Written by Rose Souders
Editor’s note: This blog has been updated in May 2020.
When it comes to selling an artisan product right now, like high-quality wine, you need to think creatively and also follow a few guidelines for what you need to keep in mind if you’re going to market yourself during a crisis. Remember, don’t be opportunistic or exploit the situation.
Quick recap from the “Should I promote my “non-essential” business during the Coronavirus outbreak?” blog. Define these three things before you market your wine during the Coronavirus outbreak.
- How can you provide value to your customers? Real value to help them. Build trust.
- What do your customers need right now that you can offer them? Think creatively.
- How can you use technology to offer your services or products in a way that you weren’t doing before? Use video recordings.
Think about the experience your customers are having right now. They’re likely at home, probably have a limited selection of food to cook with, and are missing their social circle.
Okay, now start with the obvious. You need to get your wine experience on the web.
This means virtual tastings, videos that talk about your wine (as if customers were there at your tasting room), and creating online meeting spaces for the people who want to enjoy your wine socially. Remember, for many, drinking good wine is social.
Be sure to vet everyone you allow into your “meeting space” and make sure they’re 21+ years of age.
For recording your own video content, right now you have to forget about being camera shy. You’ll be rusty at first and nervous, but over time you’ll get better at being succinct, entertaining, and you might even dabble with video editing. Yeah!
When you’re creating these virtual wine experiences, make sure you take some time away from the logistics and sit back to think about the actual experience your customer will have. I recommend stepping away from the computer and spending 10 minutes thinking about just this focus without any of the logistics. Start with the experience you want customers to have, then trickle down to logistics, keeping the experience in mind every step of the way.
Make sure your experience is sharable and that people have a way to leave online reviews, share the next virtual event date on social, and engage their friends. This is how you’ll be able to grow your online customer base. Make sure to provide an incentive for them to share or invite a friend to your next virtual event. For example, try hosting a weekly virtual happy hour and then provide a discount on your products for those who attend. Be creative. At the happy hour, you could provide a playlist that goes with your wine, a recipe and grocery list for the week, prompts to get people chatting, etc. For now, I recommend doing these experiences for free to offer something of value (social!) to your customers, then let your online sales bring in your revenue.
Now is not the time to be “corporate”. Get personal. Make sure you humanize your brand.
People want to see a face; they want to see your company’s values upfront. Make sure that you and your company’s values are present and felt loud and clear in your experiences. Don’t be afraid to personally reach out to customers and thank them. Your follow up on the sale is a part of their experience. Handwritten notes and personal calls are always appreciated. Few people actually take the time to do this. If you do, you’ll stand out.
Show them that you are accessible and that customers can contact you. Take the time to cultivate a community.
Pair up with complimentary businesses. We’re stronger together.
I’m hearing some fantastic stories about brands creating new offerings by pairing up and introducing their online community and customer base to the other.
- Are there any chocolatiers that you can reach out to?
- What about the farms that are delivering vegetables? Could they drop a printed piece in their farm box, and you could do the same with your customers’ wine delivery?
- What about butcheries?
Your graphic designer is your friend right now. They can help you create the printed pieces you need to do these joint offers. Our pal Leasha over at LaBruzzi Media Craft is offering these kinds of services to small businesses. Tell her we sent ya!
This joint collaboration and support are essential right now. Think about who else can you reach out to and join up forces with. Perhaps you can mention each other on social media with your offer or even in your newsletter.
Make sure that if you’re partnering up, that you still follow all of the wine marketing laws. Important!
I recommend that if you’re going to reach out to a company that you aren’t already close with, then you should offer something to them first to build trust. You can be clear that you’re looking for mutual support upfront, but don’t start with “can you do this for me?”. Remember, provide support and value to others first.
Online orders. Focus on your digital marketing.
It’s easier to market to those you know already love you rather than win over those who have never heard of you or tried your products. The first thing to do is to start building a new marketing plan for your current customer base.
You can’t use your old marketing plan. It’s irrelevant now. Sit down and map out a new one to market your wine during the Coronavirus outbreak. See above for the recap list in bullets or click here to jump to it.
Define who your customers are. Think about their hobbies, jobs, the types of content they’re probably consuming, the way they prefer to get their content, their sense of humor, etc. What do they like aside from your products? Can you include that in your marketing? For example, if you know your customers really like dogs, can you start recording wine tasting videos with you talking about your wine with your dog in the background? What if your customers like gardening? Take photos of your wine out in the garden or record your videos there outside.
I know. I know. It sounds cheesy, but these little details help build a connection with your customers. It also humanizes your brand.
Pro-Tip: If you’re not sure what your customers are into (besides your wine!), then use Google Analytics’ Audience Interests info to map it out!
Yes, seriously. Your Google Analytics has an Audience section and in it, they give you “Affinity Categories” and “In-Market Segments”. There they’ll tell you about your website visitors’ interests. It’s helpful!
If you have all of these details mapped out, you can start to determine what type of marketing strategies will be effective, content you should start drafting, what platform(s) you will use to push it out, and what visuals/media needs to be included in it to resonate with your customers.
Remember, your customer comes first when creating content. Provide value first, check-in with them to make sure they’re okay, then when they’re ready and they need what you have to offer, they will come. Be highly visible, accessible, and engage with your customers in a way that provides a positive experience.
Think personalized email marketing. Video content. Blog content that teaches people something new.
Most importantly, make sure your marketing content is optimized for the platform you’re putting it on. If you’re putting out a blog, then make sure it’s optimized for search. If you’re putting out a video, make sure you upload the file directly to your social media platform rather than a link to YouTube. If you’re sending an email, make sure that it’s personal and something you yourself would actually want to receive.
You can still market your wine right now, but you need to adapt, put your customers first, and get your wine experience online. Here’s your to-do list:
- Brainstorm how you can create an engaging virtual wine experience.
- Get personal and humanize your brand.
- Pair up with complimentary businesses.
- Focus on your digital marketing.
If you run into any questions or snags, please reach out to the Potluck Consulting team. We have answers. We’re here to help. Please ask for it whether just a quick question on Instagram (@potluckconsult) or if you need an experienced marketing team to assist you during this change in the environment.
Giving you a virtual hug (6 feet!) from my home to yours. Stay in touch, my friend.
If you’re looking for more resources during this time, try this shortlist of relevant blogs for assistance + subscribe to our newsletter to get our emails. Click the purple “Newsletter” tab at the bottom of your screen.
- Should I promote my “non-essential” business during the Coronavirus outbreak?
- How to Get Repeat Customers Buying from Your eCommerce Website
- 3 Tips for Writing Social Media Copy During A Pandemic