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Tips on creative marketing

By JoAnne Carilli-Stevenson
White Labs Inc.

As summer turns into fall, homebrewing comes back into season as well. Is your shop ready to capitalize on the increase in business? Have you been planning new marketing promotions and ideas during the summer months when the shop may have been slower?

The new brewing season brings opportunities, and after speaking with and visiting many shops over the years, here is a collection of ideas to capitalize and grow your business.

n Brew Day: This shouldnít be reserved for just national homebrew day or just one day a year. Invite your local club to come (offer a store discount if they coordinate the event) and brew at the shop for the day. Offer HB samples (not just beer, what about wine, mead and root beer?) and snacks, get a press release out about the event in the local paper. Take pictures. And donít forget about home wine making demonstrations!

n Holiday Craft Fairs: It may seem odd, but many local communities hold craft fairs for holiday gifts. Exhibit! Introduce a new audience to the joys of home beer and wine making!

n Kit/Recipe of the month: This allows your current customer a reason to come in monthly for a "deal" and try a new style they might otherwise not experiment with.

n Work with your local media: Try and get your business featured in the local paper, get a local television reporter to come out and brew for a day.

n Offer winemaking/beer making for groups: They could come to the shop, or you could go to their home for a small fee and brew with a group. Great for weddings, anniversaries, etc. You may even talk to your local community college about a homebrewing class.

n And donít forget about these easy and simple ideas: Frequent buyer program; club discounts; friend referral program; direct mail .

n As a reminder, is your website current? Do you offer an e-mail newsletter to your customers?

The bottom line is, creativity is the key to growing your business. Standard advertising and marketing methods may work for you, but by being creative you can save money and grow your business.

If you would like to discuss marketing for your shop, contact our sales office at 888-5-YEAST-5 or info@whitelabs.com.

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A word to homebrewers: Customers can help their favorite stores by signing up for the White Labs Customer Club!

Go to www.whitelabs.com and click on the "Customer Club" link on the left hand tool bar. Redeem empty vials for prizes, along with a special monthly e-mail newsletter featuring clone recipes, interviews with professional brewers and more.