Written By Bryan Flowers
I am writing this article to be helpful for those that want more customers and more attention. (same thing) I have learned a lot more since the last article I made about promoting businesses in Pattaya. I am aware that there are different types of businesses, locations, and different types of languages, but let’s assume that these businesses are mostly targetting Westerners opposed to Asians/Russians who use other social media websites like WeChat and VK. I will also be plugging my own services in this article, the reason why I offer these advertising services is because I believe in them enough to be part of it. I really enjoy promoting businesses, advertising and marketing.
There are many factors involved here because some businesses are not widely used and the profit margins are small. So it wouldn’t make sense to advertise certain products and services to the mainstream public. For this article let’s assume the businesses are restaurants, bars, gogos, gentlemen’s clubs or nightclubs.
The way I have always seen it, if I am not advertising, I am letting my staff down as an employer, I have written articles before about finding the right boss to work for you. If your boss is not promoting your services/products that you are working on, then you are better off moving to a company that does.
Business owners often say to me that they cannot afford to advertise or their budget doesnt allow. In this case that means they do not understand or believe in the advertising and they are literally budgeting how much profit is coming in.
1. Location – Your location is the best advertising you can have, you need to be near a flow of traffic/footfall. For many guys, this is too late to change, but you can adjust the building or have ways for it to stand out. Also, you can group together with other businesses to promote the location collectively just like we do on soi 6 with our own bars. You can make your location good by joining forces.
2. Word of Mouth – You can appeal to word of mouth by having amazing staff, services or products. Whether it’s a crazy daily special for a restaurant, an eating competition or simply amazing food/service. For bars its more about people, but many bar owners try to offer something different, a theme or targetting a certain nationality. Regular events are an amazing way of using word of mouth, even if its a crap/funny party idea, people will slag it off and talk. (which gives an opportunity to make funny flyers that get shared) If you have a small budget when starting a business, there is lots of creative ways to trigger word of mouth and it can be free or you pay for an email blast from our news, forum or Asean now.
3. Baht Bus Advertising – (self-plug) I didn’t believe in Baht bus advertising at the start but I asked myself why so many people kept renewing and why some business owners ordered so many. For most bar owners, the best customers are brand new to town, they do not know about The Pattaya News, or Pattaya Addicts Forum, and they are not looking at Pattaya-related stuff on social media. You might get a few tourists looking at trip advisor (definitely worth looking into if you have a qualifying business.) The baht bus adverts are around 3000 baht per month per baht bus, which works out only 100 baht a day for all that coverage. It seems like a lot but its very cheap and effective. Baht Bus Advertising targets every nationality and every person, including passengers, people watching youtube, cars behind, pedestrians and they move in every area of the town, its so perfect, its unreal.
4. Online – Advertising online is essential and it breaks my heart to put it 4th but these are very close with the others and it can depend on the effort put in also. If you go hard online but only have 1 baht bus advertising, then it’s all relative.
For the list below, I think it’s best to provide good content, which could be write-ups, establishing yourself as an authority, pictures, videos, or maybe funny competitions (Guinness book of records or silly eating competions) or promotions.
– Social media – There are Twitter guys, Facebook guys, Youtube, Instagram guys, Snapchat people, I have noticed many people stick to one social media only, so you need to try and hit them all. If you don’t exist on them all, you are missing a large bunch of people. I could write many articles on social media stuff but I am keeping to the topic. If you do want to outsource your social media, I know a few guys that wants to do it. However be very careful who you put in charge of your brand. Every business owner needs a Facebook page and a page on all the others.
– Youtube – Every business in the world should have its own youtube channel or a huge presence on other channels, there is very little excuses not to. Its FREE advertising! and everyone can edit these days or use fiverr
– Local Forums – I happen to own the biggest Pattaya Forum with 170,000+ members, granted it’s around 18 years old, so not that many members are around or still active. But this is a 100% targeted audience. Our members are 99% Western males that come to Pattaya. We will sell advertising for around 36,000 baht for 1 year. For bars it takes only 1 good customer to get that money back, it’s an insane return of investment.
– Local News – We own The Pattaya News, but there is another news here called Pattaya Mail. (I have to be fair) Our news has 30,000+ people a day looking at just the website alone. But we have youtube, twitter etc. We cannot carry advertising for lady bars, but we can cover all other businesses. I know this is highly effective, as we have seen it with our own eyes countless times. If you would like to set up a monthly contract, please message us https://ads.thepattayanews.com/
– SEO (search engine optimisation) – I mentioned having a website in the tips below, but many people forget the importance of SEO. Its old school but its free!
– PPC (paid per click) – I am always using paid advertising, you can use Facebook ads and Google. Don’t forget to look into linkedin, tik tok, reddit and twitter advertising. Even if they are 1 usd adverts running all year around, try to collect data, signups or follows. So you are not chasing your tail forever.
– Community participation – commenting on local Facebook groups, forums, reddit, quora and leaving reviews for other businesses. I advice against strong opinions, arguements, just delivering value, establishing authority and helping out newbies.
– Creating an ebook, map, guide or something people can sign up to see, these are called lead magnets. Its free to do but you will get peoples email addresses to promote to and its highly targetted.
5. Tshirts and merchandising! There is no better advert that real customers wearing your t-shirts and merchandise around town, its a great advertising and branding tool. It should be higher in the list because its VERY effective, but its just not seen by that many people. Lighters are very effective also, because they change hands alot, but unless you are a bar, you don’t want to be associated with lighters. We use branded water at the gym, people pay for it and those bottles end up in various places.
6. Billboards – I have 3 billboards around town and a self-acclaimed marketing expert said billboard advertising doesn’t work. It’s part of a branding strategy to show your standing in the town and the importance etc. I told this expert that it’s all relative depending on the cost, there is no true way to track a return from a billboard but it helps the brand and it cements your brand in the town. If your billboard is 15k a month, then thats different to one on the motorway, which is around 120k-420k plus 1000 baht per light. I personally think every business should have one billboard, even if it’s down the side of your own business. We do know plenty of billboard owners, if anyone needs help, but we rent them for ourselves. The trick here is to be somewhere that people see several times per day. (paying 1 year ahead helps with price)
7. Sponsorship of events – it’s a great idea for brand awareness and letting people know how important your brand is by being around other brands, it gives it credit from other strong brands. Our company The Pattaya News is thinking about doing a half marathon event for branding purposes, but we need around 600,000 baht worth of sponsors to break even. Events are mostly a loss, but its good marketing. Also, we will be offering sponsorship of our MMA/Muay Thai events once we get them going again. It might seem like I am plugging my own stuff, but I do all this because I believe in it and events are tough to make money, but its a good branding exercise, being seen online and real life is different.
7. Advertising in your own business – I’ve lost count of the times when people can’t tell me what bar they have been in or what restaurant they have been at. So its good to have the business name in various places, it’s a good branding exercise to have products labeled like beer mats and beer holders, but it’s also great for when people take photos and to remind people where they have been.
Remember, Pattaya is a transient town, advertising needs to be repeated and not stopped when you are busy, advertising is the security for your business, its easy to keep momentum than start it again! I see many owners getting various advertising around town but stop it after a few months, there is certain businesses that advertise everywhere, because they know, at the top you get most the cake. Being in the top 5-10% of businesses is a huge difference in profits, than being mediocre.
Here are a few more tips while I am here
– make a Line channel or telegram channel (not a group) to keep your customers connected with you
– keep away of online opinions about other businesses
– submit articles to local blogs like this one, the blog wins and you get recognition back, its free and it takes 30-60 minutes to write a good article
– don’t let people forget you, there is no such thing as a good secret business. Make a noise, have a voice, believe in something, share stories, use real people to represent your brand
– work with local influencers, don’t forget to look after them, I personally know many of them on various platforms, mentions off these individuals can often be a lot better than a straight up advert.
– create a website to collect emails and push notification subscribers.
– right now reels, shorts and other short-form videos are the rage, they are being pushed out hard. Everyone needs to jump on the current gold rush!
– create a link tree with all of your assets in one place, sometimes social media accounts are banned, so if the customer has a link tree, you can update it immediately with the new social media. Here is my personal link tree as an example https://linktr.ee/bryanflowers and here is Night Wish Groups telegram channel.
I am an internet marketer by heart, I am not perfect but I have experience in many areas, having someone like me working full time on a business is something you would get a huge return on. I am not looking for work, but my point is to try and find someone that can do all the above and work on it full-time. Seeing people budget in the wrong areas and strangling their businesses causes me frustration, but its not my issue. I have given my advice to try and help people.
Some business owners attack other business owners and they come up with silly ideas, it might seem a good idea at the time, but it’s a short-term strategy, its a transient town but the core don’t forget. There is a lot of real Pattaya people here that went to school together and now run the city, people that you are best being nice to. I am at the receiving end of this because some guys like the small amount of attention they get, but long term, these guys don’t last long. Good people win in the end.
– Be relentless – Bryan Flowers