There are well over 7,000 microbreweries and 10,000 wineries in the United States today. This business sector has been booming for the past decade and remains popular throughout the country (and the world).
Of course, microbrewery and winery owners must adapt to changing customer behaviors continually. Especially since 2020, consumers interact differently with businesses, but while that posed a challenge initially it now offers many opportunities going forward. What strategies can you implement to adjust? Here are four suggestions that can help:
1. Communicate on Digital Channels
More and more consumers use digital channels (like official websites, email subscription lists, and social media platforms) to stay up to date on the latest news and events. This trend also applies to the world of microbreweries and wineries. You must inform your audience about any changes or special promotions via all the digital platforms you use (e.g., your website, Google Maps, Facebook, Instagram, and so forth). If you have an email newsletter, you'll want to include your updates in its content. (Of course, don't forget to post all updates on your door, too!)
2. Create Web Content
Microbreweries and wineries often attract sophisticated customers who want to know more about your process to produce the final product. Apart from in-person tours, you can satiate their desire by developing and publishing in-depth web content they can seek out to learn your process and demonstrate your expertise, either through blogs or videos (or both).
This strategy offers several benefits at once. For example:
- You'll grow your online presence in an SEO-friendly way
- You'll establish yourself as a thought leader and subject-matter expert
- You'll be able to form connections within the local community (for instance, by highlighting the history of beer-brewing or wine-making in your region)
3. Reward Loyal Customers
You want to turn your first-time customers into lifelong fans - and one of the best ways to accomplish this goal is to systematically reward loyal customers for their business. Doing so will generate word-of-mouth buzz among your consumer base and encourage satisfied customers to refer your business to their family and friends.
The options for rewarding loyal customers are virtually limitless. For example:
- You could hold social media contests with coupon rewards for highly engaged customers
- You could offer discounts after a customer purchases a certain number of drinks
- You could offer "rebates" for customers who bring reusable bottles back to your business
One additional benefit of a robust customer rewards program is that it allows you to identify your core audience more clearly and then adapt your marketing strategy to them more effectively. Just remember to gather as much data as possible when implementing this program and then track the results.
4. Host Hybrid Events
Many businesses have become very familiar with virtual and hybrid events during the COVID-19 pandemic. You can lean into the lessons learned by maintaining a virtual component in your upcoming events, even if the focus is primarily on in-person attendees.
Incorporating that virtual component into your strategy will help you reach the largest number of people possible - more people than you could host at your physical establishment alone. It will also provide a unique selling point for customers who can't visit your business in person or can only do so occasionally.
As an example, if your winery is hosting an upcoming "Dip and Sip" event (a painting class with wine), then you could advertise take-home versions of the wine that will be featured (such as a sample pack) for prospects who are interested in attending but won't be able to do so physically. That way, even if someone is visiting your business on vacation, they still will have the option to tie in virtually to your event and feel like they're participating (drinking the same wine the in-person attendees are drinking).
In the end, hosting hybrid events can generate enthusiasm for your business and help you expand your target audience's scope in previously unimaginable ways.
Adapting to Changing Market Results Increases Success
In summary, there are several ways to successfully grow your microbrewery or winery business despite today's rapidly changing market. As discussed above, you can:
- Make good use of digital channels to keep customers updated
- Create informative and engaging web content for your sophisticated audience
- Generate excitement and goodwill by rewarding loyal customers
- Incorporate a virtual component into all of your upcoming events
If you find that implementing these initiatives is a daunting task, you always have the option of partnering with an experienced media partner and leveraging their expertise. Whatever you decide to do, continue to look for ways to adapt to changing market conditions. Engage with your audience where they want and how they want. Encourage repeat business through exceptional service and valuable rewards. If you do, your business will remain rock-solid for years to come.