In these uncertain times, it’s more important than ever to up your marketing game and attract more customers – especially when you are in the hospitality sector. For pubs, it’s easy to hit a midweek ‘slump’ where the drinks aren’t exactly flowing… How do you turn this around?

In this blog we’ll discusses our top marketing ideas for pubs to help you keep things fresh, stay one step ahead of the local vibe, and (most importantly) bring in the punters.


Competitions

Everyone loves a chance to win. Holding competitions is an excellent way to drum up business. Consider the following: -

  • Social media contests[i] – encourage customers to post about being at your pub and checking in on Facebook. After a week or so, use a name generator to decide a winner for a £10-15 bar tab
  • Cocktail competition – get your bar staff to come up with a winning cocktail and let your regulars decide on the winner. Sell the winning drink at a 15% discount for a set amount of time
  • Food eating contents – messy but fun, drum up custom with a food eating competition

Seasonality sells

The British public love to celebrate the changing seasons, and the fun that comes alongside them. Planning your promotions to fit alongside important holidays will help your marketing to be more consistent. As well as the obvious dates in the calendar such as Halloween and Christmas, why not tailor promotions to more off-the-cuff holidays? Such as: -

  • May 16th – National BBQ Day. If you have the resources and space, why not put on a BBQ for your locals?
  • 13th June – World Gin Day. A perfect excuse to hold a gin tasting event, hold a vote for a couple of brands to become regular stock

Days of the Year is a great resource to find official (if not slightly whacky) dates to celebrate, so why not get creative?


Charity promo

Showing customer’s that you care is a powerful way to assure repeat custom, and it feels good too! Supporting causes that are important to you and your locals on a semi-regular basis will help to create a community atmosphere, and will help your chosen charity exponentially[ii].


Regular Events

  1. Themed Nights – think pop culture for this one, Disney and TV show themed nights do particularly well
  2. Band Nights (or even weekend long festivals)
  3. Beer Festivals
  4. Gin and wine tasting

It doesn’t matter how old you are, everyone loves an opportunity to dress up and have fun. Hosting a unique event every now and again creates a real buzz.


Ideas for all year round


Although it’s vastly important to mix things up a bit by putting on events, it’s just as important to keep regular trade through consistent promotions. This could include: -

  • Happy hour[iii]– knock some money off popular pints
  • Bingo / Quiz nights – jackpot bonuses make these nights even more popular
  • Karaoke / Open Mic – once a week or every fortnight, get your punters in for a sing-song
  • Rotate guest ales – keep a tap or two spare for rotating guest ales. There are probably more beer connoisseurs in your community than you think who will gladly come along to try a new pint

Offline and Online Promotion

Getting your name out there on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter will help to bring in new trade and keep connected to your regular customers. Use these channels to push promotions, ask for feedback and generate reviews. Though online marketing is vastly important, you know your customers better than anyone; print media such as posters and investing in business card printing could work just as well if you do it right.


Think of a USP, and stick to it

You can’t be a specialist cocktail bar one week, and a sports bar the next. It just doesn’t work! You need to pick a solid USP[iv].

Do your research to see what your local area is missing, you could even engage with the community around you to give you a helping hand with ideas (if you’re recently taking over a pub, taking suggestions will really help to keep existing repeat custom). Ask them what they want to see, what drinks they like and spend time chatting to them regularly to pick up on anything you’re missing.

So, what’s your game plan for your pub? We can provide the ideas, but the most important aspect of any pubs survival is truly knowing your local customers and the community that you’re in.


References

2nd Kitchen, 2019. 31 Best (and Cheap) Bar Promotion Idea in 2020. [Online]
Available at: https://2ndkitchen.com/bars/bar-promotion-ideas/
[Accessed 26 October 2020].

Herrera, H., n.d. Happy Hour Ideas. [Online]
Available at: https://www.webstaurantstore.com/blog/2828/happy-hour-ideas.html
[Accessed 26 October 2020].

How to Run a Pub, n.d. Charity Fundraising. [Online]
Available at: https://howtorunapub.co.uk/charity-fundraising/
[Accessed 26 October 2020].

Stir it up Magazine, 2017. Pubs & Restaurants – Stand out from the crowd. [Online]
Available at: https://stiritupmagazine.co.uk/category-focus-pubs-restaurants/
[Accessed 26 October 2020].


Sources

[i] https://2ndkitchen.com/bars/bar-promotion-ideas/

[ii] https://howtorunapub.co.uk/charity-fundraising/

[iii] https://www.webstaurantstore.com/blog/2828/happy-hour-ideas.html

[iv] https://stiritupmagazine.co.uk/category-focus-pubs-restaurants/