Digital Marketing Tips From DTC Wine Symposium 2017

By Martial Chaput

To attend the 10th DTC Wine Symposium as a digital marketer was a unique chance to discuss wineries' DTC wine sales challenges and marketing practices. There being workshops on digital marketing and metrics, a lot of interesting tips were brought up over two days by panelists and attendees. Following on these, I wanted to share more powerful digital marketing practices that can help any winery improve customer retention, customer acquisition, and ultimately DTC wine sales.

Of Customer Retention

One of my marketing takeaways from the 2017 DTC Wine Symposium is that club member retention remains wineries' main challenge and #1 marketing focus.

In response, the most commonly used and discussed digital marketing solution was a mix of email marketing and social media. While email marketing is one the most effective ways to retain customers, many representatives who spoke up at the DTC Wine Symposium expressed real difficulties getting tangible results from their newsletter/email marketing efforts. Regarding social media, they are very effective channels for building rapport with customers, enhancing communication, and in the end improving customer retention. But social media accounts are not direct sales channels.

One very effective and seemingly underutilized remedy to wineries' customer attrition problem consists in using your winery website to better sell your wines, your brand and the unique experiences you offer. Taking your website to the next marketing level will help differentiate your winery, improve customers experience, cultivate your relationship, remove their frustrations, etc.

Of Customer Acquisition

To my surprise, the topic of customer acquisition wasn't discussed in the digital marketing and related workshops of the DTC Wine Symposium, despite huge growth opportunities available to wineries today.

Digital marketing practices such as Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and Conversion Rate Optimization are proven practices that can greatly increase customer acquisition and DTC wine sales. While they are considered by digital marketing experts to be the most cost-effective, long-lasting solutions, they are still underutilized by wineries, also making them less competitive ways for wineries to improve DTC sales... Yet, as for social media and email marketing, it takes real marketing expertise and special skills to move the needle and get a positive return on your investment. 

There are many tactics to make your website attract and retain prospective and existing customers.

HERE ARE 5 POWERFUL WAYS TO INCREASE DTC WINE SALES:

1- Use your website to sell!

Your winery website is your very own marketplace, so make the best of it! For instance, if one of your main goals is to attract new customers to your tasting room, use website optimization practices (i.e. SEO, Local SEO) or digital advertising to get them to find and visit your winery. If you are looking to get more newsletter signups, more wine consumers to join your wine clubs, to purchase your wines online, enhance your website's sales performance with Conversion Rate Optimization practices. To increase your DTC wine sales, use your website's potential!

2- Optimize your website for search engines

Search engines (think Google) are the primary source of traffic to most websites, far before social media. Optimizing your website to comply with Google Webmaster Guidelines is now a key element of successful digital marketing. It will help improve your online visibility, the quantity and quality of your website traffic, and consequently your leads and DTC wine sales. Search Engine Optimization (SEO) remains the most cost-effective, long-term digital marketing solution to get these results.

Note, however, that driving visitors traffic to your website is the first part of the solution. The second, equally as important, is converting your website traffic to customers!

3- Optimize your website for wine drinkers

From a marketer's perspective, the end goal of optimizing your website for its visitors is to compel them to do what you want them to do. There are countless tactics to optimize your website for its visitors, including making your website mobile-friendly, optimizing it for local searchers (i.e. typing 'wine tasting near me' on their phone), developing unique content that sets you apart from your competitors, using high-quality images, enhancing your website architecture, removing website elements that distract visitors from taking desired actions, and more...

While these Conversion Rate Optimization practices require fine analysis, strategy, and web marketing skills, they will greatly help you capitalize on many DTC sales growth opportunities.

4- Use your Google Analytics account – Set one up if you haven’t yet!

How is your online presence competing against neighbor wineries? How strong is your website at getting potential customers to visit the tasting room? To purchase your wines? To join your mailing list? If you are not sure how to answer these questions, it is time to start using your Google Analytics account!

Understand how well (or poorly) your website is performing and find ways to improve its performance using the data available for free within your Google Analytics account. The amount of information that you find in your Google Analytics account is truly invaluable for any business, in any industry; learn who visits your website, what web pages are most visited, what keywords and channels brought them to your website, how well each channel converts website visitors to customers...

Tip for advanced users: set up goal tracking in your Analytics account to better monitor your website performance as a sales platform and uncover opportunities for improvement.

5- Keep updating and improving your website

Finally, continuously be testing and improving your website to stay ahead of your competitors and find additional opportunities to capitalize on. Effective digital marketing requires a commitment to continuous performance improvement. As your winery launches new marketing campaigns, it is essential to consistently measure performance, keep in touch with what competitors are doing, test new ideas, and refine your strategy to ensure all your tactics are profitable and achieving our overall goals.

Last Words

There are many tactics to promote your winery and increase your DTC wine sales. The effectiveness of each tactic depends largely on how effectively your website will function as a marketing and sales platform. For that particular reason, it is very much worth investing in developing its ability to sell: wines, club memberships, events, tastings, special deals, newsletter signups... Keep in mind, however, that it takes real expertise and skills to get positive return on your digital marketing efforts, whether they are Search Engine Optimization, Conversion Rate Optimization, Email Marketing, Social Media Marketing, or others.


If you have questions or wish to discuss your winery's current or next digital marketing campaigns, please reach out to us by email at contact@newtimermarketing.com or call our office at (424) 272-1169.