Online only now? Five digital marketing tips

With the upheaval to “business-as-usual’ caused by COVID-19, many businesses are turning to online direct-to-consumer sales to preserve their revenue streams. Many restaurants and wineries in particular are either closed or trading online-only, and for some, this is entirely new territory.

As the founder of eight digitally-focused wine businesses, here are my five top tips for wineries and other businesses who have suddenly found themselves exploring eCommerce for the first time.

  1. Prioritise a seamless customer experience
    Customer experience (CX) has been gaining momentum over the past 10 years as a relatively new term. Since the introduction of Apple, customers have grown accustomed to seamless user experiences and have come to expect this same level of simplicity and support from every business. Providing a great customer experience means minimising frustrations at every customer touchpoint. For example, if your website isn’t loading fast, emails bounce, they are subjected to extensive hold times, deliveries are taking longer than expected or they find that high shipping fees apply online, they may look elsewhere to your competitors.
  2. Develop EDMs, blogs, downloadable content
    If people don’t hear from you, they won’t shop with you – simple. Regular (though not suffocating) emails with your customers should be mandatory to update them on news and exclusive offers. To opt-in on these emails, customers need to see a clear value offering in doing so. If your emails are all ‘sell’ people will opt out. Remember to keep them short and to the point, offering as much value as possible. Similarly, you can offer free downloadable e-books, templates and other resources to value-add for your customers. Your blog should reflect company news updates and can help with SEO so customers can find you.
  3. Grow your social media presence
    Beyond your website, establishing your presence on social media channels is a great way to reach new customers and engage with existing ones. Your customers are your biggest fans and want to be brought along on a journey with you. Some social media content ideas include: behind-the-scenes look at your business operations, live Q&A, run a competition, collaborate with other businesses, introduce new team members, ask a question, run a poll, share content from other sources or repurpose your own content from blogs. You don’t need to be on EVERY channel, however. Pick a couple that makes the most sense for your business, knowing where your customers are online.
  4. Reward brand loyalty
    It costs six times as much to attract a new customer than to retain an existing one. Furthermore, returning customers spend 67% more than new customers. Managing your customer relationships and rewarding brand loyalty is imperative. Demonstrate clear value-ads and unique opportunities for your most treasured customers.
  5. Communicate consistently and clearly – especially in a crisis
    A global pandemic is no time to go silent on your customers! While you should already be communicating regularly with your customers through newsletters, social media and other channels – a pandemic like COVID-19 presents an opportunity to fine-tune your crisis-response. Update your customers on any changes to operations as quickly and clearly as possible.

Dean Taylor, CEO of Digital Wine Ventures and Founder, WINEDEPOT

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