation of our Crack the Vault promotion, but what this is it’s an online contest. So we’ve been talking about getting people into your bar or restaurant, physically spending money, incentivizing them or dangling that carrot to get them in the door. But another really popular type of promotion that a lot of our clients use is an online game, where we tie in an online promotion where you can promote through your Facebook fan page or on your website and get people to interact with your brand on line, and again, incentivize them to stick around and make more clicks and do those sorts of things.
So you can do essentially the Crack the Vault game that we just talked about, but you can do that where you have on your website or fan page a banner that says “Click here for your chance to win $10,000 grand.” And you’d have the individuals click that button. You could, again, present them with questions that they need to answer in order to get the Crack the Vault game. Once they do that, they then are tapped into that game, again enter their lucky digit number, have the ability to get guaranteed prizes, all those different things that we talked about earlier.
But it’s just this slight nuance of being able to put that online which is just so great, because you now have really tapped into social media and all these different things that people are geared toward interacting with your brand. You’re just, again, encouraging them to spend time with you as opposed to the bar or restaurant that’s down the street.
Nick: Definitely. I just thought about this. With March Madness coming up, and other sports related stuff like Super Bowl, you were saying you could do the half court shot. Obviously bars and restaurants don’t have a half court basketball hoop, but do you have anything else that’s sports related that isn’t Crack the Vault and tying it in in that way? Do you have anything that’s interactive that they actually do as a sport or whatever that they actually do as a sport or whatever inside a bar or restaurant?
Greg: We do. With bars and restaurants, just as a side note, we do a ton of perfect bracket promotions. So that’s just sort of the bread and butter with the NCAA tournament. Running a bracket promotion is just an easy, great way to get your fans involved.
But as far as actual physical promotions where you can have a patron inside the bar doing something fun where everybody’s watching at the end of the night as Bob gets up there and tries to do whatever. A fun one that I’m just thinking of is we have an Olive in One contest, where you have essentially a martini glass, and you have an individual who is standing – I’d have to remember exactly what the distance requirement is on that. But what they’ve got to do is throw an olive into a martini glass and have it stay in the glass. So that’s a fun thing that we’ll see at a lot of galas and dinners in restaurants.
Nick: This is probably a big question that bar and restaurant owners have listening to this right now. I’m assuming the bar or the restaurant has to videotape each person doing this, obviously.
Greg: Yes, exactly. With a lot of our promotions, it does need to be recorded. You need to have a witness, obviously, who is stationed there watching this. Some of the promotions like the vault don’t need to be videotaped. Some of those don’t need to be videotaped, because it is in a controlled environment. We’re providing you the digital product.
Nick: With the Pot of Gold, I just use my cell phone for those first three people. I don’t want people hearing like, “Oh, we’ve got to record video,” and getting all freaked out about it. You just take it with your cell phone or have a bartender or a staff member do it.
Greg: No, that’s never an issue. It’s pretty easy nowadays to do that. You can do anything, like throwing a card into a slot, where you take a playing card and somebody has to, from 10 feet away, throw it through a narrow hole. The sky is the limit. We’ve seen some crazy contests come across our desks in the years that we’ve been doing this, because people get creative and it’s fun and people want to do something different than what the bar down the street is doing. So we’re always open to that as well.
Nick: Exactly, and that’s what it’s all about today. So many bars and restaurants are just doing the same shit over and over and over, and people are getting sick and tired and bored with the stuff. It’s like if you’re not innovating yourself, your brand, the next guy who is, that’s where people are going to go. And that’s why I just try to focus so much on always trying new things all the time.
You’ve got to think about the customers. They are going to bars and restaurants because they obviously want to have a great experience. You can go anywhere and get a burger and fries and watch TV and listen to music, but what can you do that’s fun and interactive and exciting. You guys have a whole lineup of different promotions that I think are great for that.
People especially love winning money, love the chance to win money, and when it can be interactive and fun, it’s even better. Especially when they go out and have a couple drinks and some food, it’s a lot different than anything else. And plus, again, you can get a lot of media exposure for this as well in writing a press release.
And if anybody’s listening and thinking, ‘I don’t know how to write a press release. That scares me,’ you don’t have to write a press release. You can easily get on Facebook. You can get online to hire somebody to write the press release for $15 or $20 bucks.
I mean, I write mine, and they take me about 15 or 20 minutes. It’s pretty much what’s going on, where is it going on, what’s the date and the time, who is this for, and what’s it all about. It’s really simple. Or you hire a staff member to write a press release and get a YouTube video on it. It’s as easy as it has to be.
Well, Greg, I appreciate it. Is there anything else you want to mention? I definitely want people to know where they can go to to get more information on your company. I even mention you guys in my book, Bar Restaurant Success, so I know there’s a link and information in there as well. But for people on the call, in the show notes I want to be able to put a link and everything there to your website to have people check you out.
Greg: Absolutely. The website is interactivepromotions.com, but within that site, we actually have the section that speaks specifically to restaurant and bar promotions. But there’s probably two dozen more that are listed there of just different ideas. So certainly check that out, and feel free to give us a call and talk to any of our reps here and sort of blow through some ideas that you might have going on in your head.
And it can be one of those things that we can create something unique, which is always exciting for us, because a lot of times we do the same thing over and over again. It’s always fun to have something different and cool and something attractive to people, so I think that will be great.
Nick: Definitely. One last thing I want to mention too, just for some bar and restaurant owners who may be listening to this. This is a promotion. If you do decide to go with Interactive Promotions and do something, if you need help with the overall marketing plan and everything, and if you’re in the Silver Elite coaching program, remember you can jump on these calls and ask me, “Hey, what’s going to be the best way to promote this? What’s going to be the best messaging? What’s going to be the best strategy here in order to get the best ROI on this? Or what’s going to be the best message I can put out there to find sponsors?”
Maybe you don’t know how to go to a small business and approach them on how to do this. So that’s where I can kind of help you with the group coaching stuff on these calls is anything you need help with. So I just want people to understand that if this is something that excites you, and you’re like, “Hey, I want to do this,” but now you’re kind of struggling where, “Oh, I don’t know what’s going to be the best way to get the best return on this,” that’s where I can help you. I’ll also put a link in the show notes to that if you’re not already a Silver member through Bar/Restaurant Success.
Greg, again, thank you. There’s a lot of great information there. I hope a lot of people got value on this call, got some ideas from it, I hope for sure. And if you get anything new in the future or anything, let me know, and I’d be happy to get it out to our members. So thank you. I appreciate it.
Greg: Wonderful. Thanks guys, I appreciate it. Thank you.
Nick Fosberg is known as one of the highest paid, marketing and promotional consultants in the bar & restaurant industry and he owns 2 bar / restaurants in the Chicagoland area. He's famous for creating some of the highest grossing digital marketing promotions in the history of the bar & restaurant business..... without spending a penny on marketing. All done through e-mail & Facebook posts. Click here to get a free copy of my latest book.