Your website not only reflects your brand and values, it is the heart and soul of your business's online presence and an integral part to your digital marketing strategy. The content, quality, and performance of your site determines if and where your site's pages show up in relevant search results and greatly impact your placement in local results (including Google Maps). With proper markup, elements from your brewery's website such as events, products, and articles are eligible for rich results in search engines which can quadruple your click-through rates.
What you include or don't include on your brewery's website can have serious effects on the business's growth. Here are six major elements used by America's top breweries which can have a huge impact on your brewery's performance online and in the tap room.
Beer doesn't sell itself on flavor alone and we're definitely not living in the Field of Dreams. You're running an event-driven business. Not convinced? A 2014 Eventbrite survey found that after beer events, 99% of participants will recommend your brand to a friend, 85% will look you up online, and 40% want to stay informed about your brewery's future events by sign up for your email newsletter. That's some powerful marketing! This isn't simply just about typical tap takeovers and tasting events or running a weekly trivia night either. You need to build your niche and present a genuinely unique experience for your customers inside and outside of your tap room.
Listing events on your website using the proper markup can have a huge impact on your search presence, too. Heavy Craft included event markup on the website of a Zwicklemania 2019 participating brewery and in the days leading up to the event, the website's search impressions more than doubled their average of roughly 200 impressions per day to 529 on the date of the event. Events will get you seen in real life and online.
There's no shortage of ideas to establish your events niche. Here are a few on-site and off-site event ideas to get those creative juices going and juicy IPAs flowing:
- Highlight Community Efforts
- Vinyl Record Night
- Farmer's Market Tasting
- B-Rated Movie Night
- Free Brewing Classes
- Job Fair with Suppliers
- Open Mic Night
- Haunted Brewery Tour
- Green Initiatives
- Celebrate Craft Brewing Pioneers
- Beer Brunch
- Beer Release Party
- Neighborhood Block Party
- Women's Meetup
- Family Night
- Brewing Lectures
- Homebrew Club
- Networking Events
- Drink and Draw
- Festivals (and not just beer ones)
- Farm-to-table Beer Dinner
- Brewery Running Series
- Sponsored Dance Party
- Beer Exchange
- Holiday Events (..for just about anything!)
- Food Pairings
- Live entertainment
If you're interested in seeing what types of events are trending in your area, check out Eventbrite's free Trending Searches tool for your city.
2. Beer Detail Pages
9 out of 10 of America's top breweries use dedicated beer detail pages on their websites and for good reason. It's not just beer geeks that want to know more about what's in your craft brew. Sharing beer details such as a brief tasting note and ABV is commonplace for a typical beer list, but providing beer-specific pages allows plenty of room for additional important details like ingredients, availability, packaging, food pairings, recipes, nutritional information, and awards, all of which are great for establishing trust with consumers. The added detail and transparency shows customers that you genuinely care about your products and that you are devoting time and attention every step of the way from sourcing to consumption. The addition of awards, testimonials, and recent Untappd check-ins legitimize your beer in the eyes of consumers and including details like nutritional information is a signal to your customers letting them know you truly care about their well-being.
Another major reason to include all of this information is that dedicated product detail pages give your business an incredible opportunity to gain extra visibility in search results. By providing additonal keywords on single-topic pages you are more likely to rank for topic-specific search phrases. As an example, if you're selling a Double IPA with Mosaic® Hops, your beer has a much better chance of ranking for the search term "mosaic double ipa" with a dedicated product page because it is the primary topic of the page. With the proper markup, the search term and related phrases will appear in the page title, description, and throughout the body of the page giving search engines the right signals needed to match the searcher's intent.
If you have product-specific merchandise, the beer detail page is also a great place to promote your brand.
When your beer catalogue is expansive enough, its also a great idea to include links to related beers based on style or ingredients to help consumers discover your entire selection.
3. Product Finder
Perhaps someone happened upon your website by engaging with your latest tweet, found your beer detail page in search results, or just simply heard about your product by word-of-mouth. They surely aren't going to do all of the legwork to call all of the nearest restaurants, bars, and retailers to find you. You could wait until they stumble upon your beer at one of the hundreds of bars and restaurants in your city or amongst the 1000+ beers at your local bottle shop, but including a product finder on your website just seems like the smartest option. Make it easy for new customers to find your beer around town.
Adding a product finder to your site doesn't need to be a hassle to deploy and maintain. Your distributor should already be using software like Vermont Information Processing - VIP which provides all of the beer finder functionality for you. In the event you're self distributing, you should ideally be using route accounting software with similar functionality or at least maintain an up-to-date customer database which you can easily share directly on your website. If advanced route accounting software isn't in your budget, you can easily roll out and maintain your own using CMS plugins or hire a web developer for custom integrations.
4. Community Efforts & Sustainability
Showing that your brand is involved with your community and takes sustainability initiatives seriously is critical to your brewery's survival. 75% of millennials, the generation accounting for one-third of the entire population and 57% of all craft beer drinkers with nearly $1.4 trillion in collective spending power, say it’s important to them that the brands they support give back to society instead of just making a profit. And half of the respondants in a DSM study said "a product advertised as being sustainable made the product more attractive".
5. Fresh & Uniquely Valuable Content
In order to get better search engine rankings you need to acquire more high-quality links to your site. In order to acquire more high-quality links to your site, you need to frequently generate high-quality content. In order to generate more high-quality content, you need to become a thought leader in your niche.
What does it mean to be a thought leader? You don't need to be an expert in everything, but you should certainly be an expert in your niche and simply regurgitating information from popular beer blogs won't cut it. With a solid USP, your brewery should have no shortage of facts, opinions, and news to boast along your business's journey which tell the unique story of your brand and prove your status as a thought leader.
For example, if your brewery is a non-profit focused on giving back to the community, you can pave your way as a thought leader in your niche by sharing the importance of your initiatives and charitable programs you're involved in. It is highly valuable to discuss what you believe in and what your product represents in order to build genuine engagement with real people who care about the same fundamental things. It is important that you address why what you're doing matters and why you're doing it because broad and generic statements resonate with noone.
Products like iPhones, designer shoes, or the cars we drive are ever-present in our life which give constant reminders of the brands we consume. Whether you're a car enthusiast or not, you can easily recognize dozens of vehicle brand logos with zero effort because we are surrounded by them in our day-to-day lives. But good beer goes down quick.
Your product lives in a temporal space. Your draft beer is most likely not being served in your own glassware and there are no keepsakes to take home. Your cans and bottles will soon be recycled. Here and gone. If you want your brand to catch on, your customers need to be constantly surrounded by visual reminders. Selling your brewery's merchandise online is a cost-effective way to chisel your way into the daily lives of your customers.