Even when transitioning into entirely different fields, it’s common to lean on our past experiences. It was a given that my past career and familiarity with press releases, marketing, and stocks would be beneficial as a brand strategist, but bartending? Yes it’s true, what I have learned from years of bartending has given me an advantage here at Terakeet (no, we don’t market alcohol). Bartenders are expected to have the ability to engage in meaningful and personal conversations with their customers. If you can’t hold a conversation with a random stranger, well then being behind the bar just isn’t for you. This applies in marketing as well and in the field of building relationships, this couldn’t be more true. Here are a few tips I’ve picked up along the way that should help you connect with your audience regardless of the venue.
1. Get to Know the Brand you’re Representing
In the Bar: Get to know the bar you start working for. What is the mood of the bar, the setting, and the feel? Is it a bar that plays Miley Cyrus on the jukebox or Led Zeppelin? What kind of people do you encounter?
In Outreach: Who is your client/your brand? What are their goals? What are their Vision & Core Values? What do they stand for? What is their history? Who is their target audience?
2. Know your Audience
In the Bar: What types of people come into your bar? Are they older or younger? What are their interests? What time do they usually come in? Are there regulars? If you work at a sports bar you better know who won the Bills game. If you work at a golf course, brush up on your Phil Mickelson knowledge.
In Outreach: Get to know the communities you’re connecting with. How do they talk? What are their personalities like? Get to know their interests; if it is a community that loves to make homemade candles, then google how to make homemade candles. Throw yourself into the community and try to think as much like them as possible.
3. Appearance is Key
In the Bar: People tend to be very visually based. Don’t come into the bar wearing a stained sweatshirt and jeans. Make yourself look presentable and as professional as possible.
In Outreach: As silly as it sounds if your email doesn’t look “attractive” its recipients will mark it as spam. Avoid multiple links, bold heading, strange fonts, inconsistent font sizes, different colors, ads, etc.
4. Always Kill People with Kindness
In the Bar: You won’t always have the best experience with customers. Never let them see your frustration and always smile.
In Outreach: Sometimes you will get ignored, mocked, or yelled at. Remember you’re representing a brand name and you don’t want to come off as anything but respectful.
5. Be Personable/Human
In the Bar: Get to know your audience and genuinely care about their conversation. Ask questions and share your common interests.
In Outreach: When reaching out to specific communities, try to make it as personal as possible. Use their first name, introduce yourself, and explain why you’re contacting them. Communicating via email can sometimes strip away the intimacy of a normal human conversation. Don’t be too formal, be friendly, and most importantly let them know that you took the time to read their website and that you share common interests with them.
Keeping these guidelines in mind will help for a smoother process during outreach. Always try to remember that there is a human at the receiving end of every email.