By Danielle Goss, 46Mile
Holiday wine sales, already? Seasonal shopping began in October this year, with nearly half of all holiday purchases predicted to occur on mobile. With over 3,600 wineries in California alone, standing out from the pack to promote your wines and tasting experiences as the perfect gift option can seem like a marathon, not a sprint.
However, there’s good news; trends show consumer demand for wine-related gifts and experiences only continues to grow. Last year, California wineries brought in over $10.5 billion in Q4 sales, accounting for approximately 30 percent of total annual revenue. And there is reason to believe that profits will exceed this number for the 2018 holiday season as research estimates e-commerce sales will increase by more than 15 percent.
Below are some affordable and easy-to-implement marketing recommendations for your brand to reach new audiences and maximize your holiday wine promotions this year.
Build a holiday wine marketing calendar to ensure your winery is prepared, organized and ready for the busy season. Early planning is key – target a mid-November launch for December holidays as 35.5 percent of people start shopping for gifts well before Thanksgiving. Your holiday marketing calendar should include timelines for major initiatives (e.g., a Cyber Monday BOGO wine campaign) and the milestones leading up to it (e.g., drafting and deploying newsletters, scheduling social posts). Be sure to create compelling holiday-themed wine offerings such as new vintage releases or festive tasting experiences as a driver for these targeted outreach efforts.
Curate emails that truly speak to your audiences. With email marketing resulting in 20 percent of all holiday sales, standing out from the competition by matching the preferences of your wine consumers is more important than ever. Free shipping and discounts are standard during the holidays, so make sure to differentiate your winery newsletter with compelling content, offerings, and design. Interactive content is easy to share and invites your audience to engage with your brand. Your audience needs to believe each email was handcrafted just for them, so consider creating separate campaigns targeted to their wine preferences (e.g., new white wine gift package for wine club members who opted for white-only wine shipments). Holiday marketing campaigns often focus on shoppers who buy gifts for others, but you can also encourage your customers to “treat themselves” as 70 percent of shoppers also buy personal gifts.
Create a relevant online presence to appeal to those you’re targeting. Conversions drop by 20 percent for each second a website fails to load. Optimize your website copy with powerful keywords, establish a regularly flowing site blog, and produce quality content via social media to attract and engage your audience throughout their experience. Develop a variety of creative content so that your audience is always seeing something fresh – consider dynamic ads with different wine offerings to personalize their experience.
Strategically navigate social media on a small winery budget for the biggest return on your investment. Before you make any major investments toward your social media ad campaign, identify your goals, target audience and the position you would like to take among your competitors. Make sure your content is visually compelling and encourages lead generation with a direct call-to-action. Get creative with video content (e.g., holiday wine and food pairing recommendations) and use varied channels such as YouTube and Pinterest to reach new audiences.
Give back this holiday season. With California wildfires having burned hundreds of vineyard acres in recent years, the need remains to give back to the community through charities such as Rebuild Wine Country. Consumers respond with their wallets when a company supports a cause they care about, so prioritize partnerships with local charities that your customers can relate to.