Wine Marketing Strategies
by Ventura Consulting

How can wineries use digital marketing to sell more wine and create more loyal customers?

If you own or work on a winery that is looking to generate more sales getting more loyal customers in this digital era, I’m gonna show you some of the things that can help you think about incorporating digital marketing in your strategy.

Just to give you a little bit of background about me, my name is a Cristian Ventura and I found interesting that on the wine industry report from Silicon Valley Bank, at the beginning of 2019, it said that millennials are not consuming wine expected. 

That really intrigued me. I went out to do some research and really found out that wineries in general are not connecting with Millennials where they are: online.

I moved to Austin Texas a few months after that, one of the reasons was to be closer to the Texas wine industry and learn more about the wine industry and how can I help introduce these various tools that are being underutilized by wineries in general.

Why do wineries need to implement digital strategies on their businesses?

The SVB 2019 Wine Industry Report said: “The reality is that nobody has the formula for selling wine to a consumer who has never tasted or heard of your brand. […] the solutions will evolve with new and transformed service providers and consultants, and with wineries that experiment and fail quickly, using different techniques (print, digital, phone, etc.) to connect with remote consumers.”

That’s one of the big challenges: How to connect with an audience that has not seen or heard about your wine brand. That has not visited your tasting room. The purpose of this article is to lay out the groundwork for using digital marketing on your winery.

The topics discussed will be: 

  1. What is digital marketing ?
  2. How can a winery use digital marketing to get more customers.
  3. What are the benefits of digital marketing.
  4. What strategies can you use to get more wine sales and loyal customers.
  5. How you can start today.

What is digital marketing for a winery?

When you get down to it, digital marketing is simply marketing.

It’s how today’s businesses are getting their message in front of their best prospects and customers.

Taking advantage of digital tools and platforms to reach consumers where they are: online.

Stats shows that a lot of people, especially young consumers, check their phones close to 200 times a day

The question you should be asking yourself: Is my wine brand, my winery, present on one of those 200 times that people check their phones?

How can a winery use digital marketing to get more customers.

The graphic above illustrates the wine consumers journey that was depicted by one of the companies that services wineries in this space. As you can see, it’s pretty much linear the path that goes from awareness from consideration to purchase. 

But isn’t it a little bit complicated or overwhelming to actually be present in all of these digital touch points? 

Let’s say for example you’re a family-owned winery and you don’t have all the resources to be creating content on social media, email and on your website. Furthermore, getting to magazines, connecting with wine experts and all of these public relations efforts can be quite costly.

How can you really take advantage of the digital tools that are available today, without having to spend so much time and money?

Is the answer on the sales funnel?

You may have seen it on different publications and websites. In basic terms you take people, potential customers, and you put them through the marketing wide part of the funnel and then they’re gonna be narrowing down to the sales process and ultimately you get a customer.

But the problem with the sales funnel though is that customers are an afterthought of the process and there is no natural way for acquired customers to help you create more customers through word of mouth or recommendations.

In reality, when you check your surveys, CRM data (if you have one) and you think about the way that your wine brand is getting across other people, isn’t it because of loyal customers that really like your wine enjoy it? They love the service they receive by the service staff in your tasting room, how they were treated on the phone, how quickly were you able to respond to their problems.

How can we concentrate on creating more loyal customers that will help us really get our brand across to their family, friends and coworkers?

There’s a simpler approach to it. I’m gonna take this methodology from a company called HubSpot. they came up with this concept 2018 and it’s called the Flywheel .

A flywheel as you can see on the image above, rotates and it stores and releases energy in a much more efficient way than most of the dynamics of a funnel. 

For example, if we take the customers and put them at the center of all our efforts, we can follow the never-ending rotating flow of business:

1 – We concentrate on attracting strangers and converting them to prospects.

2 – We engage with those prospects by communicating on the channels they prefer and we make it easier for them to learn and purchase from us. 

3 – When they become our customers, we delight them in the way we service them, the way we deliver the products, the way we treat them the way we communicate with them.

When we take care of our customers this way, they become promoters and they help us create more customers . The more force we provide to the flywheel, the more effort we put in each one of these approaches the more results we will harvest, in the form of loyal customers.

Let’s go a little bit in depth about the efforts in attracting new customers.

Attracting new customers

One way we can do it and it’s possible the best way is by providing value before we extract value.  We have to give our customers something that is so valuable to them that they feel attracted to us, to our brand, our winery and then when we get to the “Engage” state.

Engaging with our potential customers

We have to make it easy for them to communicate with us. Do they prefer phone calls over email? SMS over phone calls? How responsive are we to the comments and questions that they write on our social media posts?

Delight our customers, both new and existing

A customer’s satisfaction is your success. If they feel loved, treated well and if they feel special they will become promoters of your brand. Loyal customers create more customers. How well are you exceeding your wine club members expectations? How do you treat people that purchase only one time?

What are the benefits of digital marketing.

When we look at the benefits of digital marketing versus traditional marketing we can see at least three major benefits

  1. Lower cost in digital marketing versus traditional marketing.
  2. Detailed targeting options to reach the right audience with the right message.
  3. Highly-detailed reports that allow for better decisions.

Lower cost

The above graphic by Seriously Simple Marketing shows the difference in reaching 2,000 people doing it the traditional way vs. the digital way. As you can see, getting into a radio broadcast, publishing something in a newspaper or in a magazine and using Direct Mail it almost costs you two US $2,000 to reach 2,000 individuals.

On the other hand, when you go to digital you could have the same reach or even a higher impact with the same reach for only $125. As you can see, digital allows you to do more with less resources. That’s one of the keys here. Now let’s talk about targeting options.

Targeting Options

Targeting is one of the most amazing tools that almost all digital marketing platforms provide.

Facebook, for example, allows you to use many options for targeting.

The image above was created by a company called Wordstream. They illustrate all the targeting options that you can have on Facebook Ads alone. Some of them translate also to Instagram. (Click it to see the full version).

Location-based targeting: You could target people that are close to your winery, let’s say three five ten miles away. Imagine sending them a message, asking them to visit you, and targeting people that are traveling or have been recently in a location near to your winery. That’s something that not everyone really understand. 

You know that if you put a billboard on a highway just a few people are gonna really see it and get the information that it is showing . Imagine if you could target somebody on their phones and they are close to your winery and you can get them to visit you. You could do that for 2-3 cents per person that sees your ad. Isn’t that amazing? 

Some of the other options that we can use area: age, language and work. You could actually target people based on their employers. Let’s say you do a promotion for people that work at HEB or Trader Joe’s and you want to offer them a coupon or an incentive to come and visit you. With Facebook ads and Instagram ads you can achieve that.

Powerful tool isn’t it?

Additional targeting options are: education, parenthood, anniversary date, birthday, job status, even political affiliation.

Interest targeting is related to their activities: the pages they have liked, the topics that they follow, etc. Imagine you want to send an ad to somebody that likes pasta and likes wine. You could send them your recipe that highlights how your wine enhances the flavor of the dish 

You can also target people that like a specific movie,  music book or a TV show, their activities, hobbies, where have they traveled to, their fashion or sports they practice and their technology behavior.

You could target people that use a specific mobile device. For example: if you want to target people with iPhones for any specific promotion that you have, you can do it. people that have their 

Purchase behavior: If there are people that are shopping online on Amazon or on other platforms, you could target those people that are more likely to purchase or buy your wine online.

Really powerful tool that not that many people know about.

Connections: These are people that have liked your page or are friends of people who like your page.

Custom Audiences: Can you imagine showing ads to people that have visited your website or that are part of your email list?

Lookalike Audiences: Now picture your wine brand being shown to potential buyers that have similar traits than those of your best customers. The process is very simple: You upload a list of email  addresses of your best customers. Facebook then creates a new audience based on a list of matching attributes.

These are some examples of Facebook’s targeting capabilities. Each platform has their own set of targeting tools.

Detailed reporting

Many of the digital marketing platforms provide a lot of reporting options that allow you to see what advertising campaigns are having an effect. What message, photo and what location is getting the most results.

The above is a screenshot of the advertising campaign that I did for the live video where I covered the information on this article.

This particular ad campaign was shown to people from ages 25 to 65 plus, living in Texas and California. It also had interests-based targeting related to wine and winemaking.

As you can see Facebook  gives me the option to analyze how well or how bad this advertising campaign did, and how much money I spent.

I reached on a couple of days 291 people and I spent $13 on each conversation that was started using Facebook Messenger. I can also drill down on this information and see how many of them were women, how many of them were men, their age.

It seems I hit the jackpot with people 55 plus, so that tells me that I have to craft my message,  polish it and really talk to the people of that age, because they seem to be more interested in what I was presenting to them.

You definitely have a lot of options when it comes to reporting and and to really find out what is working for you . Then you can make adjustments and have a better advertising campaigns now let’s

What strategies we can use to get more wine sales and loyal customers

 This is the process that I suggest you should follow when creating a digital marketing strategy:

  1. Establish your goals and the metrics that you will care for. 
  2. Define your ideal customer for each goal so that way you present a targeted message to get better results. 
  3. Craft your strategy, execute it and measure its results so you can refine it and have even better results.

Establish goals for your marketing campaign

Going back to the flywheel that we showed earlier, when your primary efforts are to attract, engage and delight your customers, your goals should be aligned with each of those efforts. You could start with one goal for attracting new customers, one goal for engaging those customers that you are attracting and one goal for delighting your existing or current customers. and that way you can

Instead of creating digital touch points here and there, investing a lot of time and money in a lot of things that you don’t know if they will produce results, try to align your efforts with these three main categories which a much simpler approach.

Defining your ideal customers

I always say you have to know your customers like you know your grapes and you definitely know your grapes, especially in the harvest season.

There’s a lot of information that you can get from your customers. The most important one is their preferred way of communication so you can really communicate with them in the channels that they use.

Do they prefer Instagram? Facebook? Text messaging? Email? Phone calls?

Of course you also have to know what are their favorite wines, what are the things that they like or dislike, what’s their age, birthday, etc.

All of this data is very important in order to send them messages and promotions, even gifts when that date comes. 

You have to know your customers really well in order to define the strategy that is going to talk to that customer and really move them to action.

What is the anatomy of an effective strategy? 

  1. Think about your ideal customer first
  2. Then provide valuable content
  3. Use is video and you say you see. If you are not doing video and if you are not in front of the camera (I know, it’s not an easy process to get over or because you think  you don’t really know what to say in front of the camera. But, the idea is to connect with your prospects, customers, with your future wine club members.

If you only post photos of the bottle of the label or photos of the grapes, there’s no real human connection there. because people are not

When you watch a movie that is really sad and it has a really good storyline, you feel like you are there. You are seeing a human, their emotions, the way they act, react and communicate. That’s what people really want to see: who’s behind the brand, they want to know the owner, the people that work there, what do they do, how do they work, what is their work ethic when making wine.

They want to really want to be part of the process and if they see your face, if they see you working on the product that they are going to consume later, trust me that you will have a greater impact on every type of advertising that you do.

There’s a study stat back in 2017 that product videos can increase purchases by 144%. Meaning you increase your chances of getting purchases from a customer through digital marketing if you use video.

Now, you may ask: Where can I get ideas for content? What is content? I don’t know what to say! I don’t know what to post.

Where to get content ideas from

Some of the most valuable content on the internet is content that answers people’s questions.

There is a website called AnswerThePublic.com That website shows you what people are frequently asking and what they are googling.

You will be able to type in a keyword and see what type of questions people are asking about that topic. If you answer the questions that people are asking, you’re going to have a better chance of people engaging with your content.

People that are looking for answers about wine. Remember, most of us don’t know much about wine as the most educated people in wine do.

Most of us that like wine really like the way you feel when you drink it, the experience when you share it with your friends and family and really.

I bet  most of the people that buy or purchase wine nowadays would love to know more and if you can help them close that knowledge gap then you’re really going to be of help and connect with people.

In turn, people are gonna be more likely to purchase wine from you .

Strategy Example

Let’s say that the goal is to increase tasting room visits.

What metrics on your digital marketing campaign do you want to look at and analyze?  You may be looking at check-ins at your tasting room. Maybe at how many people click the button to get directions to your tasting room. Or, how many calls you get off that campaign. Obviously likes and clicks are not a business metric that you can really use to gauge how successful a campaign is.

The strategy that I laid out would be Facebook and Instagram ads targeted to people visiting your area.

Let’s say I’m in Fredericksburg Texas and I want people to come to my tasting room. I would create an ad on Facebook and showed also on Instagram, and setup a location-target of 5-10 miles around my winery.

I would shoot a video of me touring the winery and inviting people to come over and telling them what events are going around this weekend or next month. I would also do Google and YouTube ads of those same videos when people search for wineries in my area. That way, if somebody is googling wineries near me and they’re in Texas or they’re googling wineries in Fredericksburg before they travel there, I can also get in front of those people.

On the reporting side of things, I would see how many people take the actions that I am most interested in.

Bonus: Tips on how to keep customers loyal

On my Facebook post Cameron asked about what tips can we provide for increasing loyalty to stop people from going to competing wineries.

One of the most powerful reasons a customer stays in a wine club is because of personalization: they’re able to maybe change the wines that they are getting or change the shipping date. Another aspect of personalization is on communication. Believe it or not, if people see their name when you communicate with them (email, chat, messenger or instagram) or if they see a handwritten note that also has a lot of impact.

The second factor here why customers stay is a surprise and delight.

Try sending them a QR code with a link to a personalized video that says: Hey Mr. Johnson thank you very much for being part of our wine club and I really appreciate you being part of our family. This shipment has X, Y and Z wines that I know that you like and we look forward to you visiting us soon! If you have any recommendations on how we can get better…” 

Can you imagine the face on that wine club member when he or she scans that QR code and see that video of you talking directly to them? That would be something surprising and and they’re gonna be delighted. 

Do you think they’re gonna leave your if you go to that level of personalization? I don’t think so. It’s worth to try it.

Customers leave wine clubs because of bad experiences and lack of flexibility. It’s all about the way you treat people in your tasting room , the way you communicate with them and the way you approach them.now I came up with a

Additional tips about loyalty

  • Pick up the phone and call them after they purchase or after they sign up for the wine club,
    • How much more of an impact can a phone call make, rather than an email. When was the last time that you pick up the phone to thank a customer because they signed up for your wine club. probably the only times that we call somebody is because they are mad after they received the shipment in a date that they didn’t expect it or they are really not happy with the service we provide.
  • Send special offers on special occasions like their anniversary.
    • If you are really connected with them on social media and you’ll be aware of the events they are attending or the things they are doing. You could also send them special offers in tune with those events or special occasions. 
  • Make customers part of your winemaking process.
    • Why don’t you do a Facebook live when you are in the winemaking process and just invite your wine club members to be part of it. Explain to them step by step what you’re doing so that way they feel they are part of the products that they are going to consume at a later date .also I came across this platform.
  • Take your loyalty digital.
    • Loopy loyalty is an amazing tool because you can create a digital loyalty card for your wine members and send it to them via email, or any other way that you have to communicate with them and send them a link. When they install their digital loyalty card they will see it on their smartphones, just like you get a boarding pass on your phone when you purchase a flight ticket. Imagine that your customers, your wine club members, have a loyalty card on their phone that you can scan when they come and visit you. This could provide you with a lot of data that you can act on. Another mind-blowing feature of the platform is that you can actually send your customers messages that are going to show up on their lockscreen (like a notification). Super easy to use and the possibilities for marketing are endless. Check out Loopy Loyalty 15-Day Free Trial:

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