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How Wineries Can Make The Most Of 'Social Distancing' By Going Online

19/03/2020

Don't let the novel coronavirus hamper your work. Here are 13 ways that wineries can make the most of their down time by going online.

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The COVID-19 pandemic is serious business, as we’re sure you’re all aware by now. But that doesn’t mean we have to stop going on about our daily lives. Work goes on, business goes on, life goes on.

However, we do need to change our approach a bit, in order to comply with the government precautions and restrictions regarding the novel coronavirus.

For example when we look at ‘Social Distancing’, its not meeting in-person, we can meet them on-online. So, why don’t we make the most of this downtime to reach more people than ever, online. The brand equity that you will build in this will help you with depletions once things get to normal.

Internet & social media are proving to be a blessing indeed for times like this when your conventional business approaches fail to produce maximum output.

It’s so easy to reach out to your customers online in the form of direct marketing. Don’t get us wrong, we’re not talking about ‘selling’.

This is the time for relationship building and brand building.

Educate and entertain your potential customers. Give them value and hope and good tidings when all that the world is sharing is fear and distress.

You can apply some finesse to your sales approach with a few soft sells embedded in your pure value content.

Here are a few ways you can reach your customers ‘Virtually’

1. Empathize with your audience

Always remember that whatever you will be creating for the digital world, for it to be successful, it will have to be appealing to the audience.

Find angles for your content that relate to your brand that are attractive, interesting, engaging to the people you’re aiming. Things that actually help them, inform them, distract them and provide value. Engaging customers online brings many benefits: rather than relying on channel sales and partners wineries can build relationship with their customers and have better profit margins. The future is in direct sales online.

Remember: beautiful images do well on social media. So does a dose of personal touch to a brand: a human figure and some backstage stories.

2. Social Media

Social Media is all about engagement: being part of the conversation around topics of interest has become a widespread need. The borderline between business and private use of Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and similar platforms disappeared. Social media users browse their favorite channels both out of personal and business interest. They look for engaging content that they find relevant, educating, entertaining or useful. Ever since sharing customer experience has become a matter of a single click, Social Media turned into a vital source of purchasing information. Prospective customers buy products based on recommendations of their friends or business partners.


Social media and wine are a match made in heaven – both are about engagement


3. Establish a strong social footprint

Customers communicate ever more across social networks. They share information, offers, experiences, opinions – making it easy for them is key. Social is about engagement – all competitive wineries should establish a strong social footprint. It is less complex than it sounds: not all channels are equally important. On which channels a particular winery should be depends on the target audience and their social behavior.

4. Double down on Digital Marketing

Social media for wineries is about conversation between them and their prospects and customers. Rather than focusing on one-directional communications the next generation marketing efforts should consider how customers react. Thanks to advanced digital marketing analytics and promotion tools a large part of the engagement can be automated. Depending on how the targeted customers react to promotions, automated business logic can lead them through the optimal customer journey. It is exactly this reason why digital marketing is an excellent choice for wineries of all sizes to drive sales. Wineries are in a unique position to engage in the social conversation around wine. They can get to their target customers using digital marketing tools which are cheap taking into account the scale of their reach.

5. SEO

Utilize this downtime to delve a bit deeper into SEO best practices. There are plenty of online and offline courses that offer insights into the proper usage of keywords, on-page & off-page optimization and other such tips and tricks. These practices will help make your website more visible and easily reachable.

6. Get website mobile-ready

Instant access to wine information and engaging content, easy sharing of impressions are vital for targeting millennials. According to Google, 60% of users unlikely to return to a website they had trouble accessing on a mobile device and 40% of users visit a competitor’s site instead. Getting the customer experience optimized for smartphones and tablets of the winery website is fundamental.


Use a mobile first strategy to reach millennials and stay relevant


7. Build your database

We'll be frank here, now is not the best time to be cold-calling or cold-mailing. The world is pretty much panic-stricken and would not take well with core sales efforts. Your time would be better utilized in building up a database of prospects whom you can approach later. Once the COVID-19 crisis is over. A good database can easily result in more footfalls and traffic.

8. Spend on paid ads

With entire cities in quarantine, it is highly likely for online traffic to go through the roof. This is a great opportunity to run paid ads on social media platforms and Google. This will help you in creating new audiences that could turn into prospects.

9. Engage Wine influencers and 3rd party content creators

Another great way to utilize the quarantine hours would be to interact with social media wine influencers and build professional relationships with them. They can go on to give your brand a boost by increasing your social media presence in these trying times.

10. Build and grow Direct-to-Consumer channels

Now is the time to focus on direct-to-consumer opportunities (if you haven't started already). Many retailers and on-premise establishments are shifting to take-away and digital opportunities after the government lockdowns. You can also get your products listed on wine retail mobile applications and other such omnichannels to continue with their sales-efforts.


The future is in direct sales: better profit margins driven through personal engagement with customers


11. Implement e-commerce platform

Although digital marketing efforts may contribute well to sales through partners the ultimate goal of wineries should be selling direct. Not only it creates a awareness about the end-customer but it also helps reach higher margins and dedicated customer ownership. Professional e-commerce platforms running on open standards supporting simple integrations are available now at affordable prices.

12. Spend the time, adapt and react, learn

Social media and creating quality content takes time. There is no way around it!

Yes, the digital world goes faster than the real world, publications are often lighter and easier to read too. But it doesn’t necessarily mean it’s taken a whole less time to create.

Quality content, the one real people want to engage with, is often simply more condensed and straight to the point in its digital form.

Engaging with an audience also takes time. But remember, it is real people you are talking to, not just a computer or a smartphone. This will make the time spent on it more enjoyable!

Adapt to the feedback, react to the comments, change what doesn’t work, try various angles and media, in one word: learn.

13. Don’t Give Up

Results, even with a well-established digital strategy, take time to come. ROI is difficult (if at all possible) to measure, especially at the beginning of the implementation process while social accounts are very small.

Very few social accounts turn into big powerhouses from one day to another, let alone brands.

Consistency and perseverance are the safest way to get there.

The world IS changing right now. Sooner or later big shifts will occur in the way we communicate and methods to market wine and other products will dramatically change.

If only one thing, engaging and learning from the digital world is a way to be ready and trained to catch that wave when it will come, instead of getting hit by the tsunami.

Sources:

Beverage Trade Network

SF Chronicle

Sommeliers Choice Awards

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