These are extraordinary and unprecedented times. It’s safe to say that no one had a plan in place for how to deal with a worldwide pandemic. Here at Balzac we’ve put aside much of our day-to-day operations to help clients craft their messaging around COVID-19. As we gain clarity on what this means for us both personally and professionally, we wanted to share our advice with you; below are five tactics we believe wineries should be executing now to both show support and keep themselves afloat.
Make sure your community knows you’re there for them.
The most important step to take right now is to make sure your customers know you are taking this COVID-19 situation seriously, and you care about them. When you post on social media, or send announcements to your mailing list, make sure you’re communicating as if you were the one receiving the message. How would you feel to receive your messaging? If you feel comforted and secure, that’s your best message.
Close your tasting rooms but offer local delivery and nationwide shipping discounts, if that is fiscally feasible for you.
In some states it’s already mandated to close tasting rooms due to COVID-19, but if you’re not in one of those states, we strongly suggest closing, because that’s coming. Taking that cautionary step will go a long way toward customer loyalty and trust in the end. We’re seeing many wineries, breweries and distilleries offer free local shipping, and discounted shipping nationally. This measure lets your customer base know that you aren’t trying to take advantage of the situation by raising or creating new shipping costs.
Consider adding free merchandise with online purchases
Another way to show customer appreciation is to add a free t-shirt or similar with a minimum order. This can be done locally or nationally.
Set up virtual tastings with your wine club, or your larger customer community
Wine clubs are community events, and without being able to continue with these gatherings physically, consider setting up a virtual tasting, we would suggest including your winemaker/brewer/distiller to lead the conversation and share thoughts so that this is an even more special event for your most loyal customers. Zoom, Facebook Live and Google Hangouts are all easy and mostly free platforms on which to host.
Consider offering special COVID-19 “kits” with cocktail ingredients or wines that pair well with a recipe you’ll provide
Thinking outside the box and creating special offerings during this time of COVID-19 to help people be creative at home is a welcome diversion. We can’t go out for cocktails, or to restaurants, but you can offer at home options using their favorite brands.
We hope these tips are helpful for you. As always, if you have any questions, please feel free to contact us and see how we can help your business specifically.
For our end, Balzac is offering one month free on our PR Starter Package for those that sign up by March 31, 2020. It includes PR Strategy and messaging to help get through this crisis and beyond.