Crafting the perfect chocolate from bean to bar is a long and complex process, but only half the story of running a successful chocolate enterprise.
In this post, we will look at establishing your brand and marketing it. After all, the name of the game is to spread happiness, make a little money and let as many people as possible discover the pleasures of experiencing quality artisan chocolate.
FRIENDS AND FAMILY
Your immediate circle of friends and family maybe well aware of your journey into craft chocolate making. They are probably eager to taste your product and give you their honest feedback.
Invite them round for a ‘tasting’ party and ask them to bring a friend along too. Just about everyone loves chocolate, so this is your first opportunity to launch your product to some people you know, and maybe some you don’t.
Ask all your guests for to write a review for you (they can do this anonymously if they wish). What you are looking for in this exercise is to get some honest feedback, garner great quotes and social proof you can use for your marketing to a wider audience in the near future.
Hopefully, everyone has a good time at your ‘soft launch party’, but don’t let them escape without presenting an opportunity for them to purchase and take some more delicious and nutritious chocolate home.
If you are fortunate enough to create craft chocolate from the tree to bar, a unique way to market your brand is to open up your farm to foodies and eco-tourists.
Homestays, farm tours and getting back to nature are all growing trends in travel due to the changing nature of restrictive government mandates due to the ongoing ‘health’ crisis.
Crafting a farm tour so your guests can see where and how cocoa is grown, the process of making chocolate and a tasting makes for a perfect day or half-day family experience.
A farm tour gives you the opportunity to answer many questions, tell your story and make new friends and customers.
Depending on what you offer, the tours can be free, or you can charge a fee for each individual or small group. Also think about other revenue streams like including a healthy lunch or dinner, drinks or even merchandise like T-shirts and hats.
Encourage everyone visiting your farm to take photos and upload them to their social media channels. Ideally, you’ll have Instagram locations for great branded photos and a hashtag for them to use too.
Always remember to sell lots of chocolate to your guests before they leave, ask for a review and their email to keep your marketing communication lines open.
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Attending outdoor trade fairs in Thailand can be problematic. It’s either too hot and the chocolate blooms or it’s raining.
Ideally, indoor trade fairs are better as all the above for mentioned problems aren’t an issue.
Site fees can be expensive, along with all your marketing materials, so pick your trade fair carefully and ask the organizer and past attendees who will attend, footfall and hours.
Make sure you have lots of craft chocolate for ‘tasting’ and work out how many bars you need to sell to break even and get into profit.
When done successfully, you can reach lots of potential new customers in a small space of time.
Website – If you are serious about building your craft chocolate enterprise into a serious brand, you’ll need a website.
A website unlike social media networks, allow you to have complete control over your brand. No one can delete or censor it if you break one of the networks ever-changing terms of service.
A simple WordPress website allows you to start small with a minimum investment and scale up as your sales increase and your business grows.
Shopify and WooCommerce are also two good platforms for e-commerce websites that handle sales straight out of the box.
Domain names – Your website will need a domain name. This is usually the name of your brand i.e. Anarchychocolate.com
To some, domain names with the legacy TLD (Top-Level Domain) – .com, .org, or .net are looking ‘old hat’. Now with the explosion of blockchain technology, we have the ability to be more creative and own our own TLD. An example would be: .anarchychocolate.
Alternatively, chocolate makers could invest in a SLD (Second-Level Domain) here, like:
Using our brand as an example again, this would look like: anarchy.craftchocolate or anarchy.beantobar.
Blockchain domain names are decentralized, uncensorable and memorable.
Depending on the demographic you are trying to reach, having a good social media presence for your craft chocolate bar brand is a must.
Ideal if you like to take lots of photos and from our experience, one of the better social networks for general marketing and building brand awareness.
Although not as good as it used to be (the algorithms work against free post promotion), it’s still worth having a presence on this social network.
If you have a website, Facebook allows you to add a ‘retargeting pixel’ to it which comes in very handy if you are looking to pursue sales through their network.
Shop integration is also possible from your Facebook page. So now you can make sales directly from your posts.
There are of course countless social media networks to stretch your brand even further. The best practice is to work with one to 3 and see which ones generate the best results for you and your audience.
If it’s video advertising, YouTube, Odysee, Tik-Tok or Instagram are all very popular and worth investigating.
For photos, Instagram and Pinterest are two likely candidates.
If you’re more of a wordsmith, a blog on your website is a must.
The world is now a small place when it comes to commerce. You don’t have to restrict yourself to only selling your beautifully crafted chocolate in your local vicinity or even in your local currency.
Most online e-commerce stores tend to sell in United States Dollars (USD), but this is now on the decline, even for nation-states (El Salvador).
With the advent of blockchain technology (see domain names above), we can now also use cryptocurrencies to transact with and find new markets that are underserved and relatively untapped at the time of writing.
I think most people have heard of Bitcoin (BTC) but other popular cryptos are also available as a medium of exchange and are more suited for small transactions. For instance, Anarchy Chocolate now accepts the following cryptocurrencies: Bitcoin (BTC), Ethereum (ETH), Pirate Chain (ARRR), Litecoin (LTC) and Dash (DASH). We are still trying to figure out how we can accept Monero (XMR).
Building brand awareness is a large part of running a successful craft chocolate business today. Don’t underestimate the time and energy it takes on a consistent basis to make it work.
We’ve only scratched the service of marketing your craft chocolate brand in this article. Let us know in the comments below if you have adopted cryptocurrencies for payment and share the top tips and tricks you use to future proof your business and sell more chocolate.
Written by Perry Stevens – Anarchy Chocolate.
This article was first published on BarTalks.net on 15 September 2021.
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