Marketing is essential for any business. It doesn't matter which industry you're in, making your business accessible to customers is key. This is also true for the food and beverage industry.
It’s not that long ago that promoting a pub or a bar was a relatively easy task. If you managed a business in the pub or bar industry in the 20th century, all you needed was a well-designed sign, and maybe a Happy Hour to get a steady stream of customers.
However, things have changed dramatically. The hospitality industry is now more competitive than ever, with a new generation of customers who have different ideas of what a bar should be.
Socializing is changing shape.
Bars are creating new concepts and experiences to attract more people. As a bar owner, you need to follow up on the trends in both your bar and how you market your bar.
Here are some unique, clever bar promotion and marketing ideas to help you attract more customers and boost your bar's profitability. From online marketing tips to bar events, there are plenty of ways to get people in the door and keep them coming back for more.
10 Online marketing ideas for bars:
1. Use Google My business to put your place on the map
To get your bar to show in the search result, you will need to register for Google My Business. However, to get your website listed at the top, you will need to do some work to optimize your site. This can be done by including keywords that describe your offerings, and by creating dedicated pages for each key offering. By doing this, you will make it easier for customers to find your bar when they search for it online.
2. Know your target audience
To be successful, it is critical to have a clear understanding of your target audience. Knowing the age range, social status, work-life habits, gender balance, and general preferences of your audience will help you improve your marketing strategy. For example, a darts pub in the countryside will require a different approach than an inner-city karaoke bar.
3. Take advantage of user generated content
If you're active on social media, your customers are likely already tagging you in photos and mentioning you in posts. The customer-generated content can be used for promotion and to improve your online presence. To make the most of it, simply search for your business in hashtags and locations, then share the photos. Get people talking about your business!
Check out the best bar games to increase footfall of your place!
4. Try paid ads on Google and Facebook
To make sure your bar shows up when people search for places in your area, you need to optimize your bar's location information. Remember, you may not always appear at the top of the page without a paid search campaign. Try advertising on Google Ads, and make use of the possibilities it offers. For example you can limit your ad to be visible only to people within a specific distance of your bar or you can also define certain words that need to be used when searching.
It's getting harder and harder to reach people on social media without spending money on promotion, especially on Facebook and Instagram. However, ads can help close the gap between a restaurant's online presence and potential customers.
If you are new in business, it's important to invest in advertising that will generate the most revenue for the business. Try these ideas: promote events, experiences, or even open job positions. By using Facebook's targeting options, you can narrowly focus your ads to reach a specific group within your larger audience. For example, you could create an ad campaign that only targets women who live near major cities. Or you could choose to reach men between 21–40 years old who live in London.
5. Be present on social media
A social media presence is a great way to highlight your story and your place's atmosphere. Having an active “life” on social media will encourage people to tag you in photos, interact with your page and boost your online presence.
It’s also the best place to create a visual representation of your bar and give potential customers an idea of what it is like to visit. Videos, giveaways and user-generated content are especially effective in engaging customers.
It’s like word-of-mouth in an online space!
Be sure to know your target audience before investing time and money in an online presence. Are your typical customers using instagram or Facebook? Or are they on Tiktok?
6. Make your menu available online
The menu definitely should be part of your digital marketing strategy. Your customers should be able to easily view the menu on your website or social media channels.
Do you have discounts on different items on the menu? Maybe a happy-hour? Do you have a special cocktail or snacks? Let them know about it!
Help your customers by making it easy to read and optimized for mobile phones. Don’t forget to have an up to date version of your menu on your website!
7. Get online reviews from your customers
It’s crucial to have online reviews of your place, especially if you are new in business. The easiest way to get reviews is to ask customers to give you one! Have a QR code at the table with a link to your business on Google or TripAdvisor. Hang a sign somewhere asking them, or ask them in person!
Be sure to respond to the reviews — particularly when they’re negative.
8. Optimize your website for SEO
A website that is not well designed can be a turnoff for potential customers and may even cause existing customers to not return. Be sure to include your up-to-date menu, your opening hours, events, contact, your social media channels and your address.
Optimizing a website for search engines is to ensure that it meets the basics of SEO. This involves taking actions to help the website rank higher on Google. Some of the SEO tactics that restaurants should prioritize include optimizing for relevant keywords and search terms, ensuring the website loads quickly, and making it responsive to all device types.
9. Consistent branding is key
Make sure you have consistent branding throughout your online and offline presence. The real-life experience and atmosphere should reflect the tone of your brand online. Pay attention to the details to achieve a consistent customer experience. Branding is more than just the offline appearances: it’s about your tone and voice on social media, about your story, personality and identity.
10. Generate buzz with local influencers
Create partnerships with local influencers! By having influencers visit your bar, they can show their followers the other side of the bar and provide them with a great experience. This would generate buzz for your venue and help attract new customers. However, you need to be selective in choosing influencers to work with, and make sure their followers are in your target market.