7 Tips to Kick Start Your 2016 DTC Marketing Strategy

There’s only a few days left until the end of the year, which still gives you plenty of time to ramp up your 2016 DTC marketing plan.

Get a jump-start on driving Q1 Sales! Because the next few months will go by whether you plan or not. Make them count!

  • How will you market to your current customers or reach out to new markets?
  • How will you grow DTC sales in 2016?
  • What plans do you have to stay ahead of the competition?

A well-developed strategy can help you make the most of your resources.

Start Now! The holidays can be the best time to plan how to bring in new business and reconnect with current customers.

As you plan for 2016, make it your New Year’s resolution to review these 6 simple tips below for building a better DTC marketing strategy:

7 Tips to Kick Start Your 2015 DTC Strategy:

  1. Set Measurable DTC Goals to drive more DTC Sales

With 2016 in the horizon, now is a great time to evaluate your DTC marketing strategy, set goals and develop a solid strategy to drive sales.

It’s next to impossible to be taken seriously as a brand without establishing a credible online presence.

  • Drive online sales- it’s about fostering your relationship and providing a great experience.
  • Drive more natural sales- wine sales, new wine club sign ups, capture new emails and raise the bar for guest satisfaction.

It’s important to identify the goals you want to achieve, and then select a DTC marketing strategy that will help you to reach both your target audience and goals.

  • Be customer focused
  • Create a great experience for every visitor
  • Build great relationships; and
  • Keep customers visiting often.

Wine Business Goals: Realistic

Consumers have increasingly adopted new technology, search and review tools and social media channels to help drive their path to purchase.

Your goals and objectives are those things you aspire to, and can thus measure your success against.  Digital marketing is superb because you can set realistic goals.

Digital marketing provides lots of valuable data to help you set realistic goals and make informed decisions.

It’s important to review your 2015 marketing plan what worked and what didn’t. What marketing initiatives should be in your winery’s 2016 budget?

Set your 2016 DTC marketing goals. It’s important to develop a plan and metrics that define success.

What’s important is that your goals are numeric and allocated to a specific time frame so that you can objectively state whether or not they’ve been achieved.

Create SMART goals that are quantifiable and measurable, for example:

  • Use Internet Marketing to boost DTC channel mix goal by increasing Wine Club membership and direct E-Commerce sales. Grow the Direct to Consumer (DTC) channel by 1,000 cases at an average net price of $195.
  • Increase website traffic by x% monthly
  • Increase traffic to purchase ratio by x%

Spend time analyzing your customer data. This is the low hanging fruit! It is far easier and cheaper to increase revenue from an existing customer and extend their lifecycle and lifetime value (LTV) then it is to acquire a new customer.

It’s important to create an accountable action plan for growth and a road-map on how to get there.

2. Develop a Realistic Forward-Looking Marketing Budget

Why not take some time over the holidays to decide what you are going to do for your New Year focus.

MarketingProfs reports that 69 percent of senior marketers expect an increase to occur in digital spend next year. With so much riding on digital marketing, the time to get it right is now.

It is important to dedicate a budget to tackle new marketing opportunities to better adapt to today’s fast-changing marketplace.

We recommend making strategic investments on marketing tactics that better position your winery in places where consumers are increasingly going to research wines and make purchases.

3. Deliver Superior Customer Service with an effective E-Commerce Website

Your website is the central component of your digital strategy; it’s how your current and potential customers can most easily find and connect with you. The key goals for your website should be to engage or convert or retain customers.

An example of a goal is to get everyone’s email information whether you’re connecting with the customer through your tasting room, website or phone.

Remember, amazon.com has defined how users expect the online shopping experience to be.

For winery e-commerce, personalization, convenience and speed have become the new norm.

Consumers expect your e-commerce site to have best practices for delivering superior customer service:

  • Effective communication about the status of their delivery
  • Successful first day delivery attempt
  • A great delivery experience

Create e-tailing strategies that are focused and game changing for your brand. For 2016, make the content of your website, email campaign, and social media efforts exciting and engaging.

To increase website visitor to customer conversions, it’s important to consider:

  • Is your website is well-designed?
  • It your site kept current with regular updates?
  • Is it clear how and where to buy your wines?
  • Is there a prominent sign-up box for your e-newsletters?
  • Is it easy to join your Wine Club?
  • Is it easy to navigate through your online wine selection?
  • Do your product pages feature consumer reviews?

Next to trial tastings, friend and peer recommendations are the second biggest driver of wine sales. Customers trust peer reviews because it helps them make a decision.

Make your website a top priority for 2016:  Whether you’re just building your website now or looking to improve your existing site, keep these key things in mind moving forward:

  • Make Contact Information Visible:  Make it easy to find your winery contact information (phone number, address, email address, etc.) throughout your site.
  • Keep Current By Regularly Updating Content: Are you engaging your customers yet?  In order to stay relevant to those visiting your site be sure to keep you content up to date.
  • Use Video: A recent comScore study shows that online video viewers spend 20% more on e-commerce than the average Internet user.
  • Reviews: Give people the opportunity to talk about your brand and products on your site.
  • Monitor Website Analytics: Pay close attention to where your website visitors are coming from, how they’re finding you, and what they’re doing on your site.

4. Ensure Your Website Is Mobile-Optimized

Users expect a better mobile presence. As visitors travelling in wine country increasingly turn to smartphones and tablets to search for local business information and to shop for wine, it’s essential that your website is properly mobile- optimized.

Build A Mobile-Specific Website: We recommend creating a mobile-specific website. Your mobile site should showcase the key topics that mobile users are generally looking for when they visit your site, for example directions. You can either develop a separate mobile website for your winery or use responsive design so your website is easily accessible on desktops, smartphones and tablets.


Ensure Mobile Users Know What They Can Do on the Website: Use call-to-action messaging to make clear what consumers can accomplish via your mobile website. For example, if consumers can find directionsbook tastings or purchase wine directly from your mobile site, make it as clear as possible through bold text, buttons and other eye-catching graphics.

5. Ramp up your Email Marketing Strategy

Make it easy to buy wine with killer emails.

Email marketing is the best way to reach customers. Have you started planning your email marketing strategy for 2016?

Great subscription services offer their customers regular shipments with extraordinary content such as seasonal releases, promotional offers and surprise gifts to keep customers looking forward to their next shipment.

Are you able to target your offerings and campaigns to those customers that are most likely to purchase? Do you know what a particular customer’s preferences are? Customers want to be understood and have their needs met.

A well-crafted and targeted email campaign helps build excitement. Make sure that every offer you send has urgency and a clear call to action.

Be proactive with your communications.   Let customers know that the shipment is on its way. Reorder rates, customer feedback and wine club attrition are the most telling indicators of a customer’s delivery experience.

Segmentation is key! Segment your email list with attributes like geographic location, gender, age, frequent buyer, wine club member, type of wine preference, etc.


Sending targeted emails to your niche customer groups will lead to increased open and click-through rates. Recipients will find your campaigns more relevant.

Set email goals, for example:

  • Increase open rate by x%
  • Increase click thru rate by x%

Follow up: Follow up on purchases no matter where they are made (either virtual or from your physical site) with a personalized thank you note. A personal thank you note can go a long way in cementing a long-term relationship. Acknowledge your best customers by interacting with them.

6.  Build An Engaging Social Media Presence

Social Media allows your brand to be available 24/7. Smart wineries use social media to stay connected with customers and reach new audiences. This in turn can increase both wine club membership and direct sales. To be a successful wine brand, you need to do more than just drive consumers to a purchase, you have to inspire them to participate.

Use social media to build your business!  Again strategy here is key. Use social media to stay connected with customers and reach new target audiences. Social media helps you not only engage and acquire new followers and friends, but then to help drive them back to your website where you can convert them into customers.

Your fans follow you on social media to have access to information, stay in touch and yes, receive special offers.



Be available and engage where your customers and potential customers are. Be it at your winery, in a virtual sense or in social media. Are you listening to what is being said about your brand? Are you engaging with your customers? When someone speaks of your brand positively follow up and thank them.

We recommend setting Social Media goals:

Facebook Insights

  • Increase click rate per post by x%
  • Increase shares per post by x%
  • Increase post views by x%

Twitter Stats

  • Respond to Twitter comments and questions within 24 hours
  • Increase post shares by x%

Online Reviews

  • Increase by 1/2 star rating on Yelp
  • Increase the amount of reviews on wine website product pages by x%

Use social media for customer service. Remember, customers expect the same level of accurate, supportive and expedient customer service on Facebook and Twitter that could be expected via email, telephone or in-person conversations.

Monitor Your Online Reputation: It’s important to develop procedures for locating and responding to your online reviews. Yelp has become a vital outlet for consumers who want to offer their opinions about your business, good or bad.

The easiest way to monitor your reputation? Set up Google Alerts. It’s easy to set up a Google Alert at Google.com/alerts.

Encourage Happy Customers To Leave Positive Reviews: Setup a strategy for encouraging satisfied customers to post positive reviews. Send an email to customers after they purchase wine asking them to leave feedback on Yelp.

7. Create a 2016 Marketing Content Calendar

Customers and prospects expect your winery to update your social media channels several times a week with compelling content. A strong content marketing plan helps your winery engage website visitors.

Round out your 2016 Digital Marketing Plan with a content marketing strategy, content plan and editorial calendar.

Stay Connected: Be sure to incorporate compelling storiesphotos and videos and provide incentives to those following your pages!

Reach your target audience through your website content, blog, email and social media networks. Define, create and plan what your key messages will be.

Respond Promptly To Consumer Questions: Consumers view your social media channels as an extension of your digital presence.30calendar

  • We recommend setting up a process for monitoring your winery’s social media pages.
  • Make sure you respond promptly to questions and comments!

Measure your Success: As you head into 2016, develop a simple reporting structure that will help you see how all of your DTC marketing activities are doing and their resulting impact on your business.

Monitor your goals and objectives. It’s important monitor your goals and objectives see whether you’ve accomplished what you set out to do. Keep a whiteboard up to date with your metrics and proximity to achieving your goals. Make sure that everyone is involved and updated.

Return-on-investment is the key factor by which you measure your marketing efforts. However, be sure to give your winery the flexibility to try out new marketing opportunities and ideas to see if they stick.


Monitoring & reporting will enable you to see how well your DTC marketing is performing and gives great insight into next actions.

Need help jump-starting your DTC marketing plan?

Contact us today! Need help bringing clarity and vision to your marketing strategy?

We’d be delighted help your winery jump-start its DTC strategy and boost your DTC sales.

We listen and we hear. We communicate and collaborate. We’re about creating measurable results!


Cindy Ferrie

Cindy Ferrie Marketing Strategist