How to Use Social Media, Mobile Marketing, and SEO to Masterfully Market Craft Beer

This is a great article we found that talks about SEO, Mobile Marketing and Social Media for Craft Breweries!

Small, craft breweries make the stuff of life! They work hard to create concoctions that dazzle and delight the taste-buds. It’s a labor of love, a way of life, and a good business.

The craft beer industry employs an estimated 100,000 people and it grew by 12% in retail dollars in the first half of 2010, all while the mainstream beer market was down 2.2% in 2009. Those are pretty impressive statistics and show what can happen when a lot of passionate people get their message out and share their love for the craft.

When was the last time you went to buy beer at the supermarket or large liquor store? Beer choices can be daunting and seasonal brews can make it even more difficult to decide. There are pale ales, India pale ales, stouts, porters, wheat beers, and pilsners to choose from, among many others. Craft brewing in the U.S. is also very regional, with some breweries dominating a state, but not sending much out beyond its borders.

Craft breweries operate on small margins, though, and the there is a lot of competition. Unfortunately, beer marketing is expensive and cutthroat and small brewers must compete against multi-billion dollar companies that can get whatever they want from TV networks. So, enter social media. Craft brewers are utilizing social media to great result and creating waves of popular sentiment on Facebook & Twitter. Viral marketing is huge for small brewers of fine ales. Advertising on the social media and mobile platforms is inexpensive and targeted to the people that already love their microbrews. And, of course beer drinking is a naturally social phenomenon so people share information about their favorite beers and recommend them to their friends.

Generally, a microbrewery can afford to spend 2% of gross revenue on advertising. Social media marketing, search engine optimization, and mobile phone marketing campaigns generate the highest return on investment and are the easiest ways to get the word out quickly. Internet marketing is very targeted and broadcasts the message to people that are already interested in buying craft beer, connecting with other microbrew aficionados, and trying new beers.

Great blogs like The South Florida Beer Blog and Beer Therapy help get the word out about craft beer festivals, new brews, and events at local bars. Websites like Pintly and TapHunter help people find places that carry their favorite brews when they head out or go to a different city. Untapped is a mobile optimized site that is like a mini-Facebook/Foursquare for beer lovers that allows them to check into a bar and say what beer they’re drinking, and then connect with other enthusiasts.

The best way for a microbrewery to start using digital marketing effectively is to begin campaigns across the social media platforms, get into mobile marketing, and do search engine optimization.

I’ll outline the best basic strategy:

Step 1: Create a Facebook Fanpage and make custom tabs. Create a custom welcome page that invites the guest to “Like” the page and opt-in to the brewery’s email list. Also, make custom tabs to showcase each beer that the brewery produces. The custom pages set the brand apart from the crowd and get other fans to communicate with each other and with the brewers.

Step 2: Get into mobile marketing because it is the way of the future. Google and Facebook both are investing a lot of resources in the enhancement of mobile search and mobile marketing for small businesses and smart phone users. For now, it is a cheap way to get in front of a lot of people. Banner ads that appear on smart phones only cost about $.05/click. Furthermore, the best way to utilize mobile is with an SMS campaign. A brewery can generate a huge list of interested buyers with this method. First, create a campaign in which a user can send a mobile keyword, like “GOODBEER” to a shortcode, like “99999.” Once they opt-in, send them coupons and relevant, anticipated, and intelligent updates about seasonal beers, or craft beer festivals. There is much room to get creative with mobile, and the results are trackable so ROI is strong.

Step 3: Do diligent search engine optimization for the brewery’s website. It is important to always be found on the first page of Google for your beer’s best keywords. Make sure the site is always on top for local search terms since craft brewers tend to be regional. Make contacts with bloggers and comment on the sites of influential beer blogs with high page rank in order to get authoratative links back to your website.

All of this serves to attract, engage, and retain a lot of beer lovers. So for a reasonable outlay of cash and a potentially large return on investment, social media marketing and mobile marketing, along with search engine optimization, work perfectly to help America’s microbreweries sell more beer and make a lot more people happy doing it.

Now that you know how to begin your brewery’s digital marketing campaigns, when are you going to implement it?

Chances are that if you work with a craft brewery, this makes sense to you and you know that it is valuable. And, you know that you don’t have time to do it all because you’re wearing many hats. My company can do it for you. I am a life-long lover of craft beers and can help brewers market their brands in a crowded market place. Please contact me for a free assessment of your company’s current internet marketing presence and to get a plan for a powerful social media, mobile marketing, and SEO initiative for your business. I operate Breach Marketing in from Miami Beach, Florida, creating innovative, effective, profitable social media marketing and mobile marketing campaigns, as well as doing SEO for small businesses. I specialize in helping businesses that specialize in the good life — wineries, craft brewers, restaurants, bars, and tourism operators — succeed with their internet marketing initiatives.

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