hit counter
Your browser version is outdated. We recommend that you update your browser to the latest version.

Pub Marketing ways to improve your business


Over the years that we have been carrying out surveys on pubs we have come across some interesting ways of marketing pubs, which we thought we should share with you as they may or may not help your business.  There is also a free download available on modern ways to market.

Make sure everyone knows you are there before they get there

Good signage to your pub or restaurant or hotel is essential as not only the people looking for your pub or restaurant or hotel will find you those that are not looking for you will also find you and just remember you are there.

We have heard that many people drive by pubs for many years and it is only when something new happens such as new signage, new exterior paint colour that they decide to become your customer.

Postcodes do not work with Satnavs

It is no good carrying out all sorts of marketing to get people to visit your pub if the postcode does not bring them to your pub.  If the Satnav does not work then you will need to think of some ways to make it work such as signage at the point where the Satnav takes people too or even using a different road name and postcode which best locates you via Satnav.

Half the year in England it is dark – dark nights have a distinguishing feature

The lighting of a pub is so important as this can be everything from soft sodium lights, brighter whiter halogen lights, using a feature colour such as a blue or a green, using spot lights or hot spots very prominently to highlight features of the pub, restaurant or hotel or even lighting up trees outside.

Next summer don’t forget the A-boards

During the sunnier months it is well worth putting out more A-boards making them topical and not just the FREE WiFi or GREAT BEER standard A-board or chalkboard that are seen almost everywhere.  Think of something more imaginative for example a quote for the day or a pub quiz question particularly if you are having a pub quiz night.

Modern marketing download

Ensure that you have a website that is active which means that it is not a website that was made five years ago by a friend and you have never added or amended the website since.  Make your website a part of your business that you regularly update and alter starting possibly once a month and if this is not your sort of area then delegate this action.

Another free download we have heard about is Start Up Pub Business – ideas for getting customers.  

Voucher Cloud

Get involved with Voucher Cloud or a similar App that is available on iphones and android phones. 

We first realized the power of Voucher Cloud when we were having a meal at a Pizza Express restaurant when the waitress expected us to be using our Voucher Cloud discount as everyone else was and when we told the waitress we did not know anything about this she kindly gave us the Voucher Cloud code.  From what we can see this can make a quiet night into a busier night.

Technology if you are not young speak to someone that is!

It is hard to keep track of all the different innovations and ways to communicate via the internet and what is popular and what is not.  If you are not a gadget man or gadget woman then maybe one of your members of staff is and may be happy to help you with social media such as Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, Google+, tumblr, Instagram etc, etc.

This is an area where you could for example collect people’s birthdays and offer then something free on or around their birthday, as long as they bring some friends with them of course!

Copying great ideas

Quite often someone has already thought of a great idea, which you could copy.  You can find these by searching the internet with a purpose as opposed to just surfing the internet.

Piggy backing onto someone else’s great idea

An idea that we heard recently was where Cancer Research had a motorhome going round on their phase two Facebook campaign, which is where you actually go and meet the people you have on Facebook who you do not normally see.  A pub offered to host the idea for people to meet in their pub their friends on Facebook that they do not normally see.  Of course another incentive such as free third drink or something similar can help.

Celebrate something other than the normal celebration

Everyone celebrates Christmas, Valentines Day, Mothers Day, Fathers Day, Halloween, etc, etc If you can start by celebrating a local event which could be a local Pancake Race or we have even heard of one pub that had meetings and practice runs for the Pancake participants!

Get out and about in the local community

Sometimes if you are too busy working in the business than working on the business it is worth getting out and about.  There are many sorts of groups about such as networking business groups such as BNI or more charitable groups such as the Round Table or specialist groups. The motto we have heard is never stop marketing.

Database marketing

There is a fine line with database marketing as people get so many emails – your email is the email that you want people to look forward to as they know it will include something free.

Shall we do a section so people can feedback marketing methods people have tried - are prepared to share?

The obvious marketing - Bring a friend who used to be a regular

This used to be a popular where you can offer a half price 3rd drink or something similar.

Ask for old photos/postcards or old information on the area particularly the pub

Information relating to the name of the pub, Street or area has a double effect as not only can you find some interesting facts and figures regarding you business you can also use these in a news letter or on your website page or email marketing.

Celebrate Christmas or any festivity in a different way

One idea we particularly remember very much from carrying out a survey at Christmas was where one bar was decorated in the normal Christmas style with the usual festivities whereas another bar was decorated for those people who do not like Christmas and guess which bar was most popular on the day of our survey?!

Make yourself into a venue

You can carry this out in many different ways such as having a theme or a club that regularly meets at your pub, restaurant or hotel and have something that relates to this on display.  Over the years we have come across everything from classic cars to World War memorabilia. 

The one that sticks in our mind most was a pub in a holiday resort where we were carrying out the refurbishment (yes we do design too).  The pub in the summer months benefited from the holiday trade.  If we remember correctly, the car park had locals only painted on a sign rather than allowing holidaymakers and in the pub the landlord and the various staff would make absolutely certain the locals were served first before reluctantly serving the holiday makers.

We also recall the pub had a spinning wheel which was spun and wherever it landed the price went up for the holidaymakers and down for the locals.  Interestingly we once visited this pub during the winter months and everyone was welcome.