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CRAFT BEER: ULTIMATE DIGITAL MARKETING GUIDE

By | Marketing

For many (myself included) the idea of running a craft beer business is a dream. Fascinating chemistry? Creative freedom? Getting paid to taste delicious beer? Yes, please.

But we aren’t alone. In fact, some studies suggest that the number of breweries operating in the UK has almost doubled in the past five years. This could be part of the reason why many assume that the craft beer gold rush is over…it is true that we have seen market growth slowing in recent years.

But has the opportunity to start a craft beer micro-empire really disappeared? We think not. We are now seeing the market level out. This means entry is becoming more difficult.

Sure, this sounds bad…but it isn’t. It means those who want to succeed are forced to focus on quality. Quality of the product, quality of the brand and indeed the quality of their customer service.

We can’t help much with customer service or the product (although we are more than willing to taste test). But branding and marketing is our thing. Here is our guide to marketing your craft brewery.

 

Craft Beer: The opportunity

 

You would be forgiven for thinking that the craft beer trend has had its day here in the United Kingdom. Yet recent figures from SIBA (The Society of Independent Brewers) have shown some surprising findings in the independent brewery space. For example, 2018 saw growth in artisan beer production of 0.8%. A modest increase for sure, but we have also seen some not-so-surprising shifts in consumer habits and perceptions:

 

“45% of consumers are happy to pay more for genuine craft beer.”

“24% of consumers would be more likely to visit a pub or restaurant if it had a good selection of craft beer”

“16% of consumers would consider switching where they do their shopping based on the craft beer selection a supermarket offers”

 

Although the same report also highlighted a 5% decline in people drinking beer more than once a week (from 26% in 2017 to 21% in 2019), the combined figures go to show that as a general rule consumers are drinking less beer, whilst simultaneously demanding better quality.

 

Marketing

 

When it comes to marketing there are options. LOADS of options. So it can be difficult to know where to start.

Getting the right marketing mix for your craft beer business is a fine art which will take some time and testing. Here is how to get started:

Social Media

 

You won’t be surprised to see social media on this list. But just ‘doing social media’ won’t do much for your brand. A solid understanding of social media strategy, including organic and paid-for social media is crucial for success.

craft beer sign

Organic Social

The first question to ask yourself when considering social media (or any digital marketing for that fact) is what do you want to achieve. Simply posting on social is unlikely to benefit you much. Ask yourself:

Who do you want to reach?

What do you want them to do?

Audience

Of course, delicious craft beer is for everyone (over 18). But developing a more specific idea of who you are marketing to will help focus your efforts. Take for example a typical target audience for a craft brewery:

Gender: Male

Age: 22-45 (although a growing audience in the 18-21 space)

Interests: Sustainability, Local Food & Drink, Socialising

Social Media Platforms

Taking this into consideration you can start to work out where those customers attention might be. Trying to reach the above audience may see you focusing on certain social media platforms. For example, with an estimated 42 million users in the UK, Facebook is a no brainer for the majority of businesses.

Instagram is often overlooked for craft beer producers. However, with roughly 59% of internet users between 18 and 29 using the platform it offers access to a huge proportion of a growing customer base. The platform is also becoming increasingly popular with an older audience, with 33% of internet users between 30 and 49 also using the platform. Instagram also lends itself to such an artisan trade as craft brewing. Allowing breweries to tell visual stories (brewing process, branding, community content etc).

Other platforms should also be considered carefully. Twitter is widely used by businesses, however, with engagement on the platform dropping drastically resources may be better spent elsewhere. Snapchat is certainly a powerful visual platform, yet with a much younger audience, it is unlikely to be that useful for in the craft beer space.

We may hate it, but selling directly to pubs is not as profitable as it used to be. We are seeing a shift for craft beer consumers drinking less, higher quality beer at home. For this reason, it is now more important than ever for craft breweries to develop strong relationships with retailers. LinkedIn may not seem like a natural platform for a craft brewery, but it can be a powerful sales tool. Although the majority of the effort on LinkedIn is likely to be from a personal point of view (sales managers), having a strong business page will support sales efforts online.

Call to action

So, once you have worked out who you are trying to target and which platforms you are going to use to reach them you need to work out exactly what you want them to do….

…ok, this question sounds pretty dumb…we want them to buy beer right? Well yes, but the likelihood of someone seeing some of your social media content once and then becoming a loyal customer is pretty low. Instead, you need workout which actions are valuable to your business. These may include:

Visiting an online store

Joining a mailing list

Following you on social media

Digesting a particular piece of content

Calling the brewery

When developing your call to action, you need to take two things into consideration. Firstly, you should not be looking for a direct result with every post. In fact, the majority of your posts should be informative or entertaining with no call to action (adding value). As a general rule, we use the 80/20 rule…for every 8 educational/entertaining posts we will include 2 ‘direct sells’. The 80% isn’t just wasted content, it is promoting engagement, building brand value and driving traffic to your profile…which should be geared for your valuable action.

social media rules

Paid Social

We won’t deny it. Although organic social media is a powerful and worthwhile tool…it’s a slow build. In fact, commercially savvy platforms like Facebook, Instagram and Twitter are making it increasingly difficult to earn substantial reach on their platforms.

Why? Because money…and lot’s of it. Facebook reportedly made $16.6 billion in ad revenue in Q4 of 2018.

Clever use of social media ads offer some substantial advantages to craft beer businesses. It allows you to reach your exact target audience with the right message at the right time…something which can be tricky with organic social media tactics (although you stand a better chance if you follow our tips above).

The advanced targetting on Facebook and Instagram ads means you target by demographics, interests and behaviours. So, in the case of a craft brewery, you could target men in your local area, aged between 22-45 who are interested in craft beer. You can even filter based on those that are engaged online shoppers, increasing chances of a purchase being made via your ad.

Social ads are particularly powerful when you have a key or new message to push. For example, to make a lot of noise about a new beer release or an upcoming event, paid social ads can be a great way to get that message in front of the right people in a timely manner.

Blogging

Some industries are seriously blog heavy. Take digital marketing for example…this certainly isn’t the only digital marketing blog out there (but it probably is the best). I would be shocked to visit a marketing agency or platform website and not find some form of a blog. Other industries see very few blogs being created – craft beer is one of these.

Blogging may not seem an important part of promoting your craft beer business. But this isn’t the case for two key reasons:

  1. The majority of consumers love craft beer for the ‘art’. By creating a blog it enables you to position yourself as a leader in the craft beer space and educate your customers on why your products are so great…all without being too salesy.
  2. Consumers often turn to Google to find new and interesting craft beers to try…a regularly populated blog does wonders for your search engine rankings.

craft beer blog

Blogging can take a number of forms:

  • Written (like this) – great for SEO (search engine optimisation) and keeping your website fresh
  • Vlog (or video blogging) –  not always as good from an SEO perspective, but great for engagement, brand building and visual storytelling
  • Micro-blogging  – writing mini-blogs on platforms like Instagram is a brilliant way to build your audience and boost engagement…but again this isn’s quite as good from an SEO point of view.

Influencers

Influencer marketing has taken the digital marketing world by storm. This has led to a bit of a free for all or as many in the industry call it ‘a shit show’. With so many options and news about fake followers, it can all be a bit disheartening.

But chill….we have your back.

Let’s be honest. A photo of Kim Kardashian sipping your beer is a bit irrelevant and wildly improbable. Influencer marketing doesn’t have to mean cringe-worthy celebrity ‘endorsements’. Instead, we suggest targetting the following types of influencers for your efforts.

Micro Influencers

The term micro influencer means different things to different people. For example, in the health and fitness space an Instagram influencer with 30K followers may be considered fairly ‘micro’. However, in the craft beer space an influencer who has a specific interest may have a much smaller number of followers…let’s say 5k for example.

 

craft beer influencer

Working with these influencers can be a great way to tap into the community, spread noteworthy news and even develop professional content which can be reused across all your marketing materials. In the case of working with micro influencers, you should take time to make sure they are a good match for your brand. You must also allow them creative freedom to ensure authenticity throughout their content.

Brand Advocates

Brand advocates should be the bread and butter of your marketing strategy. Although there is a lot of fluff around what is meant by brand advocates, we prefer a simpler definition…’very happy customers’. By creating delighted customers you are increasing the chances of positive word of mouth.

But this is just part of the equation of brand advocacy. It is all very well creating happy customers, but without giving them something to shout about it is unlikley to have much of a positive impact on your craft beer business. Doing this is actually quite simple. Here are a few ideas to help promote brand advocacy:

  1. Run events (beer tasting, tours, gigs etc), collect your own content and ask attendees if you can share their content…using an event-specific hashtag is a good way to do this.
  2. Make your product noteworthy. However delicious your beer is…it’s still brown liquid…this is where branding comes in. Creating awesome packaging, glasses, pump clips and even merch are a great way to give your brand advocates something to shout about.
  3. Reward awesome content. By providing an incentive for those that create great brand-focused content, you turn your top customers into brilliant (and cost-effective) content creators for your brand.
  4. Go above an beyond. Sometimes it as simple as being good at your job…great customer service often leads to great online content, especially in the case of online reviews.

 

Craft Beer Marketing

 

Craft brewing is an exciting space to break into. For those that have the drive, there are huge opportunities to create an awesome business that can be highly profitable. However, in such a competitive space, marketing will play an increasingly important part in successful craft beer breweries. Using a smart combination of social media, SEO, influencer marketing and brand advocacy will position your business for future success.

 

 

 

Owain Williams, Founder of MAKE IT MANA, has a passion for craft beer. Having spent two years helping grow a small brewery in the Midlands, Owain has since developed an expertise in digital marketing. As an agency, we have experience in working with up-and-coming breweries helping them to tap into the power of social media, grow their reach increase profit. 

If you think we could help you take your brewery to the next level get in touch with Owain directly on owain@makeitmana.com

SUSTAINABLE BUSINESS: A POWERFUL MARKETING TOOL?

By | Marketing

DO NOT PANIC.

But we are not talking exclusively about digital marketing in this week’s blog…i’m sorry. But it will be worth it, trust me.

In fact, we are taking the opportunity to take a holistic approach to business and how one key focus could be an immensely powerful marketing tool for your brand.

THE END IS NIGH

Open any social media platform and you might be mistaken in thinking that the end of the world is legitimately just around the corner…

  • Global warming
  • Pollution
  • Single-use plastics
  • A host of supposedly insane people in political and commercial power.

It all seems like doom and gloom. But there is a positive message embedded in a lot of the media, a glimmer of hope. WE CAN DO SOMETHING to make a change, it ISN’T TOO LATE – but we do need to ACT NOW.

sustainable business problems

Take David Attenborough’s Our Planet series on Netflix. Sir David takes the opportunity to highlight the negative impact our actions are having on the planet. But the reason this message is being communicated is to provoke individual action in tackling these issues.

A similar theme has been present throughout mainstream media, with the recent Extinction Rebellion protests taking centre stage for both positive and negative reasons. Whether you agree with their methods or not, it is undeniable that the state of the planet is of concern and at the forefront of many peoples minds at the moment.

This presents a rather interesting opportunity for businesses.

Sustainable business: why?

The recent buzz around sustainability has seen many people make significant lifestyle changes for the good of our planet. From a rise in veganism to a backlash against single-use plastics, consumers are becoming increasingly eco-savvy. But it isn’t just individuals that are responsible for the future of our planet.

Businesses should be making consistent changes to their business processes, products and services to develop their sustainability. In fact, as entities that serve others, businesses should be leading the way when it comes to the drive towards sustainability.

The benefits

We admit it, it is all very well being an eco-conscious business. But you are still a business and therefore you need to continue making a profit….what if we told you that taking a sustainable business approach can pay dividends to businesses.

For example, our client That Luxe Life recently published their sustainability statement. This statement highlights exactly what they currently do and what their future plans are when it comes to creating an eco-friendly business. In turn, this has created a positive reaction from their current and potential customers.

The short term win of good PR is just part of the reason businesses should look to increase their sustainability. As we continue to see a cultural shift of consumers, we are likely to see the businesses they choose to work with come under scrutiny.

Where we have seen businesses boycotted or disfavoured in the past due to social issues. The same is likely to become more common with businesses that do not highlight their commitment to sustaining our planet.

Making your businesses intentions clear with regards to sustainability is also likely to turn customers towards your business as a way for them to feel good about themselves. Brands like TOMS have already built a vast number of avid fans by taking this approach.

Sustainable business: Examples

Big brands are already catching onto this opportunity to remain in favour with their target audience. For example, Adidas recently launched a trainer made from recycled ocean plastics and other businesses which provide food and drink services are looking to remove plastics such as straws from their products.

Adidas sustainable shoe

Adidas

Wait, is this ok?

Ok, we get it. It might seem a little wrong to be using something like the health of our planet as a way to make customers buy more stuff from us. Shouldn’t we be doing everything we can to help the planet anyway? Not just because it might mean we can some extra cash?

But let’s look at this from a different angle.

The world is going to keep turning (for now anyway). Consumers will keep consuming and businesses will keep making money from this. Some of those businesses will be willing to make big changes for the better of the planet (yours). Some will do whatever they can to make more profit year on year, even if that means damaging the planet even more.

By making your planet-friendly actions clear and apparent you are giving eco-conscious consumers an easy option of who to chose. By doing this to grow your business, it lets you further invest in creating a sustainable business. It will also put pressure on your non-eco friendly competitors to get up to speed.

Ok, so how do I develop a sustainable business?

We aren’t telling you to ban meat from the office or build desks out of hay bales (especially not if you have hayfever). Building a sustainable business is a journey, not a one time change.

sustainable lifestyle

For much smaller businesses where profit margins are tight, you may not be able to make huge changes from day one. But you can take the opportunity to audit your current business processes and make small changes for the better. You can also use this time to work out exactly what you are planning to do in the future to further increase the sustainability of your business.

By publishing a sustainability statement, you not only attract those that share these values but also allow them to hold you accountable for what you have promised.

Here is that sustainability statement from That Luxe Life again as a reminder of what that might look like.

 

 

Clearly, sustainability is a big issue with a big following. Not only should businesses be focusing on moving towards greener practices, products and services as a matter of global urgency. But committing your business towards sustainability should be providing you with an opportunity to develop your relationship with customers and to make yourself appeal to other potential customers who share your values.

Want to take your business to the next level? Want to work with a marketing agency that takes sustainability seriously? Get in touch today.

 

 

WHATSAPP’ENING TO MOBILE MARKETING?

By | Marketing

WhatsApp, the messaging giant owned by Facebook made a pretty significant announcement recently. With many businesses already using the platform to reach and engage their audience, the company are rolling out the WhatsApp Business app. This new tool is focused specifically on helping businesses grow their mobile marketing efforts.

To many, using WhatsApp is just another thing to think about when marketing your business. But the tool has more power than you might think. It often facilitates the spread of viral marketing campaigns.

For example, did you know that WhatsApp:

  • Has an average open rate of 98% – this is pretty impressive, even before you compare it to the measly open and engagement rates of some other forms of marketing
  • Average Click Through Rates (CTR) are 30%
  • It is also the second biggest social platform based on user numbers, bested only by their owners, Facebook.

So, arguably this announcement has created a big opportunity for early(ish) adopters of the tool to benefit hugely. The new WhatsApp Business app platform promises to help businesses both promote themselves whilst simultaneously streamlining communications.

WhatsApp Business App Profile

One new feature on the app is the ability to build a profile to represent your business. This will allow you to publish key information including your business address, a business bio/description, email address/contact information and a link to your website.

WhatsApp Business App

Rapid Replies

Inevitably, as your business grows and your customer base take up WhatsApp as a seamless way to communicate with you, dealing with enquires will become a more and more time-consuming task.

To remedy this, the new WhatsApp Business app tool will allow you to automate messages. As well as save common answers to enquires for rapid replies.

Contact Categories

Much like a good CRM. The WhatsApp Business app will also allow you to add labels to contacts. This will help you keep on top of contacts and their stage in the customer journey.

CRM WhatsApp

 

With Facebook’s latest focus on rolling out e-commerce features on Instagram, we predict that in-app purchases may be a natural development for the WhatsApp Business app. Seamlessly combining business to customer communications with opportunities to purchase directly is likely to see this new tool become a key part of many marketing strategies in the coming years.

male grooming marketing

MALE GROOMING: DIGITAL MARKETING GUIDE

By | Marketing

Male grooming marketing has exploded in it’s application in recent years.

In fact, it is predicted that the global male grooming market itself has grown by a massive $13.46 billion since 2012. This is testament to an increasing trend for men taking their appearance and grooming regimes seriously.

No longer is male grooming seen as a small and insignificant niche in the wider health and beauty market but is rapidly becoming a major, profitable industry in its own right.

With this popularity comes competition, from shaving foam factories to moisturiser manufacturers only businesses that take the most innovative approaches to growing their brand will see sustainable success.

Many male grooming businesses seek the support of industry professionals such as Make It Mana to grow and remain competitive. That is why we have put together this guide, calling on our experience with top male grooming brands to help you get to grips with the fundamentals of digital marketing in the male grooming space.

 

Male Grooming Marketing: Strategy First

 

Did someone say cost-per-click?

Hold up…before we get into the details of what tools work well for male grooming brands we need to start with the fundamentals.

Marketing can take up a huge amount of money, time and effort. So you need to make sure you are heading in the right direction before you charge at it head first.

Likelihood is that you already have some sort goals for your business outlined. Whether those are growth targets or otherwise. If you don’t, you need to create some…now!

These top-level business goals should sit right at the top of your male grooming marketing strategy with marketing goals (or key performance indicators) and how you plan on achieving them sitting below it. To give a (very oversimplified) example: 

Business goal: To increase market share by 2% 

Marketing goal: To increase brand awareness

Marketing tools used in plan: Social ads (impressions), influencer marketing, organic social media growth.

By starting with the business goal in mind you ensure that all actions you take (social ads, influencers etc) are all geared towards achieving that goal. This in turn ensures that little effort is wasted along the way, this is especially important for resource strapped start ups.

 

Tools

 

So, now we have our business and marketing goals all lined up we need to know what we can do to achieve them.

 

Male-Grooming-Beard-Oil 

Website

 

Your business website is an incredibly important part of your male grooming marketing toolbox.

Think of it as THE destination for your brand online. The majority of your digital marketing efforts will be focused towards getting people onto your site where you can convert them into paying customers.

This is especially important if you plan on selling your male grooming products direct to customers through your site. If you spend a lot of time and effort marketing, encouraging people to visit your site, but your site is failing to convert those visitors, then all that effort is wasted

If you are starting from scratch you can use sites like Squarespace or Shopify to build a temporary base whilst you get off the ground. However, as time goes on you will likely find the need for greater customisation and functionality which these platforms may not facilitate.

At that point finding a reliable and experienced web developer or agency will allow you take your site to the next level. When picking a partner for web development, make sure you spend time reviewing their portfolio. This will give you an idea of whether they will produce something in the desired style and with the right functionality.

Male Grooming Marketing Specific Tip: 

Finding a provider that has previously worked with male grooming brands will also go some way to ensure they have a thorough understanding of the industry and the challenges you face.

 

Organic Social Media

 

Social media has completely changed the marketing landscape. No longer do businesses broadcast messages, but instead can have two-way conversations with their customers, gathering first-hand real-time feedback.

Social media also produces a unique opportunity for up and coming male grooming brands. By providing a free platform to reach their target audience they level the playing field with the big players.

For those brands that can produce compelling content and communicate in a personable way, social media can create sustainable growth…FOR FREE…

Accessibility to social media audiences is on a goliath scale:

Facebook: 2.2 billion monthly active users

Instagram: 1 billion monthly active users

Twitter: 336 million monthly active users

Snapchat: 301 million monthly active users

With these sorts of figures, betting is that at least a large portion of your brands target audience are active on social media.

Male Grooming Marketing Specific Tip:

Do your content research. Find other brands or influencers that are targeting a similar audience to you. See which of their pieces of content produce the best results and weave that way of thinking into your own content strategy.

 

“The male audience are actually best targeted in this way (social media) – it’s a fast and effective way of pushing your product onto an audience who perhaps spend less time researching and reading up on their products via traditional media streams.” Evie Cowen, Dr Jackson.

 

male-grooming-face-wash 

Paid Social Media

 

Paid social media gives you instant access to the right people with the right message. Although most social media platforms offer advertising in some way. The functionality and targeting ability of Facebook and Instagram are unmatched.

However, paid social does indeed cost money and this should be taken into consideration when using it. One excellent way to do this for e-commerce brands is to measure results based on their actual monetary value to the business.

This may be done theoretically. For example, if 25% of visitors to a product page make a purchase and that purchase is worth £10, then arguably any cost per click under £2.50 makes you a profit. Setting bid caps at or below this marker ensures you never pay more than you make.

“In 2015 Facebook influenced 52 per cent of consumers’ online and offline purchases” – The Drum

Alternatively, using a smart bit of code on your website, called a pixel allows you to track those that have made a purchase as a direct result of your ad. Making it even clearer how valuable that paid ad is to your business.

Male Grooming Marketing Specific Tip:

Platforms like Facebook Ads Manager allows you to target specific audiences with your ads. For example, you can advertise directly to those in a specific location, age group or gender.

By detailing your target audience as best as possible you can increase ad effectiveness and limit wasted costs by eradicating advertising on those with little interest in your brand.

There are some obvious wins here. For example, targeting only males and only those in locations your product is sold in. You may also target based on common interests that may match your products, for example, fashion or fitness etc.

 

 

Influencer Marketing

 

Influencer marketing is a hidden weapon for most male grooming brands, with few tapping into its true power.

With so much contradictory information out there on what products and ingredients are a good choice, confused male grooming enthusiasts are turning to influencers for a better understanding of what is available.

“Influencers generally build their audiences by creating hyper-relevant and professionally produced content in their niche area. This means that properly selected influencers should be producing the best possible content specific to your brand audience.” – ojawilliams.com

These influencers hold a massive amount of…well, influence…over their audience and can make powerful advocates for your brand.

Male Grooming Marketing Specific Tip:

Aim to only work with influencers that genuinely like and would use your product. Those that push products that don’t appeal to them lack authenticity…this makes content widely stale and fake, which will have a negative impact on your brand.

 

Written Content

 

Written content can span from anything including web page copy, social media ‘captions’ to on-site blog post. This aspect of digital marketing is so important for a number of reasons.

The most widely known purpose of written content is search engine optimisation (SEO). By using a combination of techniques you can improve your websites presence on search engine rankings for particular keywords.

Despite the importance of written content for SEO, it holds another purpose that, is equal in importance….education.

Male Grooming Marketing Specific Tip:

Male grooming is a relatively new and rapidly growing industry. Education of the customer should play a key part in your marketing strategy. This allow you to explain the importance of key aspects of your product. It also allows you to become the go-to location for advice. Bringing repeat visitors to your website and increasing your brand image.

 

 

In this guide, it has become apparent that there are many digital marketing tools and techniques that can and do work for male grooming brands. By starting with your business goals in mind you can develop a thorough plan of how to achieve them.

If you want to learn more about these techniques and tools, need help in developing a strong and comprehensive marketing strategy or just need some support on key aspects such as influencer marketing, content writing or social media get in touch: hello@makeitmana.com