You might own the coolest bar in town, serving the best cocktails around, but if people don’t know about your bar, you may be dealing with a lot of empty seats. The good news is that there are simple and cost-effective bar marketing ideas that can help spread the word and increase foot traffic. There is no need to spend an arm and a leg on bar advertising. Keep reading to learn more about effective strategies that will help you promote and market your bar.
Top Bar Marketing Ideas
Focus On Your Online Experience
For many prospective customers, their first impression of your bar will be your website. It is important to consider the online experience of your website visitors and make sure that you have an appealing and user-friendly site. They should be able to easily view the menu and other important information on their smartphone or other mobile devices.
In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, it is also a good idea to offer an online ordering and payment option, even if they will be dining in person. Fortunately, affordable tools like Sixdots can help you build a digital menu and easily set up an intuitive and secure online ordering system.
Remember that a strong online presence is especially helpful to connect with people who are searching for venues to host special events, including corporate holiday parties, birthdays, anniversaries, and more.
Find Your Personal Touch
No detail should be overlooked when you are trying to personalize your bar. Everything from interior decor to the dinner and glassware can help bring out the personality of your bar. This can be an effective approach if you have a smaller venue that is catering to a specific clientele. Creating a unique atmosphere can help win over and retain regular customers.
Games, Discounts and Themed Nights
Customers are often looking for more than just a good cocktail. They want to socialize with friends and interact with new people. Game nights and other themed events can help stimulate interest, especially on weeknights when business can be slow. Even offering a discount on certain drinks or during a certain time period, such as a happy hour, can be enough to increase foot traffic. Read more about bar games and themed nights.
Today’s customers are used to looking at Yelp, TripAdvisor, Google and Facebook to read customer reviews. That makes it important to promptly respond to and engage with both positive and negative comments. Try to build your online reputation by encouraging customers to leave feedback about the cocktails, service, ambiance and other aspects. You can also make your business more searchable by creating a Google My Business account. This will ensure that your bar is listed on the web and that customers can easily find your website, hours of operation, reviews, address, and photos of the establishment.
Utilize Social Media
Social media is a powerful bar advertising idea for any business. Curating your social media accounts can help create a visual representation of your bar, provide an idea of the overall atmosphere, and give an insider’s look at an average night. Customers are especially inclined to respond to videos, giveaways and social ads. This type of content also performs well with social media platform algorithms.
More Bar Marketing and Promotion Ideas
Form Partnerships with Local Businesses
There is a good chance that there are other local businesses in your area with similar goals. You can join forces to host pop-up events that focus on specialty foods or activities like crafts. It is a win-win situation for everyone involved.
For example, Lamplighter Brewing, located in Cambridge, Massachusetts, partners with a restaurant named Saus for a monthly event. Saus serves up poutine at the event, which is a crowd favorite that brings in customers for a great drink and food combo.
Consult the Data
Modern businesses rely on data to make strategic decisions. You don’t want to operate based on assumptions when you can take advantage of turning your raw data into meaningful insights that will help you anticipate trends and make smarter business decisions. As you experiment with different promotions and ideas, you can measure their effectiveness and make adjustments accordingly. This is especially important when managing more than one location and/or high sales volume.
BarInsights is one tool that you can use to leverage data. BarInsights connects with your POS system to provide an easy way to enrich, enhance and capitalize on your data by creating monthly reports for you and your supplier partners. This data empowers your beverage directors to develop and implement strategic beverage programs that are proven to drive sales.
The goal with upselling is to increase the average amount a customer spends at your establishment. Start by looking at your POS data and divide the revenue total by the number of customers over a certain period of time. This will give you the average spend per customer amount. You can identify drinks and dishes to promote on your own, or you can use Sixdots, which automates suggestive selling techniques to increase restaurant revenue on average by 13% per check.
Here are some of the techniques that Sixdots automates for bars:
- Recommend items to add to an order
- Show common food pairings
- Suggest spirit upgrades
- Suggest wine pairings
- Offer after-dinner cocktails and dessert selections
With Sixdots beverage and food pairing reporting, bars and restaurants can optimize their upselling approach using data generated through their customer’s actions.
How to Make Your Bar More Appealing
There is nothing people enjoy more than free stuff. A common approach to giveaways is to use Instagram and ask people to follow your social media accounts, tag a few friends, or repost in exchange for a gift card or piece of merchandise. You can give away koozies, pint glasses, bottle openers, or other goodies emblazoned with your business logo. As customers use their swag, you will also be getting free advertising. Hopefully, the giveaway will get them through the front doors and help you gain a customer who may go on to be a brand ambassador.
Social media advertising is one of the most affordable ways to advertise your bar or restaurant. Before you start designing ads, you need to hone in on your ideal audience. A lot of this comes down to age and location. From there, you can use Facebook and Instagram ads to promote special events like Tuesday Trivia nights. You can also use these ads to boost posts and content that has been published already. By taking advantage of cheap and targeted advertising, you can earn business and create loyal customers.
In many cases, you don’t even have to generate new social media content. Customers will already be tagging you in photos and pinning your location. This is great content that other customers will trust. All you have to do is search for your business in hashtags and locations and repost photos and give the photographer credit. The customer will love the shout out and you can sell other people on the experience.
Highlight Your Atmosphere
Posting photos on social media and your website will help people get a feel for the atmosphere of your bar. They may be wondering whether your vibe is more casual or upscale and what they should wear. With the right posts and advertising, you can let people know what to expect so that they feel comfortable when they first walk through the doors of your establishment.
How to Measure a Bar’s Success
The success of a bar can be distilled down to two main factors: being consistently busy and profitable.
While you’ll always want to bring in new customers, you also want happy customers to return and enjoy the same positive experience. It only makes sense that if they experience poor customer service or get served bad drinks, they won’t return for more of the same. To ensure that you are consistently busy and have a steady stream of new and repeat customers, you’ll need to pair your bar marketing strategy with high quality service and alcoholic beverages.
Ultimately, there are very few bars that aren’t working to achieve the highest level of profitability without sacrificing customer service or quality of products. Every aspect of the operations should be designed to maximize profitability and provide a positive customer experience. Riding the line between productivity and providing excellent customer service can be tough. That is why a little experimentation can be helpful as long as you track data and respond accordingly.
Remember, when it comes to bar marketing and advertising, social media and data are key. Both paid and customer-generated content can help improve your online presence and get people thinking and talking about your business. As you try new promotions, use the data to track performance and tweak your approach. Finally, take advantage of technology like Sixdots and BarInsights, which have been specifically designed for bars and restaurants, and will help you maximize all your efforts as an industry leader.
FAQs on Bar Marketing
You can host game nights and themed nights, improve your online experience, make your bar stand out with special touches and details, respond to both positive and negative reviews to drive referrals, and utilize your social media accounts.
How do I promote my bar?
Use social media to host giveaways and to advertise, utilize user-generated content, and showcase your bar’s atmosphere through photos.
What makes a bar successful?
A bar’s success can be measured by how busy it is and whether it is profitable.