Guest Post | Top Five Winery Marketing Tips for This Holiday Season

With Thanksgiving just a week and a day away, we know you’re feeling the pressure to engage your customers for the holiday season. We reached out to Sandra Hess, founder of DTC Wine Workshops, to bring you some of the best tactics your winery can adopt to make the most of this time of year. Sandra spoke at our 2014 DIRECT conference and provided great content to help wineries do business better! We hope you enjoy this post!

Tis the season to cater to your top 30% of winery customers and also extend good will to all who have purchased direct. Leverage special gifting opportunities at the tasting room (and online) to grow direct wine sales while retaining loyal customers throughout the holidays and in the year ahead. Make it easy and fun to shop online and return to the winery with smart marketing messages and incentives. These top five marketing tips are sure to dazzle and delight

1) Use 3-minute videos to share a piece of your winery world with customers who live out of state. Videos used in email and social marketing messages don’t have to be overly produced, but they do need to be genuine. Get out the GoPro or Camcorder along with a tripod and have some fun! There are great editing tools that allow your marketing team to add logos and color schemes that reflect your wineries unique brand. Share fun updates as your staff is preparing holiday gift packs, vertical gift boxes, and gift baskets. Feature a different staff member in each video sharing one of their favorite wines, a holiday tradition that is near to them, and a special message to out of state viewers. Try to include the winemaking team if possible in the video series. Plan to release 3-5 short videos in a series and indicate “holiday video series” in the email subject line or social media posts. Extending a piece of your world during the holidays will go a long way with those who can’t visit in person, but will shop online. 3-minute marketing videos convert to first-time visitors and online purchases.

2) Use segmentation to deliver preference-based marketing messages and invitations. Purchase upgraded email templates this holiday season that are reflective of your in-person brand experience. Most email templates can be customized to match your color scheme and branding. Get creative and customize your marketing messages that are being sent to your club members and top 30% of customers by lifetime value. They have invested their time and finances with your winery, so take time to invest in the marketing messages and event invitations being sent to them. Yes, it will take a bit more time to do some data mining and additional segmentation of your data, but being thoughtful in your marketing messages shows that your winery team cares and remembers the important details. An example of how to leverage data in preference-based marketing: “We enjoyed visiting with you at the sparkling release party this past April and know how much you enjoyed our brut rose. We have included a gift from our winery family to yours this holiday season. Enjoy any bottle of our current brut rose releases for one penny when purchasing three bottles or more between now and December 15th”. Cheers! XYZ Winery Team.”

3) Recognize the “gifter” with special perks. You are making a gift list and checking it twice, so why not enjoy a gift or incentive when buying for others this holiday season? Who doesn’t enjoy an extra perk? Kick off the season with a “gifting campaign” that rewards the gifter with a gift certificate to return to the winery between January 5th and March 5th. Leverage gift certificates during the slower season as a way of thanking your loyal customers and top gifters (spenders). Gift certificates or cards can be for a VIP tasting experience, a flat amount towards next purchase or one cent shipping on next online order. Get creative and state clear minimums to qualify for the special perk or gift. Be sure to remind tasting room visitors of this special incentive by framing a marketing message in a 5×7 frame and displaying tastefully at the tasting room bar and in VIP tasting lounges. An example would be “Receive a $100 gift card with purchase of $1000 or more in gift cards this holiday season. Valid between January 5th and March 5th, 2016 and can be redeemed online and in person.”

4) Join in the holiday fun. Send personal notes and emails to your top 10% and invite these customers to visit the winery with a group of friends or co-workers this holiday season. Offer to host the group and help them with planning the event – special theme, tasting activities, etc. Sharing in the holiday fun and planning something special with your most loyal customers is a great way to say thank you while also welcoming guests of your top 10%. 

5) Be sure to say “thank you.” Last but not least, maximize the impact of holiday marketing by simply saying thank you whenever possible. Be sure to include special packaging and handwritten thank you notes in online purchases over $100 or $250. Think about using a staff holiday picture or photo of the winery decorated for the holidays as the card cover.

If using a fulfillment house, be sure to send a stack of thank you notes that can be easily inserted in online orders. Also, it doesn’t take a lot of time to add a thank you note to your order receipts and confirmation emails that also includes an invitation to visit the winery between January 5th and March 5th for a VIP tasting for up to four people ($100 value). For example: “Thank you for your purchase at XYZ Winery. Our team wishes you and your family a happy holiday season and New Year. As our thank you for your purchase, we are including a VIP Tasting Certificate for up to four people when you return between January 5th and March 5th, 2016. Call ahead to make your reservation and reference this special offer at (111) 222-3344.”

Sandra Hess, founder of DTC Wine Workshops, supports wineries of all sizes in the areas of e-commerce, CRM and wine club technology as well as process improvements to grow direct to consumer wine sales and retain loyal customers. Prior to joining the wine industry, Sandra supported small to mid-sized business as well as global sandra hess headshotcorporations in the areas of CRM software, website design, online marketing, public relations, compliance management and workflow automation solutions. Sandra founded DTC Wine Workshops in July, 2013 out of a growing demand for wineries to learn how to leverage winery technology with ideal blends of processes to capitalize on what is now a$1.82 billion dollar industry in wines shipped direct. In May, 2014 Sandra served on a panel at the ShipCompliant DIRECT conference in Napa, CA and presented DTC shipping statistics, wine consumer online buying trends, and demographics to an audience of winery managers and owners from around the country.

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