I’ve used so many different types of marketing campaigns for pubs to promote the pubs, bars and restaurants I have managed and owned. In fact now I teach effective pub and restaurant marketing courses both in person and virtually (all over the world) and the most hospitality marketing strategies we came up with in one session was 56!
I think before we start on the marketing campaigns for pubs and strategies it’s important for you to understand that you have 4 types of customers:
…and each message you send out to each category above needs to be different. Afterall you can’t ask a lost customer for a testimonial, but you can ask a high value customer for one.
So, the categories.
A prospective customer is someone who has seen your business, passing by or whilst on the net but have never visited or spent any money with you
A customer is someone who has visited and bought a beer or meal or has added their email address to your mail out box on your website
A high value customer is a customer that loves what you do and visits a lot. They visit your web site to download pictures or reserve a table and they bring friends to your pub or restaurant. As far as marketing campaigns for pubs goes this is the strongest one – your customers are selling the place for you (word of mouth)
A lost customer is someone who doesn’t visit anymore for whatever reason that may be. It could be due to poor service, or they want to try a new place, or they could have moved.
Like I said they all need to be contacted and they all need a different message.
I mentioned collecting email addresses earlier. This is so important and can either be done when the customer is in your restaurant or via your website. When I ask clients what’s their most important asset that their business have some say customers, some say the team, and some say their product or even themselves!
In fact, while they are all important, your most important, most prized asset within your business is your database. Those email addresses that the customers have given to you – and if you can get their date of birth as well, even better.
In this blog I’m going to share the most effective marketing campaigns for pubs that I came up with and helped me build successful and profitable hospitality pub and restaurant businesses.
As far as marketing campaigns for pubs go this is and will always be number one. You customer has given you or your staff their email number because they want to be the first to hear about your promotions and the exclusive offers that you only send out via your email marketing campaigns
Don’t know what to say or haven’t got the time to come up with 12 monthly promotions and the emails that go with them? Don’t worry we’ve done it for you. Click the link below to see more information about our email unique monthly promotions and email marketing campaigns
A lot of people say that email marketing for pubs and restaurants is spam mail but that’s rubbish. Remember you customers gave you their email in person or via your website. They want to hear from you and this is your way to their inner sanctum.
Easy to build. We recommend Site Build It because you have complete control and can change/add to it as often as you like. There is an annual charge of around £200 (they charge in dollars because they are a Canadian business) but the investment is worth it
LinkedIn marketing for pubs is awesome. When you need marketing campaigns for pubs to attract local businesses this is key. I used it to promote business lunches, my function room, beer fridge Friday and my Christmas menu (which I ran twice a year – see our promotions for further details).
With LinkedIn you can link with staff and management teams in the local businesses around you and contact booking decision makers directly.
Make sure your title includes your business name, so they know who you are have a great description for them to have a look at. LinkedIn is basically a free website to promote your business.
Here’s a link to our Using LinkedIn as a Marketing Tool E-Book
I never paid for Facebook marketing with my restaurant, but I did have the team manage a thriving community on our Facebook page.
It’s important to promote your event and promotions and keep it up to date. Also ensure that you have a link to your website – this is called a backlink and Google love them.
Instagram is great for photos. If you can’t take great photos find someone who can, there is nothing more off putting that crap photos of food to put you off. Have fun with ideas, here’s a You Tube video which should get you juices going
The first thing that I did, to attract attention and customers to the pub restaurant that I bought was to design a newsletter.
The newsletter had the look and feel of a web page, had what we’ve done, what we’re doing and what we are about to do on it, as well as a call to action at the bottom. I printed off about a 1000 of these one-sided newsletters and we distributed them around the area targeting specific areas.
The idea was to attract them into the business (sometime with a voucher attached, the call to action) and then ask them for their email address. We had forms at the bar. Then in 6 months’ time the email marketing replaced the posting of newsletter and me loads of time – and it worked. I then only printed them off for people to have a read when they visited the business
You could use word on your computer, or you could use Canva online. You can set up a free account and also order printed versions of what you create. I didn’t use Canva when I had the pub but would definitely use it now. There’s so much you can do with it and it’s worth playing around with it.
You can also use Canva for Facebook and LinkedIn banners and table talkers if you use them – another extra one of our marketing campaigns for pubs
Trip advisor is great and can also be an absolute nightmare. It’s important to respond professionally to every single response. The issue is that anyone can add a comment and even if it was a year ago people will still read the review and not the date.
Here’s our guide to responding to Trip Advisor Complaints
Events are one of my favourite marketing campaigns for pubs. I love organising events throughout the year. Anything from the monthly promotions and email marketing campaigns I mentioned earlier to beer and cider festivals, open mic and band nights and an annual village carnival.
When we took the pub on it was taking £500 per week and when we left it was taking around £20,000 per week and that was a pub restaurant in the centre of a village on the outskirts of the peak district. People visited from all over the place.
The carnival really put us on the map. It was hard work, but a small group of trusted locals put it together and after a couple of years was attracting around 2000 people to the event over a weekend – and guess where the carnival was held, you guessed it next to our pub/restaurant and I also built a 9m bar in the largest marquee that we could hire. The event and the pub became legendary and was the biggest thing to have happened (positively) in the area for over 20 years.
Supporting the local community
Find ways to support the local community. At the carnival I just mentioned we allowed all the local organisations to run a stall for free and charged (£10) for everyone else. My ethos was a ‘local event supporting local causes’.
As a business we also helped with the monthly litter pick, got the primary school involved in the local well dressing, invented a candle walk art Christmas and much more.
Vouchers are great for marketing campaigns for pubs but don’t give away your profit.
See our 12-month promotions and email marketing campaigns. If you are writing you own web site, make sure it has a seasonal section so you can promote seasonal local food on the menu and events like Halloween.
We had braded t shirts, hoodies, baseball caps, hip flasks, sweets, picnic blankets, mugs, takeaway pint pots (with tops), coffee machines and coffee grounds.
20% of customers will pay more for a premium product IF you make it available to them – and that also goes for merchandise.
Hopefully you’ve found this list interesting – don’t hesitate to contact one of the team if you have any questions
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