On June 30, 2021
During the COVID-19 pandemic, I would hear friends say,” I read in the news that the alcohol industry is booming!” Sure, the big guys were doing well as masked customers hurried into liquor stores and purchased their trusted big brands. As I’m sure you’ve felt and seen, the craft spirits industry, on the other hand, was one of the hardest-hit industries during the pandemic.
With light at the end of the tunnel, you may have already opened up your distillery tasting room, but have you checked in on your digital marketing?
Here’s a step-by-step digital marketing guide for re-opening your craft spirits tasting room to help boost your company’s visibility and foster brand loyalty online.
GIVE YOUR WEBSITE A BOOST
Keeping your website up to date can quickly slide down the to-do list, especially when trying to keep your customers, staff, and the community safe with enhanced cleaning and distancing measures while shifting to new service and product offerings. At the very least, find some time to give your website a much-needed enhancement.
Update Your Hours. Do the hours on your website reflect your new hours, and are they easy to find?
Ensure Your Menus are Accessible. If your tasting room offers food, allow people to plan with easily accessible menus. Has your product offering changed during the pandemic? Make sure customers know which products to expect upon their arrival at your establishment.
Ensure your website is mobile-friendly. Now that people are leaving their homes, your website should be just as easy to navigate on a phone as it is on a desktop computer. Most people are researching restaurants, breweries, or distilleries from their phones. They expect to complete essential tasks like viewing products and booking a distillery tour from the palm of their hand.
Map your product availability. Just in case customers can’t make it into your tasting room, map your products with Small-Batch Maps. With our mapping software, you can add images of your products for easy recognition by your potential customer, and use your own branding and color codes for map background, pointers, font, and more.
UTILIZE A NEW FORM OF SOCIAL MEDIA
Get the most out of paid ads. Now that people are Googling and researching which distilleries to visit in-person, Facebook and Instagram ads can be highly effective and flexible if done right. If you’ve tried paid ads before and didn’t have the expected results, we would recommend working with a beverage advertising agency.
Let your customers help. Your customers will be excited to be in a physical tasting room again. Customer-generated content will provide images to share that are realistic. Just ask your customers to take photos of their food and beverages with a suggested hashtag to use alongside the pictures they post.
Staff spotlights can do wonders for building customer loyalty and communicating your brand. Profile your hard-working staff to new and repeat customers to engage and foster connection with them.
CHECK YOUR LOCAL SEO
Local business SEO is particularly crucial for brick and mortar distilleries. When done well, SEO for restaurants and tasting rooms can help you reach new customers online, drive more traffic to your website than ever before, and ultimately get more of your restaurant’s tables filled every day.
Suppose you’re a distillery in Chicago, then you’ll want to come out top on Google’s search engine results page when someone searches for “distilleries in Chicago.”
There are a few actions you can take to boost your local SEO and make your tasting room is as visible as possible to people in your community and visitors alike:
CHECK YOUR WEBSITE SEO
Audit your metadata and make sure you are using location-specific keywords in your website content and meta descriptions. Using our “distilleries in Chicago” as an example, think “Chicago,” “Windy City,” and “Illinois.”
Build links, both internal and external, to boost your domain authority and rank higher on Google’s search engine results page.
GOOGLE MY BUSINESS
Update your Google My Business account. If you’re entirely new to Google My Business, check out our blog post on how to set up and use an account. If you have an existing account, be sure to update your hours and other pertinent information. During the pandemic, we found way too many restaurants and distilleries with out-of-date information. No one wants to show up to your distillery, only to come back tomorrow.
Don’t ignore reviews. With 87% of customers reading online reviews for local businesses in 2020, up from 81% in 2019, it’s imperative you have online reviews for your restaurant, that they are positive, and that when they aren’t so positive, you’ve responded. Make it clear what steps you take to rectify the situation.
Drive and manage reviews by: Asking customers to share their experience. Your tasting room employees can promote, or a scannable QR code to your Google profile can make this as easy as possible for your customers.
Respond on time. Facing bad reviews publicly online in a prompt manner shows potential customers you care about delivering exceptional service. And don’t forget to respond to the great reviews, too, thanking them for their support!
An alcohol marketing agency like High-Proof Creative can help with all of your digital marketing needs. Contact us today. We offer free consultations for craft spirit brands. Book a meeting with our founder, Karen Locke. Or read how our alcohol ad agency differs from the rest.