Homepage refresh for a COVID winter

Reserved table photo for COVID homepage postIs your website attracting new customers, or turning them away? With craft beverage producers threatened by further capacity reductions and shutdowns throughout the winter, it’s critical to show what you’re doing to keep drinkers entertained and safe. A homepage refresh will help drive traffic and boost online sales where allowed. In this post we share the components of a high-performance landing page built to withstand the cold this season:
Market Your Craft barrel logo for mobile discoverability emailHow does a homepage refresh make your craft beverage brand more discoverable during the winter?

Many craft beverage websites are sorely out-of-date. Incorrect operating hours, past events, month-old social media feeds and missing products are just a few of the red flags for customers. And the homepage shines a spotlight on all of them! Sources say a visitor spends 3 seconds on a website before deciding to stay or go – what message is your website sending to guests? For existing customers, perhaps outdated information isn’t an issue: they won’t mind stopping by your tasting room after work, only to find you changed your operating hours last week, right? Don’t count on it. Now is not the time to be turning away any potential sales. This is especially true with new customers, unfamiliar with your business: they need even more assurance visiting your tasting room will be both safe and enjoyable.

treat tasting room photos like a dating app

If you’ve ever used an app for meeting new people, you’re familiar with the rules of engagement: do make an effort, don’t lie about your age, do share your interests…all in an effort to show “the real you” to a potential match. Yet many users complain their match looked much different online than they did in-person. Using 5-year-old photos when you had a full head of hair will do that 😉 Boom, your chance for a real connection is DOA. Back to the intros your mom sends you offline.

Share customer photos for COVID homepage post

How does this apply to your business? The connection to dating is stronger than you might think! A new customer forms a first impression of your tasting room based on what they see online or hear from friends. Your social channels tell part of the story, but your homepage acts as your brand’s profile, sharing what’s interesting and important to you. The guest quickly decides to swipe left to skip or right to engage. Having current photos that show how you are operating during COVID-19 eliminates surprises when they show up for your first date. This includes highlighting mask usage; social-distancing measures; indoor and [heated] outdoor seating capacities; and other best-practices. We recommend a small photo gallery or carousel at the top of your page, followed later by your social media feed. Together these spark visitors to connect emotionally with your business, opening the door to more conversation.

Want to see this in action? We’ve revamped the homepage at discover.marketyourcraft.com to reflect all the best practices discussed in this post.

size-up coronavirus for guests

In our COVID-19 Procedures article we discussed the need for a dedicated webpage on current operating procedures. We saw this as a better option than sending out a templated email, sharing a long-form social post or taking over your homepage. That was five months ago when you could count on patio seating for sales. As tasting rooms scramble to create heated outdoor structures for guests, it’s now important to draw attention to four priority COVID-19 procedures:

  • Operating hours: include days, hours and last-call information. Don’t forget to update Google My Business, Yelp and your social channels.
  • Mask mandates: whether a personal choice or directed by elected officials, clearly state expectations.
  • Capacity restrictions: customers want to know you’re following commonly-accepted rules to limit larger gatherings.
  • To-go and delivery: promote options for contactless payment and pick-up.

It’s important to have prominent links and navigational elements for visitors to learn more about your coronavirus operating procedures. They need to know your team is taking every precaution to promote guest safety and enjoyment. We recommend an obvious, clickable button leading to the full COVID-19 Procedures page on your website.

create sales opportunities

Few craft beverage producers are so flush with cash that they can just wait things out until spring when we’re hopefully in a better position. If you haven’t enabled online sales for your brand, it’s time to do so quickly. Many states have relaxed rules with respect to ecommerce and in some cases even shipping, opening up sales channels to new audiences and geographies. Point-of-sale systems have risen to the coronavirus challenge, doubling-down on efforts to provide online storefront capabilities for craft beverage producers. Stand-alone platforms such as Ecwid Ecommerce have also made online shopping a reality for small-to-mid-sized brands. If you have the means to sell online, we recommend exposing part of your product catalog on the homepage for fast and easy checkout.

Online ordering and reservations for COVID homepage post

To help manage through capacity restrictions, some tasting rooms allow guests to make a reservation for table seating, tours and events. For a new customer, having a reservation automatically improves the perception of your craft beverage brand and builds confidence they will have a safe, enjoyable visit. We’ve tested reservations using Team Booking, The Booking Calendar and Redi Restaurant, all of which are available on the homepage at discover.marketyourcraft.com (though you’ll likely want to pick a single service for your website).

guide to marketing during COVID-19

Marketing During COVID-19 Cover PageOur team not only works with craft beverage producers nationwide, but we do our best to visit as customers in a safe, socially-distanced way. Which is why we were surprised at the lack of updated content on the homepage of our favorite brands’ websites. To help your business and others, we’ve designed a guide with proven marketing tools to empower your team during COVID-19:

  • Message COVID-19 effectively
  • Design a procedures landing page
  • Notify everyone of your hours
  • Support frontline workers
  • Reach new audiences
  • Develop content and events
  • Engage customers with video
  • And more!

Schedule a complimentary Zoom call to review your digital efforts and receive “A Glass Half-Full: Marketing During COVID-19” (a $99 value). Sharpen your focus on customer needs and keep fans engaged during the pandemic.

MailChimp archive:
https://mailchi.mp/f8c381172ea4/201117_homepage?e=bd76eedb35
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