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6 Ways Your Brand Can Fuel Summer Sales Growth

  • 9 min read

Friends at a backyard party photo for summer toolkit postWhat are your strongest sales months of the year? If you’re like many tasting rooms, you may be gearing up right now for the summer selling season from mid-May through mid-July. Traditionally craft beverage producers can expect to sell the most volume of fresh and packaged liquid during that time because of warm weather vacations, social and outdoor activity, sports, etc. There is a lot to be done, much of which had to be completed months – and in some cases years – ago in preparation, from sales projections to production and packaging to staffing and distribution and everything in-between. And if your team has checked all the boxes, congratulations! You’re on your way to a successful summer selling season.

Question: have you put the same thought into ramping up summer promotions?

Your thoughtful approach to summer selling should be supported by an equally thoughtful marketing strategy. One rooted in a strong, consistent message across all media. One that pulses and doubles down to address opportunities in real time. And one that maximizes all available sales channels.

Challenge is, most makers are much more comfortable and confident managing the production side of the business. And for good reason: they’re experts at their craft, and you can’t grow sales without liquid. Which is why we’re seeing clients and industry forums alike asking for a blueprint or toolkit for marketing this summer, for example:

“What are other tasting rooms doing to plus-up events this summer?”

“My website is tired; how often do I need to do a refresh?”

“Am I able to run promotions at retail to juice my sales?”

“Has anyone connected their POS systems to their website?”

“Should I set up a TikTok account for my tasting room?”

On that last one, even though a lot of folks would disagree, we don’t recommend it for two reasons: first, beverage alcohol promotion is prohibited, and second, there’s no age gate preventing underage visitors. Plus, there’s the proposal in Congress to ban TikTok…so there’s that.

Answering questions like these related to marketing strategy and tactics is what we do at Market Your Craft, so we put together a checklist below for you to use as you prep for the upcoming selling season. Want to dive even deeper into a topic? Use the code 2024SUMMER to download your choice of one (1) of our Guides for free. Learn how Humanizing Your Brand will help fend off robots automating the drinker experience. Or Capture Drinker Attention with a thoughtful content calendar strategy. And learn from the promotional tactics of the rich and famous with Market Like An A-List Celebrity. There are 14 Do-It-Yourself Guides available to download and deploy. But first, our list!

2024 Summer Marketing Checklist

We’ve curated a list of strategies and tactics to help you and your team prioritize promotional efforts for the crucial summer selling season. It’s not meant to be an exhaustive list: more so a marketing foundation for craft beverage businesses to remain competitive in their market(s). As always, we’re here to help if you’d like to jumpstart your audit and map out solutions with one of our experts!

1. Dust off your brand story

Tasting room photo for excitement postIf you’re a regular reader of our newsletters, you already know that we’re fans of defining your brand story before anything else. This helps answer the question, “What makes your tasting room different?” for new and existing drinkers out there. This is especially important during the summer selling season due to increased competition and promotional noise. Take time with your team to make sure everyone is on the same time by reviewing the components of high-performance storytelling, including sharing your sacred stories; identifying give-a-damns; knowing your customer; knowing the competition; owning your niche; and ultimately defining your brand story.

Download “Storytelling: A Step-By-Step Guide For Building Brand Identity” for free using code 2024SUMMER.

2. Help drinkers discover your craft beverage brand

Woman with VR headset photo for website redesign postYou may enjoy a regular customer base at your tasting room. But how do you increase awareness with new drinkers? One way is to collaborate with similarly minded businesses both inside and outside craft beverage, the promotion of which exposes partners to new audiences. While loyalty in beverage is challenging, there’s an argument to be made that rewarding drinker behavior using POS systems can prompt a certain predictable repeat business and advocacy for your brand. If you’re already selling at retail, consider digital advertising, discounts and IRCs for chains and independents using services like Inmar Intelligence, Neptune Retail Solutions, Vestcom and BYBE.

3. Lean into marketing technology

Digital media builds awareness and facilitates sales with unmatched scope, flexibility, and scale. But how should your customer’s online relationship with your brand complement their real-word experience? We look at our client’s overall use of technology (often referred to as the “tech stack”) to see where we can integrate systems for a more seamless, engaging drinker experience. For example, connecting WordPress and Shopify ecommerce platforms with Toast, Arryved, Clover, Stripe, Amazon, QuickBooks, Salesforce, and others for true customer relationship management (CRM). Managing customer service is infinitely easier using call center technology, chat bots, and social customer care. And email service providers like Exact Target, Klaviyo, SendGrid, Constant Contact, and MailChimp build urgency with calls-to-action delivered directly to inboxes. All in complete compliance with CAN-SPAM, Privacy Law, and Beverage Alcohol Advertising Guidelines, of course!

Download “Storefront: A Step-By-Step Guide To Online Selling” or “Digital: A Step-By-Step Guide To Mobile-Responsive Websites” or “Email: A Step-By-Step Guide to Immediate Action” for free using code 2024SUMMER.

4. Create opportunities to sample

Young adults at a festival photo for recession postLet’s put cans and cups in your customers’ hands this summer! On-premise (bars and restaurants) have yet to fully rebound to pre-pandemic traffic and sales, in addition to being challenged by labor shortages. With consumers increasingly drinking at home, there’s no better way to drive traffic to your business than to host or sponsor an event! If you have the time, team, and resources to pull it off, it’s time to get creative about how to engage your customers in-person. Typically, events are likely going to occur onsite at the tasting room or you’re taking beverages offsite to another [licensed] location. Examples of each include:

  • Onsite: weekly/recurring, festival, anniversary, collaboration, charitable event, loyalty/customer appreciation
  • Offsite: sampling, industry event, press opportunity, sponsorship (local, regional, national)

If you’re on-shelf at local grocery or liquor stores, you may also look to activate retail demos where allowed using a mix of internal, contracted, or agency brand ambassadors and performance tracking and reporting (ask us how).

Download “Events: A Step-By-Step Guide For Successful Activations” for free using code 2024SUMMER.

5. Develop a trade focus within your business

Tasting room photo for collaboration postOrganizations of any size will benefit from strategic, deliberate communications with trade partners. If you haven’t already, consider formally establishing the trade discipline for your brand, including staffing, onboarding, promotions, demos, newsletters, data capture and performance reporting via tools like Airtable and Promomash. We’ve had great success deploying Absorb LMS in 8 languages to train and incentivize Global Sales Associates, plus integrating Adobe Workfront and Extranet for sharing electronic resources. And if you’re not already sending out press releases to brand-friendly journalists in your area, please do so! It’s free to do (it takes time, not money) and writers are always looking for human interest pieces supporting business growth and community give-back.

Download “Newsworthy: A Step-By-Step Guide To Press Releases” for free using code 2024SUMMER.

6. Multiply your marketing efforts without adding headcount

Robot image for Craft Beer Professionals postLet’s leverage available tools to grow your share of mind with drinkers. Work done now to craft your unique brand story will help Artificial Intelligence (AI) direct new drinkers to your tasting room. Spend the time to gain ranking and visibility in search engines. Consider subscribing to a tool for social media management, including listening, scheduling, posting, reporting, and customer care (we’ve partnered with Sprout Social to provide clients with favorable pricing, let’s talk more). Evaluate ChatGPT, Bing/Copilot, and Bard/Gemini to understand the strengths and limitations of each platform, evaluating scenarios for your team’s use. And reach out if we can connect you with products, services, and partners to help.

Download “AI: A Step-By-Step Guide For Leveraging Artificial Intelligence” or “Social: A Step-By-Step Guide To Social Media Strategy” for free using code 2024SUMMER.

NOW AVAILABLE: stream our session at the Craft Beer Professionals (CBP) Spring Virtual Conference recorded Monday, March 25, 2024. Titled, “The Red-Carpet Effect: 20 Takeaways from Celebrity Beverage Endorsements,” we look at 70+ celebrity-craft beverage pairings to identify promotional tactics of the rich and famous. Our goal is for craft beverage owners and managers to get the marketing fundamentals right, then steal the red-carpet tactics to propel their brands forward. Without celebrity endorsement and paid influencers. Be sure to check it out!

*Download one (1) Complimentary Guide using code 2024SUMMER available 4/23-5/31/24. Or reach out and one of our storytelling gurus will schedule time to learn more about your unique promotional needs or help check off items on your own summer marketing list.

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