At WithWine, we’re firm believers in using data to guide our business decisions.
These days it seems every single report by every single data collection group and industry analyst agrees that Direct To Consumer (DTC) is on the rise. And yet, most wineries are still not adapting to the change. And it can be frustrating when those that do want to focus on their DtC strategy believe that the only weapon they need to conquer their DtC strategy is a website. It's not that simple.
A website is just one string on your bow, in order to hit a bullseye you need to think of various ways to seize every sales opportunity.
Here are the top 5 channels you should focus on in your DTC strategy.
Put Your Brand Out There
Do wine-lovers even know who you are? Or what wines do you make? There are a lot of steps from starting a business to managing a growing wine club. First, you need people to know who you are. You can start with some local PR. Reach out to local newspapers, forums, and radio stations. Let them know what makes you special. Get involved in local groups. Support events. Get your brand name out there and let word-of-mouth will do the rest.
Have a Website
Yes, obviously having a website is very important. It is the virtual shop for your product. Of course, you should have a website. We’re just saying that’s not all you should have. Not only should you have a website, but your website should also be easy and enjoyable for your users to navigate.
Pages should load quickly, there shouldn’t be any spelling errors or broken links, or broken or blurry images. Also, optimise your website for mobile devices. More people shop via their smartphones and it’s very off-putting to try and scroll through a website that doesn’t fit onto your smartphone’s screen.
A good user experience on your website is the equivalent of a good customer experience on your cellar door. This means, that if customers have a good time and aren't frustrated at any point, they are more likely to return and support your business again.
Content marketing can be invaluable and can lead to a broader reach of your website. For example, say you write a blog post titled “The Best Shiraz and Cheese Pairings”. If it is well-written and your website is properly set up with keywords optimized for Shiraz, then your blog post will be more likely to show up in someone’s search feed on Google/Bing/Duck Duck Go etc. when they search for “what cheese pairs with Shiraz”.
Go a step further and ask a local news site if you can write a guest post for them. When they post an article linking back to your website, it will increase your rankings on Google Search and other search platforms.
Newsletter and Email Marketing
Email marketing is making a comeback! With the rise of blogging sites and social media it was a little less popular. Today it's one of the primary avenues for DtC sales. In 2020, open rates on average grew from 18.7% to 20.6%, while click rates increased from 2.8% to 3.1%, small shifts but they can lead to a large impact on your bottom line. In fact, according to this report from Campaign Monitor, Food & Beverage emails had an open rate of 33.6%, more than doubling the benchmark of the industry of 15.2%.
Newsletters are a fantastic way to connect directly with your customers on a daily, weekly, fortnightly or monthly basis. It’s a direct way to let them know what’s happening at your winery or cellar door, what deals you have on, what’s happening with the harvest, what wines are coming up in the next wine club delivery and more.
If you have the ability to segment your email database into groups - e.g. people that love Shiraz, people that are local and likely to come to an event etc. - even better. If you are able to send an email about a Shiraz tasting at your cellar door to those people the chances of them opening that email is greater and the chances of more people attending your event and purchasing your wine directly from you increase. Useful information for your customer and a direct sale for you.
Businesses with a minimal approach sometimes believe they can get by with social media and a cellar door. Sorry, again, like with websites, social media is one avenue. Maybe it could work for you if you were a small business selling macramé art. But did you know that you can’t sell alcohol on Facebook and Instagram? True there are some ways around it, but this week we’ve seen that Facebook can throw its weight around so why put your account at risk?
The better way to look at social media as a platform to tell your story. It’s a soft sell. Post excellent pics of your cellar door and winemakers, your vines and wines. Connect with people, be as authentic as possible and use these channels to drive traffic to your newsletter or website.
But how do you sell more wine?
Book some time with our team to discover how WithWine can help you with your DTC goals.