Learn How to Sell Wine to Customers with Our Ultimate Wine Marketing Checklist
By all means, you should make every effort to get as many visitors to your winery as possible because that is the best place to sell wine.
But, this is often not enough to sell all the wine you make. The following wine marketing ideas are most effective:
- The way you tell your winery's brand story
- Optimizing your website for direct to consumer wine sales
- Fully leveraging winery email marketing
- Fine-tuning your wine social media strategy
- Optimizing your wine advertising on Facebook and Instagram
- Selling more wine through the 3-tier distribution system
- Leveraging SEO for your winery: the wine marketing "Secret weapon!"
Effective marketing for wineries is essential to sell more wine
We have assembled a 12-page PDF called
The Ultimate Wine Marketing Checklist
to help winery owners sell more wine
Over 350 winery owners have already grabbed our Wine Marketing Checklist and are implementing strategies to sell more wine to customers!
The Ultimate Guide to Selling Wine Online with Wine Marketing Strategies
The competition amongst wineries is stiff!
According to Vinepair, there were more than 16,000 wineries in the US in 2021. That is a 32 percent increase from 2018!
Getting tasting room visitors is harder than ever
Have you noticed that it is getting tougher and tougher to get as many tasting room visitors as it used to? This is a problem because winery foot traffic has traditionally been the primary source for direct to consumer wine sales, email subscriber acquisition, and wine club member enrollments.
The solution is learning to sell more wine online and beyond the tasting room.
The way to compensate for this decrease in foot traffic is to learn to sell beyond the tasting room! There are ways to sell more wine that do not require someone’s physical presence on your property.
Even the smallest family winery can now leverage sales channels and wine marketing ideas that did not even exist 5 years ago.
It is also important to note that much of the conventional wisdom about HOW to sell wine outside the tasting room (3-tier distributors, for example) is horribly outdated or just plain wrong.
The 7 key areas you'll need to focus on to sell wine to customers
To help you in YOUR journey, we’ve assembled a list of 7 key areas that every winery must learn to optimize to increase wine sales. You can click on the link below to go straight to that topic or keep scrolling and reading to cover them all.
- Your Winery's Brand Story
- Your Website
- Your Email List
- Organic Social Media
- Paid Social and Wine Advertising
- 3-tier Distributors (Trade)
Who is the hero of your story?
If you want to sell more wine, you must recognize who the hero of your story truly is: the customer. According to this outstanding book, Building a Story Brand by Donald Miller, every story has a hero. This hero has a problem, but he/she meets a guide who gives them a plan and calls them to action that ends in success (and helps them avoid failure).
When you are telling YOUR story, it is critical that you take your brand and your products out of the hero role and, instead, position the customer as the hero of the story.
In order to do this, it requires you intimately know who your customer is and what they want. Your brand and wines can serve as the guide that helps them get what they want.
Gather your team and spend time brainstorming about who your customer is and what they want. HINT: most likely they want “experiences” and opportunities to vicariously live the winery lifestyle.
This way of telling the story can transform your wine sales! You can use your website to tell the story, but you can also carry it through to your social media feeds and in your wine marketing. It is a game changer!
Your website must be fully optimized for direct to consumer wine sales.
We recently surveyed 500 winery websites and found that most wineries are woefully unprepared for sales success.
It is not enough to HAVE a website; you must fully optimize your website to sell more wine.
If your website is cluttered, overwhelming, difficult to navigate, slow to load, and a struggle to view on a mobile device, you will never be successful selling all the wine you can.
Many wineries simply do not put enough thought into their website. They treat it like a digital brochure and have not updated it for years. It can be full of links that no longer work (including links to social sites).
We invite you to take a more in-depth look at how to optimize your winery website for direct to consumer sales and to see how your winery stacks up.
One of the most critical things your winery website must do well is enroll new email subscribers.
Your winery's email list should be your #1 priority for increasing sales
To enjoy a continuous stream of new email subscribers for your winery, you need 4 things:
- More than one place to join your winery email list
- A compelling reason to subscribe
- EASY signup forms
- A “non-newsletter” email strategy
Email gets a bad rap more often than not. Many believe email is dead or think no one reads email. They could not be more mistaken!
“Modern” wine email marketing goes WAY beyond newsletters and blasts. Learn how to segment your email list, because email done well is highly personalized, tightly segmented, and packed with value. Not every email needs to be a “sales” email.
It starts with having the right software and knowing how to use it. From there, success is all about segmentation and using a jab, jab, jab, right hook approach.
Modern wine email marketing also makes use of automations as much as possible because it takes time to develop relationships via email and the more things you can automate, the better.
Tapping into the power of a wine social media strategy
This may come as a shock to most winery owners but success in organic social media is not always about you, your story, your winery and your wines.
Creating content that is “share-worthy” requires you to put your customers at the center of your content and not your brand.
Go take a look at your social feeds right now. If most of the posts are about you, your winery, and your wines, all you are doing is adding to the “noise.” Wineries who enjoy the largest and most engaged audiences provide content that allows your fans to be prominent characters in an ongoing conversation.
And don’t expect too much from your social feeds and your audiences. When it comes to converting fans and followers into paying customers, you need to rely more heavily on expert wine email marketing for your brand.
Driving sales with paid wine advertising on Facebook and Instagram
Just like in many things in the wine sales game, wineries experience varying degrees of success using paid wine advertising to drive sales. It is easy to waste a lot of money with very little ROI to show for it.
For starters, while there is nothing wrong with trying to build brand awareness, winery owners would be wise to use these investments to grow their email list. Your fans don’t come to Facebook or Instagram to shop. They come to be entertained and engaged. “Sales” take place further downstream and over time.
So, the key is to employ a strategy for your paid ads whereby your ads are intended to enroll new email subscribers to your list. Then, using expert email marketing strategies for your wine brand, you can later convert them into paying customers.
Too many wineries toss fortunes down the drain by boosting posts and running “buy now” ads. There is a MUCH better way to leverage these dollars and you can start with this article about optimizing your paid ads and improving your wine digital marketing strategies.
The modern role of wine distributors has changed
We have written extensively about this topic but here is the central idea: be careful to keep your expectation aligned with the current reality. The role of a wine distributor is very different today than it was 5 or 6 years ago.
If you start with a “modern” perspective of what you can and cannot expect from your distributors, you will be well positioned to take advantage of the many “trade sales” opportunities available to you:
- Hold inventory of your wines in their warehouse
- Deliver to the accounts (bars, restaurants, package stores) that you and your team have sold to
- Match your efforts in the marketplace
It is a HUGE mistake to believe that by securing a distributor in a new state you will enjoy new sales opportunities via the efforts of the distributors. This used to be the case (as recently as 6-7 years ago). But the fact remains that nowadays there are WAY TOO MANY wine brands in existence and WAY TOO FEW distributors. Times have changed and so must YOU.
Distributors small, medium and large are all overwhelmed with all the masters they have to serve. Winery owners must accept the new reality that distributors simply cannot do what they used to be able to do and no amount of education or incentives can change this.
One bright spot, however, is the rise of the DIGITAL three tier system. If you are a winery that does not already have a “traditional” three tier distributor in a particular state, you should seriously consider going the digital route with a company like LibDib.
Mastering SEO and SEM for your Winery
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) has become critically important for wineries that are serious about selling more wine. Winery SEO involves optimizing your website in order to get more traffic from organic search results.
SEM refers to leveraging paid Google or YouTube advertising based on keyword volume, competition, and intent.
Both of these critical strategies have a deep learning curve but the potential payoff is huge. Given the intense competition for wine drinkers, wineries everywhere would be well served putting in the time and effort to learn how SEO works. Read about our 5 SEO Tips for Wineries.
The best place to start is with some basic SEO strategies:
- Have a clean, uncluttered site structure
- Optimize your site for mobile users (60-70% of visitors to your website are on a mobile device)
- Make sure all items can load fast!
- Feature the right content and keywords
- Links to (external) content and “backlinks” to your website
- Make use of title tags, alt text, and meta descriptions
This is a very complex and comprehensive strategy but this very thorough article about how to leverage wine SEO strategies will be of great help to you.
It is time to get serious about selling more wine
Without question, wineries everywhere need to first and foremost focus on getting as much well-qualified traffic as possible to their winery operation. When it comes to selling wine, enrolling email subscribers, and adding wine club members, in-person foot traffic just cannot be beat.
But these days, it often is not enough. And if YOUR winery could use a boost of sales & revenue, then adding online wine marketing and sales strategies that go beyond your tasting room, might be just the ticket to more revenue!
As most winery owners could use the help, we’ve created a new group coaching program called Wine Sales Stimulator where we teach EVERYTHING you need to learn and implement these very modern strategies you read about above. To get started and check which of these wine digital marketing strategies you're already implementing and which you need to work on, click the button below to download our free checklist and you can learn how to sell more wine online right away!