How To Promote A Bar With Bloc


How To Market A Bar - Full Bar


This article is an insight into how to promote a bar, with new, fresh, out of the box ideas.

It’s not uncommon in the current climate to open a newspaper and see a new headline about the alarming rate that pubs and bars are closing down and we’re not surprised, at all.

Our goal is to open your mind to different marketing mediums, vital in today’s climate.

A bar’s failure may be down to economics, cultural changes, bad luck or something else but that doesn’t mean a bar can’t be extremely successful today, if it wants to be.

This article isn’t about the basics.

You should know by now the power of social media, which drinks deals work and so on. Instead we’re going to go deeper and offer a few ideas for how marketers can make sure people are filling their venues.


The Problem With How Bars Are Currently Being Promoted


‘If you build it, they will come’.

It may have worked for Costner but this way of thinking is possibly one of the biggest disservices to how to promote a bar properly. And we’re not talking about building the bar itself.

Too many bar owners and marketers think by building a website, creating a social media account, popping a sign outside, submitting to directories and so on is enough for a bar to thrive today.

Survive if you’re lucky, maybe, but if you want to thrive it’s definitely not enough. And what’s the point if you’re just going to survive?

The biggest problem with how bars are promoted today is marketers are displaying their bars in every place they can but not actually giving potential customers a reason to go.

This gives a false sense of marketing and bars are suffering as a result.


Tinder pub sign


With all the external reasons hitting the bar industry hard (especially cultural reasons, in our opinion), you have to get your marketing perfect and you have to dive a lot deeper and beyond just setting up the basics.

Before we suggest and look at some other ideas beyond the ordinary it’s all pretty much useless and will be an uphill struggle unless you can confidently say the following can be ticked:

1. Location, location, location.

You may have thought you’ve got this right, but take a minute and be completely honest with yourself. Is it perfect?

This is number one.

Fear not, if the answer to that is no, it’s not game over. You won’t be the first bar to re-locate. In fact, over 15 venues advertising with Bloc have submitted location changes in 2019 already. It’s a big move, but one that will save you money (marketing wise) and make you more money in the long run.

Remember this is number one and always be, take the hit if you have to.

2. Culture. This is about creating an experience that fits perfectly with what your bar is about. And can you clearly define what your bar is about?

To put this simply, if a customer walks out after experiencing your bar and can’t tell you what type of bar you are then your culture isn’t perfect. For example, take a ‘sports bar’, a customer will leave knowing it’s a sports bar if it’s full of TVs showing different sports, sports fans and beer is what everyone is drinking.

The reason this is important is because it means you can clearly target the audience you want to attract and the experience is far more likely to be talked about. A lot of bars try and do too much e.g. karaoke on Tuesdays, fine dining on Wednesday’s and show the sports on Saturday’s.

The likely outcome of this is your marketing is spread thin so your bar suffers as a result. We’re not saying this is impossible, but it’s not easy and therefore risky. If you’re going down this route, try and be consistent with the days, so your target audience can relate that experience to a specific day.

3. Word of mouth. This is the golden ticket for how to promote your bar in 2019.

In fact, it always has been. Ask yourself this: what percentage of your customers will leave your bar and talk about it in the future? We’re looking for sentences like ‘I went to a really cool bar last night called, x’, ‘have you ever been to x? It’s got this awesome x’.

The two best ways to get your word of mouth, differentiators and doing things absolutely perfectly. The biggest difference about word of mouth marketing in 2019 is that there are now so many mediums to do it: in person, Whatsapp, Facebook, TripAdvisor etc. Get word of mouth consistently flowing and you will thrive.


How to promote a bar with word of mouth marketing


So take a minute and ask yourself if you’ve got those 3 factors ticked. Get them right and you’ll see a huge difference even if you’re just using basic marketing tactics.


The Right Marketing Techniques For How To Promote A Bar


As mentioned previously, word of mouth is the golden ticket. This has changed hugely due to social media and it’s the number one medium now for word of mouth marketing. That said, here a few different ways to kick your bar’s word of mouth marketing into top gear:


1. Build an army of social influencers.

Whatever type of bar you are, it needs to be a ‘cool’ place to go.

It’s not an easy bracket to get into, but one way is via social influencers. The more people are posting about your bar on social media the more popular it will seem. The more popular you seem, the more people will want to be seen there.

If a ‘sneezer’ (someone who is followed) is seen posting about your bar, ‘followers’ will relate your bar to being a ‘cool’ place to go. It’s almost pathetic, but it’s powerful.

We’ve witnessed some simple but brilliant examples of this being executed perfectly with things like photo ops. Installing a beautiful branded flower wall for example can work. Girls especially can’t resist the temptation to snap a photo in front of it and post it on their Instagrams.

Other simple techniques are using a really jazzy glass for one type of cocktail, if it’s picture worthy, you can build an army. On the flip side of this if your service isn’t perfect, social influencers can become enemies and brand you ‘uncool’ or no good and you will suffer as a result.


2. Do it. And do it well. 

This isn’t a medium as such, but it should be. It’s often overlooked and should actually be number one.

Why is the iPhone so successful and why is Apple the number one brand in the world?

The answer is because the iPhone is nearly flawless, it sets out to do exactly what it promises in a beautiful manner. The result?

Apple barely spends on advertising. Your bar should be no different.

Whatever type of bar you are, execute it perfectly. Don’t cut corners on costs creating the perfect experience and then spend on marketing, it’s a complete waste. For example, take a lot of common nightclubs, they skimp on toilet cleaning costs and don’t replace the carpet in the entrance and instead spend thousands on getting people into the club each month.

The result? Hundreds or thousands of people enter the nightclub only to leave with a memory of how much it smelled.

Word of mouth then quickly backfires and that nightclub is shut within 3 months. Perfect the culture, perfect the experience and perfect your bar. Rather than spend on marketing, spend on the bar first and get it right. Test it, test it again and then spend on marketing. Every customer should leave with having a positive experience.


3. Give people a reason to go to your bar.

You know the basics for this one; promotions, unique experiences, special events etc.

You’re probably doing a lot of these already but you should be exploring new, out of the box ideas for giving people a reason to go to your bar over another. Apps for example, like Bloc, create a social experience and throw gasoline on word of mouth, if word of mouth was fire.

If you’ve heard of Bloc then great, but if not it’s an example of just one more way you could be marketing your bar. If you haven’t heard of Bloc then it’s the perfect example that you should be continuously exploring different ways for how to market your bar.

Imagine knowing about Instagram from the beginning and taking advantage of having lots of followers due to being one of the first accounts. This sort of learning and open mindset for new ideas will differentiate your bar from the competition and give you a huge competitive advantage. Don’t be scared to trial new mediums as the world is rapidly changing.


What Is Bloc?


How To Promote Your Bar With Bloc


Bloc is a free social events available on iOS and Android. Users can check-in to your bar to let people know they’re going there.

They can connect inside the app and talk before they go. If they check-in and attend your bar (using geo-location) they receive ⭐. Once they have collected enough ⭐ they can exchange them for real money. Users are socially and financially incentivized to go. There’s two ways to use Bloc as part of your word of mouth marketing campaign:

1. Get your current social community to check-in to your bar. Every single venue in the world is on Bloc and users might be checking in to your bar right now. It’s extremely powerful for word of mouth because if two people connect it adds to the experience of the event.

A new friend, romantic partner or business opportunity can arise from using Bloc and your bar will be associated to making it happen. Customers are far more likely to talk about your bar as a result.

2. The more check-ins your bar has the more popular it will be on Bloc. As mentioned before, this is social proofing and can cause a snowball effect as more people see it’s popular and want to go.

You can increase the number of check-ins to your bar with Bloc advertising which in itself is extremely effective. Paying only £2 per customer including VAT if they attend (using geo-location) it’s one of the only mediums out there that pays directly for your desired result, a person in the bar spending.

So you can keep track of your budget and ROI. New advertisers get £150 worth of ad credit so they can try it (that’s 75 free customers).

To learn more about Bloc’s advertising click here.

So these are just a few ways for how to promote a bar in the current climate but hopefully the main purpose of this article has worked. Opening your mind to exploring the many different ways you can do it.

About Josh Wood

Founder | Writer | Tech Enthusiast