Archive for the ‘Winery Marketing’ Category

Five Easy Winter Projects for Winery Marketers

It’s November, post-Harvest and going into slow season for winery marketers.  Thought I would put together a short list of projects that may make your life easier in 2011 with a little time put in during the winter.

1.  Claim your winery on location based services and review sites. Even if you don’t use the LBS platforms or review sites, some of your customers are using them.  Best case scenario is that you’ll be aware of their check in while they’re with you and seek them out to say hello and offer them something special.  Bring out a tank or barrel sample, line up a taste of your late harvest or reserve wine.  Thank them for checking in and sharing their check-in with their friends.  Same for a review.  Seek your reviewers out and thank them, offer them a special experience next time they visit.  Tell them to ask for you by name.  There are lots of other things you can do to create a connection, these may just help get the juices flowing.

2.  Create promos to drive customers to your winery

3.  Explore opportunities to feature personalized tastings via CellarPass and VinoVisit winery reservation systems. The beauty of these reservation systems is that they allow you to target key customer segments to provide them with a special, premium experience.  You have control over the times you’ll offer the tasting or event.  You can place a widget on your winery homepage to direct website visitors to your CP or VV reservation page.  Both services offer Facebook plug ins for reservations.

4.  Post your winery’s 2011 events

5.  Add your wine to YourWineYourWay.com Somewhat time-consuming but will push info to several channels online.  Ensures that your online info is accurate.  If adding your full portfolio is difficult, add your top-sellers first.

What else can you recommend to wine marketers to tackle over the winter?

-Melissa

Twitter @MelissaDobson

TasteLive Participants: How Are You Engaging and Posting to #TTL ?

Social Media Quick Tip: Introduce Your Twitter Team

Cork'd Twitter Team Page Showcases Each Member as "Who's Talking?"

As you know, social media engagement is all about personal touches.  Remember this when thinking through your social media presence, including Twitter.  As much as possible, introduce and humanize your Twitter team.  Here are a couple of great examples of  brands who have added special touches to their Twitter strategies, going beyond a standard Twitter presence to introduce and promote their Twitter teams.

The Capital Grille

A simple, dedicated Twitter page for The Capital Grille’s Master Sommelier, George Miliotes invites web visitors to engage with George on Twitter.  The Capital Grille’s main navigation bar also includes a button linking to George’s twitter profile.

Cork’d

The team at Cork’d, an unpretentious wine consumer review site, designed a Twitter background that shows “Who’s Talking” from their company’s Twitter profile @Corkd (see above).  Each Cork’d team member signs their initials at the end of their tweets to let followers know which of the four of them tweeted.  I liked this so much that I recommended it to my clients at Vin65 and we implemented it onto our new @vin65team Twitter page.

It excites me to see brands embracing the opportunity to engage with their customers and clients on Twitter by adding these types of personal touches to their marketing strategies.  Have you seen any others that you like or have you implemented some into your branding?

Academy of Wine Communications-FLX: February Meeting this Thursday, 2/25/10

AWC FLX members Kim Aliperti, Billsboro Winery & Erica Paolicelli, Three Brothers Wineries & Estates taste Ravines Wine Cellars '07 Dry Pinot Rose'

Update: February meeting canceled due to winter storm warning for the region.  We’re working on setting up our next meeting for Thursday, 3/18/10.  Watch here for more details.

February’s meeting of the Finger Lakes Chapter of the Academy of Wine Communications will be held on Thursday, February 25, 2010 at Three Brothers Wineries & Estates at Stoney Lonesome Wine Cellars on Seneca Lake, 623 Lerch Road in Geneva, NY.  The meeting will be held from 10:00 AM-12:30 PM with breakfast provided by Three Brothers Wineries & Estates.  Attendees: feel free to bring a bottle to share during the meeting and RSVP for new members is greatly appreciated ASAP to Melissa Dobson at (917) 816-5424 or melissa.dobson@avantguild.com.

Topics to include:

  • Identifying wine influencers
  • How to turn wine blog reviews into sales $$
  • New York Cork Report: Mini-Rieslings: Hazlitt Hopes To Take a Major Step With Customers http://bit.ly/cm6Ydf, alternative packaging
  • Viticulture 2010 takeaways: Erica Paolicelli of Three Brothers Wineries & Estates
  • Vino Visit and Cellar Pass

If you haven’t joined us yet, check us out. Wineries and wine marketing groups that have attended include: Heron Hill Winery, Splash The Finger Lakes, Finger Lakes Tourism Alliance, Damiani Wine Cellars, Ravines Wine Cellars, Finger Lakes Wine Country Tourism Marketing Association, Anthony Road Wine Company, Three Brothers Wineries & Estates, Sheldrake Point Vineyard and Cafe, Red Newt Cellars, Rooster Hill Vineyards, Shaw Vineyard and New York Wine & Culinary Center.  Bring a favorite bottle and your notebook, it’s a great excuse to get out and talk wine marketing over a glass of vino with Finger Lakes winery owners and marketers.  See you there!

Social Media Quick Tip: Tag Your Favorite Wine Brands on Facebook

This is old news for some, but if you haven’t explored the status tagging feature (similar to photo tagging) on Facebook, take a few minutes and check it out.

Status tagging can help your winery’s Facebook fan page to become more engaging and vibrant.  Facebook users can type the “@” symbol before a Facebook fan page name that they’re a fan of along with the first few letters of the fan page right after the @ sign, and Facebook begins to populate your friends names and fan pages for you to click on, creating a direct link to the page (or personal profile) and also appearing on that fan page or profile.

For example, you work for a winery.  Your personal profile oftentimes has updates about your day at the winery, but those updates don’t make it over to your winery’s fan page because you’re running short on time.  Here’s what you can do to save time and get your fan page updated more easily.

1. Go to your personal profile.

2. Type your update text into the “What’s On Your Mind” box and be sure to type @xyzwinery within your update text.  You’ll see choices pop up after you type the @ symbol.  (ie Just finished bottling  2008 @xyzwinery Cabernet Franc with barely a bottle broken!)

3. Click on the appropriate fan page link after the @ symbol and finish your update.

The update will now appear on both your personal profile page and the winery’s fan page if they allow links from fans to show on their wall.  If your winery doesn’t allow links from fans, I highly recommend that you do so by adjusting your fan page settings.  Organic content from fans is the lifeblood of a successful fan page.

I bet you have some Facebook-savvy customers who will follow your lead and tag their updates about you and their wine experiences with you.  Let’s help each other out and tag other wineries and businesses on Facebook when we’ve visited them.   (I don’t seem to have the ability to status tag from my blackberry’s Twitterberry app just yet)

Photo credit: respres flickr photos http://www.flickr.com/photos/respres

Academy of Wine Communications:Twitter Basics Immersion for Wineries

Winter Beauty on Keuka Lake

Our next meeting of the Academy of Wine Communications here in the Finger Lakes will be followed by an interactive Twitter Basics Immersion for Wineries for AWC members.  The meeting and seminar will be held at Ravines Wine Cellars on Keuka Lake thanks to their offer to host us and let us utilize their wireless connectivity.  Date is still TBD but watch for info soon.

Update: Meeting and Twitter Immersion date set for Wednesday, 1/27/10

  • Topics for Twitter Immersion to include:
    • No question too simple, be sure to ask those questions that have been keeping you from engaging more frequently
    • Basics of Twitter, hashtags, Tweetdeck, what are people saying?, following and joining conversations
    • What to do everyday to get the most from Twitter
    • Topics, what are engaging topics? How not to tweet only “sales-y” content, getting the most from Twitter conversations

    Would love to have this be interactive, so if you’re an advanced Tweeter, it would be great to have you stay and participate to help other members if your schedule allows.

So I ask my friends and advanced Tweeters (Tweeps), what tips can you offer to Academy of Wine Communications members in Finger Lakes Wine Country who are just getting started on Twitter?  Or have set up profiles but are feeling stuck?  Your comments and suggestions, if they’re good :) , will be presented during our session and you will receive mad love from our group and maybe gain a few new followers.  Muchos gracias!

Academy of Wine Communications-FLX: Invitation to our next meeting

Attendees to Our Info Meeting at Heron Hill Winery

Attention Finger Lakes wine PR & marketing professionals:  This is an open invitation to you to our next meeting on Thursday, 12/10/09.  Hope you can join us!  UPDATE 12/7/09: Meeting location is at Ravine’s Wine Cellars, 14630 State Route 54,  Hammondsport, NY 14830. Please RSVP to melissa (dot) dobson (at) avantguild.com before 12:00 noon tomorrow if you’ll be attending.

Hi all,

For those who haven’t discovered us, the Academy of Wine Communications is a group of wine communications pros based in Napa, CA (history http://academyofwine.org/awc/about/history/) with a developing chapter here in the Finger Lakes. Our goal is to bring wine communications professionals together to share and discuss hot topics and the latest developments in the wine PR & marketing industry. Additionally, the AWC strives to provide resources to wine writers and bloggers. We held our first small info meeting last month and now moving forward with our next meeting. We’re planning monthly meetings through April and then will reassess meeting frequency during busy season.

The next meeting of the Academy of Wine Communications-Finger Lakes Chapter is set for next Thursday, 12/10 from 12-1:30, meeting location is still TBD. If you have or can suggest a winery (preferred) or restaurant (that serves a lot of local wines of course!) where we can either bring in our own lunches or order lunch, please reply back ASAP. Also, if you plan to attend, please email me back by Monday to RSVP so that I can plan for the appropriate venue.

Here’s what we have lined up for our next meeting:

* Hot topics

* Recent wine PR/marketing challenges

* Best/worst practices

* Blogger relations

* Chapter Officers

* Meeting calendar through April

* Open floor (as time allows): share current initiatives, recent events ie Spit & Twit, books, resources etc. (please feel free to bring any books, websites etc. to share)

Don’t forget, you can list yourselves on the AWC site’s wine PR directory http://academyofwine.org/awc/resources/wine-pr-directory/

I’d love your help in spreading the word to anyone involved in Finger Lakes wine PR and marketing interested in attending our next meetings. The main home page for the AWC is academyofwine.org, check out the resources tab for: Job Board, Useful Links, Social Media including blogger relations tips. We’re also updating on the Academy of Wine Communications Facebook Fan Page. Your suggestions and feedback are welcome there too. (Will be closing down the AWC-FLX fan page very soon, so please join the main AWC page)

Hope to see you all soon.

Thanks so much!

~Melissa

melissa (dot) dobson (at) avantguild.com

Humbled Wine Consumers Want Luxury Products Made by Real People

Visitors at Hazlitt 1852 Vineyards (photo provided by Hazlitt 1852 Vineyards)

Recently, this excerpt resonated with me and I thought of you.  It’s from “What Will 2010 Bring for Fine Wine Sales?” the preliminary findings of Silicon Valley Bank’s  Annual State of the Wine Industry Report for 2010-2011:

“…the fine wine business at some point in the past decade began to believe the product was about an expensive purchase and ego-based conspicuous consumption. The industry now finds a humbled consumer still wanting luxury products, but products made by real
people
, and not just expensive brands without a soul. Each producer has to figure out new ways to touch every one of its consumers in an authentic manner. That is the good news for an industry connected to family business, the earth, and hand made production.”

Keeping this in mind, have you adjusted your PR, marketing and social media efforts to speak to these discerning consumers?  I realize that these types of individualized, personal interactions can be very time consuming.  However, a combination of recurring touches can help your winery to connect with its enthusiasts, their friends and your new customers.  Make your campaigns about them, not all about you.  Thinking about a new event concept or wine club offering?  Ask your customers for feedback, what they like about your current events and wine club, what they would like that’s different, what a comfortable price point is.  Let them get to know your people, your winery dog, your wine club members, that special something that you have to offer that sets you apart from the winery up the road.  And of course, talk about the behind-the-scenes stuff that goes on daily at your winery,encourage and answer questions on your Facebook fan page, become a resource of wine information.

My husband and a couple of girlfriends and I took a day and toured a few wineries on Seneca Lake recently.  After our second tasting, we sat out back at one of a group of tables set up for customers to sit and enjoy a bottle on the patio.  We struck up a conversation with a group next to us.  They were regulars to Finger Lakes Wine Country from Maryland.  They were loose with their feelings after a day of tasting and didn’t hold back.  My husband Rich asked them what kept bringing them back to the region, always curious about these things after numerous conversations with me about it.  The most vocal of the bunch didn’t hesitate.  She said point blank, “What brings us back and makes us buy wine here?  It’s all about selling the experience to us.  We visited one winery where the wines were not good at all, but it was a fun place, we enjoyed our time there so we bought some wine.  Then there was another new winery with a young husband and wife as the owners.  They told us their story on how they’re just getting started, we liked their wine but more than anything, we liked them and wanted to buy wine from them, so we did.”

Another example of the loyalty that personalized marketing can make for wineries is illustrated in comment #1 by JLBrown in this recent post by Eric Asimov on the NY Times’ wine blog “The Pour” titled “The Mystery of Marketing” :

The dumbing down/dunderheading of wine marketing makes me crazy.

Want to see a vintner that really gets wine marketing? Check out Hafner Vineyard (http://www.hafnervineyard.com/). I was introduced to their wines several years ago by a direct-mail piece that was so unforced and so evocative of their product that I bought. And bought. And bought. I have become a raging fan.

The product is wonderful, but the personal touch to marketing really sets them apart. They understand that wine is a personal experience, and that they are in the enjoyment business. They do everything possible to make obtaining and enjoying their wines a special, personal experience.

— JLBrown

Okay, these are just a couple of examples, but as much as wine quality is important to sustaining a winery’s business, please don’t forget how important your back story, your dreams and aspirations, your “one thing” that sets you apart, those personal touches by real people…are to your customers.  A few quick things to think about:

  • Does your website, email and newsletter copy come from an authentic voice or does it sound stiff and corporate-y?
  • Does the “About Us” page on your website tell your personal story and philosophy and does it have pictures of the people and maybe the four-leggers that are the core of your winery brand?
  • How does each “touch” feel to your customer?  Will they want to come back to you for more of that feeling and share your story with their friends and family while opening a bottle of your wine?

I wholeheartedly feel that here in the Finger Lakes, the people here, the experience provided, the beauty of the region, the family-owned wineries that feel like home are also very important to many wine tourists as they carefully weigh out where and with whom they’ll spend their money in challenging economic conditions.  What brings your best customers back to see you and purchase wine from you regularly?  What are you doing to emphasize those qualities?

Winery Marketing: “Trust Agents” Outlines How to Win Hearts and Minds

Chris Brogan and I_Nov2009

Chris Brogan & I at SM2Day Conference

As I mentioned in a previous post, I’m a huge fan of Chris Brogan and the book he co-authored with Julien Smith entitled “Trust Agents.”  (And Chris’ blognewsletter…) Okay, I know I’m gushing.

This isn’t meant to be a blatant push for Chris and Julien or their book.  But one of the things I believe you come here for is my opinion on discoveries that can help you to grow your business and keep you on track to continue to engage with and build a community of enthusiasts for your winery brand.  I understand that your days are busy so I love to bring you resources to help you to do that.  Being a solopreneur affords me the flexibility to watch out for things for you that I strongly believe can help you to tell your winery’s unique story to those who want to hear about it the most and will in turn tell their friends about you.  “Trust Agents” outlines best practices for using the web to build influence and teaches you how to earn trust and build relationships that can benefit you and your community.

If you’ve been reading my posts on social media, have attended workshops or webinars but still feeling like you’re not sure what to do next or if you can improve results on what you’re already doing out there on the web, Chris, Julien and “Trust Agents” offers guidance and actionable steps.  And there’s a really cool story about J Vineyards and Winery in Sonoma and how one of their staff members won the trust of tech blogger Robert Scoble and got him to buy a case of wine from the winery after winning him over.  Plus, there’s a bit on Gary Vaynerchuk and how he makes us want to buy his products.

The book was also recently listed as one of the recommended books for those interested in digital marketing for the wine industry by Paul Mabray, founder and Chief Strategy Officer at VinTank in a post on John Corcoran’s Think Wine Marketing blog.  If you’d rather listen to an audiobook version, there’s one available via Amazon.

Have you already read “Trust Agents?”  What are the takeaways that resonated most that can be applied to a winery’s business plan?

Social Media Quick Tip: Post Quality Content on Twitter

photo courtesy of Heron Hill Winery

photo courtesy of Heron Hill Winery

If you’re a winery public relations and marketing person or owner who wears this hat, your head may be swirling with questions about how social interactions on platforms such as Twitter and Facebook are changing the way we “pitch” bloggers and writers and land coverage.  I know that it’s at the top of my list of things to pay attention to and I’ll continue to share what I discover with you here.

This social media quick tip demonstrates a very simple example of how a local winery’s public relations person posted content onto Twitter and had it picked up by a local wine blogger, landing a photo featured in his blog post within an hour of their exchange on Twitter.

The winery PR person is Kitty Oliver at Heron Hill Winery, who has consistently been one of the region’s most forward-thinking public relations and marketing representatives.  The blogger who picked up the photo and got permission to use it via Twitter is Evan Dawson, Finger Lakes Editor at the New York Cork Report. (Disclosure: I have contributed posts to The New York Cork Report for the Finger Lakes)

The exchange occurred last Friday morning with Kitty posting photos of the snowfall at Heron Hill Winery to Twitter.  Evan spotted the photos, liked one and found it relevant to his post about the effect that unseasonably low temperatures followed by predicted Indian Summer conditions will have on the vines and grape development here in the Finger Lakes. Within a few minutes and via Twitter post, Evan secured permission from Kitty to use the photo for his post.

Kitty shares tips from her experience with using Twitter to engage with wine writers, bloggers and enthusiasts for Heron Hill:

“Twitter has been a great tool for Heron Hill Winery as far as getting information out quickly. We’re connecting directly, if a media person or consumer  needs more information we go from there. Posting pictures has been helpful too, I can show people what I’m talking about, especially when it comes to harvest. People want to SEE the grapes, SEE the crush pad and SEE the people behind the wine. You have to be yourself on Twitter because people can sense sincerity and relate to it. It requires a personal touch and you have to be ready to engage, learn and share what’s really going on. Your relationships will be better for it. It takes time to learn the Twitter ropes, but once you get it, it’s a lot of fun and a great tool.”

Evan’s advice for those venturing into social media:

“Social media starts with being social. Profound, I know. Seriously, though – you’re not going to develop a strong and loyal readership through social media unless you show people you care about them. You read their stuff. You react to their posts. You answer their questions. You show some personality. Over time, we’ve been able to develop a strong following that responds when we have questions or need help. In this case, we didn’t have to ask Heron Hill for photos — they were savvy enough to post them. But had we simply tweeted about a need for harvest photos, I have no doubt we’d have a virtual pile of them within minutes. And that only makes our blog better.”

There’s still some work to be done in my observation.  Some Twitter peeps are showing up just when they need something and to promote their own interests and then disappear without really interacting or helping anyone else.  Although that may provide a bit of benefit, showing up consistently and following Kitty and Evan’s tips lead to much more robust engagement and benefits for you and your brand.

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