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Marketing: Months of planning into successful rollout

Marketing and strategyThe marketing rollout behind the grand opening of Stable Craft Brewing Co. was several months in the making.

This on top of years of work by owners Craig Nargi and Nikki Nargi to add the new craft brewery to the growing list of craft breweries in Virginia.

If you’re going to spend the kind of money that it costs to build a quality craft brewery operation, of course, you want to make sure that people know when the doors are open.

Construction got going at Stable Craft Brewing Co., on grounds of the Hermitage Hill Farm & Stables in Augusta County, about 10 minutes west of Waynesboro, in the early fall, giving us roughly seven months to think through the marketing related to the opening.

We began reaching out to the people that we’d like to have on hand for the news – the governor’s office, the offices of our U.S. senators, the office of Sixth District Congressman Bob Goodlatte, the office of State Del. Steve Landes.

All had played a role in the behind the scenes of the development, and all could speak to the significance from an economic impact standpoint of having a first-class craft brewery in Augusta County.

There are now 144 craft breweries, and counting, in Virginia, and it’s a billion-dollar business here in the Commonwealth.

What the Nargis are doing puts Augusta County on that map.

We received great feedback from the political players about their interest in wanting to be a part of the opening, so that was a foundation.

We then set out to work on the website for the new brewery, then once that was settled put our focus on the mobile website.

You can’t overlook the importance of having a good, Google-friendly mobile site. More than half of all web traffic comes from mobile, and if your site doesn’t play with Google’s mobile rules, you might as well not have one.

The two sites came alive virtually as the brewery was coming alive from a bricks and mortar perspective.

A month out from the opening, we were able to pin down a grand opening date, and began reaching out to local media outlets to gauge their interest in covering the grand opening, hoping that we could score some free media to serve as the linchpin of the marketing effort.

We were all joyed to learn that not only were local media interested in the grand opening, each wanted to do something in advance to highlight Stable Craft Brewing Co. and its new place in the craft beer sector.

So we ended up getting a lot more bang for our bucks than we had anticipated.

But it wasn’t by chance. Results will vary, but you don’t just fall into having a marketing effort turn out working like a charm.

Just as you put effort into making sure the foundation is set before the walls go up, you need to set a foundation for your marketing plans and build on that foundation to make sure that when you build it, they will indeed come.

Chris Graham is the president of Augusta Free Press LLC, a full-service business services company that provides clients with marketing, website design, graphic design and social media services. More online at AFPBusiness.com. Contact Chris at augustafreepress2@gmail.com

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