This is the perfect time to begin rebuilding the customer base for a new and financially positive future. Over the past year, the attendance at many bars and clubs has substantially dwindled or disappeared. Changing time schedules, mandatory closures, necessary quarantine closes, and rising infection rates have taken their toll. One year later, with vaccines in the first phases of distribution, we are hopefully seeing the light at the end of the tunnel and nearing a somewhat return to normal for our favorite late night venues. Of course, there is still the possibility of a few more flare ups in isolated areas. But in many locations, bars and clubs are open and male strippers are once again being the featured entertainment.
I would like to propose five steps to help bars and clubs regrow their loyal customer base. These are simple steps that all businesses and their staffs can implement immediately. The steps may be simple but can have a lasting impact and contribute to reestablishing the ability of businesses to keep the doors open and the revenue increasing. Of course, my main focus will be on those bars and clubs that feature exotic male dancers.
Step One: Reply To Social Media
This may sound too simple but there have been many, many times when I have submitted a question to a club’s Facebook page, Instagram or Twitter account, and never receive a response. For example, I was told by a male dancer in a male review that his group was going to be performing at a specific club near where I live. I was excited to find out more. I went to this club’s Facebook page and told them I had heard a rumor that this group would be performing there and would they please send me more information. I received no response.
Why even allow for messages if you are not going to respond to them? What does it matter? Well, in my case, I am a promoter for the exotic male dancer entertainment industry. I have almost 5,000 followers on my Facebook account. Of those around 1,000 live in or live within a short driving distance of this specific club. I would have been more than happy to share information with all my followers had the club provided it. They did eventually post a poster the week before the event which I did share. However, I would have promoted them much earlier providing the opportunity for more potential customers to be made aware of the event.
This can apply to male dancers as well. If someone sends you a question, please reply with an answer. If they give you a compliment, please reply with a thank you. You never know who is a potential big tipper or how many friends they might encourage to bring with them to one of your events.
During the past year your bar patrons, customers, tippers, etc., have been forced to place more focus to online interactions due to personal quarantines. More of them are getting their information in this way then even before the pandemic. If you want to be successful become an active participant on your social media accounts.
Step Two: Get Personal
By personal, I mean, personally invite each person on your friend’s list, phone contacts, networking list, etc. to your events. Send a personal invitation to them, particularly if this is a grand reopening, after a renovation, after a quarantine, or honestly, when you or you’re club needs money. Yes, this will take some time but you are making an investment in your future success.
A Personal Invitation
I know, you may have hundreds or thousands of contacts so get a friend or two to help and make a personal invitation to each one asking them to attend a specific night and give them 2-3 reasons to be there. Why? you are wanting to build loyalty to your bar or club. Do you think any other bars or clubs are sending personal invitations? A personal invitation says,” I care about you and would really like to see you at our location on a specific night. Please try to attend if possible.” And even if they are not able to attend that night, you have built up some warm and fuzzy feelings that might be all they need to be motivated to attend a future event. Always start any personal invitation with a thank you for their past support.
Encourage Long Lasting Loyal Customers
Simply putting an ad, poster or flyer up is generic, without any personal touch. They are needed because you do want the information available if anyone comes to your social media page looking for it. But to encourage long lasting loyal customers, you’re going to need to take more interest in them as an individual. It is understood that you do not have the time or the money to take everyone to lunch or buy them a drink. But a personal invitation from you through your social media account is free. It only costs a little time and effort.
For those of you with Only Fans or other similar accounts, skip the promotion on this one. You are inviting your online friends to come and see you in person. If they are interested in you and what you are doing, they will be checking your social media for pics, links, etc. anyway, so for the personal invitations, drop the sales pitch.
Step Three: Friendly At The Door
I strongly recommend that bars and clubs place their friendliest people at the door to greet the customers as they come in. You want someone who has a warm personality, great smile and that seems to enjoy life. And I’ll be very honest, it doesn’t hurt if they provide some serious eye candy as well. But being sincere is the first priority. This is the person who starts the evening for the customers. If they are greeted by someone with a sour personality, resting bitch face, or show indifference, then the wrong atmosphere has been set before a customer enters the door. On the other hand if the customers start having a good time at the entrance, they will bring that atmosphere in the door as well.
A good policy is to look for customers who have never been to the club before. They can always ask them. If they say yes, then thank them for coming back again. If not, give them some information about the bar/club such as where they can get a drink, where the bathrooms are located. where a good seat or place to stand would be to watch the show, etc. How a customer is greeted or not greeted (ignored) really does make a difference!
I will go on to say that if you are a club that features male dancers, you should make it part of your club policy for the dancers to take turns at the entrance welcoming the customers. A little flirt and smile from a dancer will go a long way for your customers. It will also help the specific dancer to receive tips later in the performance from those they greet. Also, it doesn’t hurt if that dancer is wearing a custume they will be later performing in. Of course, sexy underwear always works as well. I mean, think about it, the customers on that night are usually coming to watch and tip the dancers. Giving them a little one-on-one time at the door increases the positivity of their experience for the night. This translates into those warm fuzzy feelings again when they think about attending future events.
Step Four: A Reason To Return
If prior to the pandemic your venue was seeing a decline in attendance, this is the perfect time for a makeover and renovation. Make an honest assessment of what was working and what was not working. At this point many want to jump to a renovation of the building and investing lots of money to upgrade, etc. That can be nice and all, but I recommend that you start with previous staff and procedures before redecorating. If you change the building but not staff or procedures that are not working for you, it won’t be long until you’re back in the same declining situation.
Stop The Same Ol’, Same Ol’ – We’re Bored
Many years ago I enjoyed attending a club that focused mainly on drag shows. I do enjoy a good drag queen performance from time to time, but I’ll be honest, it’s not my preferred form of club entertainment. However, the club of which I am referring featured the same drag queens over and over for many years and those queens performed the same numbers over and over who wore the same costumes over and over.
Hey, I get it, doing drag is expensive! But it got to the point where the audience knew their performances as well as the performers did. I knew which moves they were going to make for each song. My friends and I soon grew bored of it and stopped going to that club. I assume others did the same because within two years, it was permanently closed.
Is there something different offered each night at your venue? If every night is the same then I personally will probably pick one night in a week to attend. If each night offers at least one thing different, I could be tempted to attend a second or even third night. For example, when we go to The Corner Pocket in New Orleans, we will go one night to meet and tip the dancers and then go Sunday night specifically to play Zingo. To understand more about Zingo, click here and read the Males In Motion review from our most recent visit.
Find A Fresh Start
Does your club need a fresh entertainer or do your entertainers need to be awakened to new ideas? This goes for any type of entertainer, not just drag queens. Have you thought about adding more visiting entertainers to the monthly line ups? Or having more variety? A new start is your chance to remake your monthly line up in a fresh and new way. One that entices the customers to return once you’ve reopened.
For a male dancer, have you considered adding more costumes to your performances? Play into the fantasies of the customers with a new superhero, a cowboy, military man, lifeguard, construction worker, athlete or sports figure, businessman, doctor, etc. There are so many options, just search and you’ll find several that fit your body type and personality. Find those that you can enjoy and have fun with. Give the customers something to talk about, something that will motivate them to tip, and something that will encourage them to return with their friends. Support the bar or club by finding ways to help fill the seats wherever you perform.
Step Five: Consistently Innovate
There is hope for the future of bars and nightclubs. According to IBISWorld, Over the five years 2020-2025, operators in the Bars and Nightclubs industry are expected to return to growth after social-distancing restrictions have been lifted and consumers return to work and resume spending at industry establishments. Although the industry is expected to grow as the economy recovers, it is expected to be slow growth due to the severe decline as a result of the COVID-XX (coronavirus) pandemic.
Making changes and building a customer base requires consistently looking for new ideas and opportunities to improve the customer’s experience. It is not a once and done process. I recommend the following to help you stay fresh and in tune with customer’s needs and wishes:
- Research other bars and nightclubs and see what is working for them.
- Develop a network of associates from other bars and nightclubs and frequently question them about what they are doing and whether each idea was a success or failure.
- Create your own focus groups from staff members and loyal customers. Ask them for any ideas they may have and run any potential ideas by them for their feedback.
- Develop the habit of asking customers what they would like to see more of and what should be changed. Do not be thin skinned. The successful customer experience should be your goal.
- Stay active on social media – post promotions and related information consistently, respond to inquiries, read and listen to feedback.
I hope this blog has given you things to think about that will help support your drive for rebuilding your success. Feel free to offer any constructive criticism, tips or suggestions in the comments below.
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Visit our companion site, Males In Motion, for news and info for and about exotic male dancers and the clubs that feature them.