Whether you’re an avid beer drinker or not, it’s hard to miss the constant advertising of the big giants in the industry – namely Budweiser, Bud Light, and Coors Light. Especially with the Super Bowl coming up this Sunday, you are guaranteed to see numerous commercials that these companies have spent millions on. So how are small craft breweries supposed to compete with that? The answer is they can’t. They simply don’t have the bandwidth or resources to spend on traditional advertising techniques. Despite this though, craft beers have grown in popularity in recent years and these breweries are starting to make a name for themselves in the competitive industry. As more and more underdog breweries are springing up, here are three ways craft breweries can get use inbound marketing techniques and get their name out there.
1) Create a community through blogging. Because small breweries don’t necessarily have the revenue to use on advertising for attracting customers, they should use relevant content to do so. This comes in the form of blogging. By writing about the latest news at the company, release schedules, and upcoming tours, craft breweries can attract customers and build a community. The people reading the blog aren’t just interested in regular beer, they’re interested in craft beer and the unique culture that comes along with it – something the big giants cant compete with. One of my personal favorites, Harpoon Brewery, does a great job with this. They constantly produce content about current social media sweepstakes, their Harpoon Helps volunteer opportunities, and fun company culture activities. Going one step further, Harpoon, like many other craft breweries, has a newsletter signup where people can give their email and stay up to date about special promotions and new events, further solidifying the community.
2) Develop a following using social media. Social media is a free and often underestimated form of advertising for small breweries. If you already have a solid community in place by producing relevant content, social media is a way to take that to the next level. Through Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, craft breweries can highlight their events, promotions, and company news in an appealing way. People in your community obviously already know what your brewery has to offer, but social media can attract costumers that otherwise would have never heard of your brewery. Word of mouth, or in this case, word through social media is immeasurable for small breweries. Magic Hat Brewing Company is a prime example of how breweries should utilize their social media power. The company has a Tunes option through Tumblr under their social media site, which is very rare. They offer songs they dance to, brew to, and drink to. This allows the customer to get an idea of company culture and share what they like. In addition to this, Magic Hat has an “Eye of the Beholder” social option where they post pictures sent in by devoted customers, building a further bond with their following.
3) Take advantage of your brand. Each craft brewery is different - different brewing styles, different culture, different story. Your company brand should be highlighted through inbound marketing – that’s what will attract customers. The generic beer brands can’t compete with this. A good example is Blue Moon Brewing Company, perhaps one of the better known craft breweries. Blue Moon emphasizes using the best ingredients and furthermore, how beer should complement food. Because of this, they have a whole section of their website dedicated to recipes that are made with the various Blue Moon brews, and what brews should be paired with each recipe. This attracts a certain kind of customer, one who is not just interested in crafty beers, but one who is also interested in various tastes and palettes. By promoting their unique outlook through relevant content and social media, Blue Moon is able to attract a very specific kind of customer. They already know what the customer likes about the company and can now use inbound techniques to market to them accordingly.
All in all, it comes down to working with what you have. If you produce content that people are interested in and use social media tools to your advantage, you will attract customers who like what your brand has to offer. As more and more breweries start using these inbound methodologies, craft beer will continue to grow in popularity and it will be interesting to see how the beer industry will change as a result.