We've just finished up the 2016 DTC Roadshow circuit. In California, we hit the Sierra Foothills, Healdsburg, Santa Barbara and had a "home" show in Napa. We headed south to Hye, Texas and east to Niagara, Ontario Canada and then back out west to Woodinville, WA. We met a lot of wineries and focused in on how they could sell more wine in 2016.
Despite these wineries being in different geographical locations with varying levels of foot traffic, wine tourism, and popular varietals - they all seemed to hit a DTC stumbling block in these areas. Let's dive in to see why:
Wineries have come a long way in using technology to get to know their customers better. DTC has allowed wineries to actually know who is buying their wine, unlike the 3-tier system where it was always a mystery.
Although wineries have gotten better at capturing customer information in the tasting room, they're not using the data that they’ve collected.
Where wineries are struggling is using the data they've collected to analyze and segment. To send effective emails with a great call-to-action (CTA), you need to personalize the content. In order to personalize, you need to have the data available to filter through.
2. Email Marketing
Email marketing goes hand-in-hand with personalization. Sending emails is easy - but sending good emails, with an effective CTA, to a targeted audience is tough.
The #1 question I get asked at Roadshows? "How often is too often to send emails? I don't want to spam my customers." The answer? Well, although I wish I could divulge the secret sauce - the truth is there isn't a perfect answer to every wine business. The same reason why your red blend will differ from a neighboring winery.
My advice to you is to stop focusing on frequency of emails (once per month, once every 2 weeks) and focus on the content. Got a killer deal on Merlot that your red lovers will gobble up? Send it out now. Have an awesome concert at the winery that the locals will love? Invite them! Doing a $5 flat rate summer shipping promo? Spread the love!
One simple, single-focused, great CTA email will outperform the traditional newsletter type email with 3 recent blog posts, an event, 2 wine releases, and a club event. There's too much going on - so no action is taken. Half of your customers are reading your emails on their smartphones, so a single-focused email will get much better results. Target and segment to see the sales role in.
3. Dialing in Technology
This has gotten better and better each year - but when we compare wineries to other retail sectors - we're still lacking in our technology stack. Wineries seem to work in silos. You walk into a tasting room and ask about the wine club, or whether you can buy this wine online and the tasting room staff doesn't know. They aren't collecting email addresses because their boss isn't in charge of the website. This flows through the technology: tasting room staff using a POS that's not tied to the winery CRM. The marketing person doesn't meet customers face to face. The wine club manager works with active members - and not the entire customer base.
As an industry - we've got to blend the pieces of our business together so the customer has a seamless experience. After all, the customer experience is the most important - and your systems should work to make it better and better.