A Guide To Online Marketing For Pubs


Online Marketing For Pubs


This a complete guide to online marketing for pubs. Online marketing can be quite daunting and there’s no doubt, there’s a lot to it. But with this guide you’ll be able to apply best practices and we’ll also explore some tips and tricks that will give you a competitive advantage over your competition. Here’s what we’ll cover:

1. Website
2. Lead magnets
3. Email campaigns
4. Local directories
5. SEO
6. Facebook marketing
7. Instagram marketing
8. Twitter
9. Bloc
10. Analytics and Testing




Online marketing for pubs starts with your website.

This is where most of your marketing channels will lead and without an effective website, you will lose a lot of potential customers.

It’s no secret more and more people are using mobile and online channels to find venues. You have around 5 seconds to persuade them to stay on your website. Here are best practices for your website:

– Have high-res photos showcasing your pub
– Implement an easy-to-use booking system
– Show your opening hours and contact information
– Keep it updated and modern
– Make sure it’s mobile friendly (check on different devices)
– Make sure your USP (unique selling point) or type of pub is clear on the homepage. i.e if you’re a pub with a sports focus, make sure that’s clear to your website visitors


Lead Magnets


Now you have a beautiful website at the forefront of your online marketing efforts it’s time to capture more potential customers.

Lead magnets are a powerful way to do just that. Without a lead magnet, 95% or more of your website visitors will leave without making a booking or ever visiting your pub. They’ll forget about it within 1 minute of leaving your site.

Lead magnets are a clever way of capturing far more potential visitors and also improve customer retention for repeat customers.

What is a lead magnet?

A lead magnet is a pop-up or button (or both) on your website that aims to grab the email address of a website visitor so you can add them to your email database.

There are different ways of displaying your lead magnet, but one of the most effective lead magnets for pubs is to offer a free drink if they sign up with their email. It works well because it also increases the chance of them actually attending.

Bar Lead Magnet Example


Email Campaigns


Online marketing for pubs wouldn’t be complete without well thought out email campaigns, they are still very powerful and work well for getting more customers.

Once you have a database of relevant email addresses you can send emails to get repeat customers. Lead magnets are a powerful mechanism that should be used. Another way to grab email addresses is by offering free WiFi in your pub, but to get onto it the future subscriber has to sign up using their email address.

You can use software like MailChimp or Woodpecker to send out your campaigns and track all the data (including clicks to your website). Tread carefully when sending emails, there are best practices and ways to reduce unsubscribes. Here are our best practices:

– Less is more. Sending too many emails is the biggest mistake a marketer can make for email campaigns. The number one reason for unsubscribes is frequency
– Send relevant emails around major events. Are you showing the World Cup? That could be a perfectly timed theme to an email to send out
– Offer a deal or promotion. Add validation to your email with a promotion or deal. The receiver will ask in their heads, ‘why are they sending me this?’ Without a good reason, they’ll probably unsubscribe
– Have a clear CTA (call-to-action) in your email. What do you want the receiver to do?


Local Directories


Make sure your pub can be found in as many places as possible online.

Good places to start are Google Local, Yelp, Bing, DesignMyNight and Dodo.

There are actually hundreds of them and it’s likely they will add your venue before you ask.

Make sure you’re on them and also make sure the photos and copy are perfect. Usually on these directories pubs don’t have hooks as to why a potential customer should go there instead of another venue.

So your online marketing efforts shouldn’t stop after you’ve submitted them. It won’t be enough.




‘Best pub in London showing football’ and ‘pub with a terrace near me’ are just a few examples of what your potential customers might be searching on Google to find pubs they want to go to.

SEO stands for search engine optimization and is the practice of getting your pub and website at the top of the search results. Online marketing for pubs wouldn’t be complete without SEO, as once you are ranking, it’s free organic traffic and potentially free customers.

The most important aspect of your SEO is referred to as ‘Local SEO’ as people usually search for pubs within an area.

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

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

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

As well as your local SEO you want to rank for different key phrases as well that are relevant to your pub.

You can use Google’s keyword planner to find keywords that are relevant to your venue. Once you know what you want to rank for then you need to start implementing SEO. Here are our best practices:

– On-page optimization (make sure the keywords or phrase is the perfect density on your page, 5x usually)
– Get quality back links. This is a big part of SEO, the more 3rd party sites that are linking to yours, the more Google ranks it as a good site. Makes sense right? It’s also about quality back links, this means big sites that have a good rank themselves. For example, if you get a media site like Timeout to write an article on your venue, this counts as a good back link (make sure they link your website)
– Depending on how many searches your keywords or phrases are getting, SEO might not be worth the money or time. So analyse the forecast of potential customers from SEO and weigh it up. It might not be for you.

TIP:  ‘Best pub in London’ might get a lot of searches. It might be worth plugging that into Google yourself and paying whoever is in the top 3 to have your venue included in the article. If you make sure your link is included this will also add to your SEO efforts for the same keyword.


Facebook Marketing


There are two parts to Facebook marketing. Free and paid.

The free side is all about having a Facebook page for your venue and building a brand and community with your current customers. This can be powerful for customer retention and word of mouth marketing. For example, having an in-house photographer can pay dividends if you upload the photos to Facebook.

People can then tag themselves and this can show in their friend’s newsfeed. Some of the best marketers we’ve seen have photo ops in their venues like flower walls, which increase the amount of participants.

If a customer is proud enough to tag themselves and be seen in your venue then more people will want to go. Including branding in the photos is important too.

Paid Facebook advertising is something you should also explore.

We like re-targeting ads most.

Facebook advertising is clever and be highly targeted. Re-targeting ads is when someone visits your website, Facebook uses the cookie and then sends your ad to them. Going back to the lead magnet of a free drink.

You can tell Facebook to send your ad to a website visitor who didn’t sign up to the free drink offer. So the ad could have a headline of ‘You forgot your free drink’. These ads run for 30 days from the website visit, so your visitor may not have been in the mood or ready for that free drink now, but in the future they could be. It’s powerful.

We don’t advise using Facebook ads without having a powerful hook and way to measure whether it’s working. Clicks and impressions don’t count for anything unless a customer is going to go to your venue and spend. It’s not cheap so should be used with caution.


Instagram Marketing


Similar to Facebook marketing, Instagram can be used for free but also be used for paid advertising.

When you set up paid Facebook ads you can also choose Instagram as a placement, so it works in the exact same way. Instagram however can be used slightly differently on the free side.

Instagram is very visual and your Instagram page should show high quality images of the venue, the drinks, the food and so on. It should showcase the culture at your venue.

Have you heard of influencer marketing? You probably have, but did you know Instagram is the home of it? If you have influential Instagrammers (they’re the ones with lots of followers) taking pictures in your venue and tagging you, this could lead to putting you on the radar of thousands of people.

They have the power to make a venue appear to be the coolest place in the world, or if your service is bad, they could even call you out which could be extremely damaging and hit sales hard. We’ve seen it happen in both cases.

TIP: There are lots of brands that like to hold events for marketing purposes (like Bloc). Try partnering with these brands as it’s likely they could get press, celebrities and influencers to attend. Make sure you have photo ops with your venue name prominent and you never know, your venue could feature in a top paper.




Spreading yourself too thin on your online marketing efforts could be damaging. It’s better to execute the mediums that will get you the best results perfectly, than use all the mediums averagely.

Twitter to an extent, comes into this category. It’s not got the same influence or power as Instagram and the paid advertising barely works. It’s also no good to have a Twitter handle for your venue if you’re not Tweeting.

However, saying that Twitter is the best medium for connecting with journalists and industry types.

You should have a personal Twitter account that follows the journalists that could potentially write about your venue. Starting a relationship with them is the best way of increasing your chances of free press.

And free press can go a long way for online marketing for pubs and bars in terms of SEO for example.

TIP: Use Google to find journalists that have written about your type of bar. Search ‘site:www.insertpaper.com new sports bar’ on Google. This will show you all the articles written about a new sports bar on that website and then you can find the journalist that wrote it.



Bloc Newsfeed Ad for Pub and Bar Online Marketing's Newsfeed Ad


Bloc is one of the only online marketing mediums for pubs and bars where you only pay for your perfect result, a customer in your venue: spending. It’s free to use until someone checks into your venue and actually attends (using geo-location). Clicks to your website and impressions are free. It’s a great tool to accompany your online marketing efforts.

To learn more about Bloc’s advertising click here.


Analytics and Testing


Online marketing for pubs can be daunting, but if you constantly test and analyse the analytics you can constantly tweak it until you’re seeing the results you seek.

There’s no harm in starting small with your budgets and data to try it out. Once you feel comfortable you can start rolling out the online marketing to bigger audiences.

Using tools like Google Analytics for your website data is critical. All the different mediums including Bloc have their own analytic platform so you can see the results for yourself.


About Josh Wood

Founder | Writer | Tech Enthusiast