Top Craft Beer Marketing Blunders
It’s no secret that I love craft beer! Outside of marketing and events, craft beer is one of my top passions. Not only did my husband propose to me at a craft brewery (Track 7 in Sacramento to be exact.), but we also got married at one – Mission Brewery in San Diego. Not only do I love the delish brews, but I love the collaboration, culture, and creativity of the craft beer world. When I started my company, I decided to combine my passions – marketing, events, and craft beer. After going to numerous events and talking to craft breweries, I realized that some are awesome at this while others need some help. I completely get it…you might not have the resources to do marketing and events or you’d rather spend your time perfecting your brew or you don’t want to be considered a sell out by doing marketing. If you run a craft brewery, here are 3 marketing tips on what not to do.
Blunder #1 – Not Developing Your Brand Until You’re Launched
Breweries are so busy with setting up their brewery and brewing their beer that they put branding to the side. This is a big mistake and bad strategy. You should build your brand as you plan the opening of your brewery since the look and feel of your brewery should match your brand. If you open up your brewery and then realize later that you need to change how everything looks and feels, you will have to put everything on hold. Not only is this extra work for you, but it can be confusing to your customers and the community. It’s best to differentiate yourself through marketing right away and don't wait for the opening.
Blunder #2 – Thinking of Tactics Without a Strategy
A lot of breweries like diving into social media and other promotional tools, but it’s integral to your success to develop a strategy before you start getting the word out. Not only will this make it easier on you, but you’ll minimize the confusion in the community and you’ll have a consistent message in the market place. With anything you do in business, it’s key to have a strategy first and then execute the strategy using the different tools. You would never set up your distribution channels or determine your pricing without a strategy so don’t do that with marketing. Always have a strategy!
Blunder #3 – Using a Crappy Website
Since mobile internet usage (51.3% of all web visits) surpassed desktop usage (48.7% of all web visits) in 2016, it’s very important that your website is responsive and mobile friendly. Not only will customers hate using your website if it’s not responsive, but you’ll also get penalized by Google if you’re not mobile friendly. When you’re developing your website, always keep your customer in mind. Ask yourself, why are customers coming to my website. Are they looking for the types of beer on tap? Do they want to find out if there are any special events? Where can they buy your beer? Always make sure to include the following at a minimum and make it easy to find.
- Your Beer – include a description, ABV, IBU, etc.
- Location – include your tap room, brewery, and retail, if applicable
- Phone Number
- Social Media Handles
I understand that opening your own craft brewery is no small feat, but please make sure to dedicate some time and effort to marketing. You might have an awesome brew, but you can’t rely on word-of-mouth anymore since there is so much competition out there now. You need to find a way to stand out from all of the other craft breweries and really make a connection with your customers.