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By Clare Goggin Sivits On May 9, 2022

Launch Your Spirits with a Mobile-First Strategy

Hand with painted nails holds up cocktail in a martini glass against a white background.

Not everyone out in public who is looking at their phone is on a dating app. They may be researching a product, especially in liquor stores and restaurants: 81 percent of people research a product online before making an in-store purchase, according to GE Capital Retail Bank’s second annual Major Purchase Shopper Study. Since nearly everyone is equipped with a smartphone now, and we know people research before purchasing, your spirits marketing needs to consider a mobile-first strategy.

The concept of mobile-first originated with website design. It held that websites respond to the requirements of small screens first and foremost because more and more people browse the Internet on their phones. To a more considerable degree, your digital marketing, from visuals to websites to the copy for Siri, should be built for that device.

If you’re ready to launch a new campaign or a new spirit, here are a few steps to follow in achieving a mobile-first strategy.

Website

While a mobile-first marketing strategy extends beyond your website, it’s still important to design that piece of it for mobile. While easy-to-use development platforms like Squarespace swear by their automatic mobile-friendly templates, often once you get down to designing, the website becomes less mobile-friendly with the addition of photos. Be sure to test your website on mobile and several tablets before launching.

Suppose it’s a new spirit or another type of campaign you’re launching. In that case, you might consider setting up a microsite — a temporary website with an easy-to-remember (and easy to enter into a browser app) URL. A simple site like this could feature videos that highlight your product or even host an online contest.

QR Codes

The technology for QR codes has been around for decades. Millennials have been scoffing at QR codes for years, though, probably because their parents loved them. The pandemic hit, and QR readers became more integrated into smartphones as the global pandemic forced more consumers to use the technology.

Now that people have become more comfortable with QR codes, they can be an effective marketing tool. If you want to send consumers to a specific destination online, it’s a lot easier to ask them to read a QR code with their phone’s camera than it is to have them remember and type in a URL. They’re also far more immediate.

To take advantage of this tool, incorporate codes onto packaging or retail assets. They can appear on posters, coasters, or even merchandise, like T-shirts (although in that case, it may be wise to connect the code to a more permanent website). Include a call-to-action and test out the QR codes regularly to ensure everything works properly on a smartphone. Depending on your target market though, they may either hate QR codes or love ’em.

Apps

Convincing someone to download a new app is challenging. Generally, consumers need to see a clear benefit to having yet another box on their screen taking up space. If you believe you’ve got an app idea that will inspire consumers to download, go for it. But building a new app takes a lot of time and money. So it may be best to take advantage of apps that consumers probably already have on their phones.

Several apps that feature craft spirits have already done the legwork and earned their spots on many smartphones. Distiller offers consumers reviews of a wide array of liquor brands. It’s possible to have your vodka, rum, or whiskey listed on the app by submitting it for review to the experts behind the app.

Additionally, popular delivery apps, like Drizly feature spirits. Craft spirits brands often have the opportunity to control listings that appear on the app as well. Ensuring that copy and images are up-to-date and staying in contact with the team behind the app will allow you to put your best foot forward to all users of the app.

Social Media Platforms

A mobile-first strategy needs to extend to social media. More and more, consumers access social media through their phones. So every piece of content posted to that site needs to consider that. Format copy and images for smaller screens and remember that generally, people are holding their phones vertically.

For mobile-first platforms, like Instagram, remember that users immersed in the app are not likely to want to leave. Links don’t work in Instagram copy (maybe someday?), and it will take a lot to entice them to find a link in the bio. So try to provide as much detail as possible on the app. It should be enough to get them to seek out your spirits on the shelves or at the bar.

Images and Video

Whether on social media or a website, photos and videos work best when they’re easy to view on a small screen. When photographing products, consider taking a few shots in portrait rather than landscape, and even better — consider the fact that the photo will look best cropped into a square. This foresight will not only give you several smartphone-friendly images but posting these to social media platforms will help you take up more real estate in someone’s feed. The same goes for video. Frame videos in portrait, especially if you plan to use them on primarily mobile platforms.

Voice Interface

Most current smartphones come with voice interfaces, such as Siri or Alexa. Many users choose to have those virtual assistants read their emails, or Instagram feeds for them. Personally, I’m afraid of these robots, but people do use them! So make sure all of your digital assets account for this. For instance, use alt text on the images you post to the web. You can do this on both Instagram and Twitter. You should also always do this on your website. That copy is what Siri references to describe visuals to users. It’s also wise to read all of your copy out loud to understand how it will sound when a virtual assistant reads it.

Clare Goggin Sivits

As a marketer with a strong writing background, Clare Goggin Sivits has worked in the beer, spirits, and wine industries for nearly a decade. She oversaw digital marketing for a small wine startup as well as a craft brewery and distillery with a nationwide footprint. A Florida ex-pat, Clare now lives in Portland, Oregon, and continues to write about craft beverage marketing and the industry as a whole.

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