There is a lot happening right now as we are all adjusting to this new normal and navigating evolving ways of working. Teams are now working remotely, tasting experiences are being held online, and there is a renewed focus on the direct-to-consumer sales channel. The through-line of this moment is that your membership still remains a vital lifeline of engagement and revenue for your winery. Not sure where to focus your energy to see results? Here are the 3 major areas of membership you need to spend your time on over the next 30 days to ensure your membership remains a healthy revenue stream as we weather this storm.
Increase Engagement: Your members want to hear from you!
Ideas you can implement this month to reduce attrition and engage your membership:
Be proactive in your communications. Evaluate the cadence you have established with your email campaigns, and work to activate additional content.
Send a simple check-in email with a sincere note asking how your members are doing. No sales pitch, just a check-in and a beautiful image from your winery.
Up your content on social media. Be active in posting. People at home are glued to their devices, so be present with images, Instagram stories and links to your website. Revive old content from your blog and re-link to attract fresh eyes.
Reintroduce a member-favorite wine and re-release it. Put a new spin on the campaign with a video of a tasting room host sharing the wine the way they would with a guest at the bar.
Coordinate your communications across platforms. When working on an email campaign, make sure your website and social platforms have the same messaging. This shows consistency to your consumer and helps promote sales!
Combating Attrition: What to do now to head off the cancellations
Cancellations are bound to happen when you process your next club run. What can you do to minimize them during this critical time?
Try these quick wins to achieve a higher success rate and reduce attrition:
Offer ‘shipping included’ benefits to all membership tiers.
Offer a lower priced wine as an add-on option to drive incremental sales
Offer free local delivery.
Do you allow your members to customize their shipments? If not, this is the perfect opportunity to offer this benefit. When given this option, 25% of members will customize their shipment and 66% will add additional wines.
Last, remember to ask upfront for an updated shipping address to avoid redirects and allow extra time from pre-ship email to ship date for members to get back to you.
What happens when a member emails you to cancel? Think differently about the cancellation request. Develop a response that assures your member that you understand their need to cancel their membership at this time. Empathize with their situation and provide solutions.
Cancel their membership and keep their membership benefits active through the end of the year.
Let them know they can still enjoy all their benefits of membership, without taking another shipment, including member benefit pricing, shipping incentives, complimentary tasting experiences and event tickets. Your goal is to retain this canceled member as a new member of your Membership Alumni Program.
Re-engage this segment with email campaigns and special offers. Let them know that when your tasting room reopens, you have saved them a seat and can’t wait to share a glass with them.
Invite them back. In the new year, reach back out to this segment and reoffer membership. Share the exciting wines you have planned to release, events you have scheduled (onsite at the winery and virtually) and new guest experiences you are launching. Create excitement around your membership and remind them why they joined in the first place.
Strategic Planning for the Future: What comes next
Eventually the shelter-in-place orders will come to an end and tasting rooms will reopen. How can you prepare now to seize this opportunity and regain traction on your programming?
Prepare training. Now is a great time to prep training content for your tasting room team. You could wait to conduct such training in person or hold it online via Zoom. Keep your team busy by asking them to brainstorm training topics they would like for the next 12 months, and then schedule into a master training calendar.
Conduct a collateral audit. Collect all printed materials your guests see when they visit the tasting room. Assemble them and evaluate the look, feel and messaging. Take this time to make changes, work with a designer to update them, and have them printed and shipped for when you reopen.
Think beyond the tasting room. If your tasting room is your sole funnel for wine sales, membership sign-ups and data capture, it’s time to get creative and reimagine customer acquisition. Is your website fully shoppable? Can you easily join your wine club via the site? Do your social media pages link back to your site and encourage followers to buy wine and join the membership club? Now is the time to work on your website functionality, so the next time you can’t host tastings in person at your winery, you are prepared and ready to go.
With over 15 years experience in the winery industry, Chloe Tyer specializes in direct to consumer sales programs, membership and loyalty management. She has worked for notable wineries in Napa and Sonoma including: Domaine Chandon, PlumpJack, Odette, Quintessa, Flowers and Faust. Today Chloe is helping other wineries grow their DTC programs through her consulting business DTC Wine Consulting. You can learn more about Chloe on her site: https://www.chloetyer.com/ or find out what wine she's drinking currently here.