When you’re operating a bar business, it sure does get to a point where you’ve exhausted your best bar marketing ideas to keep your customers coming. And before you know it, you’re already back to square one.
And while your drinks might be the finest in town, it will take more than just superior cocktails and liquor to engage bar-goers.
You need exquisite promotional strategies that provide ROI, conversion, and a sustainable business. You can also use interactive restaurant menu software, digital loyalty program apps, or offline and online ads.
But if you’ve run out of marketing tactics, fret not; we’ve got your back.
Consider this a bartender’s handshake from one marketer to another. Take a shot of these effective and innovative strategies that can boost your bar business.
And yes, they’re stronger than Polmos vodka.
Why you need to employ bar marketing strategies
The goal of establishing strong marketing strategies for bar businesses is to retain regular customers and attract potential ones.
Running a bar isn’t just about making and selling good cocktail mixes and launching fun gimmicks nightly. You must also introduce promotion ideas that engage your current bar-goers and make your establishment a go-to spot for your target community.
Sending out physical or digital advertisements, hosting various events, connecting to your audiences online or offline, or even using unique technologies like a bar or restaurant order system are great ways to kickstart a power marketing game plan.
It’s a clever way of converting regular passersby into paying customers, which you need to keep your bar thriving.
21 best bar marketing ideas that stand out
Gone are the days when marketing strategies heavily relied on handing out flyers and calling out passersby on the streets to draw them into your bar.
Recent restaurant marketing statistics show that you’ll need to invest more in digital marketing, better customer engagements, and many promos and gimmicks to sustain your business.
Here are the best marketing ideas you can use:
Digital Marketing Strategies
One of the best approaches for your bar is digital marketing strategies. This 679-billion-dollar industry has already helped businesses from all over the globe to grow effectively and consistently.
And you can also use these to your advantage. Here’s how:
1. Establish a Google Business Profile
A Google Business Profile, previously known as Google My Business, is a free service that helps business owners mark or index their establishments on Google Search and Google Maps.
Creating a business profile makes it easier for your target market to spot your location when searching for bars or pubs nearby using Google services.
You can show your menu, share photos of your bar, gather feedback and reviews, and provide updates hassle-free.
So, it helps you establish a good online presence even when you’re not active on social media or still need a website.
Creating a Google Business Profile is as easy as pie. You’ll only need an active Google account.
2. List your bar business to review sites
Apart from setting up a Google Business Profile, it will also massively influence your online presence if you create a business profile on other review websites like Yelp, Bing Places, OpenTable, or Yahoo Localworks.
While Google has many more users than the websites mentioned above, increasing your online visibility through multiple business review sites is always better.
Listing your bar business into these sites undergoes almost the same process as creating a Google Business Profile.
You’ll need to create an account, input the information about your business, add some photos, and include contact information. After all that, you can start getting reviews from customers.
3. Tell your story through social media
Social media marketing is one of the best bar marketing ideas to date. Zenith Media revealed that this strategy has taken paid advertising and is continuously growing up to 25% year after year.
This is because of the rapid growth of social media users, which has catapulted to 4.89 billion worldwide, as per Statista’s 2023 report.
Take advantage of these statistics; use social media for restaurants and bars to promote your services, food and drinks, and events.
Create accounts for famous social media sites today for wider audience reach and engagement. You can use each platform for a different purpose.
You can post high-quality photos of your food and drink offerings on Instagram or show a glimpse of your bar’s fun experience through short videos on TikTok.
You can also create a Facebook page to post updates to your menu, upcoming gigs, and events or engage with your customers and followers through Messenger chat or WhatsApp.
4. Rank website with Local SEO
A website will help your business establish great online branding. However, an SEO-optimized webpage will help you create a great online brand and increase visibility and searchability on search engines like Google, Yahoo, and Bing.
This means you’ll need more than just a basic webpage for your bar business.
With a Search Engine Optimization (SEO) strategy, you can rank your website to a specific search engine to gain more traffic and increase conversions.
For instance, your target search engine is Google. You will research the most updated SEO restrictions and strategies to rank your site on Google Search.
When users look up keywords like “bars near me” on Google, your SEO-optimized website will pop up on top of other search results. This instant Google Search visibility will help your customers view your website in just a click and also help you gain more traffic.
5. Kickstart influencer marketing for bars
Influencer marketing is when businesses collaborate with famous individuals who have established a good media reputation, have over ten thousand followers across multiple platforms, and have a solid customer base.
Employing this strategy requires you to know your target customers and look for the influencer whose followers and subscribers fall under the same demographics. You can do a paid collaboration with them to feature your bar in one of their posts, blogs, or vlogs.
This will help you reach a wider audience. Not only will your bar business be a well-known spot for the locals, but it will also be a must-try for tourists who will see the influencer’s advertisement.
6. Send out consistent newsletters
A substantial email marketing strategy is an excellent way to reach your customers and target audience when announcing promotions, special offers, and events.
But first, you’ll need to build an email list. You can generate one by incorporating pop-up offers on your website, adding a signup or subscription link on social media, or accumulating users’ emails during your bar events.
Next, you’ll need to be consistent with your emails or newsletters. To make this bar marketing strategy work, you’d want to check up on your customers occasionally, tell them you miss having them around your area, and that they might want to sip your latest cocktail.
Make your message as personalized as possible. Don’t go too hard on selling your food and service because that might put them off.
And lastly, stay on top of the email marketing game. Mix the right words and creative elements to ensure your recipients will genuinely pay for your offer.
Add a mouth-watering photo of your newest menu item and disclose limited-time promos or exclusive details about what’s new.
7. Streamline online reservations
Although bars are uncommon to have reservation systems, a few can benefit from this.
Cocktail bars, for instance, commonly offer call or online reservations to manage customer inflow and outflow efficiently.
If you plan on setting up an online reservation system, you must do it correctly. Check out online reservation tools and integrate them into your website.
Bar Event Marketing Strategies
Small or large-scale events are a great way to draw customers to your bar’s location. They’re among the best marketing ideas for a bar. The first step is establishing a consistent event that your target customers will love.
Whether you invite local artists to perform on your makeshift stage or collaborate with well-known bands, it’s sure that you’ll expect more bar-goers than usual.
Check out these gimmicks you can use for your bar:
8. Start a stand-up comedy show
You know how laughter is the best medicine? Or how it can be the best contagious thing you can ever share with someone? Well, guess what? You can give this opportunity to your customers every once in a while.
Make your bar the go-to stress reliever for the working class, students of the appropriate age, and anyone who wants a hearty laugh to end their day.
You can invite well-known stand-up comedians and comediennes to boost your crowd for the night.
9. Liven it up with music
Apart from the booze, one of the reasons why people go to bars is the ambiance. Music is one epic way to achieve a great bar vibe. This is among the best bar marketing ideas, and research has proven it effective.
According to the National Research Group (NRG), customers are more likely to eat and drink more if good music is playing in the background.
And if your target market comprises millennials, then using songs and tunes that suit their taste will lead you to a good business.
The study further revealed that millennial respondents consider music a determining factor when choosing a bar or restaurant.
You can invite local bands or artists to strengthen your engagement with the local artists’ community, hire party DJs, or collaborate with famous singers to amp up your nights.
Suppose you think live performances are challenging strategies to sustain. In that case, you can also rely on a good-quality speaker blasting music suitable for your bar or host karaoke nights to make your customers’ experience more interactive and engaging.
10. Promote happy hours
Having a happy hour is one of the best bar marketing ideas that bar owners use to upsell, cross-sell, or strategically offer non-selling drinks. And this has been proven effective by experts.
A study by hospitality industry experts from the University of Nevada revealed that happy hour gimmicks will enable bars to double their sales in just about two hours.
You can also use this marketing strategy to your advantage.
To prepare, you need to learn which items on your menu sit longer on the shelf, curate the pricing, and calculate profitability. Then, you must look for happy hour menu ideas based on your inventory and calculations.
11. Add some interactive games
You can add entertainment to your bar business to increase foot traffic and attract new customers. And fun games can do the trick for you.
When you keep your customers entertained through your games and other fun activities, they’ll stay longer in your establishment. As a result, they will also likely spend or order more of your drinks and other offerings.
To make your bar a more engaging and exciting spot, try installing a mini arcade corner, pool tables, dart boards, or display some cards on your shelf that your guests can easily access.
12. Offer viewing parties
There’s no better way to gather your patrons than with a big-screen viewing of your favorite live sports events, movies, series, or entertainment shows.
You can host a regular viewing party, invite all your customers, and offer the crowd discounted drinks and food items. To make it even more memorable, tell your customers to follow the show’s theme by dressing up or bringing props.
This effective strategy allows your bar business to stand out from other establishments. Plus, it helps you retain and gain customers while boosting your sales.
Other best bar marketing ideas that sell
Here are other robust marketing strategies for your bar business:
13. Develop a strong brand identity
An effective bar or restaurant branding helps you establish a distinguishable business from your competitors.
Generally, this has something to do with your logos, brand colors, mission statement, and even the service and experience you provide to your customers.
You have to set a brand image that helps your bar to stand out. You can use your brand logo and specific color scheme for your bar’s interiors, menus, offline and online advertisements, staff uniforms, and other visual elements you will use for your bar business.
Doing so will help your customers to remember your establishment easily.
14. Offer loyalty programs
When marketing for bars, loyalty programs will help business owners like you retain customers.
For instance, you can offer free drinks on a loyal customer’s birthday, a line bypass to your security checks, encourage visits and purchases through points or coupon systems, or discount selected drinks.
Simply put, your goal in implementing loyalty programs is to create an inviting strategy that would compel your existing customers to return, spend more on your business, and promote your bar to their friends.
15. Introduce special drinks
Offering specialty drinks or cocktails is an easy and effective way of increasing your profit margins. To do this, you should add spirits to specific cocktail recipes or upsell your wine instead of cheap booze.
You must also make your specialty drinks more aesthetic or Instagrammable to ensure quick selling.
Ultimately, your goal in this strategy is to upsell or use the drinks with lesser turnover and make them sellable in just a night or two.
You can advertise this to a specific target market demographic—women, for instance—and intensify the “fear of missing out” (FOMO) marketing strategy, as you can offer this for a limited time or at a discounted price.
16. Collaborate with food delivery services
Food delivery services have a broad customer base, including those who don’t typically visit your bar, which you can use to your advantage.
Partnering with delivery platforms opens you to opportunities such as the following:
- Increased overall revenue;
- Frequent repeat orders;
- Enhanced online presence;
- Easy implementation of promotions and discounts;
- Access to data analytics about customer behavior;
- Convenient ordering process through interactive restaurant menu software;
- Valuable reviews and ratings, and
- Localized targeting.
17. Promote local food and drink items
Here’s another trick to help you stand out from your competitors: Source local produce and use these as ingredients to your menu offerings or one of your most recommended food items.
Doing this allows you to tap into local suppliers, farmers, and artisans while building a solid connection to the community.
Plus, this helps you ensure you’re getting only the best quality produce because you can be hands-on in checking the freshness, weight, color, defects, and even the right firmness and ripeness.
Since you’re networking directly with local producers, you’ll buy these at cheaper prices than when shopping for them at commercialized markets.
And the best part? If you plan on getting the heart of the local community, offering local cuisines and flavors will attract your target market as this will cater to their tastes and preferences.
18. Leverage offline marketing
Despite the rise of digital marketing, offline advertising always stays in style. You can still rely on channels like billboards, TV, radio, direct mail, and word-of-mouth to introduce your bar promotion ideas.
Offline marketing methods specifically target your local audience, passersby, and people who have yet to encounter your online handles, making it a great addition to all your marketing efforts.
And when you physically distribute your marketing materials like flyers or direct mail, you are also maximizing your chance at networking, which will also help your bar business.
Building this customer relationship widens your audience and strengthens your ties to the target community.
19. Prioritize customer reviews
Whether that’s a five or two-star rating or positive or negative feedback, you must accumulate surveys for food and service satisfaction.
These important ratings and feedback will let you know your customers’ satisfaction level with your food and service, helping you determine what your patrons want and need.
And once you identified the needs and wants of your guests through their testimonials, you can easily incorporate and implement those identified details into your bar. This strategy will make your business more customer-centric, giving you a better customer base.
20. Display a sleek QR code menu
QR codes have long provided a convenient and hygienic dining experience, but it does more than that these days.
Using a QR code menu software, you can determine your business’ foot traffic, access the total number of newsletter signups, read customer feedback, implement promotions, integrate various payment options, and more.
This is because QR codes are a new feature of digital menu software. With technologies like this, bar owners will find it easier to manage, market, and operate their businesses because it already offers all the tools needed to run a bar.
In a single online menu software, you can view the latest analytics, which you can use to implement new strategies.
21. Customize your menu for upselling and cross-selling
One of the best bar marketing ideas to implement is upselling and cross-selling initiatives.
In an article by SuperOffice (2022), it was cited that upselling strategies have helped businesses reach a 10% to 30% revenue increase. They also revealed that about 70% up to 95% of businesses’ profit comes from their upselling and cross-selling initiatives.
To maximize this strategy, you need to curate your menu to suit your upselling or cross-selling strategy.
You can highlight high-margin drinks or food items, offer pairing suggestions, display combo deals, promote signature dishes and beverages, cross-promote products from other local businesses, and up-sell your add-on garnishes and extra shots.
Consider using digital menu software to edit or update the menu items when necessary conveniently.
Installing an interactive restaurant menu software: How it helps your marketing
Using digital tools in handling businesses offers opportunities to gain more profit and widen customer reach.
Tools like a free mobile app for restaurant ordering and digital menu software let you experience these benefits for your bar business:
Enhanced customer engagement
Interactive menu apps quickly grab your customer’s attention and keep them engaged in your menu offerings. And since it is accessible through phones, tablets, and laptops, they can browse drink options, view your menu item images, and read detailed descriptions, making the ordering process more immersive and easy.
Perform real-time updates and edits
One great advantage of having digitized menus is their editability capacity. You can update food and drink prices, descriptions, and availability.
This feature lets you curate your menus, especially when updating them to promote upselling or cross-selling programs.
Implement cross-selling and upselling
You can design your digital interactive menu to suit your cross-selling and upselling initiatives. Its editability feature makes it the perfect partner for promoting cocktails, suggesting food pairings, or offering non-selling items on your shelf.
Using a tech-based tool for your overall bar operation is already a good branding strategy itself. Not every one of your competitors will use interactive menu software like you would, making it easier for your customers to recognize you from the rest.
Not only that, you can even customize your digital menu with a QR code, your bar website, your newsletters, and your online customer surveys using only a single software. This allows you to have a consistent brand image that helps promote your bar’s identity.
Fizz up your business with the best bar marketing ideas and strategies using MENU TIGER
Bar handling and marketing are always challenging. You need to dive into a rabbit hole of information to brew the accurate strategy for your bar business.
Good thing that with the existence of digital marketing and technologies like digital restaurant menu software, you can efficiently run and advertise your business with ease.
Want to boost your bar business up the ladder? Check out MENU TIGER’s software and start your marketing journey.