85 Bar Marketing Ideas: How to Market a Bar Successfully


Bar Marketing


Bar marketing has gone beyond setting up and handing out flyers on the streets. It’s become more complicated and competitive with the rise of digital marketing.

You need creative and modern marketing ideas to help get customers to your bar in the first place and then keep them coming back for more.

While traditional marketing in your local area is still relevant and does work, the introduction of the digital landscape along with research-savvy patrons means that you need to create the most successful marketing for your bar through online marketing and traditional mediums.

Successful in doing so means you can reach your target audience across more than one platform, which will increase the likelihood of getting the results you want from your marketing.

Here are 85 of our best bar marketing ideas that will bring you the results you desire. Use the links to jump to the section you want to read:

1. Develop your bar’s brand identity & culture
2. Find your ideal target audience
3. Develop an internal mantra
4. Kickstart word of mouth
5. Make sure customer service is a priority
6. Boost check-ins on Bloc
7. Create an ad on Bloc
8. Devise unique experiences
9. Set up an easy to use website that works on mobile
10. Make sure you can be found all over the internet
11. Make sure your bar’s details are correct
12. Check review sites
13. Take advantage of social media
14. Follow other bars on social media
15. Reply to comments on social media
16. Be Insta-credible
17. Utilise Instagram stories and highlights
18. Only use high-quality photos across your social channels
19. Throw contests on social media
20. Understand how to use hashtags on social media
21. Aim for content perfection
22. Show off your staff
23. Automate Twitter
24. Pin your best photos on Pinterest
25. Setup Snapchat marketing
26. Pay for geo-targeted ads
27. Use re-targeting geo-targeted ads
28. Add video marketing to your campaigns
29. Become a Google AdWords expert
30. Try influencer marketing
31. Re-post user-generated content
32. Start writing a blog
33. Understand SEO
34. Get to the top of Google’s local pack
35. Sponsor local sports & rec teams
36. Implement loyalty programs for influencers
37. Send marketing emails
38. Hire promoters
39. Host events
40. Throw themed nights
41. Implement different types of bar games
42. Host tasting nights and masterclasses
43. Formulate partnerships
44. Offer promotions, coupons and discounts
45. Breach out with pop-ups
46. Get in the press
47. Set up Google Alerts
48. Set up online reservation tools
49. Network locally
50. Create a gift card
51. Create a secret menu
52. Get mocktails and healthy beverages on your menu
53. Go local
54. Hold pay-per-view nights
55. Find bloggers to write about your bar
56. Use SMS and Whatsapp marketing
57. Try to become a super bar
58. Advertise on Tik Tok
59. Think about your voice for each platform
60. Wish your customers Happy Birthday
61. Piggy back off your stakeholder’s marketing
62. Spot popular trends
63. Hire a street team
64. Hand out flyers
65. Send direct mail
66. Host live music
67. Put posters up
68. Advertise on billboards
69. Explore other places you can do display advertising
70. Create a better email signature
71. Get your bar included in a bar crawl
72. Invite key people for free drinks
73. Seek out a tourism opportunity
74. Think of a PR stunt
75. Create a community platform
76. Encourage returning customers
77. Remove the currency from your menus
78. Try and create an outside space
79. Clean up your signage
80. Experiment with guerilla marketing
81. Make sure your bar has photo ops
82. Work on your bar’s atmosphere
83. Create a lead magnet for your website
84. Sponsor local events
85. Analyse constantly

1. Develop your bar’s brand identity & culture


Your bar is a brand and you need to have an identity and core values if your bar marketing is going to work.

Your culture is the type of experience you create at your bar and should be based on the customers you’re targeting.

For example, is your bar a sports bar with big screens? Your target audience is probably sports fans, so you need to think what experience they would want. Or maybe your bar is a dive bar aimed at students.


Sports Bar


The more apparent your bar’s experience, the more memorable your culture and the easier it is to attract your desired audience.

Although these are common bar types, your own bar experience may morph between different types depending on your style and the customers you want to attract.

Local neighbourhood bars tend to blend elements of different bar experiences, so you may want to bring out the cheap student deals on some nights and create a sports experience on others to create an eclectic and unique culture.


2. Find your ideal target audience


By deciding upon your target audience, you can then build your brand with them in mind.

This allows bar marketing to be easier as you know who you’re targeting and the messages you want to send will be clearer and have more of an impact.

You have to make a perfect client profile dependent on statistic and psycho-graphic information to shape your bar advertising procedure around their wants and needs.

Demographic Data

Applicable attributes utilizing statistic information incorporate; age, sex, occupation, training and pay. Accumulate this data by considering the attributes of your present clients and setting aside some effort to get familiar with their experiences.

Psychographic Data

Psychographics are the psychological qualities of your clients and favored demographic.

This incorporates conduct and convictions like character, side interests and style. By conversing with your clients and connecting with your locale you can realize what qualities your benefactors may have.



Customer Profile


Inquire as to why individuals visit your bar and what clients are searching for when they pick your bar over another scene.

When you gather this information, utilize the data to make a customer profile that depicts your bar’s optimal demographic.

At that point you’ll have the option to decide the best items, advertising, and advancements to attract those clients.


3. Develop an internal mantra


Your unique mantra is a sentence or small paragraph that explains why your bar exists, explains what your bar does the best and outlines what makes your bar different from your local competitors.

An internal mantra is called an ‘internal’ mantra because it’s for your business and your staff to remember, it’s not announced to the public.

Firstly, ask yourself, what products are you good at selling, or more importantly, which products do you want to be good at selling?

If you outline this in your mantra sentence or paragraph, then you can get your staff inline to deliver exactly what you want.


Internal Mantra


You’ll find eventually, that your customers will visit your venue for this product.

Here’ an example of an internal mantra:

‘Venue X* exists to deliver industry leading wine at affordable prices, through a friendly and professional service; to the hipsters and workers of London.’

If your clear with your staff from their induction that this is your mantra and the goal you want to achieve, then they can get onboard with helping make this a reality.


4. Kickstart word of mouth


Word of mouth is still one of the most powerful bar marketing mediums there is. When done right, peer to peer referrals can snowball, leading to free customers.

If your bar’s service is poor or the drinks aren’t poured correctly, then it doesn’t matter how much you spend, your marketing results will suffer.

The better your bar is, the more likely word of mouth and your bar marketing will work.

Spend on your bar first and perfect your service. It’s sustainable financially, and you will get amazing results in the long run, consistently.

Harness your bar’s culture and promotions to establish your identity as the music bar, sports bar, or karaoke bar in your area, and word-of-mouth will spread like crazy.


5. Make sure customer service is a priority


Great customer service is essential for your bar marketing efforts, especially for word of mouth marketing. It is essential that your customer service be memorable and consistent.

It can be as simple as having your bar staff greet your customers with a smile and genuine conversation. Train your staff to be friendly, personable, and make sure they make recommendations based on customer preferences.

Create an ambiance that’s worthy of royalty and go beyond expectations in terms of service and word of mouth will quickly spread.


Bar Marketing Customer Service

Marketing is all about planting the seed for a future sale, and by delivering unforgettable customer service, you will stay top of mind of customers who will want to come back.


6. Boost check-ins on Bloc


Bloc is a social events app where people can be rewarded financially for checking in and attending bars.

Here’s how it works:

1. A user checks in to the bar on Bloc
2. If the user physically attends the bar, they are rewarded stars (Bloc uses geo-location technology)
3. Once the user has collected a certain number of stars, they can exchange them for real money

Users can also see who else has checked into the bar they’re going to and can chat inside the app before they go.


Bloc for bar marketing


Bloc helps boost bar marketing because the more check-ins a bar has, the more popular that bar will appear on the app. This can cause a snowball effect because more people will want to go to that specific bar.

You can encourage more check-ins on Bloc by starting the process. This means getting your regular customers and staff to check-in on Bloc first, then others will quickly follow.


7. Create an ad on Bloc


Every single bar in the world is on Bloc, so people can check-in to any venue they want.

It’s free for bars to be on Bloc unless they want to increase their check-ins even more.

Bloc’s users won’t check-in to a bar unless they know about it.

You can create an ad for your bar that will promote the venue in multiple places within the app.

Bloc’s advertising is extremely unique because a bar only pays if a customer actually attends.


Bloc advertising for bars


Bloc uses ge0-location technology to track if a person goes to a bar that’s advertising on the app. If they attend then it only costs a bar £2 inc. VAT.

That customer only needs to buy one drink and the bar will make a profit.

Bars can also trial Bloc’s advertising with £150 free ad credit. This is 75 customers that can attend a bar for free.


8. Devise unique experiences


People attend bars for the experience, culture and the ambience, not just for a drink.

The better the experience your patrons are having, the more likely word of mouth will spread, and others will want to attend as well.


Hidden Spirit London

Decorate your bar, create signature drinks, and schedule live music and promotions in a way that gives customers a unique experience they’ll return to again and again.


9. Set up an easy to use website that works on mobile


The world has gone digital.

Customers, more than ever, are using mobile and the internet for finding bars to go to.

Here are our top tips for a successful website:

1. Keep it simple
2. Make sure it’s friendly on every single device, especially mobiles
3. Use lead magnets to capture data
4. Include all the important information; hours, menu, photos and a little bit about your bar.
5. Implement an online booking for if relevant
6. Include an event calendar if you throw events
7. Link your social media so your users can see photos to get a feel of your bar.


Piquant Website Theme

Website styles and themes go out of fashion very quickly, so be sure to update your website regularly to keep ahead of the curve. This goes for all of your bar marketing efforts, as you need to be up to date with every marketing trend.


10. Make sure you can be found all over the internet


Now you have a beautiful website it’s time to make sure people can find it. As part of your marketing plan you need to list the website on as many websites and apps that you can, so you can be found.

A lot of them are free, think Google Local, Yelp and TripAdvisor. They display your hours, website, address, reviews and even photos for potential customers to see.

You can also find lots of apps by visiting the ‘App Stores’ and searching by category for food and drink. You’ll find all the top apps there that can list bars like yours.

Bloc for example, is an app that goes one step further than just listing your bar.


Bloc App


Instead, it incentivises people to attend by rewarding them with real money, so your customers can earn real money by attending your bar.

It’s free to try with £150 ad credit which is 75 customers for free. After that it’s only £2 (inc. VAT) for every customer that attends (using geo-location).

Bloc is just one example of an innovative way to market your bar. There are others, you just need those that will work for your business.


11. Make sure your bar’s details are correct


It’s likely in time that your bar’s details will be spread across hundreds of different websites on the internet.

It’s really important that you make sure your bar’s details are correct.

Details are likely to change over time. For example, you may change your opening times slightly or change your contact information.

Whenever there is a change to your details, make sure the various sources update their information as well.


12. Check review sites


Monitoring review sites is incredibly important for discovering what your target audience is saying about your bar.

If you’re getting good reviews it means customers are far more likely to recommend your bar. Positive reviews are essential for bar marketing success.

If you’re getting bad reviews, then take it as constructive criticism and listen to them to continuously improve your service.

You should be constantly tweaking and improving your bar so your customers can only leave positive reviews.

There are many websites where people can leave reviews but the main ones are TripAdvisor, Google and Yelp.


Google Local


Note that on platforms such as these, customers can leave a review even if you haven’t submitted your bar’s details yourself.
Invest your time into analysing all the reviews across the internet. Most of these platforms allow you, as the verified owner, to reply to reviews.

Acknowledging and thanking reviews is good practice, even if they’re negative. Always reply in a polite and professional manner and avoid getting in disagreements, even if you strongly disagree with the review.

This can be damaging to your brand and all of your bar marketing efforts.

So how can you get good reviews so that your bar shows up first on Google’s map?

Encourage your customers to write 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!


13. Take advantage of social media


Social media has become one the most powerful tools available for successful bar marketing. Social media helps with increasing sales, building a brand and retaining loyal customers.

To get started you need to create a Facebook business page, a Twitter account, an Instagram account and Pinterest account.


Bar Marketing Social Media


With this setup, you’ll be able to showcase your bar with high quality photos, show happy customers and give customers a sneak peak of behind the scenes and show off your staff.

You’ll also be able to share special discounts, exclusive deals and promote your news.

Most importantly you’ll be able to connect with your customers by commenting and direct messaging to build rapport for repeat customers.

It’s vital that you keep on top of your social media accounts as non-active accounts are a lot worse than not having an account at all.

It’s not too time-consuming and photos can be shared across multiple platforms with one click.

The biggest trick for utilising social media for free isn’t actually on your handles, but actually making sure your customers and snapping away and sharing their experience.

A bar marketing hack is to make sure your food is ‘Instagrammable’ and you can reach thousands of potential customers for free.

Each customer can be become a free social influencer, you just need to make it easy for them to be one.


14. Follow other bars on social media


Benchmarking is a term in business you should familiarise yourself with. It’s the process of evaluating something by comparison with a standard.

In relation to bar marketing it’s the process of analysing other bars, to see what they are doing well and improving upon those things further.

By following bars that you like on social media you can use their ideas as inspiration for your own.

This can be from content, décor and even marketing ideas. You should also regularly visit top bars to draw inspiration from your own experiences.


15. Reply to comments on social media


You can build online relationships with your customers by interacting with them across all your platforms.

A simple reply, or even a like, can strengthen your relationships with your customers that will pay dividends in terms of repeat business in the future.

Keeping your followers and customers engaged is vital. Especially if they ask questions or post a complaint.


16. Be Insta-credible


Instagram is one of the best ways to promote your bar on social media, as visual content is in high demand.

You should also use Instagram to relay your brand messages to your target audience and is a platform to play around with your brand identity.


Instagram Marketing for Bars


For example, a bar marketing themselves with a focus on high-end cocktails might share photos that include other luxury items such as travel and fashion. This way your customers can start associating your bar with luxury.

Basically, sharing content that you think your fan base will enjoy.

You should also bear in mind that many people, millennials especially, attend bars just so they can photograph themselves and show off that they have attended.

You should come up with something unique, creative and ‘Instagrammable’ that people won’t be able to resist taking a photo of.

You should also take advantage of Instagram’s stories and highlights as part of your bar marketing campaign.


Bar Marketing Instagram


Pro Tip: If your bar has been tagged by one of your customers you can repost it on your page. Free content for you and they will appreciate the repost.

You need to give them credit by tagging them in the caption so other people will want to come try your bar in hopes of getting their photos reposted too.


17. Utilise Instagram stories and highlights


Instagram stories are an excellent way to keep your followers engaged with your brand.

They don’t need to be as high-quality as your Instagram posts because they disappear after 24 hours. If you want to keep them, you can save them as a highlight to show off certain aspects of your bar’s experience.

For example, a highlight could be titled ‘Drinks’, so when a user clicks on this highlight folder, they can see pictures or videos of all your drinks.

Remember, photos saved in highlights should be high-quality. Whereas, if you know a story won’t be saved you don’t need to worry about quality as much.


Instagram Stories


Good practice for Instagram stories is to continuously show your patrons having fun in your bar. Your goal is to achieve ‘FOMO’ for your followers watching (fear of missing out), so that they attend as well on another date.

For your highlights title ideas could be drinks, recipes, the bar (décor), staff and behind the scenes.

Top tip: Give an influencer access to your stories for a night, so they can document their evening, showing off how fun your bar is. You can then save this as a highlight which could impress your followers for future sales.


18. Only use high-quality photos across your social channels


It’s important that you only use high-quality photos when you post on social media.

Each post represents your brand, so if a post is low quality, followers will associate your bar with being below par.

High quality photos also increase engagement which can help grow your following.

If you don’t have the time or resources to constantly post on social media, stick with quality over quantity. One amazing photo is better than five average ones. It doesn’t matter if that means not posting for a few days.


Quality Drink Photos


Here are our tips for taking high-quality photos that will increase engagement and lead to successful bar marketing:

1. Involve people when taking photos of your drinks or food

People like faces. A photo only showing a drink is boring and there’s not much to engage with. Instead show off your drinks with someone in the photo, smiling. This will make it look like that person is enjoying the drink and is far more likely to get a positive response.

2. Good lighting

The key to a good photo is all in the lighting. Try and take your product shots during the day near windows. You’ll get a much better final result.

3. Dusk and dawn

Also known as the golden hour. Try taking photos as the sun rises or the sun is setting. You can get some really cool natural shots for your social media. This lighting is a professional’s dream.

4. Be consistent with the quality

Social media can be a false place. Make sure your drinks are poured exactly the way they appear in your photos. If a customer receives a drink that looks nothing like the photo you took earlier, it might be seen as false advertising and your customers won’t take lightly to that.

Top tip: You can increase sales by posting photos of drink recipes that are a lot of effort or difficult to reproduce.

For example, you could post a photo of a beautiful cocktail that everyone will want to try. If you post the recipe in the caption, then people will see how complicated it is and know they will have to attend your bar to enjoy it.


19. Throw contests on social media


Who doesn’t love winning? And who doesn’t love winning free stuff?

This is why your reach, that is the people you could reach, can be incredible, when throwing a social media competition.

Throwing competitions on your social media is an easy way to gain more followers, increase revenue and raise awareness of your bar’s brand.


Instagram Competition


Here are some social media competition ideas you could try:

1. Tag two friends

This works best on Instagram. To enter followers need to tag two friends in the comments. This way these two people will see the competition and potentially tag two of their friends. This can snowball and reach thousands of people.

2. Sweepstake competition

This is a simple competition where the follower has to enter their email address to enter. Remember to communicate that they are opting in to be contacted by you.

3. Photo hashtag competition

This is a good one if you’re in need of user-generated content for your social media. To enter, users have to upload a photo in your bar and include a unique competition hashtag. Once the competition is over you can search for that hashtag and find all the content that should keep you going for a few months.

4. Survey

This is good competition to run if you need customer feedback. To enter followers have to complete a short survey.

5. Twitter RT

If you want to build your Twitter followers a good competition to run is one where you ask your followers to follow your account and RT a specific competition Tweet that you wrote. This way you can tap into their friends who should follow your bar.

Top tip: For the prizes consider free drinks in your bar, like a free bottle of champagne. The winners are unlikely to come alone and could end up buying more drinks after so it’s revenue for you. You could also consider merchandise as prizes with your logo on them, this way your winners will be walking advertisements for your bar in your local area.


20. Understand how to use hashtags on social media


Hashtags can be powerful on social media when utilised correctly. They are a great way to increase engagement with your brand, which should lead to more customers.

The first thing you need to do is come up with 1 to 3 hashtags that are unique to your bar and use them continuously.


Bar Hashtags example


You should have one designated to your bar’s name and then one for your local area with a combination of your bar’s name. You should even consider a fun one that your followers will enjoy using. For example:

# TheRedbackFulham

You want to encourage your users to use them as well. This increases engagement and builds a community of customers because hashtags can be searched.

Also, you can jump on the hype of existing popular Twitter hashtags like #ThirstyThursdays or by inventing your own, hashtags are a great way to have some fun with followers.


21. Aim for content perfection


Your content across all of your different bar marketing channels are an absolute representation of your bar’s brand.

This is why it’s so important to aim for content perfection.

This doesn’t just include the quality of your social photos or videos. It also includes how your emails are written, your business cards, your website’s content, your display ads and the list goes on.


Content is king


Your potential customers will link within seconds your content to the quality of your bar.

If your content is bad, they will assume your bar is pretty bad too.

Concentrate on aiming for content perfection and you’ll find your bar marketing results will dramatically improve.


22. Show off your staff


Although not directly a marketing idea, happy employees are an indirect effort for your bar marketing efforts.

It says a lot about your business if you have happy employees. Showing them off on your social media will gain appreciation amongst your followers.

Cheerful workers are not only contagious but are also more likely to go above and beyond in terms of customer service. This will benefit your bar’s marketing efforts in terms of word of mouth marketing.


Bar Staff


Word of mouth marketing begins with your employees. Incentivising your bar staff to gain customers is a great way to kick start this word of mouth. Bonuses, free drinks and merch are just some ideas of how you can incentivise your employees to go the extra mile for your business.

You should also see an increase in positive reviews from customers if your employees are happy. If you look at any review site, you won’t need to scroll far to see a mention of how the staff treated that particular customer.


23. Automate Twitter


More and more people are now Tweeting and it’s a platform your bar should consider as part of your bar marketing plan.

You can share recent news, updates and most importantly reply to customers who mention your bar’s handle. It’s become a popular platform for businesses to handle customer complaints, so it’s a useful tool to setup.

It’s quite difficult to build a huge following on Twitter because people mainly follow celebrities and it’s not as visual as Instagram, so it’s harder for customers to engage with your account. But the trick is to stick to it and Tweet regularly.

Twitter doesn’t need to use up all of your time either. Tweets can be scheduled on sites like Hootsuite.

You should schedule your Tweets at the best times, e.g. at 4pm on a Friday.

Top tip: Journalists use Twitter a lot for their work, so you should follow your local papers writers and engage with them to increase your chance of being covered for free press.


24. Pin your best photos on Pinterest


Pinterest is another platform that is incredibly visual, so it’s another powerful platform for showcasing your bar’s best photos.

It’s not as popular as Instagram, Twitter or Facebook but is largely used by females.

‘New and popular social media platform + A bunch of businesses that are too scared to use it = Big returns for the early adopters.’ Corey Eridon (nextBars.com)

Here’s a guide in getting started with Pinterest and is worth trying to see if it works for your bar.

You can ‘pin’ photos of your best drinks and food that you can link to your website and social media.


Cocktails on Pinterest


Pins are then re-pinned by other users, which creates an endless marketing cycle for your bar.

Make sure that you brand each photo before you pin them. That way when people come across them, they know exactly where to go and drink them.


25. Pay for geo-targeted ads


Facebook, Instagram, Bloc and Twitter are all platforms where you can pay to reach a highly targeted audience in your local area, referred to as geo-targeting ads.

You create an ad creative, choose your audience and pay for clicks or impressions.

Why geo-targeted ads?

Most people are looking for bars near their homes, so you’ll get the most value out of your budget if you spend on geo-targeted ads. Only users in a specific radius see your ads (removing non-relevant impressions).

You can also choose your audience such as age, gender and interests. If your perfect client profile are sports fans, you can target these people in your local easily with geo-targeted ads.


Facebook Ads


Pro Tip: You should run ‘specific’ campaigns with a clear purpose and set up a method of being able to track the results outside of the specific platforms analytics.

For example, you could advertise a ‘buy one get one free’ drink in your bar exclusive to the ad campaign. At the end of each week you could see how many of these were ‘cashed’ in and compare them to your analytics.

This is a good way to know if it’s actually working or not.


26. Setup Snapchat marketing


Snapchat is a platform you want to be on if you want to target millennials and gen Z. It is mainly used by people up to the age of 24 and should be considered to be part of your bar marketing plan if you’re targeting this age bracket.

These customers aren’t necessarily on Facebook anymore because it’s become unpopular for this age bracket because ‘their parents use Facebook’.

Like Facebook and Instagram, you can set up geo-targeted ads. One really cool feature that Snapchat allows is ‘Branded geo-filters’. You basically set a radius around your bar and if anyone takes a ‘snap’ in your chosen radius then they can apply a filter to their photo with your branding.

This can then reach that person’s followers. It’s a chance to be really creative and is powerful for brand awareness.


Snapchat Geo-filter

Top tip: if you have regular patrons who are prolific on Snapchat with a large following, you should incentise them with free drinks to continuously snapchat in your bar and use your new geo-filters to raise brand awareness.


27. Use re-targeting geo-targeted ads


Re-targeting ads are extremely powerful, effective and should be considered to be part of your bar marketing plan.

Have you ever visited a website, left and then seen this websites product being advertised to you across all your social channels?

These are re-targeted advertisements.

The way it works is that when you visit a website, you store a ‘cookie’ in the form of a pixel. Platforms such as a Facebook then use this cookie to advertise to you.

It’s easy to set them up too. When you create a Facebook ad you will have the option for ‘re-targeting’, select this and follow Facebook’s instructions for setting them up.

The reason they work is because when a customer goes on your site, they may not be ready to attend your bar i.e. they land on your site from your other marketing efforts on a Monday morning.


Re-targeting Ads

Obviously, most people don’t want to go to a bar on a Monday morning. They then forget your bar ever existed. But on Friday they are hit with a re-targeted ad (because you have set this up to do exactly that), and now they are familiar with your bar and in the perfect situation to want to go.


28. Add video marketing to your campaigns


Video has become a must have in any bar marketing campaigns.

They work because they are brilliant for telling your bar’s story and delivering branded messages.

Storytelling is one of the most powerful ways to secure sales as customers can connect on an emotional level.

Customers want the whole story behind menu items. For example, they want to know where the hops were grown and how – or how a distiller chose a spirit’s name.

You should use video in your geo-targeted ads as well as for your social media posts. A really ‘cool’ video can associate your bar with being a ‘cool’ place to hang out, and it can be as simple as that.


29. Become a Google AdWords expert


A huge percentage of people are searching for bars to attend on their mobile and desktop.

Google, of course, is the platform most customers are using to search for bars. It’s one of the most effective mediums for bar marketing there is.

Google Adwords is Google’s answer to geo-targeted ads and should be considered to be part of your bar marketing plan.

When someone searches for ‘Cool bars London’, you can pay Google (using Google Adwords) to be at the top of the search results for that search phrase.

It’s super easy to set up your campaign. You simply create your ads and then choose the keywords you want to advertise on.

You can use Google’s Keyword Planner to find these keywords and to see how many people are searching for them as well as the price you will have to pay to come up.

Relevance is really important. There’s no point in your bar appearing for ‘Sports bar in London’ if you’re a high-end cocktail bar without any TVs.


Google Adwords London


You can place keywords you don’t want under ‘Negative keywords’ so you don’t show for them. Each month you can see the key phrases people searched for when clicking on your ad so you can filter out the keywords you don’t want.

Pro Tip: Google have an amazing sales team that are ready and waiting to help you get setup for free, so you can get the best results from Google Adwords.


30. Try influencer marketing


Since the rise of Instagram, influencers have become one of the most desirable jobs on the planet.

Influencers are people who have built up a large following on social media and are persuasive in getting their followers to try new products and go to new places.

Influencers already have a loyal following that will listen to their recommendations and advice. You can tap into their following by getting them to post pictures or by mentioning you on their social media.

The easiest way to get influencers to promote your bar is by inviting them to come for free. Whether in free drinks or a free meal.

If their followers see multiple posts about your bar, then they will truly start believing it’s worth a visit.


Influencer Bar Marketing

Top Tip: You can make every customer an influencer by offering an ‘Instagrammable’ welcome cocktail or amuse-bouche. If it’s Insta worthy, and it’s posted, those customers are promoting your bar to their followers.


31. Re-post user-generated content


If you have drinks or a photo op for bar marketing, customers will take photos and upload them onto social media without you even having to ask.

User-generated content is also a great way to increase engagement and create rapport with your customers because you can re-post them.

By using content that your followers post it will save you time and money.


User Generated Content


Using content from your followers helps you as a brand connect with people on a human level and come across as authentic.

Top tip: Encourage your customers to use one of your hashtags so you can easily find the photos to re-post. You can also search for your bar by location and find photos that way.


32. Start writing a blog


Writing a blog has many benefits.

The biggest being that it increases your chance of being displayed at the top of Google’s organic search results.

It also gives your social media accounts more depth as you can share your new content across all of your channels.

Blogging is an excellent way to share knowledge and become an ‘expert’ in mixology and hospitality management.


Bar Blogger


Here are some topics you could write about:

1. Show off drink recipes

If you have amazing recipes for drinks such as cocktails, you can share these with your readers.

2. Employee spotlights

Write about your bartenders and other employees. Loyal customers will love reading about them and it will help build rapport with your employees and customers.

3. Pairings

Explain to your customers how to pair your menu items. If you serve food and drinks at your bar let customers know what goes together.

Top tip: Journalists use blogs to research topics. Follow journalists on Twitter and build a relationship with them. You never know, they might mention your blog in their latest article.


33. Understand SEO


Local SEO for bars is important. It’s one of the first places customers will go to find your bar.

Even if they know of your bar already and know they are going, they will still use Google to find information such as opening times. So it’s really important you appear at the top of the search results.

Appearing at the top in your area is a huge competitive advantage over your competition because you will be clicked first.


SEO Joke


SEO takes time, commitment and knowledge but if you’re willing you can get lots of free customers, so it’ll pay dividends in the long run.

There’s a lot of credibility that comes with being ranked well by Google, so your potential customers will land on your website trusting you from the off.

Top tip: Optimize your website with keywords that make sense for your bar. Use the Google Keyword Planner to find the best keywords that customers are searching for.

Use what you find in your research to optimize your site with these words and phrases.


34. Get to the top of Google’s local pack


You want to make sure you rank in your ‘local pack’, also known as the top three Google map spots, when users search a specific keyword like “best cocktail bar London.”

These top three bars will receive the most traffic because they are the first results a user sees.


Google's Local Pack


How do you get in this top three?

1. Optimize your website (make sure it’s mobile friendly)

2. Have a ‘Google My Business’ account

3. Have a ton of online reviews that reference the keywords you want to rank for


35. Sponsor local sports & rec teams


Sports teams are usually quite large and there is usually a big social scene surrounding the winning and even the losses.

By sponsoring a local sports team i.e. buying the kits and putting your brand on them you can secure future business after games.

As part of the agreement your bar should be their watering hole after their games.


Bar Marketing Sponsor Local Teams

Sports games usually happen at the weekends in the afternoons and even on Sunday’s, so it’s a good way to get a lot of people into your bar, even at slow times.


36. Implement loyalty programs for influencers


Concentrating on your current customers for repeat business is a cheap and effective way to increase revenue.

Loyalty programs are a great way to increase your chance of repeat customers.

By setting up a loyalty program for your best customers and influencers with a large following, you can continuously reach a lot of people at once.

For example, you can create an army of influencers by offering a free bottle of champagne for every 5th post they upload to their followers.

Influencer marketing doesn’t work well when an influencer only posts once. People have become wise to influencer marketing and can spot a sponsored post from a mile away.


Loyalty Card

But if one influencer keeps on promoting your bar continuously then their followers will find it difficult to ignore and will start believing your bar is the place to be, even if they haven’t gone yet.


37. Send marketing emails


Email marketing is an effective way to reach your customers and to keep them coming back to your bar.

Email marketing doesn’t work without a database of email addresses. You need to build your list of email addresses and here are a few proven ways to build one:

1. Create a lead magnet and landing page on your website. This is an enticing pop-up or button on your website that asks for their email address in exchange for a reward. For example, you could offer a free drink to anyone who submits their email and comes within one month.

2. A lot of customers will want to connect to your WiFi (you should offer this for free), but if they want to get on, ask them to submit their email.

3. You can throw competitions on your social media or from within your venue. When they submit their entry, you can ask them to submit their email too.


Bar Lead Magnet


Once you have a good email database you can reach your customers with promotions and special events.

You can use an email client like MailChimp to send your emails so you can track open rates, click rates and unsubscribes.You should always include a hook so your email adds value, otherwise you will find your customers will hit unsubscribe and your hard work will be undone.

Top tip: A good email marketing campaign starts with a good subject line. Customers won’t open your email in the first place unless the subject line is enticing. Avoid spammy subject lines like 20% off, limited time only.

Instead, appeal to them by making it personal and relevant. E.g. Jack, Happy Birthday, we have a gift waiting for you…


38. Hire promoters


Promoters are like influencers except they work exclusively for your bar and they only get paid based on how many customers they bring you.

They may not have a huge social media following like influencers, but they are still influential in their circles, that might be hard for you to reach.

For example, you could use a promoter specifically for a university. They should attend the Uni and have a large friends list (you can grasp this by their Facebook and the amount of friends they have on that platform).

If you throw ticketed events at your bar, then promoters are easy to reward. You can pay them £1 for each ticket they sell for example.

Alternatively, you can reward promoters based on bar spend or the number of people on a guestlist.



Top tip: Promoters sway usually diminishes with age so get new promoters every year to keep your clientele relevant.


39. Host events


Your bar could be hosting lots of different types of events and therefore increasing revenue as a result.

Events include charity events, product launches and birthdays. These types of events bring in large crowds and is an easy way to fill up your bar with people.

Events also work really well for your social media reach as usually many photos are taken. Special events like birthdays are usually referred back to and talked about far more.

These types of events are more likely to attract celebrities, influencers, journalists and bloggers so it’s a good chance to get free publicity.

Allowing your venue to be available for venue hire is a good idea if you’re always quiet on certain days, e.g. Sunday nights.

There are sites such as Hire Space, where they will list your venue for you and you can choose when the venue is available for hire.


Bar Marketing Events


Top Tip: You could host an event specifically for local influencers and celebrities.

Offer free food and drinks, along with VIP treatment during the event, in exchange for a story or exclusive content.


40. Throw themed nights


Themed nights can give your marketing a purpose and it’s easier to come up with content. It’s also easier to target a specific audience that will be interested in the themed night you’re throwing.

If you anticipate a night might be quiet it could be worth throwing a themed party to make sure patrons show up. It’s also a good way to reach new customers who might not have been interested in your bar originally.

Some bars even go as far as sticking to a theme as their main attraction all year round. One of Bloc’s advertisers ‘The Bletchley’ entice cocktail enthusiasts into their bar with a WW2 theme.

Alternatively, you could introduce a schedule, with singles night on a Thursday and a pub quiz night on Monday’s.


St Patricks Day

Top tip: Don’t forget the holidays. Add every single holiday you can think of to your Calendar and throw themed nights on the ones you know your patrons will be interested in (like St Patrick’s day).


41. Implement different types of bar games


Nielson On Location’s research found that it pays when guests play. The research recorded that when guests played bar trivia games, they spent 21% more per table than non-playing tables.

This research insinuates that by giving customers satisfaction through gaming and connection, revenue can increase. They basically have so much fun that they forget to leave the bar.

Top tip: Get your most enthusiastic staff member to host live games one night a week, and those slow weekdays will be no more.


42. Host tasting nights and masterclasses


Related to themed evenings, you could throw tasting evenings and masterclasses.

Some of your customers might have a favourite beverage or up for expanding their knowledge and taste, so when you throw a tasting night for specific alcohols you can draw these people in.

You could even hold tasting events and masterclasses in line with certain holidays. For example, Irish whiskies on St Patrick’s Day.

This is also a clever little tactic to shift some inventory that might need to go, but at the same time keeping revenue up and building relationships with patrons.


Whiskey Tasting

Top tip: Don’t be afraid to give away tasters for your top shelf liquor. By letting your patrons try the best stuff, you never know, they might want to pay for a full glass in the future because they’re hooked.


43. Formulate partnerships


Partnering with different brands, sports team and clubs could secure a constant stream of revenue for your bar.

For example, you could offer a percentage discount to large businesses with lots of employees. They simply just need to show their staff ID card to your bar staff.

You could even arrange it so the discount is only valid when you’re quiet, so it fills empty seats when nothing else is working.

Buddha Bar in Knightsbridge London has partnered with BMW.

BMW’s staff get a 20% discount off food. With this partnership in play both brands plug each other on their social media so lots of benefits come from it.


Partnership for Bar Marketing

Try and partner with a local business or two and you could have a constant stream of business.


44. Offer promotions, coupons and discounts


Offering drinks promotions goes further than just getting customers to come to your bar in the first place. You can get social media content, better reviews, email addresses, word of mouth spreading and lots more.

Here are our top tips for promotions and discounts:

1. Create a sense of urgency

Create a sense of urgency with a “limited time special” as a discount on inventory that you need to get rid of.

2. Throw contests

Host a competition around a particular spirit that you want to upsell e.g. best signature cocktail.

3. Create cocktails around themes

Design cocktail discounts around a theme, e.g. St Patrick’s day cocktail that includes Irish whiskey.

Another note is that you should be very descriptive with your menu items. It has been shown to drive sales by up to 27%, if you show an extensive description, according to Cornell University research. Customers are even willing to pay 10% more for well-described items according to the research.

4. Use social media channels for your next promotion

Create a social media plan for your upcoming promotion. Including what you’re going to post and when. Plug the promotion across all your best channels and make sure people are sharing the promotion.


Happy Hour Sign


5. Use 3rd party businesses for your promotions

Try advertising a discount on sites like Groupon. These have thousands of freebie and discount hunters waiting to find the next best deal.

Limit the number of sales via this route though as it will cost you due to the hefty portion of sales they take.

6. Happy hours

Offering discounts on drinks or food is a good way to spread the word about your bar. Don’t rely on discounts alone to market your bar, but it’s one method to combine with others.

Try offering discounts during a happy hour or running promotions for example.


45. Breach out with pop-ups


There are lots of events like festivals and sporting events where established bars with permanent addresses are popping up.

By having a pop-up tent or bar at an event means you can reach a whole new audience in a different demographic.

Mahiki in London do this well. They have a permanent address on Dover Street, but they pop up at events like Henley Regatta and Polo in the Park.

They know their target audience is affluent and they’re likely to be at these sorts of events.

If you’re thinking about opening a new bar as an extension from your original one in a different city or location, you can trial it with a pop-up first.


Pop-Up Bar

Just because your bar is a hit in one town, doesn’t mean it necessarily will be in another.


46. Get in the press


It’s not easy getting in national press as a bar, but local press is much easier.

You should try and get in both local and national press by being ‘newsworthy’. Here are some ideas that you could try:

1. Win awards, journalists love covering award winners, so get involved and compete for that ‘best bar in the UK’ for example.

2. Tip off the press. If you have celebrities attending your bar, tip off the press so they can snap them leaving. You could get a little mention in the photo’s caption.

3. Come up with press that’s slightly outrageous. This technique is called ‘the Purple cow method’ and is a way to stand out. For example, did x spend £40k in your bar in one night? Did someone enter your bar riding a horse?

Top Tip: when you’re mentioned by the press, show off your good publicity on your website and your social media.

You will increase engagement as fans will help spread the word, and newcomers will be encouraged to visit in person when they see trusted sources celebrating your bar.


47. Set up Google Alerts

Google Alerts are valuable as they inform you when your business name (or other assigned watchword term) shows up in another bit of substance on the web. This makes it simple to monitor who is discussing you and your news.


48. Set up online reservation tools


Implementing an online reservation tool on your website makes it easy for your customers to make a booking at your bar.

This is especially useful for customers who want to book for a large number of people for an event like a birthday. When people want to sit down and book an area or table an online reservation tool is very convenient.

You can also use 3rd party reservation tools like Open Table or Design My Night to tap into their audience. This way your bar can feature on their sites and you can get bookings through them.


49. Network locally


Your bar is a local establishment which means you should be “networking” with your customers, employees and other local businesses, including other bars.

Other local bars are unlikely to be competition as they will have a different culture and a different target audience.


Bar Networking

By working with other bars, you can recommend each other to patrons. For example, if you don’t show sport but a local sports bar does, you can recommend that bar. That sports can they repay the favour in the future.


50. Create a gift card


You should have gift cards available for your bar. This allows customers to buy them as gifts and means you can get new customers who might not usually have attended your bar.


Bar Marketing Gift Card

Once you have gift cards created you can use them for giveaways, competitions and to give to celebrities, influencers and bloggers.


51. Create a secret menu


This one is great for word of mouth and social media brand awareness.

Have your best mixologists create a signature cocktail but don’t add it to the menu and definitely don’t share the recipe anywhere.


Secret Bar

Have your most loyal patrons and influencers spread the word with hashtags like #secretmenu. News will travel fast and customers will want to try it to guess what’s in it.


52. Get mocktails and healthy beverages on your menu


The healthy beverage and mocktail market is booming.

As people are becoming more health conscious and the culture around drinking is changing you must have mocktails and healthy beverages on your menu.

By marketing that you offer healthy drinks and alcohol free drinks you can tap into this market and increase revenue.

51% of millennials and Gen Z purchased more mocktails than they did two years ago according to research from Technomic’s Beverage Consumer Trend Report.

In the same report, apparently 54% of millennials seek out immunity-boosting, antioxidant-rich beverages. Mix in some blueberries in a piña colada or experiment with cinnamon. You could also offer “skinny” versions of your most popular cocktails for dieters too.



Instead of just offering cheaper sodas and mixers, focus on high margin mocktails like ‘Gourmet Lemonade’ or ‘Homegrown Virgin Bloody Mary’s.


53. Go local


Using local liquor has a big advantage when it comes to your bar marketing efforts. Customers want beer, wine, and liquor with a local connection and story. So, you’ll keep them happy by going local.

You could even bring an influx of new customers from the local businesses selling to you too.

Your local booze suppliers will also have a local customer base so they could alert their customers that you’ve got their drinks in stock at your bar, it’s a win-win.

You can also make massive savings as they’ll be lesser known brands and you’ll save on delivery costs too.


54. Hold pay-per-view nights


Pay-per-view can be a very fruitful exercise to take part in for your bar marketing plan. It will cost you a couple hundred pounds or more to get setup but the money you will make it will be well worth it.

Some pubs report double, triple and even quadruple their normal Saturday night takings according to figures.


Pay per View Bar Marketing

The trick is to show fights (or the best events that will be on pay-per-view) regularly, rather than just as special one-off. That way, people will associate your bar as the place to go whenever there’s a big sporting event.


55. Find bloggers to write about your bar


Getting bloggers to write about your bar has two advantages.

First, bloggers have their own audience and ‘fans’ that are influenced by that bloggers opinion. They are following them and reading their material because they trust their opinion.

So if a blogger has only good things to say about your bar, then this referral will carry a lot of credibility and you’ll find you should get an influx of new customers.

The second is related to SEO.

Because bloggers create a lot of content, their domain authority should be pretty good.

A domain authority is used to determine how good or trustworthy a site is. It’s a score out of 100 and the higher the score, the better the site (usually).


Bar blogger


So if a blogger with a decent domain authority links to your website, then Google and the other search engines will reward your site by pushing you up to the top of the search results.

This is super important for getting placed in Google’s top 3 local pack where the most click throughs are located.

To find bloggers who might write about your bar, we recommend using Google Alerts.

Simply place an alert on your competitions name, industry terms and other phrases that are related to your bar.

Then everyday Google will send you an email of any articles that have gone out on the internet. You can then see who has written the article and place them in a database to reach out to in the future.


56. Use SMS and Whatsapp marketing


SMS and Whatsapp marketing can be super effective because every single person usually checks their texts and Whatsapps if they receive one.

It’s more effective than email because email can be so easily blocked by a spam filter or ignored completely.

You have to be extremely careful with SMS and Whatsapp marketing because it’s super intrusive and can be regarded as spammy.

If you’re going to send messages from your bar directly, then make sure it’s well timed with a decent hook that adds value to the receiver.


Bar SMS marketing


For example, sending a text at 5pm on a Friday night with a super special deal on drinks might just work.

Always allow people to opt out of texts with STOP if they don’t want to receive them anymore.

If you’re using promoters to get people to your bar then this is better suited as if it appears spammy, then it’s on the promoter and not your bar directly.

Make sure your promoters create a Whatsapp number database and get them to send out messages every weekend with good deals.


57. Try to become a super bar


Although you should aspire to be a super bar in terms of greatness, this isn’t actually what we mean by the term super bar in this instance.

A super bar in terms of bar marketing refers to appealing to different target audiences based on the bars setup.

For example, a super bar might have a section with a projector screen to show live sports. But then on the other side of the bar there might be a quiet dining area that’s family friendly. Then downstairs could be a more lively clubbing type scene.


Super bar


The advantage of becoming a super bar is that you can appeal to more target audiences. You can create marketing campaigns for families who want to dine, sports fans who want to watch sports and party-goers who want to dance.

It only works if your bar has the space to do it. Because you don’t want these different groups too near each other.

Families who want a quiet dinner for example, won’t want to be near the loud sports fans.


58. Advertise on Tik Tok


Tik Tok has taken the world by storm and is one of the most downloaded apps in the world.

The concept is simple. People create short videos and upload them. Watchers can then scroll through the videos for a quick fix of entertainment.

There are 3 ways you can take advantage of Tik Tok for your bar’s marketing.

First, you can upload videos yourself onto your bar’s profile account. Try catching the wave of a ‘trend’, and you never know, your video might go viral.


Tik Tok advertising for bars


Second, you can pay local Tik Tok ‘stars’ to shoutout your bar in one of their videos. This has it’s advantages because these ‘stars’ already have a loyal following.

Lastly, you can pay for Tik Tok advertising. This is very similar to Facebook, Twitter and Instagram’s platform. You simply upload a video, choose a local audience and then pay for each view or click.


59. Think about your voice for each platform


There are now so many social platforms that brands struggle to get engagement consistently from each one.

The brands that succeed at this have figured out that each platform requires a different voice.

For example, Facebook is predominantly now used by people over 30. And Snapchat is used by 18-22 year olds. You can’t post the same content on both platforms and expect great results.


Finding a voice on social channels


Snapchat’s voice should be ‘young’, ‘fun’ and ‘humorous’. Whereas Facebook, although a touch of those things wouldn’t hurt, it can’t be too much.

Finding your voice for each platform and sticking to it consistently is incredibly important for bar marketing that gets results.

Think about the audience you have on each platform and create a voice that converts.


60. Wish your customers Happy Birthday


Showing you care about your customers can go a long way in respect to bar marketing.

Marketing in the modern era is all about relationship building with customers and making sure your bar gets repeat customers.

A simple ‘Happy Birthday’ on a customers birth date is all it could take to stay in the mind of someone. Which is what your marketing is trying to achieve.

It’s super easy to automate this as well.


Happy Birthday Email


When you ask a customer to fill out anything make sure you ask for their date of birth. This may be from a competition, to sign-up to get free wi-fi or from a lead magnet on your website.

Once you have a database of customers and their birthdays, create an automated email campaign that sends out a Happy Birthday message on each persons date of birth.

Try enticing them to your bar with a free drink. They can then bring their friends (who will spend) to celebrate.


61. Piggy back off your stakeholder’s marketing


Your bar should have over 20 different stakeholder groups that benefit from your bar’s existence.

These don’t just include your customers, staff or investors. You’ll also have lots of different suppliers and partnerships that you can benefit from.

Suppliers for example will have their own marketing plans. And there’s an opportunity there to piggy-back off their marketing.


Piggy-back marketing definition


For example, you might have just partnered with a new local beer supplier that’s spending a lot on marketing to get their brand out there.

Ask to be featured on their social media, get in their email newsletters and also ask for a link to be included on their website for SEO purposes.

Piggy-backing and partnering with other stakeholders for marketing purposes is usually free and seriously effective.


62. Spot popular trends


If you can spot a trend and catch it before your competition then you might see your sales roar.

Trends can be spotted by taking a moment to notice what’s actually going on in the world. You can also use Google Trends to show you what’s being searched for most online and what people are buying.

You also need to take notice of what’s happening in your own bar. Are people asking for soft drinks more than alcohol based drinks? Are wine sales down and gin and tonic sales up?


Google Trends for Bars


In terms of the world, one trend that looks like it’s not going anywhere is sustainability. Sustainability is a broad topic that will certainly affect most bars.

You should be adding vegan options to your menu, reducing waste and plastic usage as well as using locally sourced materials.

Marketing that you are going green will work well for any bar in the long run.


63. Hire a street team


If your bar is located just off a main street then you might not be getting as much foot traffic as you might like.

By hiring a street team you can divert traffic to your bar and increase sales.

Make sure your street team are promoting an enticing sales hook that will make people say yes rather than no.


64. Hand out flyers


The majority of your customers will be local people.

Flyers are a direct way of advertising your bar in the hands of the people you want visiting.

You might be thinking flyers are an old, outdated and ineffective way of marketing a bar, but unless you try it you’ll never know.

Because not many people hand out flyers anymore, it’s actually an opportunity.


Hand out flyers


Flyers were ineffective when everyone was handing out flyers as people discarded them when they were getting too many.

But nowadays when you receive a flyer on the street, it’s almost weird. This means that people actually read what’s on it.

On the flyer, try putting a custom deal so you can measure whether your handouts are working or not.


65. Send direct mail


Sending direct mail can yield results because you can target people extremely local to your bar.

To send direct mail you have two options.

You can either handle the drop yourself by paying someone to post your advertisements or you can pay a postal service to include your ad in their normal circular.

Although the second option is far easier, it’s usually more expensive and less effective because it could get lost be amongst all the other mail.


Direct mail bar marketing


You can test whether this method of bar marketing will work for your bar by including a custom offer or deal on your advertisements.

E.g. ‘20% off your drinks offer if you quote your postcode’. Your bar staff can then be told what postcodes are included in the offer.

This way you can track how successful your mail drops are if you get anyone quoting it or not.


66. Host live music


Who doesn’t love live music!

Live music can be the sole reason why patrons may pick your bar to visit.

It’s also proven that live music makes people spend more in bars.

You could put ads out on the internet to find local talent. Invite them to come for a 30 min set on the basis that they bring 10 friends.


Live music in a bar


If you get 5 acts bringing 10 people each, then that’s free live music and 50 customers spending in your bar!

A lot of musicians will play for free to get experience, practice their songs and to get their music out there.

More seasoned musicians will probably want to be paid. But if they’re good then it easily could be worth it in terms of the crowd they may bring to your bar.


67. Put posters up


Posters are a traditional bar marketing pasttime that can still be effective today.

They especially work if you have a special event planned at your bar or you have a super special deal that locals may be interested in.

Always check whether you’re allowed to put a poster up in the place you’re thinking. If you put a poster up in a place that people won’t like then it might damage your brand slightly.


Poster marketing


In the same light as a lot of traditional marketing techniques mentioned in this guide, it’s good practice to try and track whether a poster is working for your bar marketing efforts.

Include a special deal that’s unique to the poster campaign so you can track whether it’s working or not.


68. Advertise on billboards


Billboard advertising is similar to poster marketing, except on a larger scale.

Billboards are usually placed in locations that get thousands of eyes on them. Think outside airports, motorways and train stations.


Billboard advertising


They are usually quite expensive too because the company who rent them out know how many ‘impressions’ their billboards get.

If you have the budget and a really special event happening at your bar, then taking out a billboard may be worth it.


69. Explore other places you can do display advertising


Display advertising is all about getting your brand out there.

Beyond banner ads on websites, posters and billboards, there are lots of other ‘outside of the box’ kind of places you can consider for your display advertising.


Bar marketing car wrap


Here are a few ideas that you could try:

– Create buttons and give them out to university students to put on their bags
– Put advertisements in a busy social restaurant near you (beer mats, t-shirts and posters in the toilets)
– Sponsor urinals in other venues near your bar (yes that’s a thing)
– See if anyone is up for getting a tattoo of your bar’s logo (for a price)
– Wrap a car with your branding for advertising on wheels


70. Create a better email signature


Your email signature actually presents an opportunity for a space to advertise.

You and your team are probably sending thousands of emails a week to different stakeholders in the bar.

By creating a better email signature you can try and capture that persons attention on a different marketing channel.

For example, you could invite them to like your bar’s Instagram handle.

A small percentage of email recipients will follow your page so your followers will increase and you can advertise to them continously.


71. Get your bar included in a bar crawl


The Otley run in Leeds and the Monopoly bar crawl in London are just a couple of examples of famous bar crawls that bring in an influx of customers to each bar every year.


Monopoly bar crawl


By getting your bar included in a famous bar crawl you may not have much space in your bar for many more customers.

If you’re not already included in one, try teaming up with local pubs and bars and see if you can create one in your area.


72. Invite key people for free drinks


You are the proud owner or manager of a bar that has two things by default, a stocked shelf and a good space. You need to take advantage of this by inviting key people for free drinks.

There are so many different groups or stakeholders that can help you in terms of bar marketing.

By inviting key people to your bar for free drinks you can easily build relationships with key people in the area.


Drink meeting


Here are a few examples of people you could invite to try and form bar marketing partnerships:

– Invite the CEO of a medium to large company in the area to see if you can formulate a partnership based on discounts for their staff for afterwork drinks
– Invite a celebrity or influencer for drinks to discuss a possible partnership where they can promote your bar
– Invite charity founders to explore your space for their charitable event
– Invite university staff to find a way of linking your bar with the university to benefit their students


73. Seek out a tourism opportunity


If your bar is in a touristy area, then getting your bar included in a tour can bring in an influx of customers via tourism.

For example, bars in Dublin can get themselves included in a Guinness tour if they become known for pouring a great pint of the black stuff.


Guinness tour dublin


Speak to your local tourism authority and explore different opportunities of wherre you could market your bar.

For example, most tourism boards have leaflets and print available to give to tourists. You could create an ad and market your bar that way.


74. Think of a PR stunt


Coming up with a PR stunt is one way of getting noticed by the press and creating buzz on social media.

Journalists will only write about a bar if the story is newsworthy.

For example, Brewdog came up with a PR stunt that played on the trend of people moving towards a plant-based diet.


Brewdog Hybrid Burger


They created the ‘hybrid burger’ which was half meat and half vegan. It basically didn’t cater for anyone.

It got covered by most of the major news outlets and created thousands of Tweets on Twitter.

Get brainstorming and see what ideas you can come up with for creating a PR stunt that’s newsworthy.


75. Create a community platform


For successful bar marketing you need to create a community of customers for your bar.

Your customers that physically visit your bar form only a part of your community. You also need to create a community online.

Your social media followers and those that like your pages are technically also part of your community.

You should regularly interact with your community online to build rapport so you can turn them into regular visitors.

The problem with many social media channels is that you’re competing with many other businesses for a users attention.


Tribe Community Platform Bloc Example


Take Facebook for example. If you create a community group or page, visitors may not interact with your bar much because they use these platforms more for interacting with friends.

Instead you could create your own community platform, so there is less competition and the only focus will be on your bar.

We recommend using Tribe. This is where Bloc’s community platform is hosted.

You can invite your regular customers to join the platform to interact with you and the other customers that visit.


76. Encourage returning customers


What if we told you that 60-80% of most bar’s customers are returning customers?

This doesn’t apply to a lot of bar’s e.g. ones in touristy areas. But the majority of bars this is the case.

This is why it’s so important on concentrating your bar marketing on returning customers.


Receipt marketing

Here’s a few ideas on how to encourage returning customers:

  1. Make the experience incredible. Welcoming well trained staff, perfectly poured drinks and great food will naturally make customers return in the near future.
  2. Implement a loyalty scheme to reward the customers that do come back.
  3. If you serve food, with the bill include a business card that gives them a special deal for when they return. Make sure it has an expiry date to create urgency.


77. Remove the currency from your menus


Currency on menus reminds people that the money they’re spending is very real.

By removing the currency from the menus, it’s a trick that makes people spend more.


78. Try and create an outside space


Creating an outdoor space is imperative as so many people decide on which bar to go to based on whether they have one or not.

During the COVID pandemic, bar’s that didn’t have an outdoor space struggled to open. So it can literally be the difference between a bar surviving or not.


Outside space for bar marketing


If you don’t think you have the space, get creative.

We’ve seen bars turn car parks, streets and even rooftops into outdoor spaces.


79. Clean up your signage


First impressions are everything.

When someone sees your bar they will take around 3 seconds to make a quick judgement about whether your bar is good or not.


Good bar signage


Although you should never judge a book by it’s cover, and some of the best pubs or bars in the world look awful on the outside, it doesn’t hurt to clean up your signage.

In terms of bar marketing. People will make a snap decision on the first impression. There’s no point in losing customers because your team was too lazy to clean up the signage outside.


80. Experiment with guerilla marketing


Guerilla marketing is a marketing strategy that uses unconventional techniques or surprise to promote it’s products or services.

Its goal is to capture the attention of potential patrons and the press for free coverage.

For example, this bar teamed up with Tyskie beer and turned their regular door handle into a phone call for a cold brew.


Bar guerilla marketing


Guerilla marketing is usually cheaper than traditional marketing and is all about positioning.

You need to place your brand in places that is going to get the attention of your potential customers.


81. Make sure your bar has photo ops


Digital bar marketing has evolved in recent years. As more and more people have started to become more reliant on their mobile, the opportunity there is online is almost unlimited.

You need to take advantage of user-generated content and the reach you can organically get from the customers who are already visiting your bar.

If your customers aren’t taking pictures from within your bar and spreading your brand organically across the internet then you need to make some changes.

Photo ops are an easy way of ensuring that your patrons are taking photos and videos from within your bar.

Here are some ideas of how to implement photo ops and ensure your bar is getting plenty of coverage:

1. Buy fancy, pictureworthy glasses to pour some of your drinks into. This works well for cocktails.
2. Offer a flaming cocktail. Mixologists can light certain alcohols which is the perfect opportunity for an easy video.
3. Put one or two funky pieces of furniture in your bar. Think swing chairs or rowing boats.
4. Paint something interactive on one of your walls e.g. angel wings. So when someone is against the wall they will look like they have wings.
5. Create an amazing flower arrangement, this will get the girls snapping.
6. Hire mixologists with crazy bar skills. If they can juggle then they’ll probably be videos of them somewhere on the internet.


82. Work on your bar’s atmosphere


Ensuring your customers experience at your bar is positive is vital for good bar marketing. Customers won’t come back unless they had a great time and the experience was a positive one.

One extremely important element of any bar’s experience is the atmosphere the bar has.

Any venue literally has energy. And people can feel it.

You’ve probably experienced it once or twice when you’ve entered a really dingy old bar, with a couple of locals sitting at the bar completely miserable. All you want to do is leave because the atmosphere is toxic and you know it’s not for you.


Bar theatrics


On the flip side, when you enter a buzzing bar with lots of people enjoying themselves, you can literally feel the energy.

To ensure your bar has a positive energy you need to think about a few things:

  1. Furniture arrangements. It’s best to have an open space when people walk in, this is more inviting. People need to be able to get straight to the bar without having to go through people.
  2. Get the sound and volume right. The BPM of the music needs to be perfect. Also the volume needs to be loud enough it’s vibey, but also not too loud that people can’t hear themselves think.
  3. Hire enough staff so there’s never a queue at the bar. People hate waiting and this can kill an atmosphere.
  4. If your bar allows dancing, then create an inviting dancefloor. Make sure it’s not awkward and too near people.
  5. Hire happy bar staff. Your staff are a reflection of your bar. Make sure they are always smiling and friendly.


83. Create a lead magnet for your website


Around 90% of your websites visitors won’t make a booking or attend your bar within 2 months.

As you have various marketing channels setup, people will visit your website, but won’t necessarily be in a position to make or booking.

For example, a lot of people will visit your website on a Sunday, Monday and Tuesday. But most people don’t go to bars on these days. Then by Wednesday, they will have completely forgotton about your bar.

A lead magnet is an opportunity to grab the data of every single visitor that visits your website, so you can market to them on the days they might be interested in visiting your bar.


Pergola On The Roof Website


An example of a lead magnet is a pop-up on your website when the visitor goes to the leave the site. The pop-up says they can get a free drink if they give you their email address. It’s good practice to put an expiry on the free drink e.g. valid for one month to create urgency.

Not only do you get their email address, but you’re also incentivising them to actually visit your bar, as who doesn’t like free drinks.

Most of the time they will order more than one drink and bring their friends too.

Grabbing email addresses is important because if they visit your website on the Monday. You can then email them on the Friday when they will actually be in the market to visit a bar.

Use lead magnets, they’re seriously effective.


84. Sponsor local events


Events and bars have excellent synergy. Their audiences are likely going to be very similar.

By sponsoring a local event you can raise brand awareness to event goers who might visit your bar.

We’ve seen this work extremely effectively with day events.

A bar can sponsor a day event which can drive traffic to that bar after the day event is finished.

A lot of people don’t like ending their days early. So it’s perfect bar marketing in terms of timing.


85. Analyse constantly


Although not a bar marketing medium, this is the most important section of this whole article.

You need to analyse your marketing constantly.

For every medium you setup you need to make sure it can be tracked. This means creating custom deals for traditional mediums like leaflets and creating unique tracking codes for any digital like Instagram.


Bloc Analytics


When you can track your marketing you can work out exactly how effective each medium is and how much it’s costing you to get each customer.

After time you should have so much data that you should know exactly what mediums are working well for you and which ones aren’t.

Once you know this for sure, you can pour more resources into the bar marketing that’s working and drop the mediums that are too expensive or aren’t working well.

About Josh Wood

Founder | Writer | Tech Enthusiast