Posts

My #1 tool for growing an email list: optinmonster

My #1 tool for growing an email list: OptinMonster

The last few posts were about email for breweries. Why your brewery needs an email list. What your brewery can do with an email list. And how to keep your email list healthy. Now I’m going to talk about the number one tool I’ve used to grow the MicroBrewr email list automatically. You can use this strategy for your brewery email list, too.

And there’s a discount code for OptinMonster to get 10% off too! So read all the way to the end, to find out how to get 10% off OptinMonster.

Alex Standiford make an excellent case for using email marketing to fill your taproom and ultimately, sell more beer. Still not sure how important an email list can be for your brewery’s marketing? I was on East Brother Beer Company’s email list long before they opened. When they finally made their debut, I was in their taproom within a week.

My #1 tool for growing an email list

The best tool I can recommend to collect email addresses on your website is OptinMonster.

You know those pesky pop-ups that ask if you want a special something, but you have to enter your name and email address? Well, they work wonders for growing your email list. Everybody hates them, but every webmaster knows they work.

It’s a simple thing. A visitor can click the X to opt out if she doesn’t want to bother with it. And if your offer is enticing, she will gladly sign up to your email list in exchange for your special offer.

Maybe you want to give a coupon to redeem at your taproom. Or invitations to special events. Or the homebrew recipe to your most popular beer. Create an outstanding offer, advertise it on your website, and watch your email list grow while you sleep.

“The first place to add your incentive is on your website,” says Alex Standiford. “Add a signup form in a prominent place in your website.”

That’s where OptinMonster comes in.

OptinMonster has several options. Pop-ups can be set to load on only certain pages, or can be set to load after a certain amount of time. Their “exit intent” revolutionized the game by displaying when a visitor was about to leave the site. Now their “welcome gate” claims to double the rate of new subscribers. That’s just a few.

And of course, mobile optimization is super important. Almost half of the MicroBrewr email subscribers come from mobile (currently 47%!), so pop-ups are designed to work for those visitors, too.

If you want to see how well OptinMonster is working, it’s super easy to see all the stats and what’s working best. Plus A/B split testing let’s you do multiple similar opt-in forms, let them run a while, then switch to the ones that work best or make adjustments accordingly.

If all this sounds a bit salesy, perhaps it’s because I’m pretty excited about OptinMonster. I’ve been using it on MicroBrewr since 2014. And the number of subscribers doubled right away. It doubled again after I improved the incentive offer. Obviously, I couldn’t be happier with OptinMonster.

If you want to grow your brewery’s email list from your website, you have to use pop-ups. I recommend OptinMonster, it’s simply the best I’ve found.

Discount code for OptinMonster – 10% off!

The folks at OptinMonster are not only cool, but super generous. They agreed to give us a 10% off coupon when purchasing OptinMonster.

Click on this link and check out OptinMonster.

And be sure to use this discount code for OptinMonster to get 10% off: WPB10

Now I have a question for you:

What special incentive will you offer through OptinMonster pop-ups, to grow your email list?

In the comments section below, tell me how you will use OptinMonster. What incentive will you offer to new subscribers? Type your idea below and share with us all the details so others can adapt the idea.

Image showing email_icon by Gregg O’Connell on flickr (CC BY 2.0) was modified from its original state.

 

Join the mail list

Don’t miss other great posts like this one.

Sign up for the email list:   Sign me up!

How to build a healthy email list for your craft brewery

How to build a healthy email list for your craft brewery

So now you understand that email must be an integral part of any craft beer marketing plan. And we’ve given you 51 ways to use email. Now in this last of 3 posts by Alex Standiford, you’ll develop a deeper understanding for the nuances of running a healthy email list for your brewery.

Alex Standiford is a web designer and a WordPress developer. He loves craft beer and wants to contribute to the community in a way that will make an impact. One way he does that is through his Brewio WordPress Theme for breweries and his Easy Beer Lister WordPress plugin, which can easily load your entire beer menu onto your website. The plugin is completely customizable to pick which beers are on tap today, and it can display your beer menu on a TV screen in your taproom. Both Brewio WordPress theme and the Easy Beer Lister WordPress plugin are free.


How to build a healthy email list for your craft brewery

My favorite strategy to keep a taproom full is with an effective email marketing strategy. This is a powerful tool that keeps people engaged in your brewery, and gives you plenty of opportunities to promote your business. Email campaigns are only as effective as the size and health of your email list, so in this article we’re going to talk about how to build a healthy email list for your craft brewery.

What you should not do with an email list

Although an email list can be purchased online, don’t do it. First off, it’s illegal in the US to mass-email an individual without their prior permission to do so. That’s called spam. If you do this, you will get blacklisted and will lose your digital “license to send marketing emails,” and that’s just not good.

Besides, it’s just not a cool thing to do. Nothing will turn off a customer faster than bugging them about your business offerings without their expressed interest in the first place. Annoying your customer is never a good way to promote your business, so avoid it.

Now that we’ve established what not to do, let’s talk about ways you can build your email list.

Offer a compelling incentive to join your email list

When faced with an opportunity to get added to your list, your customer will probably ask “What’s in it for me?” In other words, “Why should I sign up for your email list?”

To develop a large email list, give away something that you don’t give away to anyone else. These exclusive offers will make your customers want to subscribe to your email list. You could offer something special, such as a special membership or first dibs on invites to exclusive keg tapping of new batches. For a good example of this, check out Dogfish Head’s Mug Club offering.

Related: I have built a 20-point list of irresistible brewery offerings that will help you grow your list. You can get that here.

Start with your website

The first place to add your incentive is on your website. Add a signup form in a prominent place on your website, and show your compelling offer. Try to keep anything you write about the offer focused on what’s in it for the customer. Explain in clear terms exactly why it would be a good decision for them to sign up to your email list. If possible, place the form where it will be seen by as many of your website visitors as possible. Tell anyone who enjoys your beer about your great offer to join the email list.

Use your brewery

Create a print version of your online form, and place it in your taproom. Every day or so, add the new names to your email list. This straightforward strategy has 3 primary benefits.

First, since the opt-in form is at your physical location, it’s more likely that your list will be full of local people. The local customer is the most likely customer to visit again, so it’s important that you find ways to build a list of locals. By nature, a website is global, so it can be difficult to keep your list dedicated to the nearby customers.

The second advantage is that you can watch people interact with your offering, and get unique insight on what is or is not working. This will allow you to make adjustments to your offering, both online and in the taproom.

Third, this gives you the chance to not only capture traffic on your website, but also traffic that comes through your taproom. Not everyone will visit your website, or feel compelled to sign up for your email list until they’ve visited your taproom. This is where most people form their opinion of your brewery, so it’s a great place to ask them to stay in touch.

Leverage events

Events can be a huge opportunity to build your email list. I wrote about how to build an email list from beer festivals. Offer what you normally offer on your website opt-in form, but add an extra bonus incentive just for signing up at the event. People are in a hurry to move on to the next booth, so you need to make a compelling reason to stop them long enough to sign up. This bonus offering should cost little, or nothing at all. And be sure the added incentive is reason enough to stay subscribed to the email list. The problem with offering swag is that it does not give the person a reason to stay on the list, and you will end up spending a lot of money on a list of customers that may unsubscribe just after signing up. Make it a goal to obtain valuable email addresses, and your list will stay healthy, and will continue to grow.

Email frequently (but not too frequently)

Once you get a list of people signed up, deliver that special incentive you promised, and start sending some content. Once you have a person on your list, you must commit to sending messages to them with some frequency. If you don’t, they will forget who you are and why they signed up. Soon your email will be marked as spam, which possibly results in your domain getting blacklisted.

On the flip side, if you email them too frequently, people will get annoyed by the barrage of emails filling their inbox and will unsubscribe. And maybe mark you as spam! The key is to find the best frequency for your list. I typically recommend no more than 2 emails a week starting out, and no less than 2 a month. This is a fairly safe starting point for almost any business, including your amazing craft brewery.

Send more than event invites

I mentioned in another article that email is a transactional medium. Technically, you could send nothing but event invites to your list, but your list will probably see some unsubscribes, and lackluster growth.

Most people who sign up for your email list expect to be sold to, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t offer some value as well. For example, an email with a homebrew recipe of your most popular beer doesn’t directly bring people to your taproom. But it does build relationships, which in time, can lead to better interactions and strengthened relationships.

Marketing, at its core, is getting people to know, like, and trust you. Send emails to make all 3 of those things happen, and you’ll find better results in the long run.

Image showing Little Creatures Brewery Patio by Monica D. on flickr (CC BY 2.0) was modified from its original state.

 

Join the mail list

Don’t miss other great posts like this one.

Sign up for the email list:   Sign me up!

51 things your brewery can do with email

51 things your brewery can do with email

So now you understand that email must be an integral part of any beer marketing plan. But what can you do with email?

In case you’re still wondering, Alex Standiford and I brainstormed 51 different ways that you can use email for your brewery. Keep reading the entire list below, then check out the next post to learn how to build a healthy email list for your brewery.

Alex Standiford is a web designer and a WordPress developer. He loves craft beer and wants to contribute to the community in a way that will make an impact. One way he does that is through his Brewio WordPress Theme for breweries and his Easy Beer Lister WordPress plugin, which can easily load your entire beer menu onto your website. The plugin is completely customizable to pick which beers are on tap today, and it can display your beer menu on a TV screen in your taproom. Both Brewio WordPress theme and the Easy Beer Lister WordPress plugin are free.


51 things your brewery can do with email

The goal of marketing is to get someone to think of you first when they want a product. Email campaigns are a great way to achieve that.

The best email campaigns build relationships and educate your customers. Event promotion is important for your fill-your-taproom strategy, but unless you build a good relationship with your customers in the first place, nobody is going to care about the events that you email them about.

The best brewery email strategies focus on 1 of 3 different types of emails.

  1. An email that builds relationships with customers
  2. An email that educates customers about your story and your product
  3. An email that invites customers to visit you in person

If your emails focus on a healthy balance of all 3 of these types of emails, your list will stay healthy and your taproom will stay full! Here’s 51 different emails that you can send to your customers, organized by each of the 3 different email types listed above.

Related: If you’re looking for some information on how to build your email list, I have written a 20-Point Guide to Building Your Brewery Email List that is packed with information on how to do just that.

Use email to build relationships with your customers

Winning awards for your beer helps gain notoriety and reputation, but there are more impactful ways to sell more beer. Simply put, if your customers like you, they will choose your beer first. These emails are designed to do just that.

  1. Share food recipes for pairing with your beer. Especially your customer’s own recipes (with permission and a kind link to her Twitter or Untappd account).
  2. Share recipes of your beer scaled for homebrew.
  3. Offer a friendly homebrew competition on one of your beers with your shared recipes.
  4. Link to a special recent post on your social media.
  5. Share photos from a recent event.
  6. Share funny/crazy stories, and behind the scenes happenings at the brewery. Lagunitas Brewing is especially good at this, and their colorful stories on their labels has a profound impact on their branding.
  7. If you play music at your brewery, share your playlist with everyone via Spotify. Introduce the playlist with a primer about the feel you want the playlist to bring.
  8. Ask your customers to help you name your next upcoming brew.
  9. Give your creative customers a chance to create a label. Rich Weber from Sierra Blanca Brewing Company shared some great points about this on MicroBrewr Podcast 019.
  10. Use SurveyMonkey to send a free survey and gain valuable demographics and consumer insight.
  11. Ask what their favorite beer is.
  12. Ask what beer they want you to brew in the coming season.
  13. Ask for ideas about the taproom.
  14. Ask, ask, ask. Learn about your customers so you can provide a product they want and serve their desires. Who knows, maybe your customers want a nice quiet place to do some work and have a beer or two. You’ll never know until you ask.
  15. Well wishes for national holidays.
  16. Well wishes for beer days like National Beer Day and International Stout Day.
  17. Well wishes for other weird “holidays.” You can find a ton of these at com.
  18. April Fools Day is a great opportunity to send a faux beer release. Visit http://www.strangebrew.ca/beername.php, and use it to help come up with a wacky beer name. (e.g., Farty Cinco de Mayo Yellow Extra Special Bitter)

Use email to educate your customers

These emails are great to teach customers about your beer. You will also be able to gauge how interested or knowledgeable they are in different aspects of beer, which will help you figure out what events you should host.

  1. Talk about common beer traits, and what pairs well (or not so well) with them. (e.g., If you’re sensitive to spice, avoid drinking an IPA with your buffalo wings.)
  2. Profile new releases, in emails to your customers.
  3. Profile a staff member.
  4. Explain common brewery terms, such as IBU, ABV, and OG.
  5. Tell the story of your name.
  6. Share why you started the brewery.
  7. Talk about your logo.
  8. Describe your brewing process.
  9. Talk about how temperature impacts beer flavor.
  10. Talk about different drinks that can be made with your beer. (e.g., a stout float)
  11. Talk about when it makes sense to choose a lower ABV.
  12. Talk about where you source your ingredients.
  13. Weekly hours of operation or changes to schedule.
  14. Explain the story behind what inspired you to create the beer you made. Dogfish Head’s Ancient Ales series is a great example of this.
  15. How to savor a beer.
  16. How to pair beer with food.
  17. How to identify “off flavors” in beer.
  18. How to age beer. Especially if you have a barrel-aged program or if you offer beers that would age well.
  19. Talk about glass shapes, and why they exist. This could be a great chance to sell branded glassware, if you have it!

Use email to fill your taproom

Be sure to look beyond a single email. A lot of the emails in this post could be used in combination for hosting an event at your brewery. For example, you could write something that talks about how temperature impacts beer flavor, and then host an event where people purchase a growler, and then drink it over the course of a few hours, noting the difference in flavor with each glass.

  1. Invitations to tastings. Offer VIP early entry for your email subscribers.
  2. Coupon for a free tasting flight for a friend when you buy one tasting flight or pint for yourself.
  3. Set an exclusive time to pick up pre-orders.
  4. Offer a free branded product, such as a glass or a T-shirt to customers who buy something, such as a tasting flight, or growler, on a specific date. Only notify your email subscribers about your freebie.
  5. Host creative events, such as jam sessions and open mic. If you’re reserving slots for the event, allow your email list to reserve well before everyone else.
  6. Host a league or competition for Cornhole or another fun game. Keep all members updated via email on the status of the league.
  7. Invite people to a themed event like Oktoberfest. Serve beer specific to the theme. Offer early access to email subscribers.
  8. Send a series of “beer school” emails, educating customers on the basics of beer, then invite them to a beer event hosted by the brewmaster, or a Certified Cicerone®.
  9. Host a cheese and beer pairing event. Have a certified cheese expert come in to talk about the different cheeses.
  10. Host guests such as beer writers, local chefs, or collaboration brewers.
  11. Host a listening party of your favorite new CD, or a viewing party of the season finale or your favorite TV series.
  12. Special events just for email subscribers.
  13. Announce food such as new menu items, menu changes, or food truck schedule.
  14. Announce upcoming releases with VIP, early tasting and Q&A with the brewer just for email subscribers.

Strategy is key. Think through the emails you send out. Don’t just haphazardly send invites to events, prime your customers with informative emails first. Think about your campaign from start to finish, and consider all of the information that could be sent before the event date.

Pay attention to and track interactions with your customers to learn about their needs, and figure out what interests them most. This will empower you to make informed decisions about what events to host, and when to host them. Soon you won’t have any difficulty keeping your taproom full.

Image showing found typewriter by Andy Smith on flickr (CC BY-SA 2.0) was modified from its orignal state.

 

Join the mail list

Don’t miss other great posts like this one.

Sign up for the email list:   Sign me up!

5 reasons every brewery needs an email list

5 reasons every brewery needs an email list

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: if your brewery doesn’t have a website, it doesn’t exist. You know you also have to be at least on Facebook and Twitter. Instagram and Untappd also work well for many breweries. But don’t neglect email marketing as a key part of your online strategy.

Email is important for many reasons and Alex Standiford will illuminate the entire email strategy in the next 3 posts.

Alex Standiford is a web designer and a WordPress developer. He loves craft beer and wants to contribute to the community in a way that will make an impact. One way he does that is through his Brewio WordPress Theme for breweries and his Easy Beer Lister WordPress plugin, which can easily load your entire beer menu onto your website. The plugin is completely customizable to pick which beers are on tap today, and it can display your beer menu on a TV screen in your taproom. Both Brewio WordPress theme and the Easy Beer Lister WordPress plugin are free.


5 reasons every brewery needs an email list

The inherent trouble with social media is that many breweries believe that it’s the only tool they need in-order to promote their business online. I hope to shred that belief apart in this article, and explain why you need to build your email list. Don’t get me wrong, social media has its place in online marketing, but not the best tool to actually convert people to visit your taproom. I have come up with 5 reasons why you need to put more time and effort into your email list.

After you read this article, if you want to learn more about how to build your email list check out my 20-point guide here. I promise that if you apply the information I show in this guide that it will help you get plenty of email subscribers.

Email gets more views

According to Forrester, 90% of your emails get delivered to the target inbox, but only 2% of your Facebook fans see your posts in their News Feed. In other words, if you sent a message to 1,000 people on your email list, and then sent that exact same message to 1,000 people on your Facebook feed, 900 of your email subscribers would see the email message, but only 20 people would see the Facebook post.

To me, this is the #1 reason to build an email list. Why should you put so much effort and focus on a Facebook page, when only 2% of the users actually see what you’re sharing? Much of that effort would be better spent on growing an email list, where 90% of the people who chose to follow you will receive your message.

Email is a known as a transactional medium

With email, people expect that you’re going to try to sell them something when you email them. In fact, 60% of people prefer to receive promotional content through email, compared to 20% who prefer social media. With more robust social platforms like Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram, there are many ways to connect with your business. If they choose to connect with you through an email subscription, they expect and want to be sold to.

According to MailChimp’s email marketing benchmarks, email campaigns across the board get a 22% open rate on-average, and 2.8% of those people click through to whatever it is you’re trying to send them. Not only is 22% higher than most social media platforms, those people are the ones who signed up for your list, expecting to be sold to.

When you promote an upcoming event via email, the people you’re reaching out to won’t mind. In fact, many of them are anticipating it, and will be glad to get that message. If your list is healthy, and you’re offering great products, you can expect to see some boost in taproom traffic from this strategy.

Email is a targeted medium

One of the most outstanding features of email is segmentation. When you send an email, your list’s actions will tell you things. If you’re listening, you can use this information to determine which subscribers get which emails. This is powerful, because it allows you to send 3-5 different emails to the people on your list who actually want those emails, without flooding your subscriber’s inbox in the process.

For example, let’s say that you have a recipe that pairs exceedingly well with one of your beers and you want to share that recipe with your email list. Chances are, not everyone on your list cares about food and beer pairing, and many of them probably don’t want to be bothered with this information. Instead of sending the recipe to everyone on your list, you can keep your list healthy and happy by only sending the recipe to the people that you know would like to get food pairing recipes from you. This ensures that your subscribers are getting a great experience from you because you’re only sending them what they want to see.

It takes less time (if you do it right)

My favorite thing about email marketing is the automation. Entire email campaigns can be automated if you plan them out ahead of time. This set it and forget it approach will save you time, and help you stay consistent with the execution of your strategy.

Another reason why email takes less time goes back to the expectations when someone signs up to an email list. Most people don’t want to receive an email every day, heck, I’d wager that most people want no more than 2 per week at most. To me, this means you get to cut the crap, and only send the best quality content, and offerings at your disposal. Sending an email to your list is a conscious, strategic move with a clear purpose, which makes it extremely efficient, unlike many other strategies out there.

It reaches your customers on mobile

According to Pew Research Center, 92% of online adults use email. And 53% of those messages are read on-mobile. Most smartphone users have at least one email address on their phone, and every smartphone comes with an email app out of the box. Many of those people receive a notification when they receive an email from that address. This means that many people who you send an email to will be notified about your email instantly, and many of them will look at it right away.

Conclusion

Email has many strengths that are unique to the platform. The numbers don’t lie—email offers consistency. It’s relatively easy to know what to expect when you send a message out, and that visibility can make your business grow in a predictable manner. It naturally works well with social media because email attracts customers from a different angle than most social media sites. This makes it the best companion for any online marketing strategy.

Image showing Studious by Bruce Guenter on flickr (CC BY 2.0) was modified from its orignal state.

 

Join the mail list

Don’t miss other great posts like this one.

Sign up for the email list:   Sign me up!

MicroBrewr 062: Cohesive brand development for your brewery, with Measured Methods.

MicroBrewr 062: Cohesive brand development for your brewery

Measured Methods is a multi-purpose agency focusing on craft breweries and other artisanal crafts. They’re based in Burlington, Vermont, but they can provide a variety of services for breweries anywhere. They focus both on the front end, such as branding and anything a customer would see, and also back end, such as processes and supply chain issues.

In this episode, Eric Lussier and Bethany Baker, talk with us about branding, how to develop a look and feel to your company image.

“Behind your product quality,” says Bethany, “the single most important thing about your brand is to have a cohesive look and feel.”

A lot goes into a cohesive brand, such as:

  • Shelf-appeal
  • Color palate
  • Style
  • Event selection

When picking names, whether it’s your brewery, or your beers, think of something that sounds great.

“I often like to tell people that naming conventions are like tattoos,” says Bethany. “Everyone loves a good back story & meaning behind it, but sometimes it’s just because you enjoy the sound of it.

A name should also have a story behind it. And this long-term about the themes that you convey. You don’t want to alienate your audience by mixing it up too much, but you also don’t want to pigeonhole your brand by sticking to strictly to one theme.

“Before you brew your first batch, start promoting your brand.” [Tweet This]

 

Listener question:

From MoonFace on Twitter: What’s your go to beer or brewery?

Book recommendation:

Check out the entire list of recommended books, click here.

Your Free Audio Book

An upcoming beer style:

Sour beers

Coffee-infused beers

Other resources:

You can reach Eric Lussier, Bethany Baker, and Measured Methods at:

Eric Lussier on Twitter:

Bethany Baker on Twitter:

Sponsors:

Audible

Download a free audiobook.

Audible. Download a free audiobook. http://microbrewr.com/audible

Support MicroBrewr

Help keep MicroBrewr on the air. CLICK HERE for ways you can help.

Subscribe on iTunes             Listen to Stitcher

MicroBrewr 061: Use social media to directly interact, with your customers with Untappd.

MicroBrewr 061: Use social media to directly interact with your customers

Tim Mather was just getting into craft beer when he and a friend created the highly-popular mobile app for beer drinkers, Untappd, based in Los Angles, California.

“Neither of us really knew anything about beer,” admits Tim. “I knew that I wasn’t too big into macros. I was just starting to get into larger craft brands. We were both really into social media.”

Tim and his partner, Greg Avola both work full-time jobs during the day. Yet they keep Untappd going in their spare time.

With over 2 million users who “check in” beers that they drink, Untappd is a unique, highly-targeted way to market your beer.

“Social media is important to any business’ marketing campaign,” Tim advises. “If you want to reach someone, you gotta be there. And honestly you gotta be active too. Because if you just do, once in a while you post something, people aren’t going to see you.”

Tim has some tips for interacting with your audience on Untappd or any social media:

  • Take criticism well
  • Toast people’s check-ins
  • Ask for feedback

It is extremely important to take criticism well. Remember, as Tim says, “Your comments are representative of your brand.” So don’t be a jerk, do be professional at all times, and remember that people have different tastes.

It’s okay if someone doesn’t like your beer. Ask the person some questions to get to know her tastes a little better, then think of a different beer to recommend.

Social media is all about relationships. Build relationships to sell more beer and make new friends.

SUPPORT UNTAPPD:

Become an Untappd Supporter

Untappd is run by just 2 people who both have full-time jobs during the day. Yet they work tirelessly to bring us this great app called Untappd. Become an Untappd Supporter to keep it going, say thanks, and help make the app better. Click here to become an Untappd Supporter now.

“Social media is important to any business’ marketing campaign.” [Tweet This]

 

Listener question:

From Mike B.: Was it worth it?

Book recommendation:

Check out the entire list of recommended books, click here.

Your Free Audio Book

An upcoming beer style:

Session IPA

Other resources:

You can reach Tim Mather and Untappd at:

You can reach Tim Mather and Greg Avola on Twitter at:

Sponsors:

InMotion Hosting

“Fast, reliable, affordable, web hosting.”

advert-inmotion-hosting_250x250

Support MicroBrewr

Help keep MicroBrewr on the air. CLICK HERE for ways you can help.

Subscribe on iTunes             Listen to Stitcher

MicroBrewr 060: How to make a website that people find, with UnEarthed Creative.

MicroBrewr 060: How to make a website that people find

Allan Wolfe is a beer writer who started UnEarthed Creative in Chicago, Illinois. His online marketing firm helps small businesses in the new world of online marketing. They specialize in marketing for small breweries.

“If you’ve got the best beer, but nobody knows it exists, what’s the point?” says Allan.

“As the craft beer industry becomes so much bigger, every market has a certain point where it’s saturated,” Allan explains. “The craft beer market is heading directly toward the saturation point. I think that’s when the market is going to get really competitive.”

As competition among breweries increases, it’s more important to have a meaningful web presence.

“The easier you make it for people to find you,” advises Allan, “and then once they’ve found you, the easier you make for them to buy things from you, the better off you’re going to be absolutely.”

Allan says the first thing to consider when you make a website is to use an easy platform that a lot of developers and content management specialists are familiar with, such as WordPress. Next you need to create helpful, useful content. And make a website that uses a “responsive,” mobile compatible design.

Because search results are moving toward helpful, useful content for the user, your website must have a lot of content. Allan says every website must have a blog and he offers these ideas for writing new content:

  • Brewery updates and events
  • What you’re doing
  • New releases
  • New equipment
  • Any sort of update or message you want to communicate with your customers

“If you’ve got the best beer, but nobody knows it exists, what’s the point?” [Tweet This]

 

Listener question:

From TastingNitch on Twitter: What is your preferred beer drinking vessel and why?

Book recommendation:

Check out the entire list of recommended books, click here.

Your Free Audio Book

An upcoming beer style:

Experimental beers

Other resources:

You can reach Allan Wolfe and UnEarthed Creative at:

Sponsors:

Audible

Download a free audiobook.

Audible. Download a free audiobook. http://microbrewr.com/audible

Support MicroBrewr

Help keep MicroBrewr on the air. CLICK HERE for ways you can help.

Subscribe on iTunes             Listen to Stitcher

MicroBrewr 059: How to get the most out of a beer festival, with SuperFly Fabulous Events.

MicroBrewr 059: How to get the most out of a beer festival

Beer festivals are an important part of a startup brewery’s marketing plan. Stephanie Carson and SuperFly Fabulous Events in Asheville, North Carolina put on 11 beer festivals every year.

I asked her, how much do beer festivals play a part in a startup brewery’s existing marketing plan?

“I think it’s everything,” says Stephanie. “A startup brewery is not going to have the marketing budget, they’re not going to have the advertising budget, they might not even have a contact at a good distributor.”

“So I think attending a festival is really important.”

When you’re getting ready to attend a festival as a brewery, you’ll need to make sure you have several items. Some events will provide these, so always check beforehand to make sure you know what you’ll need to bring.

Stephanie says to make sure you have these items:

  • Creative looking tap handles
  • Carbon dioxide (CO2) canisters
  • Ice
  • Jockey box
  • Tent/awning
  • Items to sell
  • Something to entice the customers back to your brewery

The beer festival is a key part of getting your product out to the public. People attending the beer festival are your core customers: They love craft beer, and they seek out new beers.

There are some things that you can do to best leverage your presence at the festival. Make a good impression, initiate contacts, and turn those into long-term customers.

This is what Stephanie recommends to get the most out of a beer festival:

  • Help promote the event.
  • Be organized and on time.
  • Give a creative take-home item, so the attendees will remember you.
  • Bring a unique beer that is not available elsewhere.

“With so many craft breweries opening up, you can’t just have your old standards.” [Tweet This]

Listener question:

From Conrad B.: Why do you do what you do?

Book recommendation:

Check out the entire list of recommended books, click here.

Your Free Audio Book

An upcoming beer style:

Dark beers

Other resources:

You can reach Stephanie Carson and SuperFly Fabulous Events at:

Sponsors:

InMotion Hosting

“Fast, reliable, affordable, web hosting.”

advert-inmotion-hosting_250x250

Support MicroBrewr

Help keep MicroBrewr on the air. CLICK HERE for ways you can help.

Subscribe on iTunes             Listen to Stitcher

MicroBrewr 052: Share your brewery’s story with a podcast, with Short's Brewing Company.

MicroBrewr 052: Share your brewery’s story with a podcast

Joe Short started Short’s Brewing Company in Bellaire, Michigan in 2004. Today Short’s Brewing is one of the fastest growing of Michigan breweries. Their young, savvy marketing program includes a podcast.

“A large part of making people aware of us,” says Joe, “is the fact that we are always able to just tell our story through photos and blogging in the early days through our website. When we added more people to the team, we started picking up things like Facebook and Twitter. Now we’re able to work with Mike to bring us to the next level, which is the podcast.”

Short’s Brewing contracts with Mike Moran, Quarter After Productions, to produce their weekly podcast. His team of 3 editors and 2 interns works on 9 podcasts.

“This story is very honest,” says Mike, “and it’s one of the coolest business stories I’ve seen in Northern Michigan in a long time. I’m super lucky to be able to be a part of it and capture it.”

The podcast, called Short’s Cast, is a great tool to keep the brewery’s audience updated. Regular features on the podcast include:

  • Music recorded from live performances at the pub.
  • Announcements of beer releases.
  • Interviews with musicians who perform at the pub.
  • General announcements.

“We’re sharing the business story or a culture we’re creating,” explains Joe.

A podcast provides an outlet to share your brewery’s story with a worldwide audience.

“The majority of the listeners,” says Mike, “are outside of the Northern Michigan area. It reaches out to a lot of the fans who can’t be here in Northern Michigan. They use the podcast as a source of information [about the brewery].”

Brewery specs:

Kettle size: 32 BBL.

Size and quantity of fermentation tanks: 4, 100-BBL fermenters; 1, 70-BBL fermenter.

Size and quantity of bright tanks: 16, 90-BBL bright tanks and 7, 60-BBL bright tanks which are sometimes used as fermenters.

Annual brewing capacity/last year’s production: 60,000 BBL/year capacity. Brewed 34,443 BBL last year (1.067 million US Gallons or the equivalent volume of 6.44 billion melted M&Ms).

Square footage: 13,500 sq. ft.

Years in operation: 10 years at the brewpub (opened 2004). 6 years at the production brewery (opened 2009).

“A large part of making people aware of us is that we are always able to tell our story.” [Tweet This]

 

Listener question:

If you could ask one question to every brewer or brewery owner, what would you ask? Let me know.

Book recommendation:

Check out the entire list of recommended books, click here.

Your Free Audio Book

An upcoming beer style:

Gose

Other resources:

You can reach Joe Short, Mike Moran, and Short’s Brewing Company at:

Sponsors:

InMotion Hosting

“Fast, reliable, affordable, web hosting.”

advert-inmotion-hosting_250x250

Support MicroBrewr

Help keep MicroBrewr on the air. CLICK HERE for ways you can help.

Subscribe on iTunes             Listen to Stitcher

MicroBrewr 051: Augment your brewery’s marketing plan, with a podcast with Entrepreneur On Fire.

MicroBrewr 051: Augment your brewery’s marketing plan with a podcast

Podcasting is exploding. Even breweries are using podcasts to share their story or as part of their marketing plan. John Lee Dumas, founder and host of Entrepreneur On Fire, in San Diego, California is the expert on podcasting and starting a podcast. He sheds light on using a podcast for a brewery.

Podcasting can be a great way to gain access to experts in your field. People who wouldn’t normally have time to set aside and give you their tips, are more willing to do it to gain exposure through your podcast.

Podcasting is also a great way to increase online sales. Podcasts are accessible to anyone around the world who has internet access.

If you hire dedicated staff or contract with someone to produce your brewery’s podcast, you can sell advertisements to offset the cost. Just make sure the advertisements are relevant and useful to your listeners. “Whenever you’re offering your listeners value and you’re doing it in a classy and genuine way, it’s a good thing,” says John.

The podcast demographic is growing rapidly. And the podcast audience overlaps the craft beer audience considerably.

According to John, the current podcast demographic is mostly 24- to 38-year-olds. “You’re definitely starting to see the age range increase,” says John.

Podcast listeners are 57% male. “Right now it’s skewed male, not by a ton, but seeming to get less so.”

The most important thing for starting a podcast also applies to your brewery as a whole.

“The most important thing,” advises John, “is to sit down and sketch out your perfect listener. Once you know who that perfect listener is, every single decision after that point, number one become easier, but number two becomes correct because you know what your perfect listener would want on that decision and you take action on that knowledge.”

“Podcasters are kind of starting to go mainstream now.” [Tweet This]

 

SPECIAL BONUS:

Download John Lee Dumas’ book for free

Podcast Launch: A Step by Step Podcasting Guide

John Lee Dumas wrote the book on podcasting—literally. And he’s giving away free copies to the MicroBrewr audience.

For your free copy, click here: eofire.com/gift

Be sure to connect with Entrepreneur On Fire and thank John Lee Dumas for being on the show and for giving us his book.

Listener question:

If you could ask one question to every brewer or brewery owner, what would you ask? Let me know.

Book recommendation:

Check out the entire list of recommended books, click here.

Your Free Audio Book

An upcoming beer style:

Craft beer in cans

Other resources:

You can reach John Lee Dumas and Entrepreneur On Fire at:

Sponsors:

“Compare free quotes from top suppliers within 48 hours.”

Kinnek "Compare free quotes from top suppliers within 48 hours." http://www.kinnek.com/microbrewr

Support MicroBrewr

Help keep MicroBrewr on the air. CLICK HERE for ways you can help.

Subscribe on iTunes             Listen to Stitcher

MicroBrewr 050: Have passion and be persistent, with Craft Conscious.

MicroBrewr 050: Have passion and be persistent

Drew Dillman from Craft Conscious, in Cincinnati, Ohio, interviews all sectors of the craft beer industry. Rather than beer tastings or reviews, he pulls back the curtain on the business of beer.

Nearly 100 audio interviews are in iTunes and many more full video interviews are on the website.

“It’s something new every single time,” says Drew. “Ninety-four different breweries so far, and each one I keep thinking to myself, ‘I’m going to run into the same content over and over again.’ But I never really do.”

Craft Conscious interviews craft beer’s top experts, entrepreneurs, and innovators. In addition to breweries, they interview retail outlets, distributors, and media companies.

“What I’ve really found as a consistent thematic thread is to have passion and to be persistent with that and you’ll be able to turn that passion into profit.”

“I can’t stop liking beer.” [Tweet This]

 

Listener question:

From Beer Nerdette: What’s the weirdest beer you’ve ever come across?

Book recommendation:

Check out the entire list of recommended books, click here.

Your Free Audio Book

An upcoming beer style:

India Pale Ale

Other resources:

You can reach Drew Dillman and Craft Conscious at:

You might also like:

MicroBrewr 040: Keep persevering to get to the end with Blood, Sweat, and Beer documentary.

Sponsors:

Audible

Download a free audiobook.

Audible. Download a free audiobook. http://microbrewr.com/audible

Support MicroBrewr

Help keep MicroBrewr on the air. CLICK HERE for ways you can help.

Subscribe on iTunes             Listen to Stitcher

MicroBrewr 045: Launch your brewery with a strong opening night, with West Cork Brewing Company.

MicroBrewr 045: Launch your brewery with a strong opening night

You’ve spent months working toward opening your brewery, now you’re finally ready for the public. How do you come out with a bang? Henry Thornhill and friends recently opened West Cork Brewing Company in Baltimore, Ireland. They share how to put on a successful opening night.

West Cork is renowned for its high quality food. Now quality craft beer also comes from West Cork.

West Cork Brewing was started in 2014 by three friends, Henry Thornhill, Dominic Casey, and Kevin Waugh, with just €15,000 (approx. US$12,000).

Although it’s a nanobrewery operating in the basement of Casey’s of Baltimore hotel, they knew they had to come out with a bang.

Here’s what they did for their grand opening:

  • T-shirts with brewery logo
  • Promotional photos on the wall
  • Nonstop tours of their brewery
  • Live music
  • Food pairings

Media was also a big part of West Cork’s grand opening. They had coverage in local and national newspapers as well as local radio stations. Here’s how you do it:

  • Send press releases before the event including lots of photos.
  • Invite media to attend the event.
  • Blitz social media.
  • Talk with friends of friends to make connections with media.
  • Keep up the momentum by leveraging coverage after the event.

Reflecting on the event, Henry has some suggestions for ways they could have improved:

  • Write a plan for media outreach.
  • Blitz local radio stations.
  • Decide on a goal for the evening.

“It’s good to have goals and then to work backwards from goals to see what kind of tactics you need to put in place.”

Brewery specs:

Kettle size: 200 liter (53 gallon)

Size and quantity of fermentation tanks: 1, 200 liter (53 gallon)

Size and quantity of bright tanks: none

Annual brewing capacity/last year’s production: 3,500 liters (925 gallons)

Square footage: 400 sq. ft.

Years in operation: recently opened

“ Enjoy today because tomorrow is just another today.” [Tweet This]

 

Listener question:

From Lawrence: How long does it take you to develop your recipes? Where do you look to be inspired when you’re looking to try something new?

Book recommendation:

Check out the entire list of recommended books, click here.

Your Free Audio Book

An upcoming beer style:

Sour beers

Other resources:

You can reach Henry Thornhill and West Cork Brewing Company at:

Support MicroBrewr

Help keep MicroBrewr on the air. CLICK HERE for ways you can help.

Subscribe on iTunes             Listen to Stitcher

MicroBrewr 034: Guerrilla marketing in the outdoor activity mecca of Southern Nevada, with Boulder Dam Brewing Co.

MicroBrewr 034: Guerrilla marketing in the outdoor activity mecca of Southern Nevada

Boulder City, Nevada is between Las Vegas and Hoover Dam. The city was formed to temporarily house workers during the dam’s construction in the 1930s. After the dam was complete, residents incorporated and formed a city. In 2007, Todd Cook opened Boulder Dam Brewing Co.

Today Boulder Dam Brewing provides craft beer in a wide variety of styles. Todd grew up a “military brat” who moved around a lot. In college, a friend had a constant supply of European beers. The offerings from Boulder Dam Brewing reflects this vast geographic influence.

Boulder Dam Brewing also participates heavily in fundraising efforts for disaster preparedness and veterans care.

Although Todd previously ran an advertising business with offices in 2 states, he says business experience isn’t necessary to opening a brewpub. The only restaurant experience he had was working at McDonald’s when he was 16. Instead, Todd learned from Running a Restaurant for Dummies and Guerilla Marketing.

Not too bad for coming up on Boulder Dam Brewing Co.’s “8th annibrewsary” in February 2015.

Some of Todd’s advice in this episode:

  • It all depends on how bad you want it.
  • Learn from your mistakes and get back on the saddle.
  • Running a business requires a lot of time in the office.
  • Get in front of your customers and talk to them to see what they like.

“I do for a living what I used to pay for.” [Tweet This]

 

Listener question:

From l.seber: What are the best classes to take to prepare for opening a brewpub?

Book recommendation:

Check out the entire list of recommended books, click here.

Your Free Audio Book

An upcoming beer style:

Session Dark Beer

Other resources:

You can reach Todd Cook and Boulder Dam Brewing Co. at:

Support MicroBrewr

Help keep MicroBrewr on the air. CLICK HERE for ways you can help.

Subscribe on iTunes             Listen to Stitcher

MicroBrewr 029: Selling more beer through your local craft beer store, with 99 Bottles beer store.

MicroBrewr 029: Selling more beer through your local craft beer store

Tiffany Adamowski and her husband have been operating 99 Bottles beer store in Federal Way, Washington for the past 7 years. She tells us how to work with a craft beer store like hers to sell more beer.

99 Bottles has over 1,200 labels of craft beer in stock from over 40 different countries. They also have ciders, meads, and a gigantic selection of beer kegs. They do growler refills and they offer tasting flights every day.

99 Bottles has won a bunch of local awards like “best beer selection,” “best beer store,” and “don’t miss” bottle shop.

This a long episode, but stay tuned through the whole thing because Tiffany gives tons of super detailed advice on how to sell more of your beer at retail outlets like her beer shop.

Some of her tips:

  • Email before you visit a store, don’t stop in unannounced.
  • Use customer relations management (CRM) software to keep track of your contacts and to pass the information on to the next sales person.
  • Drop off samples with a business card, and a flier about your brewery.
  • Provide basic information about each beer including: ABV, IBU, description, format, shelf life, storage temperature.
  • When you go to brewer’s night at the shop, be sure to mingle with the customers.
  • Be careful about thin beer bottles, especially for bottle-conditioned beer, you don’t want your product exploding on the store shelf.
  • Bring extra labels when you visit a store, sometimes bottles arrive unlabeled.

SPECIAL BONUS:

Ask Tiffany any question about working with retailers to sell more of your beer.

Leave your questions in the comments section below.

Tiffany will keep watching the comments for the next 30 days to answer as many of your questions as she can.

Be sure to connect with 99 Bottles beer store and thank Tiffany for being on the show and for helping us out with questions.

UPDATE: Thirty days is up, Tiffany is no longer monitoring the questions here. You can still reach her through the links below.

Listener question:

From Jon Tiffany: What is an upcoming brewery that we should our eye on?

Book recommendation:

Check out the entire list of recommended books, click here.

Your Free Audio Book

An upcoming beer style:

Scottish ale

Other resources:

You can reach Tiffany Adamowski and 99 Bottles beer store at:

Tiffany’s blog:

If you like the show, please subscribe in iTunes or Stitcher. When you subscribe, it’ll let you know when there’s a new episode, you won’t miss a thing!

Support MicroBrewr

Help keep MicroBrewr on the air. CLICK HERE for ways you can help.

Subscribe on iTunes             Listen to Stitcher

MicroBrewr 019: Marketing a flagship beer with Roswell aliens, with Sierra Blanca Brewing Company.

MicroBrewr 019: Marketing a flagship beer with Roswell aliens

In this episode, I talk with Rich Weber from Sierra Blanca Brewing Company and Rio Grande Brewing Company in Moriarty, New Mexico. Rich started Sierra Blanca in 1996, added the Alien brand in 1997, and bought Rio Grande Brewing Co. in 2006.

Rich had been homebrewing since 1987 and was already working 100 hours a week at his own restaurant, when he started Sierra Blanca. He hired master brewers to mentor him for the first 2 years and has been growing steadily ever since.

To commemorate the 50th anniversary of aliens crash landing near Roswell, New Mexico, they released Alien Amber Ale in 1997. Today, Alien Amber Ale accounts for 40% of sales among their 9 beers.

Rich talks about his company and provides some key insight to the 1947 Roswell UFO incident.

He offers some great advice about:

  • Working 100 hours a week
  • Marketing and distribution
  • Branding ideas
  • Gaining knowledge from visiting other breweries

Listener question:

From Marc Stafford: Why do you do what you do?

Book recommendation:

Check out the entire list of recommended books, click here.

Your Free Audio Book

An upcoming beer style:

Session beer

Other resources:

You can reach Rich Weber and Sierra Blanca Brewing Company at:

If you like the show, please subscribe in iTunes or Stitcher. When you subscribe, it’ll let you know when there’s a new episode, you won’t miss a thing!

Support MicroBrewr

Help keep MicroBrewr on the air. CLICK HERE for ways you can help.

Subscribe on iTunes             Listen to Stitcher