Pub Marketing: 5 ways to build a customer database

Welcome to the first in the series of the Footfall123 Pub Loyalty & Marketing Masterclass. In these posts we aim to offer guidance and support to pubs and bars using Footfall123 to power their data collection, email marketing, social media and loyalty schemes. Each month we’ll focus on a different topic, highlighting best practice, sharing success stories and celebrating case studies. This month since this is our first installment we’re going to start right at the beginning – data collection- how to build a customer database.

Data collection is the first stage of the direct marketing journey, the gateway to opening up the conversation with your customers. We all know that this relationship is important but how do we engage with our customers to begin with?

Let’s take a look at some popular techniques:


Group data collection

One very simple way to build a customer database is to use the ‘Fishbowl’ method. Quite simply place a large vessel (fishbowl) on the bar and other visible location and invite your customers to leave a business card or contact email / phone number. It’s handy to have a pen and paper in the area too, for those not equipped with their own cards. This is by far the simplest method of data collection and possibly the cheapest. What are you waiting for?

Win a bottle of fizz

This is a sure fire winner with customers and is a really good way to get your staff engaged with data collection too. Whilst, not hugely dissimilar to the ‘Fishbowl’ method, the ‘Win a bottle…’ technique takes things a step further. By offering your customers a chance of winning a bottle of wine or bubbly you are creating a buzz and excitement around the data collection, this in turn builds word of mouth (especially in country locals) so that your customers spread the word about your pub to their friends! And the winner is…

Web sign up

Without a doubt this is a must have for any pub with an eye on marketing success. Quick and easy to set up (with Footfall123 you can have this up and running in minutes), a website sign up form is low touch, so once it is set up customers are automatically added to your database, and if you are using Footfall123 customers automatically receive a follow up email. See our d’Arry’s Case Study for a free lesson in how to run a really effective web sign up offer.

Social Media

By now we all agree that social media is an important part of the marketing mix. In the hospitality sector this is particularly true as it’s a great way to engage with customers, promote events at your pub and best of all its free. However, one challenge here is that these customers may not be part of your database so will be missing out on your monthly email newsletter. The best way to overcome this is to use Footfall123 to launch a competition or promotion exclusively for your Facebook ‘fans’, for every customer that takes up your offer or enters your competition, Footfall123 will automatically add them to your database. Hey presto.

Feedback forms The Fox BSEComment cards

Our final suggestion to build a customer database is tried and tested the world over – customer comment cards. These are ideal for gathering feedback from your customers after a meal or visit, presenting them with the bill or leaving a stack with a pen beside the bar are sure to get a good response. You will need to add these to your database manually but there is no doubting the value of the quality of the feedback you’ll receive.

How to get the most from your staff

The key to success with any of these recommended techniques is staff participation. A great way to encourage this is to    set up a competition with a prize for the staff member that collects the most customer emails / phone numbers. It sounds simple but the more involved the staff feel and the more they talk to customers about the benefit of the email newsletter, the more effective the data collection process will be.

Have we missed anything? We’d love to hear about your experience and suggestions. Email james.thomas@footfall123.com

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About the Author: James Thomas

I work with retail and hospitality businesses to develop their digital strategy, specialising in loyalty marketing. I ride a bike, I like to swim and enjoy a nice cup of tea. You'll find me in the kitchen at parties. Drinking real ale. From a jug.

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