Just a two-year-old in the wine industry, Astra Digital Marketing Services is redefining direct-to-consumer (DTC) marketing and pushing wineries of all sizes to think outside the bottle. Much like their clients’ wine, Astra’s process is hand-crafted. They know that no winery is the same, and neither is the team at Astra. Taking on a client means starting from scratch, forging a genuine relationship, and absorbing that brand’s product, heritage, personality and goals. Their buffet of services include strategy, content creation, social media marketing, digital advertising, blog writing, email marketing, website design & SEO, analytics & reporting and data capture.
“Our mission is tailored content marketing,” says Ron Scharman, CEO. “We hire people from all over with amazing skill sets, which allows us to present a diversity of experience to those clients who can’t or don’t want to hire a full-time marketing position.”
While many wineries have an in-house marketer, oftentimes it is not their only focus – tasting room host, DTC manager, wine club manager are just a few of the titles that might also be responsible for marketing. But as the only marketer in-house, it’s easy to get stuck in an unevolved limbo of marketing wine.
When you go in with Astra, not only do you get a dedicated account manager, but you get the whole team – a team with collectively more than 40 years in the wine industry that lives and breathes in the digital world – a talented patchwork of strategists, designers, analysts, writers, and even interns from Bordeaux, France. They’re constantly collaborating, experimenting and learning with the newest tools, developing new skill sets. Astra keeps a foot in the vineyard, but their minds are always on the brink of innovation, making them a weapon for the wine industry with a razor sharp competitive edge.
Astra’s small but mighty operation is in the heart of Napa, but they don’t stop there. Once the contract ink is dry, Astra hits the ground running with their clients, visiting the properties and winery owners in what they call an immersion meeting. Getting their hands dirty allows Astra’s business owners and account managers to create ideas and produce content that’s one-of-a-kind.
“Each client has their own unique needs,” says Ryan Neergaard, Director of Business Development and Social Media. “We work to understand all aspects of their brand, from the tasting room staff to the winery dog. Their story needs to be personal and authentic.”
Perhaps the most methodical and crucial part of Astra’s tailoring process is their Starter Package. They pull out a fine-tooth comb and audit a client’s social media channels, email marketing, third-party profiles, Google Analytics, website performance and design, and SEO, measuring and analyzing the bones of the business to come up with a tactical marketing plan based on data and best practices. The Starter Package is the rock-solid foundation for Astra’s sales objectives and strategies, as it allows clients to, “… move beyond a ‘gut-feeling’ approach for measuring success to a tangible system that defines what success looks like based on specific metrics,” says Scharman. “Don’t guess what is working for your company.”
Out of the starter package, one of the paramount findings for wineries is the health of their Search Engine Optimization (SEO). Oftentimes, Astra sees wineries that have poorly implemented SEO, sort of like a puzzle that still needs pieces, or no SEO at all.
“We have had wineries, big and small, come to us with stunning, brand new websites, but there’s not a single trace of SEO built into them, and they had no idea,” says Nick Billings, CTO.
SEO is easily brushed aside because it isn’t pretty or visible to consumers, and it can be intimidating. But Astra tinkers with these wineries’ crude or nonexistent SEO puzzle pieces and fastens them into a compelling mosaic – a masterkey to wineries’ online traffic and sales in the digital realm. Astra’s work is proof that when you properly build and consistently track your SEO, it acts as the backbone of both marketing strategy and a winery’s success.
It’s clear that Astra does what many firms and agencies fail to do for the wine industry – radiate a culture of wine knowledge, individualism, passion, and loyalty. The marketers at Astra are in this niche industry not only because they love what they do (and love wine), but also because they want to make a difference in the lives of their clients, their client’s consumers, and the wine country community. They believe wholeheartedly in the power of digital marketing and the promise it brings to the evolution of the wine industry.
“We’re telling [a winery’s] authentic story, which gives winery brands more stickiness in the market and stronger selling power online and on the shelves,” says Scharman. “We’re always striving to provide that unique, personal 3D tasting room experience in the 2D world.”
Using modern, data-driven strategy to connect with a profession as ancient as winemaking is no simple business deal – in fact, it’s bridging two, polar-opposite worlds. And for Astra, it’s working.
Learn about Astra’s services and see how they can transform your winery in the DTC marketing field by visiting astradms.com.