The ultimate guide to setting up and promoting a club night

So you’re running a venue but you’re not sure how to bring in the crowds. Maybe weeknights are diluting the profits you make on a Friday or Saturday night and you need to boost bar takings. Hosting a club night can be a great way to get your venue’s name out there and achieve a loyal club night following.

What is a club night?

A club night is a late-night event hosted at a venue, often featuring a DJ. Most club nights offer a theme, a certain type of music or specific attraction (such as cheap drinks or one-off discounts) to bring in the crowds.

Why should you host one?

A specific theme or attraction showcases your club night as the place to be. It gives people a specific reason to visit your venue on that specific night. If they don’t, your customers could miss out on a great night all their friends are talking about (FOMO, anyone?)

If you already own a nightclub, you have two options:

  • Put on your own club night
  • Work with a promoter or hire out your venue

Obviously, if you put on a club night in-house, you’ll be in control of everything from the promotion through to the profits. But working with an established club night organiser could ensure your night is a sure fire success. There are pros and cons to each approach, but if you’re looking to host your own club night you’ll need to do your homework…

How to host a successful club night

  • Be original

If there’s a techno night happening down the road, chances are yours is unlikely to take off. Find a niche market and run with it. Everything goes – from Disney nights to feminist raves.

  • Budget properly

You’ll need to pay for DJs, staff, décor and all the many unexpected costs that crop up when hosting an event. Make sure you know how much it’ll cost you to set up your club night and keep a little extra aside for the “just in case”.

  • Focus on having a great time

You’re not going to make thousands of pounds on your first few club nights. You need to wait and let momentum build up. The focus of any club night is to throw a great party, give people a night to remember and hope they come back to your nightclub again and again. It’s a long-term goal, not a quick fix.

You should also try and have a good time yourself. Working with close friends or colleagues to put on your club night will alleviate stress and make sure you’re taking part in a project for fun – not just for business.

  • Work with the right people

Whether you’re a nightclub looking for a promoter, or a promoter hunting out the right club for your idea – it’s important to get the mesh right. Know who’s responsible for what aspects of the organisation, and the costs. For example, who’s finding and paying for the DJ? Who’s responsible for ordering and distributing the flyers? Make a clear to-do list so everyone’s in the loop.

Both parties want to make money. The club wants customers spending at the bar, and the promoter wants to make a decent wage out of the entry fees.

  • Get the pricing right

Charging people too much for entry will put people off. But, similarly, go too cheap and you risk alienating people who are looking for a less rowdy environment. Know who you’re trying to appeal to and price your entry fee and drinks accordingly.

  • Tell your insurer

Make sure you have the right insurance to cover your event. You’ll definitely need public liability insurance, but what about event cancellation or equipment insurance? Though your club’s insurance might cover some of this, it’s always better to be safe than sorry. Give your insurer or broker a quick call to check over your policy.

Promote your event right

  • Create an experience

Handing out flyers or sticking up a poster on a lamppost just isn’t going to cut it. People want an experience – and this starts from the very first moment they come into contact with your club night. Try something different like making your club the best kept secret, or running a paid social media campaign that doesn’t include any firm details about your event until nearer the time to build up a following and a momentum. People love to think they’re the first to know about the next big thing, so make your customers feel like they’re in on the secret.

  • Invite the right people

Don’t worry about influencers and who’s going to your competitor’s club nights. Identify the type of people who you want to come along to your club and invite them personally. Perhaps reserve a VIP table for a well-known DJ or blogger and hope they share the news on their social media feeds.

  • Be enthusiastic

From your on-street promoters through to bar staff, everyone involved in your club night should be genuinely excited about what you’re trying to achieve. If everyone you’ve hired looks like they’d rather be in bed or at another nightclub down the road then your clubbers won’t be inspired. Guests need to feel as if they’ve stumbled on the place to be.

  • Listen to feedback

Promote surveys and ask for feedback and reviews. You’ll not only get insight that’ll help shape future events, but you’ll hopefully get a few positive reviews too. And other people are more likely to be persuaded by real-life reviews and the opinions of their friends than a poster.

  • Keep in touch

Having an updated opt-in email list will allow you to check in with previous guests and let them know what’s coming up. You should also keep your social media feeds up to date with photographs and upcoming events. Keep the buzz going and build on the great club night you’ve got up and running.

When are you hosting your first club night? Contact the NDML team and let us know how it goes!