Is your website driving traffic to your tasting room…or turning visitors away? Many craft beverage brands miss opportunities to recruit customers because their website – and more specifically their mobile web – isn’t inviting enough to attract someone new. Read on for 6 website tweaks that will improve your business’s mobile discoverability.
- is a website strategy necessary?
- 6 tweaks for do-it-yourselfers
- bonus: our favorite content management services
is a website strategy necessary?
What does “mobile discoverability” mean? When your tasting room is one of tens, hundreds or even thousands to choose from, you must rely on new customers finding you. You may advertise locally or sample at festivals, and that certainly increases your exposure. But drinkers today want to engage craft beverage brands on their own terms, researching before making a commitment. And if that comes in the form of a, “Hey Google, find a tasting room near me” search, we want to help you stand out from the rest of the list.
The first step in improving mobile discoverability is agreeing on your website strategy. Far too often, craft beverage producers just “check the box” with their website, believing if you build it, they will come. This is a very passive, Yellow Pages™ approach to recruiting new customers, and frankly one that won’t help grow your business.
Let’s look at the role your website plays in creating sales. Is it to build awareness? Drive traffic to on-site events? As a resource for retailers and distributors? Or something else? Like social posts, advertising and the tasting room experience, your website is an invaluable touchpoint with your current and prospective customer. Answering some basic questions will help you design the most useful, relevant website for thirsty buyers:
- What’s your brand story?
- Who will manage your content?
- What’s your brand personality?
- How do you want people to feel?
- Who are you talking to?
- What are your website goals?
- How do you measure success?
- Which brand(s) do you follow?
6 tweaks for do-it-yourselfers
It’s a lot easier to design an engaging experience when you have a clear understanding of your website’s purpose. Many craft beverage producers manage their own web presence, and it’s that level of control that gives them the most immediate advantage over competitors. We’ve identified 6 tweaks to your existing website that will improve your mobile discoverability, many of which can be executed today by your internal team:
- Design for mobile: one of the many advantages of a responsive website is content can be displayed or hidden based on device, or more specifically screen size. Decide what content is important to share with mobile users and what content can be hidden to streamline the experience. And remember the following tips from last email:
- Optimize images and video: visuals have a tendency to slow down site speed and increase bounce rate. Try scaling down the physical dimensions of the stored photos and videos or compressing them.
- Use clear calls-to-action: large buttons, popups and callouts improve conversion rates and sales when used appropriately.
- Think mobile-first: part of responsive website design is prioritizing mobile web display, even over desktop. Search engines favor craft beverage brands that offer visitors a seamless experience regardless of a customer’s screen size or browser.
- Consider a chatbot: for example, Drift or Messenger integrate with social channels for both automated FAQs and immediate customer service.
- Keep up-to-date with mobile tech: leverage the latest features of the smartphone and mobile browser where appropriate, including: GPS, click-to-call, scan codes, link to apps, etc.
- Use lifestyle photos: your website should help set the expectation of new customers BEFORE they set foot in the door! Photos tell stories about the amazing experiences and special moments shared at your tasting room. We recommend 2-4 photos on the homepage an at least 10 others throughout the site. Consider visuals that highlight: customers (with permission), large parties, food trucks, owners and guests, etc.
- Craft your business statement: what business are you in? “Craft beverage ” is the obvious answer, but go deeper: keep asking “why” questions until you’ve gotten as specific as possible. Then add that statement to your homepage for everyone (including search engines) to find.
- Leverage product pages: just listing what’s available in your taproom misses out on rich storytelling moments. Use individual product pages to celebrate brand voice and personality; communicate stats, pairings and awards; share packaging and availability; and talk with the maker. Sharing and review tools help build confidence in the beverage/experience and messengers offer real-time customer service.
- Show your facilities: go behind-the-scenes of your business. Consider photo galleries, drone footage, live social broadcasts, 3D walkthroughs and other means to help visualize the many aspects of your craft beverage business.
- Share your philosophy: sharing what you stand for edges you ahead of your competitors for many customers willing to take a chance on a new brand when they spot a connection. Consider highlighting your approach to sustainability, sourcing, community support, growth, beliefs, etc.
Download the complimentary workbook for everything you need to become immediately more discoverable by mobile customers.
bonus: our favorite content management services
When it comes to identifying content worth sharing, where is a craft beverage brand to start? Is it enough to post photos of your last event? Maybe. Perhaps the new addition to your facility? Couldn’t hurt. Truth is, there’s no single answer that is universally true for every brand. Ideally your fans, followers and customers will help direct your posting efforts, engaging more or less in content that you post as it interests them. If you’re listening closely enough, you will also pick up on cues as to where they want your brand to go, from product to marketing and everything in-between.
Starting with a clearly-defined brand story and understanding of your customer, it’s easier to pick and choose the content that makes sense to post. Many craft beverages have been successful at engaging their social audience by posting content in the following categories:
- State and federal holidays
- Observed dates
- Facility updates
- Product releases
- Business updates
- Culture or day-to-day activity
- Services provided
- Events and sponsorships
- Industry news
From a social perspective, we like Sprout Social for managing an active content calendar. They also provide best-in-class tools for social listening, engagement, publishing and analytics. WordPress offers flexible, mobile-ready themes and thousands of plugins to help you deliver engaging content to website visitors. And after reviewing a number of reputable hosting service, GoDaddy wins out on price, customer service and providing a full suite of marketing tools for improving mobile discoverability.