Small production wineries often struggle with a lack of resources, time and money, to accomplish all of their business goals. Marketing often becomes the area that is neglected-it’s technical, where do you star? Which platforms to use? How do you measure success? Below I have compiled some easy and low cost tools to address these issues.
Canva.com is my go-to platform for creating content. They have templates with correct image sizing for every platform as well as print and other digital resources. They also have free elements including animations that make your posts stand out and free stock photography or you can upload your own images and graphics. Canva is incredibly easy to use, just drag and drop photos or elements, add text, save with a transparent background and more. The premium version of Canva is around $13 per month and I think it is money well spent but there is also a free version that is pretty robust.
Affinity Designer is another low cost program for creating content either on your desktop computer or an ipad app. Affinity is basically a scaled down, inexpensive version of Adobe Illustrator. I like it because you can do fun things like shape your text around an image and open vector files which you cannot do with Canva. It also allows you to apply textures to images and use special types of brushes like oil paint or watercolor. Affinity is not as easy to use as Canva, it requires some practice and spending some time learning the tools with a free Youtube tutorial but I think it is worth it to incorporate more original content into your marketing than you get with the Canva templates. Affinity is usually $49 but it is 50% off right now and they have a generous free trial.
Unsplash.com is my favorite free stock photo resource. There are a lot of others as well like Pexels and Pixabay but I feel that Unsplash has the best images available. When using stock photos you have to be careful not to be sharing the same image everyone else is using, I know we’ve all seen the same photo of people clinking glasses 1,000 times. To get around this I like to use Unsplash for their background images, then using Canva customize them by adding your own wine bottle photo to the background. Unsplash is completely free, they do ask that you credit the photographer but it isn’t required.
Mailchimp is not just for email anymore, you can use it to create social media ads, share posts and create easy landing pages to capture email addresses with a special offer. You can also connect your Facebook advertising account to create custom audiences for advertising. Mailchimp is easy to use at the lower levels of sharing posts and sending emails, beyond that to create landing pages, custom audiences and marketing automations requires you to spend some time learning the platform. They have excellent documentation and customer support though, so if you want to learn it you can pretty easily.
Buffer is a low cost social media scheduling app for desktop or mobile. There are a lot of social media scheduling apps out there but they tend to be pretty expensive beyond the free trial. The free version of Buffer doesn’t get you very far but the second tier is only $15 per month and includes 5 social media accounts and 100 posts per month. It is to set up and use and does publish directly to instagram, you also have the option of sharing a post to multiple platforms at once and customizing the caption for each platform which is a time saver.
All of the resources above have been really helpful to me as a small business consultant over the years. It is important to market your business, especially now when online sales are becoming so much more prevalent.