Your Digital Pub Business!

digital marketing, running a pub
Written by: Pub Partners Team
Date added: Mon, 27/03/2017 - 10:00

Digital marketing may seem like a big challenge for people unused to using social media or other internet-based marketing techniques.  Yet it can be an extremely important tool in helping to raise awareness of your pub, attracting new customers, and keeping your existing customers informed of events, offers and other reasons to visit.

Just consider the experience of James Morgan, landlord of The Antelope in Surbiton. With Greene King’s help, he set up a craft brewery at the back of the pub within a few months of taking over the tenancy.  Using social media has an immediate effect on sales as he explains. “If we were to tweet or put anything out on Facebook or on boards outside to say we are doing a brew, we can see £500 to £600 a night more.”

Or take Andrena Smith-Bowes of The Elizabethan, Dunfermline who used a combination of digital marketing and direct marketing successfully to launch a pub.  “Running six pubs means that we can employ centralised resources to help make the most of our businesses. Our marketing team was able to work on the launch and let potential customers know all about the opening. We used Facebook and Twitter and also produced 25,000 leaflets to door drop in local houses and businesses offering 25% off a meal. The response was fantastic!”

Getting Started With Digital Marketing

So what exactly is meant by digital marketing?  Digital refers to anything online, whether it’s your pub website, social media profiles or email communications, for example email newsletters.

However, social media is one of the most powerful ways a pub landlord can use digital marketing: after all, your pub is a social business and therefore social media is an ideal fit.

By using Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, or Snapchat you can communicate with customers, reach new ones, and drive traffic to your website and pub.  The complex analytics present on social media channels allow you to target specific types of customers.  Popular content, especially images and videos can go viral as people like to share content, potentially allowing one image to be seen by thousands of people within a very short period of time. 

Simply posting details of a special event such as a quiz night, a sports evening, or a themed evening can immediately reach a wider audience as well as ensuring that your regulars are fully informed of all that is happening in their local pub.  Then there are the comments, feedback and reviews that can be seen online, helping to develop a sense of community and engagement between pub, licensee and guests.

You can analyse those trends and see what is working for your pub, and therefore ensure a quick return on investment.  Posts that drive people towards your website encourage people to stay longer and find out more about your pub. The longer they stay, the more interested they are and the more likely they are to visit the pub.  Likewise a website can be a great way of allowing people to book tables for meals or for special events.

Your Pub Website

Having the right SEO  (search engine optimisation) keywords on your website also helps people to find your business easily within the myriad of websites present on the internet. For example, if someone is looking for a pub in your town to eat at when visiting they may search for ‘pubs in [town name]’. To help your pub website come up high in search results you’ll need to ensure that you use relevant keywords on your website such as ‘pub’, ‘pub food’, ‘pubs in [town name]’, and other location specific words and phrases.

Getting Support With Marketing Your Pub Business

Not surprisingly, it can get very confusing for the uninitiated! Digital is constantly changing, with new developments, new technology and new social media channels appearing.  Snapchat for example was unknown a few years ago – now it is highly popular. Then there is email marketing and internet advertising, videos, apps and much more. You need to find out what is right for your pub business, and the customers you wish to attract.

If your customers hang out on Facebook, that’s the place to be. But if you’re trying to reach a younger crowd, you may find that Instagram or Snapchat is more successful.

There are so many digital marketing techniques that people can easily become confused and lose track of what is working and what isn’t.

To enable landlords to maximise potential sales that can accrue through digital marketing, Greene King is planning to support every licensee with a digital package, as well as offering various training packages that are available to book today.

Training packages include:

  • Marketing through Social Media. This course enables participants to understand developments in social media, evaluate the methods and approaches available as well as creating a viable social media campaign.  Among the topics covered are how to generate PR for your business, using Twitter to create a viral marketing campaign, writing engaging content and evaluating marketing investment.
  • Success with Social Media Level One. This is a personal development training day relating to management and leadership which seeks to demystify the world of social media.  Participants learn how to build a community, measure impact and manage their social media activity to create a really proactive social media presence.
  • Success with Social Media Level Two. This course further expands a participants knowledge and understanding of social media as it provides additional techniques to use email marketing, Hootsuite, Instagram, YouTube and other platforms. 

There is no doubt that taking part in training courses to understand the intricacies of digital marketing and social media has proved to be beneficial to landlords. 

Jane Corrigan of Jeremiah’s Taproom Edinburgh commented, “the social media course was really informative. We are more proactive, plan ahead and actively follow our competitors.” 

“While Lorna Pisarro, of The Greyhound Lavenham says, “After going on the social media course, we realised that social media needs to be pushed up the priority list. For us now we’ve dedicated a lot of time to social media, we now get direct sales from it.”

Digital marketing plays a very important role in developing sales.  Martyn Stewart of The Dining Room Kirkaldy comments that after repainting the pub to make it more visible, digital marketing was essential in getting the word around that the pub was open for business. 

He says, “They helped us with marketing support and built a website and showed us how to use social media for the pub including a blog that Roddy [Head Chef] can update regularly. The pub’s trade is split 70% food to 30% drinks so its important that Roddy lets people know who he is and what he’s doing – it’s his reputation that gets people coming back for more!”

To find out more about our training courses and for support with your digital marketing, get in touch with the team. Call 0845 607 5330 or email