Coming up with bar marketing ideas for your business may seem like a never ending job. Your goal is to get potential customers to consistently choose your bar over every other business on the block.
There are tons of bar marketing ideas out there including (but not limited to):
- Social media marketing
- Ranking in search engines
- Getting good online reviews
- Running contests
- Working with influencers
Here are our top bar marketing ideas that will help turn your online followers into a loyal customer base. Let’s find out which ones will work best for your business!
When brainstorming for your bar marketing ideas attracting the attention of locals should be number one on your to do list. One way you can do this is to make sure you’re on the map.
Need a quick refresher on SEO? Check out our beginner’s guide.
When someone searches in Google for nearby bars, only three will appear on the map. These three have several components:
- Their websites have been optimized.
- They have Google My Business accounts.
- They probably have a ton of online reviews.
Optimize your website with keywords that make sense for your business. You will want to do some research to find out what locals are searching when they want to find a bar in their area. Use what you find in your research to optimize your site with these words and phrases.
#2 Google My Business
Once you optimize your site you can sign up for a free Google My Business account that gets your business listed on the web. It displays your hours, website, address, reviews and even photos for potential customers to see.
Without a Google My Business, it will take a huge amount of optimizing your site to get it to rank on the first page of search results. This account and other online listings like Yelp, Angie’s List and Better Business Bureau can help your business gain recognition online.
Let’s talk about why reviews are so important. Google has recently rolled out an update that lets users search by using filters like ratings, hours and price.
How many customers do you think are searching bars that have below 4.0 ratings? Probably none of them.
So how can you get good reviews so that your restaurant shows up first on the map? Encourage your customers to write 5 star reviews. You can ask via social media, emails or even in person at your bar.
Get creative and be transparent with what you want and you will see great results!
When you think about bar marketing ideas you probably think about photography. How can you capture those beautiful “foodie photos” for your bar’s social media?
High quality photos can drive your sales while low quality photos can make you look like an amateur and even turn people away from visiting your business.
So how can you shoot these high quality photos we’re talking about? Lucky for you, we have compiled our favorite photo tips!
-The best lighting inside of your restaurant is probably near a window. So position your drinks or food inside near windows to achieve soft, high quality lighting.
This business uses one of our favorite bar marketing ideas and places their drinks in great window lighting. Good photos attract customers which is exactly what you want to do!
-Shoot outside during the golden hour. This is right when the sun is coming up or when it is going down. The light won’t be too bright or too dark and you will be able to get professional looking photos.
-Photograph your drinks in different settings. Involve people. Drinks all by themselves can get boring and you want potential customers to be able to envision themselves coming into your bar for a drink.
-Make your drinks look like they are going to look when a customers receives them. Yes you want them looking their best for photos. But imagine the disappointment when a customer orders a drink and it looks nothing like the photo they liked on your Instagram.
-Accompany a photo with your house recipe! Obviously you won’t want to give away all of your secrets so use this bar marketing idea sparingly. People may try to make it but emphasize that your bartenders make it best.
The Carbon Bar chose to give their Instagram followers a recipe. While some people may try to make this recipe some of the ingredients aren’t all that common.
It’s probably a whole lot easier to travel to this bar for a drink that try to make it at home.
Any restaurant or bar should have a website even if it’s simple. Without a website it’s almost impossible to rank in search.
Your site should include things like your hours, menu, photos and a little bit about your bar. Tell customers what makes you unique or the story behind your business.
You can also include an event calendar, links to your social media, photos from Instagram or an online booking form.
Make sure you are staying up to date with the current design trends. Just like low quality photos, poor design can turn customers off as well.
Good website design means that your users can easily navigate your site and find everything they are looking for no matter what device they use.
This bar uses some pretty cool elements in their website design like parallax scrolling. But at the same time they keep it simple with their philosophy, menu, reservations and hours.
People love the word free especially when there is little to no catch. If you are looking to increase your followers and grow your business consider setting up a giveaway.
There are several ways you can go about giving away free stuff. Ask people to follow you on social media, tag their friends or repost your post. In exchange they will be entered to win a gift card to your establishment or some swag.
For bar marketing ideas consider giving away bar merchandise with your logo on it such as bottle openers, koozies or pint glasses. This way you can go with your customers wherever they go!
Giveaways allow people to try your product or service risk free and if they like it, you have just gained a customer that will return time and time again.
If you’re lucky, they will become an ambassador for your brand, spreading the word about how wonderful your business is.
Social media advertising is one of the easiest and cheapest ways to get your customers walking through your doors.
The first step is to target the right audience. Age and location are two big factors especially when it comes to bar marketing ideas. You will want to target customers who are of legal drinking age as well as ones who can easily travel to your bar.
Advertising and boosting posts are two bar marketing ideas that you should absolutely be utilizing.
Boosting posts allows you to advertise content that you have already posted. Where advertising allows you to create a post as an advertisement.
Both of these advertising methods can target specific groups of people as well locations and can be used on both Facebook and Instagram.
Advertising your bar on social media can help you gain followers that have the potential to turn into lifelong customers.
Have questions about how to advertise your bar or restaurant pub on social media? We’re here to help any type of business grow!
#8 Instagram Stories and Highlights
Instagram is constantly coming out with updates and new features. Two of our favorites that you can use for bar marketing ideas are stories and highlights.
Instagram stories allow you to post in a more casual environment as they disappear off of your profile after 24 hours. These stories do not have to be perfect photos but are there to keep your followers engaged.
If you want these stories to stick around forever you can turn them into highlights that will stay on your profile until you remove them.
Highlights are great for showing off your drink menu where users can easily click through and see all of your drinks. You can also use them to show how your drinks are made or give a behind the scenes tour of your bar.
In this Instagram highlight followers can see the new drinks on the menu as well as associate their names with what they look like. This makes it so easy for a customer to walk in and order a drink!
If you keep scrolling through this highlight the bar has highlighted several of their new drinks with descriptions and prices.
#9 User Generated Content
If you have beautiful drinks at your bar, customers are going to come in and take photos of them without you even having to ask.
The majority of them will post on Instagram or Facebook using their location or tagging you. This is content you should be taking full advantage of!
Search for your location or hashtags and you will have a library of images at your fingertips.
This bar chose a quality image from one of their customers. They let their followers know that it was a repost and gave photo credit. This probably took them all of 5 minutes and they made a sale as well!
So why should you want to use user generated content when you could produce your own?
When people come into your bar and take photos this makes other people want to visit so they can have the same experience. In short, user generated content can help you gain more customers!
If you own a bar what are you possibly going to blog about and why should it matter? A blog should add value to your customer’s experience. It should be engaging and fun to read as well as make people want to visit your business.
Blogs can also help you rank in search if you use keywords while writing them. A keyword heavy blog alerts search engines that your blogs is important and should be ranked for that specific keyword.
When potential customers search for that keyword, you have a pretty good chance of showing up!
Need some bar marketing ideas for your blog? We have plenty!
–Show off some recipes. Have a favorite cocktail or traditional drink that people love? Show them how it’s made by writing about it and sharing the recipe.
–Share your travels. If you travel or are involved in interesting events share your experiences with your customers. Remember that they should add value!
–Detailed recipes. Maybe you use special or homemade ingredients in your drinks. Use a blog post to explain them to your customers.
–Employee spotlights. People love connecting with other people. Profile your bartenders or other employees.
–Drink pairings. Show customers how to pair your menu items. If you serve food and drinks at your bar let customers know what tastes best together.
#11 Build your email list
Should a bar really have an email list? You bet! Keeping in touch with your customers to let them know about new menu items, events or specials is a must!
So how can you build a solid list of interested subscribers? Start with your website. If you have decided you want to gather emails consider using a pop up so that when patrons visit your site they can quickly and easily sign up to stay in touch with you.
Here are some email tips to get you started:
-Don’t spam your subscribers. No one wants everyday from your business, especially if it’s a bar or restaurant. People don’t often visit the same bar or restaurant everyday. So there’s no need to make your emails visit their inbox daily either.
Stick with sending promotions and updates once a week to start. And then build up from there if you have high open rates!
-Get creative with your subject line and show off your personality! Bars are typically fun places, and your emails should reflect that.
-Figure out what your customers want. There are several types of emails you can send such as text based emails, photo based emails or a combination of the two.
For a bar it might be best to use text as well as photos. After all people want to see what your drinks look like!
-If you have a new menu this is a great place to let your customers know! You can even link to your website to get them to migrate from your email.
Sending emails to your customers is a direct form of marketing that can help remind them to come back!
#12 Show Your Bar’s Atmosphere
People want to know what type of atmosphere you offer at your bar so show them via social media posts and photos and on your website.
When a potential customer can see that your bar is casual or upscale, they know what to expect, how to dress, and can choose your bar based on what type of night they want to have.
Your vibe can come through on social media as well as through photos on your website.
Bar Margot uses the feature photo on their website to set the mood for their bar and restaurant. This gives their potential customers an idea of what their business looks like as well as how they should dress.
They also post photos on their Instagram of patrons dining inside. This is so important when capturing the attention of new customers.
Since they have never been to your bar this will give them an idea of what to expect as well as make them feel more comfortable when they walk in!
#13 Follow Other Bars on Social Media
By following bars you admire on social media you can use their creativity to boost your own! Get ideas for photos, giveaways and other marketing tactics.
You won’t want to copy them verbatim. Use your own style or flare in your content.
You can even work with other businesses so that you both benefit. Try co-hosting an event with a bar that you admire especially if you are a smaller business.
This is a great way to gain recognition in your local community and start building your customer base.
#14 Respond to Comments
Engage with your followers by responding to their comments on your posts.
So many people turn to social media to engage with a brand or ask questions. So make sure that you are doing your part and answering them.
This allows you to build online relationships with your followers and customers that can translate to real life relationships inside your bar.
Try to respond to as many comments as you can! Even simply liking a comment is a great acknowledgment to your followers and let’s them know that you are listening to them.
This bar does an excellent job of replying to comments! Here they have thanked this follower and also followed up asking if they are coming out for Tonic Tuesday.
Replying to comments can keep users engaged as well as give you the chance to market specials or house drinks!
#15 Be Friendly To Your Neighbors
If you own any kind of eating or drinking establishment it is highly likely that your neighbors also sell food and drinks.
This probably goes without saying but it’s one of our favorite bar marketing ideas that you can use to boost your business! Be kind to your neighbors.
If you’re on the same block you are going to have to share some of your customers. See what you can do to benefit all businesses.
If you collaborate and work together to build up your community, customers will choose your business again and again.
This bar is closed for some updates but they are advising their customers to go to the neighboring bar around the corner.
Be nice to your neighbors, send them business when you’re closed and they will return the favor! You can both profit off of each other’s customer base.
#16 Get Involved with Local Influencers
Influencers can give you a huge leg up on your competitors. Utilize their social media following to get your name out there!
So what bar marketing ideas and tips do we have for working with influencers?
-Partner with food bloggers or local celebrities. These people already have a huge following and can have an impact on where locals spend their time and money.
-Let influencers try your drinks or food in exchange for posting on their Instagram pages. This will get their followers interested in your business with little cost to you.
-Plan an event with your favorite influencers. Invite the public and let them preview your menu. Chances are that they’ll be back for more!
-Always be transparent when working with a paid partnership. You may not always pay an influencer to promote your brand but if you do, let your followers know.
Marketing for your business can be a challenge but with these bar marketing ideas you’re sure to boost your sales. The best part is that you can take these ideas and tips and apply them to any business.
What other bar marketing ideas do you have? Let us know in the comments!