With the increasingly competitive industry landscape, marketing is a must in order for your craft beer business to grow and stay ahead of the game. If done right, digital marketing tactics are incredibly cost-effective at generating sales and acquiring loyal customers. These five digital marketing tips will help you on your journey to becoming a true beer god.
Establish meaningful relationships.
You've got some great beer, but running a successful brewery business is a completely different beast. Flourishing breweries establish themselves as an integral part of their community by forging meaningful relationships with their customers long before making any sales. The craft beer market is heavily saturated with high-quality brews which means good beer cannot be a unique selling proposition on its own*, but strong customer relationships backed by your brand's unique voice can easily set your business apart from the rest. Directing customer-centric content marketing efforts makes your brand relatable to customers and creates long-lasting relationships which convert to repeated sales. Focusing on what makes your business unique and why what you're doing is important will establish your brewery as a thought leader and make lasting impressions on your customers.
* Yes, there are rare exceptions to this where a brewery can briefly corner a specific niche in a diverse market be it with pastry-inspired beers, one-of-a-kind farmhouse ales, or barrel-aged sours.
Treat your website as a Sales Representative.
The utility of a website is often overlooked by new businesses with a common misperception that their website is merely a brochure or sometimes likened to a yellow page listing. The reality is that a website should perform virtually the same tasks as a sales representative.
Websites should effectively:
- Represent your brand voice and company mission
- Acquire marketing and sales qualified leads
- Improve sales goals
- Generate and provide insightful reporting
- Answer customer questions
- Promote company programs
- Coordinate with ongoing marketing campaigns
Create content with purpose.
Every social media post, email newsletter, and blog post can direct people to engage with your brand in meaningful ways, buy your beer, and eventually become loyal brand advocates. High-quality photography and copywriting are great for brand image, but providing the necessary calls-to-action will direct customers to a next step whether it be visiting your taproom or signing up for your brewery's email list. Before publishing content, ensure each piece has an actionable end goal to promote your brand and increase your sales.
Track actionable metrics.
Likes and follower count are commonly referred to as vanity metrics and while the stats are good-to-know (or "feel good") information they are virtually meaningless when it comes to an indication of performance and often times these numbers are artificially inflated. A good marketing strategy tracks actionable metrics which reflect against your brewery's dollar.
|Vanity Metric||Actionable Metric|
Understand the context and intent of website visitors.
Actionable metrics such as bounce rate, the percentage of people that leave your site after looking at only one page, have absolutely no value if the intent and context of website visitors aren't fully understood. In essence, context answers the question of why someone visits a page and intent answers what they intend to find.
If a visitor lands on a page via search or other means and both context and intent are not satisfied, they are guaranteed to leave your site leading to high bounce rates. This can easily happen if web pages unintentionally rank for irrelevant keywords. For example, a Portland, Oregon brewery's web page can show up in the results of a search intended for Portland, Maine leading to an unmatched context or a search for "bike bar tour" can lead to mismatched intent when looking for a brewery tour of Hopworks BikeBar (now N Williams Pub and Beergarden).
And on the other hand, content like blogs and news articles by design will satisfy the context and intent of a visitor yet also lead to high bounce rates (65%–90%). There isn't one ideal bounce rate to rule them all so its important to completely understand how the metric applies to your own unique business and the ways in which your content matches the context and intent of visitors.