Guest Contributed from www.sipsmall.com
I have been asked a lot of questions lately about how I developed my systems for building websites and marketing workflows for small production wineries. I do things VERY differently than most marketing companies and that is because Craft Wineries have unique needs that other small businesses do not. Craft Wineries have to personally account for legal compliance, distribution and shipping, tied house law and specific website policies and disclosures. It’s much different and more complicated than even a related industry like restaurants and retail outlets who also sell wine. Additionally, small wineries are resource constrained and can’t pay high prices for services and need to be able to manage their resources themselves.
So how do we tackle all of this?
Start with a simple website with built in plugins that do the work for you. In a WordPress website you have the ability to add plugins that will allow you to build an online wine club, allow product allocation, add a waitlist when you run out of a product and allow customers to purchase mixed cases without administrative intervention. Also, H2 Media Labs has created a plugin that integrates your website with ShipCompliant and Vinoshipper has an integration that will allow wineries to ship almost anywhere in the country with a pay as you go, low cost distribution option.
Automate the marketing as much as possible. Using a HubSpot CRM create automations that send content to multiple outlets with one-click and on the other side of the cycle, collect new contacts and automatically add them to email and advertising audiences.
Use an affiliate plugin. Affiliate marketing is allowing a third party to help you sell your product in exchange for a commission or credit toward a future purchase. Affiliate WP is a plugin that generates links to give to your friends and supporters to share with their friends. Anytime someone clicks one of those links and buys your wine, the person whose link it was will automatically receive the credit or a paypal commission payment. I recommend a 10% credit toward future purchases which is a pretty good incentive.
Use AI to help with social media. A lot of people don’t like the idea of using bots but social media AI has come a long way and can be effective in growing your audience. Apps like Social Steeze use AI to generate relevant hashtags and get your instagram account in front of more people who care about your product.
Create great content. One of the questions I get asked most frequently is how do you create content for wineries you have never been to? It’s a legitimate concern though I do try to visit all of my clients at some point. I create content by having clients ship me empty bottles (which I fill with boxed wine or juice) to stage photos. I also use a network of micro-influencers from all over the country who enjoy getting to know the wineries we work with and create great content for discounts and products, they then share with their own audiences as well.
Provide solid analytics that prove return on investment. I don’t mean a printout with the number of Facebook fans a brand has, I mean confidently tracking the sales process through the CRM, Website and social media.
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