Few industries have enjoyed more growth in the last decade than craft breweries. All over the country, from huge metropolitan areas to rural towns, these establishments have been trying to thrive in an increasingly-competitive marketplace.
From 2014 to 2018, the number of craft breweries increased from 3,814 to 7,346 – a nearly 100% increase over that four-year span. The eye-popping statistics indicate that standing out amongst the rest is now more important than ever.
When it comes to the marketing strategies breweries can utilize, there are several positive factors that create a favorable advertising environment. To start, the customer demographic tends to be younger, more active online, and social. This lends itself well to being a reachable audience.
In this article I’ll lay out a few key components to rolling out a successful marketing strategy that craft breweries can put into use immediately.
1. Be Social
Not only is social media an amazing way to reach people on the platforms they’re spending time on already, but it’s also extremely cost-effective. Creating and maintaining a good social media presence can feel like a job in and of itself, but in 2020 and beyond, it’s a necessity.
As a business owner, you want to cultivate a relationship with your customers that feels like a two-way street. It’s important to recognize the benefit of feedback and suggestions from your patrons in order to make positive adjustments to your business.
Some questions to ask before getting your social media strategy up and running are:
Questions to ask when setting up social media presence:
- What platforms should I utilize?
- Say what you want about Facebook – nearly everyone is still on it. Additionally, Instagram can be an amazing way to show off high-quality photos of your new products, unique space, and of course, people having fun!
- Do I want to pay for advertising?
- While you can utilize Instagram and Facebook services for free, if you really want to reach a targeted audience, paying for a few ads can have a tremendous return. Research how to find the ideal potential customers, or hire an agency to execute the paid components of social media marketing.
- What are my competitors doing?
- Craft breweries are notoriously good on social media. If you don’t know where to start, check out a few profiles from around your city and around the country to get inspired
2. Embracing Email
It might not be as conversational as social media, but compiling an email list is crucial for reaching customers right in their own inbox. Some experts have estimated that for every $1 spent on email marketing, nearly $30 is generated in future sales.
Weekly, or even monthly, email newsletters are a great way to keep your brand in the forefront of customers’ minds. The best part? They actually want to read them!
The content of your regular email blasts can focus on anything from new offerings (hello seasonal IPAs), to upcoming events, or highlighting an employee. If you want to include a coupon for a low-cost menu item, customers might have an even greater incentive to stop in.
The key to a great email newsletter is including information that is both informative and entertaining. To put it simply, make it something you’d enjoy receiving on a regular basis.
3. Repurpose User-Generated Content
Breweries are quickly becoming the new hot place for hosting all types of events. Whether it’s a birthday, wedding reception, or even a corporate event, you’re likely to host a range of different special occasions.
Not only are these events a great way to have your brand exposed to attendees, but it’s also a great way to follow-up online.
When your visitors post photos of the great time they’re having at your brewery (and they will), see if you can re-purpose their content to on your own pages! When businesses utilize your space for their events, craft a social media post thanking them for choosing you. Remember, growing a successful business starts with developing a relationship with your community.
No matter which industry you’re in, the best advertising is the positive experiences that your current customers share with others.
4. Create an Instagram-Friendly Photo Spot
How can you hire a team of Instagram marketers for free? Give patrons a picture-worthy place to post photos from your brewery!
If you do it right, one of the most influential digital marketing components won’t even require any logging in on your part. Set up a defined area in your brewery that functions as the perfect backdrop for an Instagram photo and watch your brand spread on social media.
Ideally, the backdrop will have some branding visible and it should also highlight a unique aspect that sets your brewery apart from the competition. Work with the most creative minds on your team to put something together, and don’t be afraid to change things up for seasons, holidays, or any other fun events!
5. Build a Full-Bodied Website
Here’s a common scenario: It’s Friday night, you’re looking to stop by a brewery for a few drinks with friends, but you’re having trouble deciding where to go. What’s the first step you take to help make a decision?
If you’re like most, a quick glance through a website is going to be where you start. It’s crucial that your website is giving the impression that you want your audience to see!
A few criteria to check off that should be on every brewery’s website are:
- High-quality photos of both the brewery and your product
- A calendar that relays information on special events, trivia nights, specials, etc.
- A list of all your current drink offerings (updated often)
- Links to your social media profiles
- An “about” section that gives potential customers a brief overview of what your business is all about
Investing in your website is crucial in establishing an effective online presence. Make sure you have a solid web team (whether in-house or outsourced) that can provide the type of support you need!
The Wrap Up
Competition within the brewing industry is increasing every year, but those who stand out are seeing local brands grow into national players.
A digital marketing plan that covers all the bases is a great place to get the word out – especially if you’re looking to get the absolute most out of your marketing budget. If your expertise is limited to ABVs and IBUs, reach out to a team that has the knowledge and experience you need.
If you’re a brewery that needs help getting things up and running, get in touch with us today!
View our previous work with West Side Brewing!