Make Your Mark With Focused Local Marketing
In a "Faster! Faster! Bigger!" is often considered the best, and as a business owner, it's easy to fall into that mindset. But when it comes to the life of a winery, we all know that it's often best to slow down, focus, and start small. So why is it that when it comes to marketing, so many distillers go big, trying to get their message out to everyone, everywhere? Especially when the reality is that they can only start selling their product? How do you avoid falling into this trap yourself?
Marketing Plan Second
Are you building your winery into a family business that you want to run forever? Do you want to grow and be acquired as fast as possible? Will you have online sales or national distribution? Do you only sell? Do you have a tasting room that consumers can visit?
All these questions are key to determining where you should spend your scarce marketing resources. Once you know your strategic direction, whether you sell or aspire to be bigger, it's time to be realistic and assess where you stand in achieving that vision. Often, even if your goal is to go big, in the beginning, stages you are starting small and need some early sales to fuel your strategic path. Unless you source your entire product, don't have a winery tasting room, and have extensive distribution, the best place to start is almost always a local, targeted marketing campaign.
Think Like a Local
Ready to hear some good news? You're a local! You know the people, the culture and the community. That means you're one of the best local marketing experts around. Be careful not to sell yourself (in market research, this is known as "one person's sample size bias") and make sure you're thinking about the collective personality of the local area. Now, start thinking about how your business will fit into it.
Big yoga area? Consider hosting a Saturday morning yoga class an hour before your brewery opens. Huge dog community? Let people know your winery is dog friendly. Farmers' market right down the street from you? If customers come to your tasting room, you can offer cocktail ideas based on what they bought at the market that day. If you don't have a tasting room, then find yourself a booth, meet people and give them cocktail ideas on the spot ...... And of course, point them to a local retailer where they can buy your drink.
Partner with restaurants, bars and retailers for live tastings. Tell your story at open mic nights or other community gatherings (one that you develop and curate, not locally and/or handcrafted) to create a personal and emotional connection that will leave a lasting impression the next time they come into the store.
Sponsor a local team or distribute quality branded materials for locals. Host a party at your home and invite specific members of your community. Get creative and think about what would excite your local community and help people feel a connection to you so they want to support you. Unfortunately, just being local isn't enough ...... But actually talking and engaging with locals goes a long way to building your raving fan base.
Your Local Market
Okay, so you have your inspired idea. Now, how do you actually promote it and get the word out? More good news. In today's digital marketing world, targeted marketing is one of the easiest and most cost-effective things you can do. Talking to exactly the people you want to talk to is not only straightforward, but it's much more effective than shouting your message from the rooftops and hoping the right people hear it.
Posting a message on your social media accounts with no advertising behind it is a mistake. Sure, it's helpful and important to engage with your followers on a consistent basis. But when you're trying to drive specific actions based on a post, it's often not even worth your time and effort to create it. Why? The ever-changing social media algorithm can limit its reach to the point where no one relevant sees it Let's take a simple example of a winery post that I see on social media all the time.
It's nice. A little general, but good that you're trying to inspire your audience to take action. Take a quick look at the demographics of your followers on Facebook or Instagram. What percentage of them live locally? Your posts are only relevant to that segment of your audience. Now, add another layer on top of the viewing algorithm. On Facebook, it is estimated that only 10-20% of your audience will see each post. While Instagram is better than Facebook at allowing your posts to show up to your followers, it is estimated that most Instagram users miss about 50-70% of the posts in their feed (because most people don't scroll all the way to the last time they checked it).
So, do some quick math. If you post this on Facebook on Friday morning to your 1,000 followers, let's be radical and say that 50% of them are local and only 10% of them will see your post in their feed. We're already down to 50 people who are likely to see your post if they're online that day or at the right time and other content isn't filling up their feed before they see your post. so maybe 20 people see it. And maybe five of those people weren't scheduled that night and were indeed in town. You know what I'm trying to say here.
It's not super productive to throw up a call to action post on social media without any targeting to make sure it actually reaches the people who can take action. But turning that post into an ad that specifically targets people who live in your area and like spirits can turn that simple post into an actual person who walks through your door that night. You can even target people who like the Facebook pages of other local spirits producers or similarly related businesses nearby. Honestly, the targeting options are endless, but it's important to be smart about targeting and not include too many variables at once so you know exactly what's working.
And yes, all this is quite affordable. To start, you can test something like this for as little as $25. Also, with targeted ads, people don't have to be your fans, so your reach is much greater and you may gain new fans even if they don't show up that night. Win-win!
Edition: Rubick L.