Beverage business owners realize not all potential customers are able to visit their business in person, so many are promoting their products online with virtual tasting room assistants. By filming an actual tasting room assistant (TRA) or sales manager explaining products or showing tasting room experiences with voice over narration, visitors get a sense of what it is like to visit a specific operation even before they arrive or decide to buy.
This is a great way to promote both your offerings as well as your overall operation, but it must be more than a talking head going through a litany of products. It must do three things: Engage the potential customer, retain his or her interest, and encourage the customer to learn more, or better still, place an order.
Many operations have developed a specific script used in the tasting room setting. It specifies the offerings, usually by category or seasonal products, gives some information about the history of the farm or the venture and encourages visitors to consider seasonal specials, quantity purchases or joining a club or special reserve-offering group. In a tasting room, this information is included in the general chitchat and dialog between customer and TRA.
Without this live dialog in a social media setting, the promotional piece must engage the visitor enough to retain his or her interest. Like walking into a tasting room, the virtual greeting sets the stage for either attracting or discouraging business. The greeting must be eye-catching, simple, sincere and inviting. It is your opportunity to demonstrate your unique operation and offerings and encourage on-site visits or placing orders.
Show and tell virtual visitors what their experience will be like when they come to your operation. Will they take a tour? If so, what will they see? What will the tasting room experience be like — will they have the opportunity to ask questions and learn about food and beverage pairings, special reserve beverages and promotional events? Who will they engage with — introduce sales managers and assistants and invite visitors to meet them when they arrive on site. Show what it is like to attend one of your special events by following a visitor or couple as they enjoy the festivities.
Potential customers may seek out information and do their online research long before they commit to an actual visit or to purchase a product. Don’t forget that along with your social media presence, they are also seeking out independent review sites, travel advisories, tourism information and postings about your operation, your competitors and destinations.
TRAs are one of the first people-to-people encounters a visitor has at your operation. From that first greeting, a customer gets a sense of your operation and what you have to offer. The same goes for that first impression you make in virtual space. The message has to be engaging in order to retain a customer’s interest and encourage them to purchase product. Your welcome message is the door opening to your physical site and saying, “Come on in, enjoy your stay and see what we have to offer.” Or, if you are doing online sales, it is the backdrop for customers getting to know who you are and what is special about your product. It sounds simple enough to produce this type of promotional piece, but many operations somehow miss the mark by thinking that producing a list of products and showing a few photos of their operation suffice to engage the public.
Customers want to feel they are a true part of your operation. They want to be appreciated and engaged in your activities as if visiting close friends. The tasting room personnel or your virtual welcome must pull a potential customer in and invite them to stay. It must be more than the talking head or product list; it stands as your personal invitation to be a part of your operation on a very personal level. Make the most of this opportunity and you will cultivate a loyal and engaging customer base sure to lead others to your door.
The above information is provided for educational purposes and should not be substituted for professional business or legal counseling.