Google Home virtual tastings

Wente Family Vineyards photo for coronavirus postAs we enter month three of the lockdown, you may be wondering how to keep your craft beverage customer engaged. We came across some low-hanging fruit last week worth sharing: virtual tastings on your smart device. Let’s look at how your brand can use Google Home to attract new customers.

We saw on WineBusiness.com that Wente Vineyards had announced a virtual tasting experience made for Amazon Alexa and Google Home. Very creative! Whether or not they were the “industry-first” is not the point: they can claim that honor because no one else has. They cleverly promoted the guided tasting alongside a flight of wines for purchase at their website. Even without the wines we were able to experience the tasting on our Google Home device with the command, “Hey Google, Talk to Virtual Wine Tasting.” After confirming we were 21 or older, a friendly Google voice shared information about the selected wines, vineyards and Wente Family. The experience was self-paced and “conversational,” allowing time for enjoying a sip of each of the wines.

How does a virtual tasting make your brand more discoverable?

A virtual tasting delivered by smart device gave Wente Vineyards something new to talk about with current customers and wine enthusiasts alike. We’ll break down how this could work for you below:

  1. Set up a virtual tasting using Google Assistant
  2. Send an email to existing newsletter subscribers
  3. Draft a press release for industry publications

set up a virtual tasting on Google

Smart speaker photo for coronavirus postThe team at Market Your Craft loves to see established tech used in new and creative ways, especially to open storytelling channels during the pandemic. Amazon Alexa created quite a stir when it was first released in 2014. Google answered (as it often does) with its Assistant in 2016 and we’ve since seen a flood of smart devices connect users and appliances to the Internet. There are now literally millions of actions available across both devices, accessed using a simple “Alexa,” or “Hey Google,” command.

We put together a sample tasting experience for Google Assistant in less than 2 hours with no coding. If you have a Gmail account or use another email address to login to Google, you have everything you need to create a Google Action. When you visit the Google Assistant website and see terms like “developer” and “integrate,” don’t get nervous – the tasting experience we created was completely conversational and required no coding skills. From the Actions Console we were able to create a new project called “Brewery Tasting Experience” and add welcome messaging, an age prompt, beer descriptions, food pairings and company information. Want to try it yourself? We watched the following two videos from Google to get started:

See what we mean? Completely approachable! But we know you’ve got to be busy with everything. Want us to get this done for you? Let’s set up time to discuss!

send an email invitation

Google mini for coronavirus postAfter you’ve tested your own virtual tasting, Google allows you to promote the new Action in the Google Assistant directory. This exposes your brand to millions of users searching for craft beverage-related experiences on their smart devices. But what about your current fans and followers? We recommend sending an email notification to subscribers letting them know a self-guided tasting experience is now available. It’s also a quick way to promote any themed tasting packages available for purchase online. Don’t forget to post links, images and even stories/videos on social media to generate additional buzz.

Need pointers using emails for announcements like this? We’ve put together a complimentary guide to help get you started or we’re happy to help!

draft a press release

Whiskey drinkers for coronavirus postJournalists covering the craft beverage industry are thirsty for stories that celebrate small business creativity and innovation during the coronavirus. Wente Vineyards used a press release to alert writers at WineBusiness.com, WineMag.com and dozens of other publications of the new tasting experience available to smart devices. Those stories in turn get picked up by local reporters and enthusiast blogs and the exposure to new audiences continues to grow. Best of all, it’s free. We’ve gathered tips and resources to help you know when and how to use press releases to share news about your business. Want to know more, just ask!

content marketing conference access

This year’s Content Marketing Conference, originally scheduled for April 21-23 in Boston, was moved to an entirely digital format with complimentary access until the end of May. You and your team can watch 9 keynotes, 10 workshops and over 100 sessions on how to create engaging content for your craft beverage customers. There’s also a huge library of resources available from the speakers. Market Your Craft presented “Breakout from Boring: Unleash Your Brand Vibe,” helping businesses like yours earn trust [and sales] through storytelling.


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