Looking for creative ways to connect with shellfish consumers, fellow business owners and the foodie community?
AquaCultured has come up with a few ideas for mixing up your marketing and sales with special events. Read on below for how-to guides and step-by-step instructions for hosting an experiential event featuring shellfish, a virtual tasting and a grab and go promotion.
A chef once told an oyster grower that you can’t eat oysters EVER in months with no R. We’ve all heard the historic reasons why, but there are many consumers who want to enjoy the briny, buttery, sweet flavor of oysters in May, June, July and August.
So, as part of a pilot program, AquaCultured created its own special educational (and eating) event – July’R.
That’s right. If anyone was going to say they couldn’t eat an oyster in a month without an R, we were going to add Rs to all the months.
Not really, but hopefully you see where we are going with this.
And you can do the same.
Find a restaurant, brewery, winery, distillery, food truck or other special event venue to partner with.
Our experience is the more you can create an “experience” the more likely you are to attract potential new customers, shellfish lovers and to also reach a new audience.
Set a time 6 to 8 weeks in advance – you need that much time to market!
Determine how you will logistically host the event. Will be it be come one, come all, and you hope people buy when they get there? Will it be ticketed and each person gets a certain amount of shellfish to eat or to take home? The former is more risky as you won’t know exactly how many to expect, the latter could turn people off who could be new to eating shellfish. It’s just a matter of what you are most comfortable with.
Create your marketing plan and materials. Here’s a list you might want to consider:
That’s true for all the shellfish lovers out there, too.
Consider hosting a VIRTUAL wine and shellfish tasting that you can easily stream live on Facebook or other social media channel.
Find a winery to partner with!
In Virginia? We suggest starting with Virginia Wine’s marketing office here and navigating through their robust database of wineries in Virginia.
Meet with your winery partner – ideally their winemaker – and set a time to visit them for a tasting. Shellfish growers are fond of their merroir, just as wine growers are of their terroir. Work together with your partner to determine which wines they want to promote and showcase alongside your shellfish.
Make your plan! Will you go live on Facebook or You Tube? Will you do it at the winery or your farm? Do you have the right equipment? An iPhone and a ring light might be all you need! Who will monitor questions that come in as you are live?
Create a package to sell. Your package should include all the wines that will be tasted and enjoyed, as well as the shellfish to pair with them. Generally it’s easier, due to alcohol shipping laws, to allow the winery to handle the shipping or pick-up and sales.
BONUS! If you can, look to partner with small grocery and specialty food stores to serve as a pick-up location.
Start your promotions! Use the following as a checklist.
If possible, do a test run through – without going live for real!
It’s GO LIVE day! Be sure to get set up in your location one hour before go time. Go-live on your channel at least 3 minutes before the show is supposed to start. Then…HAVE FUN!
Want to see an example of a virtual wine and shellfish tasting? Go here.
No…not the box you send your shellfish to customers in – although that matters, too! It’s about how you PACKAGE the message promoting the sale of your shellfish.
Even if your shellfish are for sale every day of the year, consider promoting a special Grab and Go Pre-Order sale event to help move customers to action.
Here’s what you can do.
Look at the calendar and identify a date 6-8 weeks in advance, one that’s ideally tied to a food-related holiday. Set your Grab and Go Pre-Order sale event for 1-2 days before that holiday.
If you already have an e-commerce system set up to sell your shellfish directly to consumers, good for you! You can skip this step! If you do not have a way to sell directly to consumers, set up an account with TicketLeap. TicketLeap allows you to create events, sell tickets to that event online and then collect the money (less user fees).
Determine what you will be selling and the special you will be offering. Consider a package – oysters and a shucking knife, oysters and a local artisanal food product, clams and a special recipe book, etc.
Set your special price.
Set your parameters – when do people need to order by, when will pick-up be, where will pick-up be, what happens if someone doesn’t pick up their package, refund policy, etc.
Create an “event” on TicketLeap or a product for the special package on your e-commerce site with all the details you outlined above.
Promote the event on social media, your email contacts, your website and any other channel you have. Consider creating a Facebook event and be sure to post about it more than once. People need to be reminded.