How to Promote a Pub: 15 Pub Promotional Tips


How to promote a pub


If you’re thinking how to promote a pub, it’s not as easy as you might think. Times have changed since “build it and they will come”. Digital marketing is here, and it’s here to stay.

Are you planning to open a new pub? Or are you thinking of opening a new branch in a different location? Did you know that the failure rate for new pubs is far higher than newly opened restaurants?

Although it is true that opening a pub is a risky affair, with the right strategies there’s no reason you can’t be successful.

The key to the success of any pub lies in its promotion strategy. You may have the friendliest staff, the yummiest appetizers, the finest cocktails, and yet lose customers to another pub on the same road with a better brand image and marketing schemes.

Are you wondering about how to promote a pub and how to nail the promotion strategy? In the following sections, you will come across 15 pub promotional tips that you can use to your advantage. Here’s how to promote a pub:

1. Introduce event and holiday inspired food and beverages
2. Advertise on Bloc
3. Use happy hours
4. Introduce early bird menus and themed days
5. Create unusual cocktails
6. Be family friendly
7. Host game nights
8. Announce a ‘Drink n Ride’ policy
9. Host events
10. Have fun with it and create scavenger hunts
11. Offer incentives to bloggers and influencers
12. Blog
13. Understand paid advertising
14. Use user-generated content
15. Don’t forget conventual styles of advertising


1. Introduce event and holiday inspired food and beverages


Celebrate special events, holidays and important days with an exclusive menu for food and drinks.

For instance, if there is a soccer game going on involving a Mexican team, you can serve sweet potato nachos and parsnip chips.
Similarly, you can add a pink hamburger to your menu during breast cancer awareness month.


Mexican themed foods

You can also serve cakes dressed in multi colors to showcase your support for the LGBT community during pride month.


2. Advertise on Bloc


Bloc is a free social events app that pays people to attend pubs. Here’s how it works:

– Users check-in to pubs to see who else is attending and to earn stars on the app.
– Once a user attends the pub, Bloc tracks them via geo-location. If they attend they get rewarded stars.
– Once a user has collected enough stars they can exchange them for real money. So Bloc literally pays people to go to pubs!
– You can advertise on Bloc so your pub appears in multiple places inside the app so you can increase attendance and check-ins.
– You are only charged £2 per customer if a user actually attends (using geo-location).


how to promote a pub with Bloc

Advertising on Bloc is free until you get a check-in (which is a perfect result). You can also trial the service for free with £150 ad credit (which is 75 free customers).


3. How to promote a pub with happy hours


Happy hours never fail to attract people and don’t go out of trend.

You can attract a whole load of customers during such happy hours. Cheap drinks or 1+1 on drinks during happy hours is great for people who can make it.

However, this scheme does not attract people who come earlier. You can attract them with a different style of promotional schemes.

You can offer unlimited, complimentary food for anybody who buys a drink ahead of the happy hour. You can provide them individual pizza slices, garlic bread sticks etc.


Happy hour example


We suggest you try this for a week and see the results.

Try to analyze if this kind of promotional strategy is hurting your earnings.

If the happy hour is 1+1 on drinks, then this is 1+ food ahead of those happy hours. Check if this strategy brings in more customers.

You can design a campaign for this on all your social platforms and print material. Do not forget to attach alluring pictures of the food and drinks!


4. Introduce early bird menus and themed days


Grab the attention of your visitors with some fun themes like Taco Thursdays, Fruitcake Fridays etc.

You can also create a special, eye catching food menu with reduced prices to go with the drinks for early birds.

Themed night schedules can attract specific groups of customers who are interested in certain themes. This is also a great way to entice new customers who might not have been interested in visiting your pub earlier.


Quiz night in a pub

However, it is important to have a consistent schedule for such theme-based nights so that everyone knows what is coming up. You might have a singles night on a Monday or quiz night on Wednesdays. Whatever the theme, maintaining consistency in the schedule will be great for your patrons as well.


5. Create unusual cocktails


Give your bartender the freedom to experiment and formulate a new menu of unusual cocktails.

– Begin promoting the brand-new menu across all your social media handles. Have cocktail nights every once in a while.
– You can also preannounce cocktail tasting nights wherein your staff carry around trays of small shots of cocktails in the pub.
– Add a layer of perfection by getting a cocktail expert who can provide tailor-made cocktails for your pub exclusively.
– You can enliven a slow night by making it a cocktail night.


6. Be family friendly


This way you can appeal to different customers and cater to their needs in the most effective way.

For instance, you can split your pub into distinct areas. You can have a designated food area for families and kids; a quiet area that gives the required peace and solitude to those looking to enjoy a quiet drink.


Family friendly pub


Different areas help in serving the targeted audience better. Allot a space, create a special children’s play area and fill it with board games and toys.

You can announce family events, have an exclusive menu for children and conduct activities. Hiring a magician or a friendly clown to go around distributing tiny presents/chocolates can be great.


7. How to promote a pub with game nights


Game nights are another super attractive event that most people seem to enjoy.

Introduce entertaining games for your patrons with fun prizes like late night 1+1 etc. Pick games like jigsaw, small wooden puzzles, etc. that your visitors can solve easily in the semi dark space of your pub.

In fact, having board games, trivia games may act as stress busters for your visitors and they could end up playing them for hours and hopefully drinking throughout. Research shows that visitors have spent 21% more time on a game table than sitting across the non-playing tables. Therefore, quiz nights and pub trivia games can ensure customer satisfaction and thereby increase your revenue.


Game nights in pubs

You can take the game nights up by a notch if you have the space to arrange table tennis, darts and the like. Another additional advantage with such games is that you can host tournaments. Tournaments contain teams and this way you can attract more customers by encouraging your patrons to bring in their friends.


8. Announce a ‘Drink n Ride’ policy


To make this possible, you can partner with Uber or any other popular local taxi service in your city. Show your patrons that you care for them!

Here are some ideas:

– Give out discounted taxi rides to their homes for anybody who has had more than, say, 3 drinks.
– You can make this deal more lucrative by offering free taxi rides to couples who have had 3 or more drinks each.
– Offer promo codes that get special customers a ride with discounted prices for pre ordered dinners.
– Higher discounts for happy hour customers.


9. How to promote a pub by hosting events


Events like award ceremonies, product launches, charity events and even birthdays can bring in huge crowds of people.

Besides, it is also a super easy way of promoting your pub and reaching a higher number of people. You need to be ready to accommodate such large events and also market yourself on multiple occasions to get bookings.

Colorful events also do great with social media. You can post picturesque images, and these reach many people on the internet.


Fun event in pub


In fact, special occasions like birthdays are always looked back on. Therefore, organizing such events and parties will enhance your pub’s brand image.

Big events also attract influencers, bloggers, celebrities and journalists who are a source of free publicity. Another way of attracting free publicity is by hosting events that are open to the public while also exclusively offering your video on hire for non-public events.


10. Have fun with it and create scavenger hunts


You can post riddles on your social pages and ask your patrons to find the answer and tell it to the serving staff or bartender to win additional discounts on beverages/food items.

For instance, you can post a phrase in Greek for an English pub and ask the visitors to try and translate it. They can use the answer at your pub to get an extra discount or a promo code for their next ride home.


How to promote a pub scavenger hunt

Organize treasure hunts wherein the clues are questions about the names of drinks and food items on your menu. This can be super fun and entertaining while also attracting new customers. You can also have some fun riddles added, in case you run out of drinks and food item clues.


11. Offer incentives to bloggers and influencers


You can create an army of bloggers and influencers by adopting the way of offering incentives.

For example, you can send popular bloggers and influencers a bottle of wine every time they upload the pre-agreed number of posts on their social media profiles.

This has to be done strategically as people can easily spot a sponsored post. Therefore, posting about your pub once or twice does not work well. It has to be definitely done multiple times to create an impact.


Pub influencer


If they keep posting about your brand, their followers will begin to believe that it is a great place to be.

In case you don’t know where to start, you can do so by first contacting popular influencers who have visited your pub.

This can be known by searching for your pub via the location search tool on Instagram. Maintain a record of such influencers and bloggers who have visited your place and reach out to them for such promotional activities.


12. How to promote a pub by blogging


Maintaining a blog has several benefits. Although it is time consuming, it is definitely worth a try and you can check if the results are worth the time.

The most beneficial outcome would be the increased chances of being displayed on the top of every Google search.

Blogging adds more value and depth to your social media accounts. You can also cross share new content across all your profiles on the internet.


13. Understand paid advertising


Nowadays, geo-targeted ads have become extremely popular. Most people tend to look for pubs near their residences so you will get the most traction if you invest in such advertisements.

You also get to choose your target audience based on age, gender and interests. Let us say you are looking for family audiences, you can easily target your ads towards such people in your local area.


Twitter geo-targeted ads

Geo targeted ads are popular across Twitter, Instagram and Facebook, wherein you can pay to reach a much larger number of social media users.


14. How to promote a pub with user generated content


Make use of quirky and cute photo ops to enhance user generated content across social media platforms.

Create backdrops that your visitors would love to get clicked against, and they will upload such pictures without you asking for it.


User-generated content


You can take advantage of the free publicity. Cross share such pictures across your profiles to have an encouraging impact on your patrons. You might also ask them to use your hashtags.

Using content from visitors and adding that to your social media profiles will come across as authentic and will help in connecting with your followers better. Besides building a great rapport with your followers, it also saves your time and money.


15. Don’t Forget the conventional style of advertising


While focusing on digital promotional strategies is great, using the traditional techniques will greatly add to the results.

Since most of your competitors are focused on advertising on digital platforms, this can get cheaper and less noisy for you.

Billboards are cheap, affordable and great for instant communication.

You can also go overboard with billboards and create quirky, out of the box billboards if you have extra budget. Change them on a periodic basis, a Sunday to Sunday basis could be great, and turn it into a fun story.


Pub billboard ad


Have you considered radio? Although this option is on the costlier side, it can prove to be highly effective. How? Get a professionally made slogan that is melodic, catchy and appealing. Play it on the radio several times a day.

You no longer have to compete for newspaper or billboard spots, and we can assure you that the impact will be equally huge. We suggest that you do not write off traditional modes of promotion.

Here are some spaces you could make use of:

– Ads in newspapers
– Radio publicity
– Flyers and posters
– Street press
– Television ads
– Bus-stop ads
– Magazines and newsletters


The bottom line for how to promote a pub…

Not every strategy will work perfectly for your pub but trying each mode of promotion out and deeply analyzing the results can help you understand what works and what doesn’t.

Whatever you choose to do, it is important to remember that a genuine connection between you and your visitors is essential!

About Josh Wood

Founder | Writer | Tech Enthusiast