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Creating meaningful connections with your customers

It’s a safe bet that the reason people enter the pub trade is that it is a highly sociable profession. The conversation and the buzz of a busy bar make the long hours of preparation, stock control, endless housekeeping and accounts seem worthwhile. 

The connections you find easy to make on a personal level can be easily leveraged to safeguard the longevity of your business by converting to the online realm. It is surprising therefore that there are many landlords that overlook this most effective means of keeping customers coming back.

The chances are that your pub or restaurant has a website, a Facebook account and possibly even a Twitter account, but are you making the most of these online channels to stay in contact with your regulars or attract new custom? Nothing turns people off more quickly than a social media account that isn’t social. Here are some suggestions for making the most of the avenues available:

Website

Your website needs to be your shop window; engaging and exciting! If your site isn’t immediately inviting, people will look elsewhere for their special meal whether for a birthday treat, anniversary or family get together. If you don’t offer food, are your guests looking for a real ale experience, speciality gin or whisky, a local wine list? If you offer these specific services, why not tell people about them? Interior images to show what people can expect is a great way to showcase your business.

If your site visitor feels like a VIP then they’ll be far quicker to sign up for your newsletter to stay in touch with special offers. Emails to subscriber lists, not too often and not too far between, keep you in their minds when a special occasion is coming up.

Emails

There are some simple ways to maintain contact with your customer base and email is a nice way to remind people of what you have on offer. Great templates that are simple to use can be found cheaply and easily. Systems such as MailChimp, for example, allow you to create branded templates, build a database of contacts but allow people to unsubscribe should you blow it with too much information and keep you within the law regarding spam.

Most bars offer Wi-Fi and it’s a great selling point for people while out and about that they don’t use up their 4G allowance to settle arguments about the name of a particular actor in an obscure film. Offer Wi-Fi by all means but you could look at including an email capture gateway – get people to sign in with their email address to use it – you’ll then have another means of building your database of contacts.

Social media

The big one when it comes to customer engagement and interaction. If your last tweet was in 2014 and your Facebook updates are stale, you will more than likely have lost the ear and interest of those that matter to you most. You must remain social online as well as offline, why not share:

• Great images of your food. Not fuzzy photos on dirty plates, invest in a small photo session with a professional photographer and showcase your dishes with maximum effect.
• What’s on tap this week – real ale lovers are renowned for seeking out the best ale they can lay their hands on so entice them…
• Your next beer festival or tap promotion with the local micro-brewery.
• Special deals for followers – make it exclusive and make people want to stay loyal!
• Behind the scenes that show how hard you are working to make everyone happy or how much fun your team is having while delivering a great experience.

Sharing

The point of this post is to help you create a voice of your own that the customer can relate to. People may not respond to overly pressured selling but will respond to authenticity. Showing a passion for what you do, bringing in the personality of your business is irresistibly shareable. And shares have the potential to reach further afield than you might imagine.

Beer Piper has more than 30 years experience of working with landlords, bar managers and bar staff – those that have been using our line cleaning system realise the time and cost savings they can gain allow then to get on with what they do best; being their entertaining best and looking after customers. If you’re struggling to fit in your manual line clean as well as be a welcoming face and the social creature you know yourself to be, talk to us today.

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