Posts tagged Local Business Marketing

On the bubble: Marketing beer and wine

 

By: DeAnn Owens

Pozza TodayMarketing beer and wine will increase sales and keep customers happy. Alcohol sales often boost an operator’s bottom line, but deciding to carry beer, wine and/or spirits should not be about profits only. Operators need to understand who their customers are, what they want and how to keep them returning while still attracting new customers.

Because creating an atmosphere that embraces both family and an over-21 crowd is complicated. But through strategic marketing, striking a balance between family friendly and an increase in bar sales is just a “cheers” away.

“We have a good mix of college students and community members that frequent our stores,” says Megan Young, marketing director for Woodstock’s Pizza in San Diego, California. “I would say generally among our stores it’s about 50/50. There are a lot of underage college students, younger families and people who aren’t coming to drink, so we do have to strike the right balance to make them happy and still position ourselves as a hangout to drink beer as well.”

beer_0097-267x400For 15 years, Brixx Wood Fired Pizza has included beer and wine on the menu, and according to Jeff Van Dyke, managing partner, the quality of their imports and craft beer and wine doesn’t attract the rowdy beer drinker.

“We’ve never seen a conflict with families; it’s a high energy environment, and people bring kids of any age,” Van Dyke says. “We’re open late, serve food until 1 a.m., six nights a week, and, late night –– which is 10 p.m. to 1 a.m. –– it’s more of a crowd focused on the bar. Most people don’t bring kids out for dinner after 10 p.m. We do offer root beer on tap, which is a big plus for kids of all ages.”

Finding the right balance begins with knowing who you are. “The first thing operators need to understand is to make sure selling alcohol makes sense for their brand position and concept and how. Who is the target market? Who are you trying to bring in? Looking at the competition, what is your point of difference? Does it make sense or doesn’t it? If it doesn’t, you can hurt your base business,” says Warren Ellish, president and CEO of Ellish Marketing Group.

Co-owners of Noble Pie Parlor in Reno, Nevada, Trevor Leppek and Ryan Goldhammer agree that in order to keep moving beer and wine in a positive way, you have to understand the market, neighborhood and community.

“The marketing of beer and wine has to be elegant, sophisticated, subtle and not overpower the food product –– the first reason people are there,” says Charles Dorn, managing director of The Dorn Group, Ltd., in Rye, New York. “The beer should be obvious that it’s available, but not the primary thing people see. Marketing can be as subtle as a table tent.”

Leppek and Goldhammer promote their list with hand painted chalkboards in the restaurant and clipboards at the table highlighting the beer and cocktail menus. Goldhammer also created framed custom-made posters with graphically designed advertisements.

wines_0073, marketing beer and wine“The type of glassware in wine and beverage service makes a tremendous difference,” Dorn said. “Beer in a frosted mug catches the eye. Glassware is a huge marketing thing. A pilsner glass with an amber colored beer will catch everyone’s eyes.”

Leppek and Goldhammer benefit from referrals from area casinos and use print and social media to promote their specials and events and their Web site to update their selections. “Instead of just marketing our beer and wine by itself, we market our events. We have Trivia Night in which we extend Happy Hour prices, Pint Nights and IPA Days. We market this as a fun experience with friends instead of just promoting drinking beer,” Young says. “We’re very active on social media –– Facebook, Instagram, Twitter –– marketing our events, new beers on tap and posting photos of events while they’re happening. We participate in community events. We also work with our beer distributors to do co-promotions and events in store.”

Paul and Michael Childers, owners of two Savannah locations of Your Pie, pair their pizza with local craft beers and host tastings and meet and greets with representatives of local breweries to connect with their customers.

“Local craft beers will certainly add an attraction if their name is well-known and they are widely accepted locally. Offering a local craft beer from a local brewery can often assist in building customer recognition for both parties — the brewery and the restaurant,” says Alan Guinn, managing director of The Guinn Consultancy Group, Inc.

Craft beer is a vital part of Brixx Wood Fired Pizza and its Master of Beers Appreciation Program is promoted by table tents, in-store posters and staff.

“One of the best ways to increase bar sales is to do something unusual,” says Joel Cohen of Restaurant Marketing.com. “Create colorful, eye-appealing drinks. Create special drink names after holidays, celebrities and special events. For example, if your team is in the Super Bowl, create a drink named after the team. The challenge is that you can do what everyone else does, boring, or create wow positive reactions with your drink that become memorable to your customers.”

Presenting suggestions to your customers whether on the menu or through your staff will go a long way in promoting your list.

“When people go out to eat, they don’t want to think. Menu pairing is suggestive selling. Example: ‘Pairs great with Guinness Stout,’” says Phil Diegelman, director of operations for Restaurant Republic in Arcadia, California. “Servers can do suggestive selling. Allow them to recommend pairings or let the customer pick and then the server can steer the customer to pick a dish that goes with that drink. The server is suggestive selling in a genuine way.”

According to Ellish, the seller plays a huge role in whether a guest is going to order a beverage other than water.  “Don’t look at it like an up sell. When a server is well-trained and knowledgeable about food, it’s amazing how many times people will order what they suggested,” Ellish says.

Marketing Your Local Business: Make Sure Potential Customers Can FInd You On-line

Warren Ellish, President and CEO of Ellish Marketing Group is featured as a guest blogger in Thomas Paige International’s Leadership Insights. Five great thought leadership blogs from industry experts are highlighted.  Check out all of the blogs from Joleen Goronkin, Rick Van Warner, Rob Grimes, Tom Spry and Warren Ellish.

Check out Warren’s guest blog at: http://thomaspaige.net/marketing-your-local-business-make-sure-potential-customers-can-find-you-on-line/

Marketing Your Local Business: Make Sure Potential Customers Can Find You On-line

It is so common today to see local businesses of all types focusing on social media and generating “likes” for their business on their Facebook page, followers for their business on LinkedIn or Twitter and forgetting all about optimizing their primary on-line vehicle, their website. And when they do think about their website, they are worrying about what the website looks like and not on how it performs.

If you have a local business and are trying to generate new customers, patients or guests, it will be difficult to do so if they don’t know you exist, know little or nothing about you, have no idea where you are located or how they might do business with you.

Building a properly developed website is of critical importance to establishing an on-line presence and should be your primary area of focus.

Here are 12 tips on developing a website that performs — where you will be on the first page of relevant searches and in many cases at the top of the pages.

1. Set objectives for what you want your website to accomplish

While it is important how your website looks, it is even more important how it works. I hope the objective is not to “look cool” (or something like that), but rather to allow people looking for your type of goods or services to easily find you and learn something about your business and how you can help them.

2. Develop a strategy for your message

Your communication strategy should link directly to your brand positioning. Your target audience should be able to relate easily to your website and understand what business you are in and what your point of difference from your competition is. You must also identify what specific web pages are appropriate and needed to implement your strategy.

3. Start with a powerful domain name for your type of business and geographic location (and it is not usually the name of your business)

Select a domain name that combines the business you are in, your geographical area and an adjective that people would use when conducting their search. For example, if you were a dentist in New York or an Italian restaurant in Alpharetta, effective domain names might be NewYorksBestDentist.com and PopularAlpharettaItalianRestaurants.com.

4. Use a design platform that is not proprietary to the company that builds your website

You want the freedom to be able to move your site hosting and development wherever and whenever you desire, and you should be able to make simple updates and enhancements to your site by yourself. WordPress is a great free platform to consider.

5. Build the website around Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

Define search terms (combinations of words) that you think someone looking for your business would type into his or her search browser. Then develop unique META (title, description and keywords) for each page of the site. Make sure to follow a strict character count for each; too many will negatively affect your search results.

6. Integrate Social Media into your website

Design Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+, YouTube, and a blog into your site when applicable and when it fits comfortably. Remember that if you integrate with a social source, you need to have a presence on a regular basis to be relevant. And make sure your employees are aware of and engaged with your social efforts.

7. Build your website to be mobile and tablet friendly (across platforms)

Make sure people can use your site no matter where and how they link to the Internet.

8. Generate online reviews and link them to your website

Ask current customers, patients and guests to write reviews for your business. Postings to Google Places and other local review sites will boost your search ranking. Offer easy links to these different review sites within your own website and boost your ranking even further.

9. Establish yourself with Google Places

Make sure you sign your business up with Google Places (which will become linked to your site).

10. Optimize before going live and posting your website

Don’t trust a company developing your site that tells you once the site “looks good” to go live and post your site and then they will work on content, META, SEO optimization etc. Optimize everything before going live.

11. Keep your website current

Once you launch your site, your work is not over. Good sites that rank high constantly enhance their content and coding.

12. Track and learn from your website

Be sure to use some form of analytics tracking built into each page of your site. Google Analytics is a great free option. If you have a business that generates call inquiries or requires reservations or appointments, utilize a unique phone tracking number on your website that will allow you to track responses accurately. You can even have the calls, forwarded from this unique tracking number, recorded for training purposes.

For more information on how to quickly and affordably market your local business to succeed in today’s competitive marketplace, visit www.ellishmarketing.com, or reach Warren directly at 303-762-0360 or .

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