Reviewing and revitalizing marketing strategies for your bowling alley business as the year ends is paramount. In the past, the bowling industry was aimed at blue-collar leagues and tournaments, primarily older adults filling its arena. However, the bowling market has repositioned its brand to appeal to young people, families, and traditional values.
Beyond the traditional style of leagues and lanes, the bowling industry has shifted to satisfy professional bowlers and provide recreational activities with cocktails, parties, fine dining, and a relaxed vibe. This shift has been a plus, as the need for bowling has taken a positive upward course.
According to the forecast made by Technavio, the bowling centers market size is estimated to grow at a CAGR of 4.18% between 2022 and 2027. The market size is forecast to increase by USD 2,875.25 million.
Setting new marketing strategies for your bowling center is essential to stay caught up in the shift occurring in the recreation and entertainment base. In this blog post, I’ll walk you through 11 bowling alley marketing strategies, plus examples from top brands to scale your business. But, before that, let’s start from the basics.
Table of Contents
Bowling Alley Marketing Strategy in a Nutshell
What sports do you think Americans played the most last year? If you said Football, that’s incorrect. According to a report by IPSOS, Bowling(19%) was the second most popular sport Americans played, more than Swimming, Cycling, Basketball, and Golf. With more than 70 million Americans bowling yearly, you need a marketing plan to stay on course.
Having a marketing plan transcends setting up an email campaign or having a website displaying your business. It’s about connecting to your customers and turning them from new customers to happy, returning customers. It’s a long-term plan put into drive by knowing your audience, understanding their needs, and setting your business brand to quell the desires and needs of customers.
What Are the Benefits of Having a Bowling Alley Marketing Strategy?
Here are some benefits of having a marketing strategy for your bowling alley business.
Expand your sales
The core benefit of setting a marketing strategy isn’t to fill the business with new customers alone. While reaching out to new customers is good, it’s much more important they become loyal customers. Truthfully, what’s the point of having hundreds of bowlers that never return to your bowling center?
But, when customers repeat their visit, your revenue increases. The key word here is giving your customers an unforgettable experience that keeps them coming!
Build a reputable brand
Setting marketing strategies also allows you the opportunity to build a reputable brand. A report shows that 80% of males and 76% of females buy from a brand they know.
In reality, building a reputable brand takes time, thoughtfulness on your customers’ needs, and meeting them at the point of their needs.
Establish your competitive edge
A marketing plan for your bowling center lets you know your unique selling point and position yourself as an authority there. It could be state-of-the-art facilities, themed events, the audience you target, your pricing packages, exceptional customer service, or any other distinctive feature that helps you stand out in the competitive market.
Having seen a few benefits of having a marketing strategy, let’s proceed to marketing ideas you can implement in your bowling alley center.
11 Bowling Alley Marketing Strategies to Try
Like I said earlier, having a marketing strategy in the bowling industry transcends setting up an email campaign or having a website that displays your business. Here are 11 bowling alley marketing ideas that work.
- Define your bowling alley audience
- Market your uniqueness
- Create alley buzz via social media
- Make every holiday special
- Increase visibility through Google listing
- Attract attention with Facebook live
- Stay in touch via emails
- Double down efforts with traditional marketing
- Use keywords strategically
- Have an achievable marketing plan
- Track performance and refine strategy
Let’s take a detailed look at each.
1. Define your bowling alley audience
Effective marketing starts with knowing your market: the bowling alley business is included. Understanding your market requires researching the audience interested in your services. It also involves creating a buyer’s persona (fictionalized details of your customers) based on your current and intended buyer lists.
This lets you know the right message, content, and deals to promote your business. For instance: “buy two drinks and get one free drink” can appeal to youths who frequent the bar in your bowling center. In contrast, a tasteful meal or snacks in the bowling alley can attract family members. For professional bowlers, the right kind of ball and good lanes can keep them coming.
Creating a buyer persona entails organizing customers’ desires, pain points, reasons for purchasing your services, age, gender, social status, location, and possible career; in essence, enter into your client’s shoes and see how to serve them! There are diverse segments of people to reach in the bowling alley market, and the key phrase here is targeting the right audience–the people most interested in your products or services.
While it’s possible to target all the segments of people in the bowling alley industry, you build authority faster when you focus on a group of audience, have a deep knowledge of their preferences, and provide the bowling solutions they need.
Bowlero North Brunswick is a top bowling alley choice for professional bowlers. It has 82 premier lanes, a state-of-the-art facility, cosmic bowling, and private rooms for all events, making it an excellent choice for experienced bowlers who want to have fun.
Like Bowlero North Brunswick, here are popular segments your bowling center can target.
These groups are close-knit and are simply in for the fun. They may be in a bowling alley to celebrate a birthday party and want a bowling center that appeals to all family members. Offering promotions, special family deals, and treats can keep them as recurrent bowlers.
Youths and casual bowlers
These groups within the age gap of 20-35 are also in for fun; after a day’s work, they may frequent bowling centers for recreational activities. A reputable bar with quality drinks and a calm ambiance can attract this group.
These groups of people are in for serious business. They take into consideration leagues, balls, and the availability of professional types of equipment. A state-of-the-art facility will be more critical for this category than a bar.
Typically, bowling alley centers get clients within a 10-mile radius, so it’s best to understand the people you want to attract to your bowling center: families, youths, or professional bowlers.
2. Market your uniqueness
After defining your market, you must find and market your unique selling point to keep your bowling center on top of your audience’s list. The best way to do this is by identifying your bowling center’s strengths and unique opportunities.
For example, suppose your bowling center is situated in a high-brow area. In that case, posing as an exclusive, luxurious bowling center for a private, customized bowling experience will make sense. Conversely, consider combining social experiences like karaoke, live entertainment, or lounge experience with bowling activities if your center is surrounded more by college students.
To come up with your unique selling point, here are some questions you need to ask:
- What do you want to come to people’s minds when they think about your bowling center?
- What makes your bowling alley different from others in the area?
- How can you create a unique customer experience based on your amenities?
- From customer feedback, what do they love most about your bowling alley, and how can you improve on that?
- What bowling trends and opportunities are untapped in your locality?
Creating a unique selling point requires extensive research on your current business, gathering customer feedback, conducting marketing research, and brainstorming internally within your marketing team.
The Goodnight is a bowling center that gives its customers a unique experience. In addition to its bowling services, it combines a perfect night experience for customers, featuring a private karaoke, full dining service, and a custom pool, amongst others, to make it a go-to source for bowlers who want a whole night experience.
3. Create alley buzz via social media
The world is a global village. With 4.8 billion people on social media, you can’t help but maximize the crowd on social platforms like Facebook, Instagram, or TitTok. Thousands of business owners use marketing automation tools to organize and manage their social marketing campaigns from a single dashboard. This way, you can stay on top of customer interaction and communication without having multiple tabs open.
To improve your social media marketing efforts for your bowling alley business, here are some helpful tips to implement.
Create a social media strategy
Formulating a plan is the first step in starting or improving social media marketing. Many social media platforms have different metrics and evaluating skills for thriving there. To optimize social platforms, knowing what works on them is essential.
For example, X, formerly known as Twitter, appreciates using short tweets to reach customers, while TikTok is a video-based social media platform. Also, the demographics your bowling alley centers cater to should guide the social media platform to optimize the most. Here’s an overview of the users’ age range of some popular social media platforms and the content format that works best.
Users age range: 10-19 years
Content format: video
Users age range: 25-34 and 50 to over 50s.
Content format: Written content, videos, and graphics.
Users age range: 25 to 34
Content format: Clear pictures, infographics, and short videos.
Use engaging content
The feed of your customers is saturated. To stand out amongst tons of content, ensure that your content is newsworthy, in line with trends, story-like, and vibrant. These should guide content format and use polls, questionnaires, and surveys to know what works.
Keep up with trends
Keeping up with trends is a great way to draw attention and attract new customers to your bowling center. Several businesses leverage trends to increase brand awareness and promote special offers. Keeping clients engaged in the comment section and offering discounts and promotions is essential to turn visitors into steady bowlers.
Bowlero is an example of a bowling center using social media to good use. In the image above, Bowlero uses its social media platform to draw attention to its unlimited bowling offer and urges followers to let their friends know about the offer as well.
4. Make every holiday special
Special dates and holidays like Thanksgiving, Halloween, Christmas, and New Year are exciting times for most families around the world. Within this time, people usually increase their spending budgets and look for fun family activities to engage in. Last year, Christmas sales totaled $936.3 billion.
It makes sense to promote special offers during festive seasons. For example, during the Christmas season, you can organize holiday tournaments leading up to the festive season and offer prices to winners.
Also, you can offer special discounts or Christmas-themed bowling nights with Santa to take pictures with kids, Christmas music, and Christmas decorations.
Tenpin is one of the bowling centers getting it right with their festive promotions. Their Christmas deal features two games of bowling and a free meal, the same as their New Year’s Eve deal. Customers also stand to get a photograph with Santa, which makes it attractive for families with young children.
5. Increase visibility through Google Listing
Getting your bowling alley center listed on Google’s local listings, specifically on Google My Business, is crucial for several reasons, like the following.
Increased visibility: Google My Business listings appear prominently in local search results and on Google Maps, making it easier for potential customers in your area to find your bowling center.
Showcase important business information: A verified Google My Business listing adds credibility to your business. It displays essential information about your business, like your address, phone number, hours of operation, and customer reviews, helping potential customers trust your business.
Get found in local searches: A well-optimized Google My Business profile improves your chances of appearing in local searches. It boosts your local SEO efforts, increasing the likelihood of appearing in the “Local Pack” (the top three listings shown in local searches).
For example, I did a quick Google search on Bowling centers in Miami, Florida, and this resulted.
Increase your local visibility by signing up for your Google Business Profile.
6. Attract attention with Facebook Live
Taking social media marketing further, you can reach a wide range of people using Facebook Live. Facebook Live gives your audience real-time event updates. While pictorial content is good, many audiences feel a deeper connection with live videos.
Each year, 10 million kids attend birthdays in bowling centers, making bowling a popular birthday destination for kids. These birthday celebrations can be made live to showcase your bowling center and attract new customers. Events like bowling leagues and tournaments highlighting the bowling alley centers can also be made live.
The following tips are essential to make good live events.
- Use a good camera
- Ensure there’s good light
- Capture footage of exciting events
- Capture videos of interviews of workers in the bowling alley center
- Invest in Facebook reels
7. Stay in touch via emails
Email is a marketing channel designed to allow you to communicate directly with your customers. You can attract leads from multiple sources like your bowling website and social media and then nurture them via emails. Additionally, you can share promotions, offers, and updates directly with bowlers who have signed up to your email list.
To get the most from your email marketing efforts, here are some tips to help.
Prioritize quality over quantity
It’s good to have many email subscribers, but having email subscribers who are not interested in bowling activities is futile. Ensure your ads target audiences who are interested in bowling or who have your bowling center. Additionally, make the sign-up process easy and offer something valuable to get people to sign up.
Automate your email communications
Marketing automation eliminates repetition from your business operations. Employ automation to generate leads, nurture them, and take them from sign-up to loyal customers. Automation also comes in handy to gather customer feedback and segment your email list.
Additionally, different types of bowlers frequent bowling centers. Hence, it’s necessary to integrate email marketing automation to make your work more accessible and, most notably, to guide each segment of customers through the right path.
Sending “how to organize a fun bowling birthday party” to professional bowlers might be unnecessary to them, but it’s pretty beneficial to family and friends who bowl.
Promote loyalty programs
Incentivize sign-ups for your loyalty program through emails. Send updates on offers, rewards, or exclusive membership to keep your customers engaged and increase business revenue.
8. Double down on traditional marketing
Digital marketing strategies are a go-to source for most businesses out there. Still, traditional marketing is also beneficial for the bowling business because it recruits locals and people within a physical environment. Here are conventional marketing ideas to inculcate into your marketing strategy.
Investing in this traditional format of marketing still brings ROI. Though the ROI of billboards is not quantifiable, it’s still beneficial as it is a sure method of raising brand awareness. Billboards are large and image-focused with little text.
The image represents and tells the story of your brand. Billboards with bright and colored photos should be displayed in strategic high-traffic areas. Bowling alley centers displayed on billboards are a long-term marketing investment. As we popularly say, “One picture is worth a thousand words.”
Flyers and brochures
Just as billboards can continually announce your bowling centers, flyers and brochures can go a long way in physically reaching out to new customers. Flyers and pamphlets sent out should be aesthetically pleasing. Flyers could be sent out in shopping malls or centers or even when people come in for a visit at your bowling centers.
Aside from being entertaining, flyers could also be informative and educational and include your offers. A flyer with the theme “Health advantages of bowling” alongside other info and a discount for first-timers can convince customers to try and frequent your bowling center.
Knowing and understanding your market is paramount here; while the above example might appeal to older folks, it must be more convincing for youths.
Some consumers may opt for phone calls rather than emails, which is fine. Phone calls have been said to increase revenue by 84% of people who took the survey.
Adding your business contacts to a print ad is an essential marketing tool, and calling clients on their birthdays and festive periods can make customers loyal to your bowling center.
9. Use keywords strategically
The world is a global village with a compartment of a worldwide library, which we can term “Search engine tools.” Every waking moment, customers use search engines such as Google, Bing, Yahoo, and DuckDuck Go to find solutions to their problems, and that’s why SEO (search engine optimization) is essential for your bowling business.
Use keywords strategically in your blog posts and website to rank on search engines. Keywords are the words that customers input on the type bar while searching for solutions. Every blog post on your bowling website should proffer solutions to bowling alley problems.
Keywords such as “best local bowling alley” or “Engaging recreational activities in your neighborhood” can be incorporated into your blog posts.
Some tips for winning at SEO content:
- Regularly publish high-quality blog posts.
- Conduct customer research to understand the content they connect with.
- Make your website mobile-friendly.
10. Have an achievable marketing plan
The next step in boosting your bowling alley center is to set an achievable plan. The mistake most marketers make is setting vague goals without specifics. Setting a goal without a specific time-bound and specific statement is like going on a road trip without a map.
An achievable marketing plan is a map you could route your business through to produce results. Hence, it must be SMART: Specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-bound.
It’s paramount to be highly specific in the goals you want to attain in business. A vague goal plan may prevent its achievability. Examples of vague goals include:
- Reach out to more customers.
- Increase revenue
- Create brand awareness
While it’s good to map out what you want to achieve, a broad goal without specificity can lead you to perform next to nothing, so instead, break down bowling alley goals with specifics in mind.
Reach out to more customers can be redefined to: Reach out to 1,000 professional bowlers sign up through content marketing.
One of the steps to consider when setting an achievable market plan is that it must be measurable. Using our example above, instead of “reach out to customers,” try “reach out to 1,000 professional bowlers.”
The difference here is the number 1,000, which is measurable and quantifiable. In the end, Google Analytics tracks metrics on blog posts, tracking the number of new subscribers to your email list after reading the blog post. This shows how using measurable parameters is critical in smashing goals. So, while setting goals, consider the measurable use of quantifiable parameters.
Pushing your team is essential, but setting unattainable goals isn’t. To achieve trackable results, it’s good to set goals within reach. For example, reaching out to 1,000 professional bowlers on your blog post might be possible within three months, but converting all 1,000 to frequent your bowling center might be a hassle. So, while setting a marketing plan, make sure it’s attainable.
The last thing you will want to do is to set goals that do not align with the objectives of your market. Setting goals unrelated to the bowling alley industry isn’t justifiable or needed.
To ensure you meet your goals, ensure it’s bound by time. A goal of reaching out to more customers in your bowling alley brand should be time-bound. This will create a sense of urgency in the minds of team members.
11. Track performance and refine strategy
Marketing can be difficult, as it is dynamic too; daily, customers are inundated with information on what to do, where to go, how to live, where to live, and so on. There’s an endless stream of information, and bowling fans and intending fans are included in this feat.
There are so many marketing strategies to put in place in the bowling industry, ranging from digital marketing to social media marketing and even down to traditional marketing ideas. Hence, you must periodically review your marketing strategies, see what works, find bottlenecks to improve, and weed out what doesn’t.
I have shared 11 bowling alley marketing strategies you can implement and included examples from top brands. The marketing ideas discussed in this blog post cover both digital and traditional marketing practices. Decide on the marketing strategies you want to begin with immediately and the ones to try out over time.
Thousands of small and medium business owners use EngageBay to streamline their marketing and customer support efforts, reducing marketing costs by up to 82% while maximizing profit.