Silicon Valley Bank’s 2014 State of the Wine Industry Report is an annual look at financial trends, current conditions, and predictions in the industry. This year, SVB is predicting an increase in wineries investing in technology in an effort to sell wine online. This is very encouraging news for wineries, as it represents the potential to increase reach to customers and overall direct-to-consumer sales.
At Trellis Growth Partners, we believe strongly in the power of online marketing as a method to increase sales. We specialize in combining public relations, e-marketing, and social media services to increase brand awareness and ultimately, demand for clients’ artisan offerings. Our small business communication suite combines proactive media relations pitching with monthly emails and frequent social media posting, and is geared toward small wineries.
Making a great wine or olive oil is not enough when you have thousands of competitors. You have to generate demand by communicating effectively and consistently with target audiences in a compelling manner. If you would like to hear more about how Trellis can help increase your sales, please contact us.
-Erin Stutesman, Account Coordinator
In November, I attended the Wine Tourism Conference in Portland. While there, I joined a workshop entitled “Social Media for the Wine & Wine Tourism Industries,” led by Andrew Healy of 3 Rock Marketing, a Napa-based marketing firm that specializes in online presence and social media. I thought the presentation was great, and was encouraged by his advice, as we use much of those techniques at Trellis Growth Partners for our communications clients. Here are three examples of business practices at Trellis that were also recommended in the workshop. We encourage you to use them as a checklist for your own social media efforts.
1. Be active
Consumers look forward to Facebook page updates, so if yours is rarely updated, chances are your fan base interest will wane, resulting in fewer follows.
At Trellis, we recommend only creating accounts you are confident you will use. You might think Pinterest is great (who doesn’t?!), and it can be used for business purposes, but an inactive page with a few photos and a lack of re-pins is not attractive, and can ultimately hurt your image when it comes up on a Google search. So rather than trying to juggle five or ten different “must do” sites, select the one or few that you’ll commit to regularly and stick to it. We recommend using Facebook and Twitter, as they are user-friendly and make it easy to communicate with followers.
2. Stand behind your brand messaging
It’s crucial to stay true to your brand messaging when using social media. This is a marketing foundation we develop for clients through a messaging platform process. When interacting with consumers on social media, it is essential to use a consistent and natural brand “voice” to communicate with consumers. What you post and how you phrase it will not be the same as how you post on your personal accounts. If you are having trouble establishing your brand voice, we can help.
For example, Rolling River Sprits’ website states, “Rolling River Spirits is a family-owned and operated craft distillery located in Portland, Oregon. The company was founded in 2011 to offer artisan organic spirits made from fresh ingredients.” If you go to Rolling River’s Facebook page, you will see that the messaging and imagery is consistent. The main brand statements of “artisan, organic spirits,” “fresh ingredients,” and “family-owned” are emphasized and maintain uniformity.
For an example of a company with a different, yet consistent voice, view Starfield Vineyards. The company’s website states, “Starfield Vineyards is built on the belief that truly great wines are sourced from “Star Fields” — unique sites where fruit can develop the optimal balance of aroma, flavor and texture….Father-son team, Tom and Robert Sinton, bring to Starfield three generations of winegrowing experience and an intense desire to reach beyond traditional boundaries while pursuing the ultimate in cool climate winemaking.”
While setting up Starfield’s Facebook page, we wanted to stay anchored to the company’s voice. As you can see, both the mission statement and website focus on their family’s legacy and commitment to the best vineyard sites.
Maintaining a unified, consistent image and language is an important step to establishing and maintaining trust between your brand and the consumer.
3. Don’t just post, interact
It is important to regularly post to social media, but keep in mind that these are conversational platforms -- it is not enough to focus solely on your page. An easy way to promote your brand, in addition to showing support for others, is to like, comment, and share posts.
In this image, you can see that Mackey Vineyards shared Great Northwest Wine’s link e-newsletter announcing Mackey’s Concordia as the wine of the week. Here we are both promoting Mackey’s press and Great Northwest Wine’s page by sharing their link, which shows that Mackey is communicative and informed on social media.
Additionally, you should always respond to followers who comment or ask questions on your accounts. This is a simple way to engage your current fans and appeal to new ones. Failing to do so is the social media equivalent of not returning a phone call.
For example, I posted the below status on McKinley Springs Winery’s Facebook page to promote 2014 events. Tim commented that he would be at the June 14 BBQ. I responded, “Can’t wait to see you there!” It always feels nice to be recognized, and to a new viewer, it shows that McKinley Springs is engaged with their followers.
One of our primary goals at Trellis is to create brand magnetism for our clients, and social media is just one piece of the puzzle. In my next post, I will explain how to launch a successful social media contest and what it can do for your online presence.
- Erin Stutesman, Account Coordinator
We wish you the very best for 2014 and are excited to announce the highlights of our 2013 annual report.
This was a great year for press for our clients. In addition to generating approximately 421 articles in regional and national publications from the 39 pitches we created, we also developed new relationships with 475 additional writers, bloggers, and TV journalists.
Additionally, we executed three successful media trips where we brought 25 total regional and national writers to the Horse Heaven Hills, Oregon Olive Mill, and Stoller Family Estate
We also made the decision to invest in Cision, a PR tool which allows us to easily search for media contacts, build lists, and reach out to new publications.
Additionally, we successfully launched our first company media mailer, “Unique Finds from the Pacific Northwest.” We collected artisan products from 12 clients to send 24 shipments to national publications including Chicago Tribune, D Magazine, Forbes, In Style, National Geographic, New Jersey Monthly, Sunset, Travel & Leisure, VIA Magazine, and several freelance writers.
We make it a priority to become experts in the e-marketing platform of our clients’ preference.
This year, we drafted, edited, and sent 58 e-newsletters on behalf of eight clients. On average, we gained a 38% open rate or double the average of the consumer packaged goods open rate of 19% as reported by a2013 Epsilon report.
We gained roughly 2000 Facebook followers for our clients in 2013. Photos of wine and vineyards proved to be most popular, as were posts about upcoming events.
We have also found social media contests to be a successful tool. We launched three contests for three separate clients this year: a Food & Wine Pairings Contest for Mackey Vineyards, "For the Love of EVOO" on behalf of Oregon Olive Mill, and "For the Love of Wine" for Stoller Family Estate.
Overall, we had 41 participants and a total of 242 new followers. By encouraging participants to ask their friends and families to “like” their contest entry, we were able to gain new followers and increase brand awareness.
This was a great year for us, and we are excited to see what 2014 brings. Stay tuned for our January newsletter, where we will report the findings of our wine industry sales and marketing survey!
Happy New Year from the Trellis Growth Partners team,
Dixie Huey, Janel Lubanski, & Erin Stutesman
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