Like it or not it would seem that in order to successfully market ones pub in this era of mass communication one needs a presence on the internet, to wit, a website.
A successful pub website can, for many customers, be the first impression they have of your pub and in just the same way as scruffy decor, bad beer, inferior food, dirty toilets and surly staff are a sure recipe for disaster so is a poorly designed and maintained website.
This all seems too much for me…
There’s no doubt designing, building and maintaining a quality pub website can take a great deal of effort and time so many pubs employ a design and web-building company, principally from the graphic design industry. However, this may not be the best solution for busy publicans (constantly having to update the site with events, sports, entertainment, promotions) and not all graphic designers understand what a pub website really needs.
How To Run A Pub recommends websites4pubs for their fully integrated pub website hosting and design service. You can choose from two types of package:
1) A website designed and maintained by websites4pubs but you keep the content up to date.
2) A managed website, whereby websites4puba help you design and build the website and then keep it up to date and fresh for you.
Whether you are embarking on building a pub website or have one up and running already have one the following advice can help make the difference between a good or bad website.
What do customers look for in a pub website?
I would say the first thing they look for is honesty, they want to be able to trust what they read and see as being an accurate reflection of what they will experience when they visit your pub.
But most of all, customers are looking for information… information on how to find you, when you open, when your serve food, what facilities are on offer, what entertainment you provide, details of the food and drink you serve and what offers or promotions you run… and as with your “real world offering” they want to enjoy a “relationship” with your brand.
They say you have less than 10 seconds to catch a web-surfer so first impressions are most important, an outdated looking, “clunky” website, which takes an age to load, is out of date and badly designed will keep customers from engaging with your pub business brand just as effectively as serving up foul-tasting beer,
A good website has great content, is regularly updated, intuitive, easy to use, and, ideally, has a good visitor to customer conversion rate. However, many pubs struggle to build and maintain a successful website, because they lack the knowledge required.
The following tips can help you make your website work harder to win new customers, while maintaining your current client base.
Your website should sell to your ideal customer…
As an example, the most profitable swimming pool maintenance company in America is not run by a ruthless, corporate company, but by an unassuming guy who answered every conceivable question that his target customers had about swimming pool maintenance on his website’s FAQ page. So if you’re promoting your pub as a “family friendly venue” then concentrate on the benefits and attractions of your pubs to families and children; if you’re a “sports pub” then feature details of teams you support and sports you show.
It’s a great strategy and one that every pub business should employ with their website. Web visitors are primarily hunters, they hunt for information, and if you don’t give them what they need (and pretty quickly), they’ll go elsewhere.
When you consider your pub website, you have to put yourself in your potential customers’ shoes and answering every question they could possibly have about your pub, you put them at ease, build up trust in your brand and set up yourself as the pub of choice in your market place. This will help you win loyal customers, and, I believe, is more effective than the blatant BUY! BUY! BUY! tactics deployed on some pub websites. 21st century consumers are very sophisticated and by and large, hate the “hard sell”, so why scare away your potential customers by using such tactics?