Bridge Brewing Company in Halifax, Nova Scotia, is all about great beer and an alternative approach to business. In 2012, founder Peter Burbridge started small with a big dream of building a zero emissions brewery that requires a large amount of capital and expertise. However, Peter believes that if they start small and reinvest profits with the zero emissions goal in mind, that they can work towards making it a reality. This is an experiment in what small business can achieve.
We asked Peter about grassroots marketing and he had the following advice for other start-ups:
Use social media effectively to promote your business. Start building your audience as soon as you can; don’t wait till you launch. It’s these early adopters that will spread the word about your business opening and for Peter it led to several printed articles in local papers as well as radio interviews.
There’s value in having a social media presence. Social media takes time, and can become tedious and hard to disconnect from but the value is huge. You get to talk directly to those customers who are most interested in your business. To communicate as effectively with traditional media it would cost an insane amount of cash.
Cash is king, so don’t spend it if you don’t have to. When you are starting a business people will come out of the woodwork selling you on banner ads, podcast sponsorships, anything that can be sold will come your way. Peter’s best advice is to start your Twitter account, Instagram, Facebook page (and whatever else you think you have time for) early and build an audience before opening.
Simplify your website strategies. You don’t need to be on every platform, they all take precious time and you need to decide how many people care whether or not you are on Google+, foursquare or whatever flavour of the month comes along. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and a webpage are all Peter has time to manage.
Consider cost-effective marketing approaches. Send press releases to local media outlets and be sure to get stories going for your opening. Local media loves to tell local success stories.