In the wine industry, it is not enough to simply have a better product than your competitors.
To get your goods on the shelves of hospitality businesses as well as to encourage visitors to your winery, a strong marketing approach is required. There are many ways to achieve this goal, so here are a few tips on how to promote your winery that you may not have considered already.
Offer exclusive access to products through a wine club or subscription
A great way to reach a modern audience is to offer something exclusive so that they have a personalised experience and a feeling of value.
While wine clubs may be considered as an old-school method of marketing, the bottom line is they still work.
In most cases, they can make up over 30 per cent of a winery’s revenue and can be easily promoted through social media to reach a wider audience than was possible in years gone by.
Host special events outside of just wine tours and tastings
Most wineries have something that makes other businesses green with envy: a blue-chip property with gorgeous surroundings.
While most wineries offer tours and tastings (definitely add these to your operations if you haven’t already), one of your greatest assets outside of the vino itself is your destination.
Many of the leading wineries have regular concerts on their lawns where people can enjoy a relaxed atmosphere and access to your products, while weddings are also a popular option to host at wineries.
On a more regular basis, events like trivia nights are a good way to build up a loyal fanbase.
You can centre the questions around your products and the local area to help build your brand in the process.
Have a strong social media presence
One of the best parts of wineries and the products being sold is how highly visual they are.
There is massive scope for images and videos to trend well on social media platforms, particularly on Instagram.
Some of the popular hashtags that can help you reach a wide audience include:
#redwine #winetasting #winelover #winery #winetime #whitewine #instawine #winecountry #winelovers #winetasting #wineaddict #winetime #winepairing #mywinemoment #winesofinstagram #wineoclock #winemaker #winemaking #wineoftheday #winestagram.
Do your own research as well, though, and ensure you are using local hashtags to highlight your region and tap into local tourism.
Social media is a great way to funnel potential customers to your website, so generate quality written content including helpful advice on selecting the right wines for the right occasions, meal pairing etc.
You can organically engage a large audience through social media platforms, but it is important to post regularly or they will see less traffic and become less engaged with your page, your website and your brand.
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Tap into the world of influencers
There can be a lot of conjecture over the role of social media influencers, but for the wine industry, they are an asset that can not be ignored.
Some of the leading social media wine tasters and venue reviewers have audiences in the tens of thousands.
For the small price of an invite, a few bottles of wine and perhaps a free meal, you can tap into their massive audience for much greater exposure. Let them do the heavy lifting in marketing for you.
This is a good way to reach corporate partners and businesses to entice them to have their events and functions at your winery.
There are many platforms like MailChimp that allows you to build professional, engaging digital newsletters that should include detailed information about your operations.
Always be mindful to avoid spamming your mail list, though. Ideally, newsletters should be released quarterly, or monthly at the most frequent.
Host networking opportunities for those in HORECA
Aim to get your products on the shelves of HORECA (hotel/restaurant/café) organisations.
An effective way to connect with these HORECA businesses is to host networking and tasting events where they can sample your products and you can meet with their representatives directly.
The next step could be to organise pop up tastings in their establishments and/or promotions for their business to encourage them to invite you through their doors.
These events can lay the platform for enduring relationships and put you ahead of your competitors and get your products on HORECA shelves and fridges.
Create a unified approach with other wineries
The chances are, your winery is not the only one in your local area.
While these wineries may be your competition, they are also an asset that can be leveraged to deliver more tourists to your business.
One winery may be attractive to some, but a strong winery region and culture is attractive to a wide audience including those travelling from interstate and from abroad.
By working with the other wineries in your region you can generate content and marketing strategies that strengthen the region’s reputation, rather than the individual wineries.
Create a personalised experience. This is important to consider when you are marketing to both the individual consumer and also HORECA businesses.
In the modern era, where so much marketing is conducted online, people crave a unique, individualised offering to make them feel special.
This can include personalised wine bottles that feature the person’s name, event details (marriage details for weddings at your winery etc) and even specialised offerings that can be exclusive to the businesses you are selling to.
Tell your story
The wine industry is, unfortunately, full of cheap and nasty products.
Cutting through that noise and letting consumers know that your product is different is crucial and the best way to do this is to tell your individual story.
Share your origins, the winemaking process, your passions. This not only creates quality content to share through your website and social media channels but helps build your brand and establish a level of trust with your audience. Use data from your POS system and database to create a solid basis for this marketing approach.
And trust, at the end of the day, should be the cornerstone of all of your marketing operations.
>> Download our hospitality digital marketing guide here for even more insights. <<