For small businesses —like tap rooms and craft breweries — your website should be the launchpad of your marketing strategy. Why? Well for one, it’s an affordable way to promote yourself. Setting up a website doesn’t have to be expensive.
Secondly, your website should reflect your brand. And because the beer you make is a big part of your brand, the two should align. Is shoddy and half-arsed a fair reflection of the care and attention you give your brews and taps? Certainly not! In which case, why stand for a website that gives that impression?
The final reason to invest in your website as the frontrunner in your marketing strategy is that 62% of Australian’s dismiss businesses without a website or online presence. Yowch. Missed business really sucks.
So how can you transform your “meh” craft beer website into a useful marketing tool that helps you sell more beer? I’ll show you…
4 breweries with clear messaging that markets their beer
It starts with figuring out your messaging. And I don’t simply mean, “we make great-tasting beer.” There’s more to your story than that. There’s something unique that makes you different to all the other craft breweries, beer companies and tap rooms out there.
Finding that angle of difference and plastering it all over their website is what these four beer brands have done really well. So, pull up a barstool, grab a
1. The Good Beer Co – Great Barrier Beer
Focussed Message: Honest and clear – our beer helps great causes.
We know that just the right amount of beer can make you feel good. But what if drinking that beer also helped you do good? That’s what James Grugeon’s Good Beer Co is all about: when you buy a beer, you’re also giving to charity.
The Good Beer Co
“Great Barrier Beer – buy a beer, help the reef.” It’s a clear and concise headline that tells the reader exactly what action the Good Beer Co want’s them to take and the benefit of that action. But asking someone to do something is a big, well, ask. So, they back it up by giving the information beer drinkers most want to know: what does it taste like and where can I get one? It’s a strong intro.
I also really like that further down the page we get deeper into the cause Great Barrier Beer is championing.
It also links to the AMCS website, which helps build trust and legitimacy (and probably doesn’t harm their SEO). Last great copy point of this section: the use of a quote. This is a great way to get an extra voice on
OK, onto the mission statement…
“Our aim is simple: to make it easy for you to enjoy a good beer and give back”. Personally, I’d have moved this up towards a top. It’s a clear, crisp message (a lot like their beer
Saving the Great Barrier Reef is a serious environmental issue. But we’re on a beer site. And when you have a beer you want to enjoy it and have a good time. Which is why this gem works so well.
The “Have 1 For The reef” subhead shows the brand’s fun and playful side. It’s a play on “one for the road”, so by using this well-known pub phrase so it plays out our good nature and the feeling like you’re getting one more in for the sake of a mate.
I love everything about what the Good Beer Company are doing. In a world when there are so many phony, half-arsed promises from brands to better themselves, it’s refreshing to see one that is actually following through on their promises.
2. BentSpoke Brewing Co
Focussed Message: Unafraid to try new things.
The message from BentSpoke Brewing Co website: we’re a bunch of rebels. As demonstrated by their homepage headline.
This is a really well-crafted piece of copy. Let’s break down why:
Nothing worthwhile comes easily. Taking the familiar road can rob life of its flavour. – Grabs the reader’s attention, causes intrigue sets up the theme of journeys, bikes, but also beer flavour.
So at BentSpoke… – Introduces the brand.
…we take a more adventurous route, knowing all too well that it’ll bend a few spokes along the way. – Sets up a USP and differentiator.
So before even trying a BentSpoke beer we’re being set up for the expectation that what we’ll get is something different. And that theme of “something different” and not taking the beaten path is threaded throughout the site. Just take a look at the design.
Now, I’m no designer but I’m pretty sure that mixing fonts in the way BentSpoke has is a bit of a no-no.
OK, there’s a lot I love about the main chunks of copy on this website. But I have to admit something. When I originally looked at the site, there was heaps of random and totally unnecessary punctuation in the middle of words and sentences.
It r????an a lit???tle bit ????????? like this.
Yes, this is tricky to read. But I kinda liked it for the way it played into the BentSpoke branding and at least tried to do something different. (Even if it didn’t stick around.)
Although, having used the Wayback Machine I couldn’t actually find this version of the site, which makes me think that random punctuation wasn’t meant to be there.
Pity if that’s the case, but either way, there’s enough going on with the site that means they’ve followed through with their branding – they’ve taken the story behind their name and translated that into their copy and design.
Another great example of this you might want to take a look at is Archer Brewing. Smartly, this brand is named after an airplane the owner of the company flew, called ‘Archer’, so their core range is their ‘fleet’ and the copy is introduced with ‘This is your captain speaking’.
Little touches like this is a great way of making your brand story come to life in your copy.
3. Moon Dog Craft Brewery
Focussed Message: We confidently break the rules of beers and set trends.
What? No headline on the Moon Dog Craft Brewery site. What madness is this?
From a copywriter POV, I don’t love that there’s isn’t a headline. But I can’t say I’m surprised because Moon Dog’s whole hook hangs on thinking outside the box. I mean, just take a read of this:
They even have the confidence to say they were the first to be doing
This copy positions the brand as a trendsetter — that they were brewing beers like this before anyone else. But acknowledging that even if the reader has come across beers like theirs before, that’s cool. Imitation is the best form of flattery.
Their homepage includes really nice direction and usability. Each homepage section addresses the most likely reasons someone’s landed on their site: to find the location or opening hours, get a
Structuring the page in this way is excellent from a UX point of view. It means the site visitor hasn’t got to dig around the site to see that the information they need is right there. And I particularly like this line of copy, “Our Ballroom Oasis is perfect for any sort of event you could possibly imagine, and probably a few that haven’t been invented yet.” reiterates the quirkiness of the brand.
I particularly like the copy on the beer landing page.
This opening sentence is spot on: “This is what it’s all about right? Bloody delicious beers.” Pretty much is. Intro text nicely sums up the brand “mission statement” that they “don’t really believe in rules”, “strap in and get ready to try something a bit different” you get a good sense of the playfulness and experimentation this brand likes to roll with.
4. Burleigh Brewing Co.
Let’s get a little serious about our beer talk. In terms of Tone, the Burleigh Brewing Co site certainly takes on a more serious tone, “It’s who we are and how we brew” suggesting this is their everything.
Burleigh Brewing Co
There are a couple of key areas across the Burleigh Brewing site that really brings their key message home. The first (an IMHO, most impressive) is their ‘Know Beer’ section.
As far as business blogs go this is stonkingly good. It’s got a clear audience and strategy behind it, which is: free education and knowledge sharing for true beer lovers. When I look at this, I see the content fulfilling two really important tasks.
1) It positions the brand as an authority. Each post and explainer video is a clear demonstration that these folks know exactly what they are talking about when it comes to beer. And if they know what they’re talking about, they surely create great beer. That authority builds trust.
2) The brand
This section is really the whole package in terms of hitting their focussed message home because it says, ‘Here’s the process, here’s how it’s done, here’s how we use it and then here’s the end product you can try’.
So where else are they hitting home the “we know what we’re doing and having fun doing it” message?
Well, there’s a lot of talk about the award they’ve won and they acknowledge that they can only achieve what they have by working hard.
‘Incredible beer like our doesn’t just happen. It takes time, quality ingredients, experience, passionate discussions (arguments), mistakes, experiments’ – this really
‘Our efforts produce something that’s often used to celebrate hard work — it would be a crime not to enjoy the process!’ When to enjoy the beer, understand how and why people will buy a beer at the end of a tough working day or week. It’s this little added bit of playfulness and reminder that yes, while they take it seriously, they are making something that’s enjoyed during social gatherings and happy times that stops the whole thing sounding pretentious or snooty. Instead, it feels like talking to a young, hip dad: It’s down to earth and accessible.
There’s one extra thing I saw explicitly expressed on the Burleigh Brewing Co site that I didn’t on any of the others. And that’s a clear definition of their audience.
How they describe their audience: ‘…we’re talking about the community of passionate folk all around Australia. They’re laid-back but they’re also changemakers. A new guard made up of driven, youthful entrepreneurs, crafters, tech magicians, creative, tradespeople, artists and makers.’ Here, the copy is pretty much explaining who drinks this beer and their ideal audience. Our beer is young, fresh, different and keen for change – which is the personality of the people who enjoy our beer.
Finding your focussed website message
Still with me? You’re doing well. That was a lot to get through. But I’m #sorrynotsorry because having seen how it’s done, it’s time to turn the focus on your website messaging.
Not got a scooby where to start? Here’s how to get a quick and dirty handle on your website messaging.
- Find your weird.
Look at your USPs (you know what your unique selling points are, right?) and focus on the one that makes you brilliantly different to your competitors. Some ideas of what that could be:
- Your location
- Where you get your ingredients
- How you find inspiration for your beers
- Your motivations for brewing
- Your venue space and events.
Once you’ve chosen, hold on tightly to this USP. It’ll be your homepage headline and then consistently threaded through the copy on the rest of your pages. The idea being you drum home to your reader that this is what you do and who you are, so they remember you for your difference. (In marketing world we call this your “elevator pitch.”) The rest of your USPs will then play a supporting role.
- Explain the benefits of this USP
Once you have these USPs, you need to think about how they benefit the audience. This is what you’re going to talk about all the way through your website. Always sell benefits over features. It’s the difference between saying, “Our beer has a refreshing, hoppy after taste” and “After a long day in front of the computer screen slogging your guts out to meet client demands, the hops in our beer offers refreshment and the downtime you need.”
Or the Good Beer Co. saying “Buy a beer to help charity” and “Buy a beer and 10% of what you spend will help with Great Barrier Reef conservation.”
- Say it so it speaks to your audience
Now you’ve got your USP and defined the benefits, you need to package it so it speaks to your audience. This means getting to know your audience by building personas and refining your tone of voice so it’s the voice of your ideal customer.
A note on
OK, back to the point…
How will you know if you’ve got the right tone? You can help yourself with this and making sure you’re on the right track by running your copy through the barstool test.
Let’s talk more about website messaging
I appreciate this is an epic post, but use it to jumpstart your website messaging so it’s focussed, attracts the right people and is a fair reflection of your brand. Your website and the messages you put on it should be on par with the skill and attention you put into brewing your beer – because that’s what you’re selling.
Two things: first, if you’ve got examples of other fabulous craft beer brands with a clear focussed message, I’d love to hear about them. It would be great to keep this post topped up. Email me or tweet me (@RoseC_Leic) with links.
Second, if you’re a craft brewery and are thinking “