5 Marketing Fundamentals for Smaller Wineries

With major retailers like Costco buying up private label brands and hard liquor becoming more and more trendy, smaller privately-owned wineries have more competition than ever. We’ve witnessed many smaller wineries languish even though they had a great product, just because they couldn’t build that loyal fan base.

But over the years we’ve seen some true and tried things that work. And while it may seem beyond your budget to invest in expensive marketing– we get that– the truth is, it’s also out of your budget not to invest in it.

Fortunately, building your business doesn’t have to break the bank. So let’s go back to basics: here are some simple ideas you can implement that will grow your customer base while giving you the most bang-for-your-buck.

  1. Tasting Kits. A true wine fan might only know you by a single label or vintage. Why not give them the opportunity to try a wider range of product? Selling affordable tasting kits is a great way to allow potentially loyal customers to try your stock with less risk. It’s a classic cross-selling move.
  2. Wine Tours. By banding with other local wineries and shops, especially if you are off the beaten path, you can help each other build business. Sure, it may seem counter-productive to send business to your competition, but wine lovers want to experience different kinds of wine. Developing a wine tour can be a novelty for an urban wine lover.
  3. Special Offers with Shipment. Including special offers with each shipment also encourages your customers to keep coming back. This could be something as simple as a coupon code that offers discount on a special item, or on the next shipment. As offers gets used, you’ll also start amassing useful data– for example, you can see which products make good “introductory” products, encouraging further purchases. And remember, there is nothing better than offering “shipping included in the price of your order” as a means of getting new on-line shopping customers to try your brands.
  4. Customer Loyalty Programs. It costs more to gain a new customer than it does to keep one. And your current customers will spend, on average, 67% more than new ones will.  No wonder customer loyalty programs are so hot. These programs reward customers for frequent and repeat purchases, often with special gifts or points. But the real payoff is that they are great for gathering important demographic information about your customers, which in turn allows you to tweak your marketing messages and strategies. Another twist is to include a free gift in each club shipments you make – your loyal customers will remember the thoughtfulness of your efforts.
  5. Tell your story: Be sure to take pictures and videos of your harvest at harvest time, and post them in social media channels. This will make your customers feel more connected to your wine and your business. When customers feel connected to your business, they are more likely to trust it. And that’s really the key to developing customer loyalty. And remember, this plays right into what the coveted millennial target market is looking for.

What is great about each of these programs is that you can track their effectiveness with metrics, which are which is a key part of an intelligent marketing plan. The more data you have, the more you can see what’s working, and what’s not, so you can spend your marketing dollars more wisely.

These ideas are just the tip of the iceberg, of course. Keep in mind that with a little creativity and a marketing plan, your small winery can bring in bring in big business.

Thank you for taking the time to read, if you have any questions, please feel free to contact me below at:

Dave Dobrow- ddobrow(at)copperpeaklogistics.com