By Carin Oliver, CEO, Angelsmith, Inc.
We all know that wineries are unique businesses and require specialized services that most of the marketing world just doesn’t understand. But as crazy complicated as your business is, your consumer’s journey is even more complex. The way they find, validate, and purchase wine has dramatically evolved.
Consumers have increasingly turned to digital channels to learn about new wines and wine tasting experiences, research wines as they stand in the grocery store aisle, and buy more wine, more frequently, online.
Digital and social marketing is where many traditional wineries have fallen out of step with consumer behavior. But how do you transform your marketing so that digital is a financially viable distribution channel for your winery?
Even midsize organizations struggle to adequately develop strategies that provide a formalized approach to transform their marketing. This is where a comprehensive digital audit can help to identify gaps and opportunities, optimize ROI on digital investments, improve web and other digital performance and better understand how your winery performs against industry benchmarks.
What Is a Digital Audit?
At its core, a digital audit should be a complete review of your business’ online presence. It should include:
- A deep examination of your website, including its alignment with your brand, its content and information architecture, its ease of use, its technical setup, its performance on desktop and mobile, it’s search engine optimization, and so on.
- A review of ecommerce, checkout, and other conversion paths, with an eye to best practices, how well they perform, and if there are any points of friction for the consumer.
- A thorough exploration of your social media presence, including what social networks your business is on, how well it is represented on those networks, the quality and frequency of content posted to those networks, engagement with and by users of those networks, and how the effort impacts your overall business goals.
- A survey of your brand’s presence on third party review sites, including where you have a presence, whether your reviews on those sites are positive or negative, how your brand is managing those networks, and how traffic originating from those platforms convert on your website.
- A review of your email marketing, including the email platform, list management, send frequency, the content used, and how your database responds.
- An examination of your online advertising history, including channels used, targeting, performance, content, and generated revenue.
- An assessment of your analytics and tracking, identifying if critical metrics are being collected, proper sales attributions are in place, and if you are able to properly track all your online marketing efforts.
- An actionable and achievable recommendation roadmap
Why Wineries Need Digital Audits
Without a comprehensive digital audit, a winery’s marketing mix may be misaligned with its consumers’ actions. And with so many digital options to choose from and limited resources (even the big organizations need to carefully choose which digital tactics to invest in), it’s impossible to make an informed decision without a roadmap that aligns with your winery’s growth goals.
How a Digital Audit Helped One Winery
A recent example is a winery that believed earned and organic media (PR, organic social) were responsible for the majority of their business results. While these tactics were driving considerable and critical awareness, the winery had over-invested in these and substantially underinvested in tactics to Intercept & Influence™ consumers who were closer to the sale. They had been told by several agencies that they should be investing more in unpaid social media. Angelsmith switched some of their resources to other tactics and optimized their website.
The results from their digital audit better aligned their marketing with their consumer behavior and helped them better understand how their lack of web usability was holding them back from realizing digital as a profitable distribution model. So now, when consumers do land on their site they are more likely to convert.
Rapid technological changes happen so fast that it’s really hard to not only stay on top of an ever changing set of best practices, but to integrate them into your marketing. For example, the increasing adoption of mobile has changed the way people find and utilize your website, how they engage with social content, which keywords they use to find your winery, and even how they make tasting room reservations.
Although most wineries have someone in charge of making website updates and managing the day to day marketing, no one is responsible for taking optimizing for the customer journey. A comprehensive digital audit clear will provide a playbook to make digital a viable distribution channel for your winery.