How Wineries Can Get a Jump-Start on Driving Q1 Sales: Start Planning Now!

There’s still 2 weeks left until the end of the year, which still gives you plenty of time to start planning your digital strategyGet 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 your business in 2015?
  • What plans do you have to keep your business on track and stay ahead of the competition?jumpstart

According to there are now 285 licensed wineries in British Columbia!

When’s the last time you reviewed your competitor’s marketing strategy? We recommend taking a look at your top competitors. Find out how other wineries are using digital marketing channels to reach customers.

Conduct a Google search for keywords like Wine Club British Columbia. Do you find your competitor’s wine club or yours first?  If you find theirs first, try to uncover what they are doing within the digital channel to make a connection online.


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 2015, make it your New Year’s resolution to review the 8 simple tips below for building a better digital r marketing strategy.


 Here’s some Tips to Start Your 2015 Digital Strategy:

1.  Set Measurable Wine Business Goals

With 2015 in the horizon, over the holidays is a great time to evaluate your digital marketing strategy, set goals and develop a solid strategy to drive improved results.

The key is to begin by developing an understanding of your customers, identifying the goals you want to achieve, then selecting a digital marketing strategy that will help you to reach both your target audience and goals.

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 that are much more motivating than out of reach aspirational goals.

Wine Business Goals: Create a Digital Marketing Plan

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

What digital marketing initiatives should be in your winery’s 2015 budget?

  • Review your 2014 digital tactics – what worked and what didn’t?
  • What can be done from a digital marketing perspective to support sales?

Set your 2015 digital marketing goals. 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:

  • Increase website traffic by x% monthly
  • Increase traffic from Facebook to website by x%
  • Increase traffic to purchase ratio by x%

Monitor your goals and objectives. You should 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.

2. Develop a Realistic Forward-Looking Marketing Budget

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.

2015 is the year to dedicate a larger, more flexible 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. Build A Simple & Effective 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.

To increase website visitor to customer conversions, we recommend trying to consider:

  • Is your website is well-designed and 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 provide the right information to the user to help make the buying decision?


Make your website a priority for 2015:  Your users expect a better mobile presence. 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
  • 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 website. For more insight on how to create valuable reports for your winery in Google Analytics, see my recent blog.

4. Ensure Your Website Is Mobile-Optimized

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 optimized for those experiences.

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.  Build An Engaging Social Media Presence

Smart wineries use social media to grow a loyal fan base outside the tasting room. 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.

You can develop a social media formula that reaches beyond the tasting room by:
1) Rewarding loyal fans
2) Educating and telling stories vs. selling.
For example, you can use contests to collect the email addresses of current fans for your database.

Determine Which Social Media Channels Work Best For Your Business: Facebook and Twitter provide strong platforms to reach the vast majority of consumers with business updates, sales and promotions, wine offerings and events.

You can use Twitter to educate fans about food and wine pairings and share facts about your area and winemaking. In return, fans naturally share your content. You can reward your fans informally by liking their photos on Instagram and giving shout-outs on Facebook and Twitter.

Want to improve your wine club retention rate? We recommend encouraging your club members to follow you on social media. Even though they may live in Alberta or Nova Scotia, they get the feeling that they’re still here in touch with you, and your retention rate will change dramatically.

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%

Social media has become a huge source 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.



6. Build A Yelp Presence


Ensuring that your winery’s Yelp listing is complete and accurate plays an important role in determining whether consumers reviewing your listing can move forward with contacting you and making a purchase.

Make Your Listings As Complete As Possible: Take a close look at your winery’s listings on Yelp to ensure that your information is accurate. Augment your business listing with any missing information, such as your website address, social media channel addresses, winery photos, or wine offers and the like. This will ensure that your consumers viewing your listings have as much information as they need to make a decision before contacting you.

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 will send you an email when there are new results for your search, so you can keep up to date without constantly running searches for the same words.

Encourage Happy Customers To Leave Positive Reviews: Setup a strategy for encouraging satisfied customers to post positive reviews. For example, you could send an email to your customer after they purchase wine that asks them to leave feedback on Yelp.

7. Ramp up your Email Marketing Strategy

Email marketing is the best way to reach e-commerce customers.  Have you started planning your email marketing strategy for 2015?

Integrate and coordinate email with web, social, online marketing, and branding teams to amplify your message.

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 some email goals, for example:

  • Increase open rate by x%
  • Increase click thru rate by x%
  • Increase mail list size by x%

8. Create a 2015 Marketing Content Calendar

Customers and prospects expect your winery to update your social media channels several times a week with compelling content.

Round out your 2015 Digital Marketing Plan with a content marketing strategy, content plan and editorial calendar.

Your objective for 2015 should be to make sure you are adding value by providing a steady flow of updates.  Develop a 2015 Editorial Calendar so you can map out content and coordinate your efforts.


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.

  • 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 2015, develop a simple reporting structure that will help you see how all of your digital marketing activities are doing and their resulting impact on your business.


Return-on-investment should be 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 digital marketing is performing and gives great insight into next actions.

Need a digital intervention? We provide wineries with digital marketing strategy, guidance, execution and measurement to ensure success on the web.

Contact us today! We’d be delighted get the perspective and techniques you need to jump-start your strategy today.

Do you know of any other ways to sharpen a digital content strategy in 2015?



Cindy Ferrie

Cindy Ferrie Marketing Strategist