There are, as you have undoubtedly come to realize, a million things you could be doing to improve your marketing. As someone who has spent most of their marketing career helping other industries (finance, tech, telecom, healthcare ...) I get so disappointed when I see wineries making the most simplistic marketing guffaws — misteps that would never be tolerated in other industries, but which impact ongoing marketing results. These tips address those.
01: Create a dedicated email account just for your winery's customers
You may be thinking, "This isn't marketing, this is just admin! What a ripoff!" But the value of enhancing your audience's perceptions of your brand through being responsive to your audience cannot be overstated. It's like washing your hands after you use the bathroom.
Your website's hosting account almost certainly allows you to create an unlimited number of email addresses, and setting one up can be accomplished with the following 3 simple steps:
- Go to your website's CPANEL, and click on the icon for Email Accounts.
- In most CPANELs, there will be a plus sign to create a new email address. Click on it and give your new email address a friendly name like firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Lastly, skip over to your email application (Mail, Thunderbird, Outlook) and add the newly created email account (this is in Preferences, or Accounts), and then do the same on your phone.
There! Just like that, you're done!
02: Create an email alert on your phone for emails from your customers
This is related to #1, and will help you be super responsive to your audience. Have you ever been shopping for something online and had a quick question about something before you could place an order? You shoot off a quick email with the question and then what? You get a response a day or two later — but you've already cooled on that first impulse to buy whatever it was. Aaaand, since we're being honest with each other, you're feeling a bit pissed off that they valued you so poorly as a potential customer that they couldn't even be bothered returning your email until they felt like it. Bastards!
Setting up your phone to receive notifications is suuuper easy. Ready? Go to your phone's settings, and under Notifications > Mail, you'll be able to select the email account that you created for your customers, and turn Notifications on. And, Boom! — you're a marketing rockstar!
03: Create an email signature
Whenever I receive an email from a winemaker that doesn't include an email signature, my first impulse is to think "Oh great, it's one of those wineries that will probably take three days to respond each time, and it will be impossible to coordinate picking up any wine that I want to buy." This is not a good first impression, especially when it is completely avoidable.
In the image up there in the carousel, the logo and text in the example signature would link to a specific page at my website, depending on which audience segment that person fits into. Providing the phone number is a courtesy that is always nice to do for people you're in communication with, because it means they won't have to go searching for it if they want to get a hold of you. The social icons in the signature of an email are never going to be a major channel for growing your social following, but hey — you have the space, so why not include them?
Creating an email signature can generally be done within your email application. Fancier ones (like the one in the image above) require some basic HTML coding skills. If you fit the description in the first paragraph, but you just have no no hope of ever creating an email signature for yourself, please — pleeeeease! — get in touch and we'll help you out. The cost to have this done is less than the cost of just one lost sale.
04: Create better description tags for your winery's web pages
Description meta tags are often overlooked by small wineries as a means for attracting web traffic. To be fair, they have had their ups and downs in the SEO landscape. In the early days, website owners and SEO companies would stuff them with all kinds of keywords, and that would be enough for the search engines to reward them with a prominent ranking. That was back in the days when you could use text the same color as the background text (that is, invisible to humans, but not to search engines) and type "Britney Spears" 200 times, and your site would be at the top of millions of search queries everyday. Needless to say, tactics like this not only don't work any more, but they will actually get your site penalized by Google.
When the Description meta tag became less of a driving factor for search rankings, web designers stopped paying attention to them almost entirely.
Today, although search engines do use the contents of the Description tag to rank your site (although not as heavily weighted as in the past), the most compelling reason for crafting a well written description tag is that it is often what influences online users to click on a particular search result. If your description tag answers a question that an onliner user has, guess what? CLICKS, baby!
When writing your Description tags for each of your website's pages, accurately describe what a person can expect to find if they click that search result. Users who arrive at a page and are unable to find what they were expecting, will spend, on average, three seconds looking for it before they click away. So use your Description tag to tell people what your page is about, and then give them a little incentive to click on it with a call-to-action (CTA). A good CTA combines a verb and a benefit: click here and get this. In the example in #4 in the slideshow above, the verb is "click here" and the benefit is the offer of a 10% discount.
If you don't know how to edit your website's html meta tags, send us a quick note and we'll take care of writing them for you.
05: Use a content calendar for your winery's email marketing
Whether you're writing for your winery's blog or your email newsletters, you can save yourself a ton of time by brainstorming ideas for content and capturing them in a calendar. A content calendar is a useful tool to use as a prompt for topics, titles, keywords, offers, imagery, links to other pages on your website, and special announcements.
A good time to sit down and plan your year's content is in the quiet of December or January after all the wines have been put to bed and before you start pruning. But once you've engaged in this, you'll find that ideas will come to you all through the year, so you can just keep adding them to your editorial calendar.
Want to save yourself some time right now and download a content calendar? Here you go:
06: Create automated email campaigns
Did you catch that word — "Automated" — isn't that a beautiful word? I'd also like to remind you how much you love email marketing. Listen, I know that everyone likes to stay focused on how many social followers they have, and they care about how many likes they get, but email marketing is a direct pass straight into your audience's inbox, you can use as many words as you want, and you can place several links, all to customized landing pages that can detect — and report — who's visiting. But let's get back to that word, AUTOMATE.
To create automated email campaigns in MailChimp, ConstantContact, or whatever email provider you use ( btw ConvertKit is the best), just head on over to the automations section. Just as you can set up a welcome email when new subscribers join, you can set up timed emails to go out every week, two weeks, month, or whatever frequency turns you on. Some email providers make it easier than others to do this ( ahem, ConvertKit is the best), but if you run into difficulty, almost all of them have short tutorial videos to help. If you still have trouble setting this up, just drop us a line and we can help.