Online Marketing for Bars: Digital Marketing Explained


Online marketing for bars

Although traditional marketing still has its place, online marketing for bars has quickly established itself as a more effective and affordable strategy.

There are now many different digital mediums bars can take advantage of that should be included in their marketing plans.

Effective online marketing for bars begins with content planning, trialling and effective analysis.

This guide will look at all the different digital marketing mediums and how to use them.

Online marketing for bars, here are the different topics we’ll cover.


1. Website
2. Lead magnets
3. Email campaigns
4. Online listings
5. SEO
6. Google paid ads
7. Article renting
8. Bloc
9. Facebook marketing
10. Instagram marketing
11. Twitter
12. Snapchat
13. Tik Tok
14. Analytics and testing


1. Website


At the centre of all online marketing for bars will be your website.

It’s likely all of your digital marketing will lead visitors to your website. From here your bar can increase bookings and retain loyal customers.


Pergola On The Roof Website


Before you set off implementing all the mediums that will lead traffic to your site, make sure your site is optimised by making sure everything is set from this checklist:

1. Does the layout of your site look modern?
2. Does everything work perfectly? Test and then test again.
3. Does the website look good on mobile? And work?
4. Does the website look good on tablets? And work?
5. If you take bookings is there a booking form implemented on the homepage?
6. Is there a lead magnet (pop-up asking for their email) on the homepage with an offer?
7. Are there hi-quality photos and videos showcasing your bar?
8. Are your social networks linked clearly on the website?

If you can confidently say that you have all of those checked, then you probably have a high-converting website that will increase bookings.

If not, invest in your website, otherwise you won’t get the results you desire.

If you can, you can look to implement and invest in other online marketing mediums that will increase traffic to your well-designed website.


2. Lead magnets


Lead magnets are incredibly powerful for building a database of customers who might visit your bar.

The problem with website traffic and visitors is that a high percentage of them won’t be ready to visit your bar when they land on your website. Online marketing for bars is useless unless your website is actually getting customers.

For example, a visitor might land on your website on a Monday because of some marketing you’ve uploaded like an Instagram post.

Because it’s a Monday, that person isn’t really thinking about visiting a bar, so they leave your website and completely forget about you. Then when it comes to Friday, they choose another bar to visit.


Online marketing for bars lead magnet


This is where lead magnets come in. They are handy for capturing the data of your website’s visitors by incentivising them.

The best way to do this is to implement a pop-up when they go to leave your website. This is scientifically proven to be an optimum time.

You then offer them a free drink in your bar (if they come within a month) in exchange for their email address.

Not only do you get their email address so you can email them later, they are likely to come to your bar with their friends and stay for more than one drink.

Make sure they know they are opting in to be emailed by you, as this is a law you have to abide to.


3. Email campaigns


Email marketing is one aspect of online marketing for bars you should implement.

Implementing successful email campaigns rely on building a good database of emails.

A lead magnet on your website isn’t the only way you can build one. You can also offer free Wi-Fi in your bar. To get access they have to opt-in and give their email.

Both methods are an excellent way of building a database that consists both of new customers and customers that you already have.

Once you have a large database you can start sending out email campaigns. You can use MailChimp, Sendgrid or any other bulk email software provider.

What’s great about email campaigns is how cheap they are. You can reach your target audience for as little as $40 a month.


Email campaign example for venues


The most important thing to think about when creating your emails is whether the email is actually adding value to the recipient.

Aka don’t ever send out an email just for the sake of it.

For example, offers could easily add value, so think about what hooks you can offer.

Also don’t send too many emails. Otherwise you will be regarded as spam and this form of marketing will be useless.


4. Online listings


The world wide web is huge, and you need to make sure your bar and website can be found easily.

Once you’ve created a perfect website, submit your website to every single online directory and app that you can find.

The obvious ones are Google Local, Tripadvisor and Bloc but there are literally hundreds.


Online marketing for bars yelp


Use Google to search for all the places you can promote your bar for free. Then search the iOS app store and Google Play store to search for all the apps that might be able to promote your bar.

Make sure all of the information is accurate and you include the most important details, like contact information and opening times.


5. SEO


When you search for a bar on Google, there are 3 placements.

The first is paid ads. These appear directly at the top. Sometimes these don’t appear because no one is running ads for that specific keyword phrase.

Underneath those is the Google Pack. This is the most important placement for your bar.

These are the top 3 top bars for that specific keyword term. The user can click to view more but obviously these usually get clicked on first.

If a web user goes beyond these results the next placement is organic Google search articles.

SEO stands for search engine optimisation, and when you do this you will be increasing your chances of appearing in the Google pack (top 3 bars) and also the organic search results.

For the ‘Google Local Pack’ it’s pretty straightforward to be featured here.


Google Local Pack


First, make sure your website includes the keyword terms you want to rank for, with an optimum density. This is usually just over 5 times on one page.

To find out what keyword phrases you want to rank for you can use the Google Keyword Tool or Ubersuggest. These tell you how many people are searching for that specific keyword phrase.

For example, you might want to rank for ‘best bar in London’. This gets searched for 12,000 times a month in the UK alone so it’s a good phrase to be ranking for.

Next you want to make sure your bar has lots of positive Google reviews. The more reviews you have the more likely you will appear in the top 3 results.

Beyond this, you also need to try and encourage the keyword phrase to be used in the reviews text themselves.

In terms of the organic search results, similarly to the local pack, you need to have an optimum density of the keyword phrase on your website’s landing page that you want to rank for.

Next, you need to get backlinks.

Backlinks tell Google that you are a reputable bar because lots of other websites are backlinking to your website.

How do you get backlinks?


Venue SEO example


There are multiple ways. First start with all the online directories we talked about earlier. Next, try and get press.

Press websites hold a lot of weight because Google recognise them as a credible source.

You can also try and find articles that are listing bars within their articles e.g. ‘Top 30 bars in London you need to go to’. Reach out and see if your bar can be listed (and linked to).

There’s a lot to SEO but if you keep at it then you can gain serious traffic to your website that will lead to an increase in customers.

Concentrate on offering an amazing service at your bar and SEO will automatic happen as well. But it’s definitely good to help it along the way by implementing SEO tactics.


6. Google paid ads


As mentioned, Google paid ads appear at the top of Google.

You can pay Google to list your website by telling them what keyword phrases you want to advertise for.


Google paid ads


Online marketing for bars via Google can be expensive, so we highly recommend you only choose keywords that are super relevant and make sure the audience is local to your bar.

Not many people will travel far to attend your bar, so don’t waste money on targeting them via Google.


7. Article renting


The 3rd placement we talked about regarding Google is the organic search results.

A lot of these articles that show for keyword phrases like ‘Best bar in London’ will be difficult to outrank. Meaning you won’t be able to get your own website or blog above them in the search results.

Instead you can look to ‘rent’ space in these articles that are already ranking so you can direct traffic to your website this way.


Online marketing for bars design my night


For example, ‘Best bar in London’, the top search result is an article by Design my Night that is showcasing the top 38 bars.

Design my Night actually offer advertising so you can pay them to be displayed in this list and feature at the top to get even more clicks.

You know this search term gets 12,000 monthly clicks and a high percentage of them will be clicking on this article.


8. Bloc


In this guide for online marketing for bars, you’ve probably heard of most of the mediums before. But one you may not have heard of is Bloc.

Bloc is a social events app that rewards its users financially for attending bars.

Users simply check-in and attend to ‘earn’ stars. Once they have collected enough stars, they can exchange them for real money.

A bar can take advantage of Bloc marketing by increasing their number of check-ins via advertising.


Bloc online marketing for bars


The advertising is really unique because a bar only pays-per-result. This is, a customer in their venue spending.

The way it works is the bar is only charged if the Bloc user is tracked to have actually visited (using geo-location). It means it’s risk-free and budget friendly at only £2 per check-in.

There is also a free trial so bars can test the service.


9. Facebook marketing


Facebook is being used less and less by the younger generation and more by the 35+ bracket.

This doesn’t mean Facebook doesn’t have a place in your bar’s marketing plan, especially if your bar is targeted to the older generation.

Facebook own Instagram and paid marketing is setup on Facebook’s platform for both.


Facebook advertising for venues

Their targeting is ridiculously impressive so you can still reach the audience you desire. Here’s how you should be using Facebook for your bar:

  1. Share your best images and video on your page.
  2. Set up Facebook’s pixel on your website and create an audience for re-targeting. This means you can setup ads that will show to people who have recently visited your website.
  3. Set up ads with an offer to people local to your bar. Make sure the audience is your perfect target audience.


10. Instagram marketing


Instagram is one of the most popular social platforms right now and everyone seems to be on it.

When it comes to online marketing for bars and finding your target audience, then Instagram is where you’ll find them.

Compared to Facebook, it’s much easier to get organic results when building your following. To quickly grow your Instagram there are some best practices you can apply:

  1. Make sure there is a call-to-action in your bio such as ‘book now’.
  2. Include a trackable bio link to your website (so you can see if Instagram is working for you).
  3. Make your newsfeed beautiful by sticking to a theme, such as a colour theme.
  4. To get followers interact with your customers and target audience regularly by commenting.
  5. Use stories to showcase behind the scenes of your bar and your best nights.

As well as growing your Instagram audience organically you should trial whether two types of paid Instagram marketing might work for your bar.


Instagram influencer


The first is paid advertising via Facebook marketing. Similar to Facebook’s marketing you can setup re-targeting ads to show on Instagram as well as regular ads that can show to an audience you define.

The other is influencer marketing.

Influencer online marketing for bars can work incredibly well. Most people are like sheep, and they like to follow a crowd. They seek out bars that are popular and have good social proof. I.e. it’s ‘cool’ to be seen there.

One way of kickstarting this philosophy is by inviting celebrities and influencers to your bar (for a free night or for a fee) and in return they can post content to their large following.

If someone sees an influencer or celebrity has attended a bar, this can do wonders for your brand and you could get an influx of people.


11. Twitter


Twitter’s engagement is really poor compared to Instagram and even Facebook, but it’s still used by many people.

You can take advantage of this medium in unique ways, other than just trying to increase website traffic.

It’s quite difficult to build an audience on Twitter because people like to follow celebrities, news accounts and ‘funny’ accounts, rather than brands.


Twitter advertising


One way of using this platform is for building relationships with key people who might be able to help you in some format. For example, every journalist uses Twitter to share their news and to find stories.

If you can build a relationship with journalists and article writers, then you might be able to get press and backlinks for your website.

Another way to use Twitter is by paying for local advertisements. Because the engagement is so low it’s much cheaper than Facebook and Twitter.

You can reach your perfect target audience that’s local to your bar.


12. Snapchat


Snapchat died a bit of slow death after Mark Zuckerberg copied the idea of ‘Stories’ for Instagram.

However, it’s still used today but the majority of the users are Gen Z with some millennials. As these are your future customers then Snapchat could be considered.


Snapchat geo-filter

There are a few ways you can use Snapchat to your advantage:

  1. Create an account for your bar and showcase your bar’s atmosphere. You can even let your staff and customers ‘takeover’ the account and show the night from their perspective.
  2. Create geo-filter ads, so when someone is in your bar, they can get access to your geo-filter that can be seen by their followers.
  3. Create general localised ads that are seen by your target audience when viewing a story.


13. Tik Tok


Tik Tok is a relatively new platform but it’s actually the most downloaded app in the world.

Although people think it’s only used by those under 18, that couldn’t be further from the truth. More and more people are using the video sharing app every day.


Tik Tok advertising


As a marketer this creates an opportunity for reaching your audience.

There are 3 different ways you can use Tik Tok:

  1. Create an account and upload your own videos. Look out for trends and create suitable videos with your staff and customers.
  2. Get your staff and customers to create content within your bar to upload on their own accounts.
  3. Pay for video advertising locally for your bar.


14. Analytics and testing


Online marketing for bars is fairly straightforward but requires time and constant testing.

Analysing the results your online marketing efforts bring is the single most important element of any bar marketing plan.


Bloc Analytics


You need to track whether your efforts are actually bringing in customers. Don’t count a ‘click’ or time spent on your website as a ‘result’.

A result is only someone in your bar spending.

This is why Bloc is so powerful. Because you only pay if someone attends your venue (tracked via geo-location).

You can start your free trial today with £150 ad credit.

About Josh Wood

Founder | Writer | Tech Enthusiast