How To Effectively Market My Bar Or Pub Online In Singapore

how to market a bar or pub in singapore

Your bar or pub, tavern, gin mill or whatever fancy name you have for a joint that serves alcohol, can only thrive when it’s diligently marketed to the right clientele and with a well thought of and laid out online promotion strategy.

Just because your bar looks great or is considered upscale by many; that doesn’t mean people are going to flock to it left, right and center. If it’s NOT marketed right to where the targeted clientele is, then don’t expect to drive an impressive amount of traffic.

Before the internet, your bar marketing options in Singapore were only limited to printing out fliers and sponsoring local events. But now, the internet is your oyster –presenting a cornucopia of marketing opportunities. And you competition is not limited to your fellow bar owners, but all lounges, restaurants, raves, and pop-up night clubs serving out alcohol.

The only way you can attract, engage, and retain your customers is by fiddling with your marketing strategy to accommodate social media, mobile marketing, and a series of digitally savvy promotions suggested below:

Optimize Your Site for SEO

A good number of local drinkers or foreigners visiting your local area for a short stay will try to find a drinking spot near them through search engines. If you’re NOT anywhere in the search results presented, then you might end up missing on a great deal of potential customers.

Learn all you can about SEO and be quick to implement it wherever possible.

The ultimate goal is to make sure your site appears at the top whenever someone’s searches for a nearby bar.

Here’s a list of SEO things to do:

  1. Optimize your site so it can appear on the first page of Google and other search engines for as many search terms as possible.
  2. Work on your online reviews and make sure it’s top notch and impressive enough to convince the person reading it to come to your bar.
  3. Get a Google My Business Account to put your business on the map.

You can start by coming up with a list of keywords that an online user is likely to key into search engines to trace a local pub for a pint of beer. You can thereafter use the search terms you’ve come up with to optimise your site and secure a favourable spot in the SERPs.

Create a Google My Business account

A Google My Business account comes as an ultimate solution to marketing your business across almost all Google platforms. It’s the solution you need to connect your business with potential customers through Google Maps, search results and Google +, all assembled at one place.

Through the account, you can get your account listed through the web. You’ll be asked about your operation hours, address, website, and photos. Customers get to see all the relevant information about your business, including Google maps directions and can even leave a review behind depending on the experience they receive when they finally make it to your watering hole.

Google My Business also helps to rank you up in the SERPs. Without it, you’d certainly have a hard time optimising your website for SEO.

For even better results, it’s important that you also consider listing your business with other listing platforms such as Yelp, Angie’s and Better Business Bureau to name a few.

Work on Your Online Reviews

Google rolled out an update that allows users to filter out businesses based on their rating, price and hours of operation.

Any business with a rating of 4 and below therefore risks being filtered out.

To make your site show up among the first results on the map, work on improving your business and the services you’re providing to a point that you’ll only be getting positive reviews from the customers you serve.

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There’s no harm in encouraging your customers to rate you a 5 star. You can do it via social media, email, or even personally at your bar while serving them.

Just be creative and very transparent with how you approach the whole thing to avoid sending the wrong impression.  

Capture the Best of Your Bar with Photos

High quality photos let you convey the best of your business. They can help you drive sales and even get the bulk of your prospects more interested to come to your bar.

The same cannot be however said about poor quality photos. Apart from making your business appear amateurish, they may end up as a turn off to some people.

If you can bring yourself to capturing good photos, then it doesn’t hurt hiring a real professional to help you out.

Here are some sound DIY tips to those looking into taking their own photos instead of hiring someone else to help out:

  1. Start by working at your lighting. If you can’t afford some real lighting, then plan on capturing your restaurant during daytime when there’s plenty of natural lighting. You can even place the beverages you want to capture near the window to trap some natural light.
  2. Take the photos under different settings. You can involve people. Take some cut-ins and cutaways. Or simply capture the façade.
  3. Capture the images of how the drinks are going to look like when served to customers.
  4. Remember to include some house recipes for some of your customers to try them at home. You can hide some of the finer details. But there’s no harm in sharing some of the deep secrets you’ve mustered over the years with your loyal customers. Even so, it’s important that you make sure that your bartender is the only person who can produce the best version of it.  

Get Someone to Develop a Website that Matches Your Brand to T

SEO and almost everything mentioned on the list is NOT applicable if you don’t have a website.

Even more important, your website must contain all the important information regarding your business. There should be menus, your working hours, price, and a little story about your bar and how long it’s been operating.

The point is to try as much as you possibly can to connect with your customers on a personal level.  

Observe the latest trend and calibrate accordingly. The designing you choose should also be captivating enough to keep your customers hooked from the word go.

Work on the navigation and remember to include all the cool elements such as parallax scrolling that make it fun interacting with your website. But most importantly, keep it simple to avoid creating unnecessary complications that may scare away some of your prospects.

Giveaways

Gifts are attractive. Your prospects are going to love you for it provided it comes with no catch.  

Works best if your plan is to increase your online followers and win more converts.

It doesn’t have to be complicated. You can choose to offer a free bear to anyone who invites a given number of your online invites to like your page.

A better idea would be to give away merchandise with your brand name and logo on it. Bottle openers of pint glasses feature atop among the customised freebie you could give away.

Freebies allow you to convert some of your customers into loyal customers. Looking for a brand ambassador for your business? Why NOT offer them something for free and see how that works for you.

Advertising

Advertising allows you to put your business out there, right where your customers are instead of waiting for them to discover your business by chance.

It’s the cheapest and easiest way to get customers flocking in.

Start by targeting the right audience. You can do this by filtering them out based on their location and age. Make sure the people you target are over the legal drinking age and only a few miles from your business to avoid wasting the bulk of your marketing effort on things that won’t payout.

Next, look at the most attractive offerings you are making and make it known. Is it a special Tuesday Night? Do you offer karaoke? Or are your drinks cheaper or of good quality compared to what your competitors are offering?

You can boost the posts you’ve made or create a post or banner to advertise your bar and the services you offer.

Instagram Stories

Instagram has been updated a great deal in the recent. Among the recent rollouts is a feature that allows you to create stories that disappear after 24 hours. Meant to keep your followers engaged and updated on the recent events, the photos you post don’t need to be perfect – just good enough to convey your message.  

These stories can be made to stick forever by turning them into highlights while they’re still running.  

You can use the highlights to show off your drink menu where your followers can click through to find out more about the kind of drinks you’re offering. You can also use the stories to display some of the recipes or to take your visitors through the behind the scenes happenings of your bar.  

Bank on User-generated Content

A good looking pub should get your customers interested in taking photos and posting them on social media.  

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No convincing is required if the set up is attractive enough. What you need to do is start a hashtag and encourage your followers to use it alongside the captions they make.  

Take full advantage of the content posted by sharing it across different platforms and even encourage them to continue doing so.  

Use your hashtag to find the pictures and posts. But remember to give photo-credit where it’s due whenever you repost them.

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The photos posted by users help get viewers interested in trying your bar out for the first time in the hopes of experiencing the same. Over the long haul you get to drive an even bigger traffic.

Get a Blog

You’re NOT limited as to what you can blog. So long as your readers find your blog posts interesting and informative enough, then that’s reason enough to keep them captivated.

But what’s more important about blogging is that it gets you ranked up high on the search engines. When people key in certain search terms, your website appears among the results presented in the first page, thus driving an even bigger traffic to your website.  

Your blogging ideas are only limited by how far you’re willing to let your creativity fly. For instance you could blog about:

Cocktail Recipes

Come up with a list of cocktail recipes or a traditional brew and blog about it. Make your content valuable and interesting enough for your online readers to keep coming back for more.  

Share about your travels

If your travels were fun, then why NOT share about your experiences with followers? Just find a way to make them carry some value and you’re good to go.

Profile Your Employees

You can use the blog section to connect your customers with your employees. A little touch on their personal experience should go a long way.  

Drink Pairing

Come up with a list of drinks that go well together and write about them; works even better if your bar serves both food and drinks.  

Build an Email List

A bar can still operate with an email list. You can start by creating a pop up subscription form that you’ll be using to collect email from your site’s visitors.

There are however some solid tips to observe if you intend to make the whole thing a success. Here’s a list of them:

Don’t spam

Don’t go on collecting random emails and mass shooting them emails without being given the green light to do so through email confirmation.  

The emailing should be regular, but NOT on a daily basis. For instance, you could start by sending weekly emails as you gradually work on getting your followers anxious and used to receiving your emails.

Be creative with the emails you send

The emails you send should present your personality in fun but informative way. The point is to aim at connecting with your customers at a personal level to a point that you can follow their comment and be able to come up with an interesting topic to write about.

Understand what your customers want  

Don’t force your content to your customers. Instead take time to study how your followers interact with the content you send and calibrate accordingly to start sending the content you’re pretty sure they’re interested in.  

Share about your new menu in a creative way

You can even link the email to your website to start receiving online orders.  

Capture the Atmosphere of your Bar

You can capture the atmosphere of your bar and show them to your followers via the social media and your website.  

This should help to clue in your customers about how to dress depending on the type of night.  

The photos can be posted both on your social networks and website. Visitors can then look at them and find out about what to expect and at least get a rough idea on how to dress for the occasion.

Even better, the photos can be posted on Instagram where the bulk of potential customers can easily follow and find out more about your bar and how it both looks like and feels.  

It’s a Wrap

Marketing your bar essentially involves being creative with some of the tactics you employ. The point is to make your bar appear like a fun place to be. If you can convince the bulk of your online visitors that they’re bound to have an exciting time at your bar should they consider paying you a visit, then you’re half way there.  

There are marketing ideas aplenty. But what’s included on the list should be enough to move your business to the next level of success. You’re however invited to contact MediaOne today for further expansion on this or for a free SEO consultation.

Author Bio

Tom Koh is widely recognised as a leading SEO consultant in Asia who has worked to transform the online visibility of the leading organisations such as SingTel, Capitaland, Maybank, P&G, WWF, etc. Recently he was instrumental in consulting for a New York-based US$30B fund in an US$4Bn acquisition. Tom is a Computational Science graduate of the National University of Singapore. In his free time he performs pro-bono community work and traveling.
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November 29, 2018

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