January 31, 2014
Our apologies for not blogging more frequently during the last half of last year. Since our last update in June 2013, the number of locations carrying our sauces has increased to 50 retailers in 5 states! We are learning a great deal halfway through our second year of doing this. We are getting a better handle on how quickly various retailers move our sauces. We also have made the commitment to feature at least one retailer every week and do a weekend tasting event at their location. We have developed in-store signage to promote our product displays, and we continue to ask for and receive prominent visibility in various store locations.
Our tastings are the best opportunity for us to get people to try our Smoky and Killer Finishing Sauces. We still post daily on Facebook but much of Facebook’s effectiveness in reaching our customers has diminished substantially since we debuted in May of 2012. Facebook has cut our customer reach by an estimated 80%. We benefitted from about 2 months of strong reach before Facebook instituted its vastly reduced reach limits. Our early posts used to reach a minimum of 200 to 300 people. Some posts reached 500 or more. That was with about 100 “likes.” Today, with 286 “likes.” we are lucky if we reach an average of 30 people per post.
As a result, we have had to rethink our communications strategies. We will continue to post on Facebook but in 2014, we will be utilizing Twitter more (@EsBestBarbecue), and we will be encouraging our followers to join our email newsletter list. We are also currently designing a Pinterest board for recipe swaps, etc. We will keep you posted when it is online. Meanwhile, click on this web page you’re reading and join our email list.
A key focus last year and again this year, will be to cross promote our retailers’ special events. Last year we were in Cleveland Tennessee for Cooke’s Food Store’s Grillz Gone Wild event. We also worked with The Rolling Pin Kitchen Emporium last fall and participated at their station at the Tampa Wine and Food Festival. Chef Dave West incorporated our sauces into his menu and over 4000 people tasted our sauces. Two weekends ago we were at the Myakka Outpost at Myakka River State Park and participated in Florida FrostFest. The Outpost served their barbecue sandwiches with our Killer Sauce and we also had a sampling station there as well. In February, E’s Best Barbecue Sauces will be the focus of a Rolling Pin Culinary Center cooking class. As of this writing, only 3 seats remain for the event.
God has really opened many doors for us and we continue to rely upon Him as we chart our course for 2014. We recently introduced gallon containers of both sauces for commercial food prep. Many of our retailers serve prepared sandwiches and other dishes as part of their offerings, in addition to their retail products. We have only had these gallons available since our November 2013 bottling and we have already moved 25% of our gallon inventory. We want to give special thanks to Greg Snyder at Southern Steer Butcher in Clearwater, FL as he has really embraced our sauces. He uses our Killer to marinate sirloin tips for sale in his store and has really moved a ton of product in the 3 short months of being with us. In addition, The Rolling Pin, Myakka Outpost, Oneco Meats, Geier German Sausage Kitchen, and The Meat House in Charlotte, all have successfully incorporated gallon quantities for their commercial prep in the last 2 months. With the success of the gallons we continue to successfully move our 12 oz bottle cases as well. We are still looking to introduce a line of dry rub seasonings but only when the timing is right.
In 2014, we have several trips planned to visit our retailers in Alabama, Tennessee, North Carolina, and Virginia. Last December during the ACC Football Championship weekend in Charlotte, we did tasting events at Reids Fine Foods and The Meat House. We also called on another prospective retailer who we hope to add in the coming barbecue season. We are still looking for independent retailers in Georgia and South Carolina. A couple of them we have contacted have expressed interest but there has been no firm commitment to date. We always welcome suggestions for an independent retailer where you live.
As we travel from store to store every weekend and call on retailers during the week, we constantly see God’s hand at work. Many times, we are the ones blessed by the customers and their witness to us. We look forward to every tasting, not just to move product for our retailers, but to have the opportunity to tell our story and let people know how God has blessed us. We may never know who we have impacted but we do know we are doing what God has called is to do. The barbecue sauce is just the means to God’s ends!