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Wine Internet Marketing: a complete overview from Social Media to SEO to Email

Exhausted but satisfied. Having gone to all the major wine regions in NZ to conduct wine internet marketing workshops covering general internet marketing best practice and giving winery specific feedback on Facebook, Twitter, SEO, Conversions, Mobile and Email Marketing (see why I’m exhausted 😉 ), I feel that the NZ wine industry is in good heart with super-intelligent, motivated and passionate wine people of all ages and budgets making things work (the satisfied part 🙂 ).

Wine Internet Marketing Workshop

Bruce talking about Local SEO and Winery Tasting Rooms in the Central Otago workshop


Wine people of all types are getting up to speed on how they can improve revenue regardless of all the claims on their time. I’ve now done these workshops with well known owners of famous wine brands, struggling cellar door managers of corporate wineries, professional internet-savvy young marketing managers, through to retired older folk trying to make their lifestyle work. Some have more experience than others but they all seem to show a determination to take hold of the internet marketing tree and shake as much revenue from it as possible.

Some common issues

Over the last three weeks I’ve seen some common winery issues, which I list below. The actual presentation slide deck is available to view at the end of this post and download from slideshare (note the attendee specific information has not been included for confidentiality reasons).

Winery Facebook Issues

When I reviewed each winery’s Facebook Page the most common mistakes were

  • Irregular posting: frequent regular posts are important to get through Facebook’s filter (called EdgeRank, specifically the Time Decay element). Also human users want to see a live page not a dead one. I believe at least 3 times per week and preferably every day.
  • Impersonal: social media is one person talking to another person, rather than a nameless brand talking to a person. Wineries should really sign off posts with first names. Tamara and I sign off with Tamara@MLWS or Bruce@MLWS on our Facebook Page
  • Participate: if someone extends their hand, its rude not to shake it, in a similar way if a fan asks a questions or makes a comment we should always respond in kind
  • Interaction: lastly there is often a news release approach to social media rather than exchanging informative and entertaining thoughts and comments with fans. Ask fans what they think by posting questions rather than statements, customer photos rather winery news, contests rather than promotions.

Indeed great content was a recurring theme of this workshop.

Use Social Connect

It’s free, easy and a powerful way to listen, respond and encourage mentions about your brand in the social mediascape. Enough said.

Google, Search Engine Optimization and Wine

Sometimes you get too close to an industry. I think I’ve been so close to Google over the last decade I’ve assumed everyone ‘gets it’. But of course people are too busy with other things to research and learn search in the same overly-involved way I have. So simplifying SEO seemed to resonate well with people. Search Engine Optimization is putting the right keywords in the right places. Then getting high quality websites to link to those pages with good anchor and surrounding text. There are lots of other things you can do but it really comes down to that.

When I gave winery-specific feedback, I would look at how their website ranked in Google (using SEOmoz) for long tail (low volume searches), chunky middle (medium volume) and fat head (high volume) keyword phrases. In the wine industry this means:

  • long tail keywords are the variations of your product names
  • chunky middle are usually subregion + varietal keywords phrases (sometimes smaller region and less popular varietals)
  • fat head are region/country + varietal, and varietal keyword phrases

Mostly wineries rank well for their brand product names (if they didn’t there was often a major technical website issue). The chunky middle was where many wineries would start to concentrate their first SEO efforts on. Most of the time no one did well with fat head keywords phrases. So the takeaway was to get writing great content about the chunky middle. One keyword phrase per blog post, then attract and/or ask for high quality links.

My SEO analysis usually found the best links were from wine writers on news media websites (cnn.com, independent.co.uk, nzhearld.co.nz), wine blogs and the odd wikipedia entry.

Wine Email Marketing

Providing great content to your subscriber base on Facebook and your blog also extends to email. Many wineries’ email blasts seemed to be promotional rather mainly informational with the odd promotion.

I reckon the best way to have a profitable email list is to save promotional emails for key selling periods but send more regular and more interesting posts about wine around those periods. Interesting info leads to more opened emails, more converting links and more sales when you need them.

Mobiles and Wine Websites

Hell you’ve just finished the last website update and now I’m saying that wine drinkers are using smartphones so much that you need at least a mobile website if not an app! Yes, 39% of media interactions are with smartphones vs computers, TVs and other traditional media. If a wine drinker can’t easily view your website then they’ll check out your competitor instead. Groan. I feel for you but the world is a changing. About whether you should have an app…

Brand Management

I limited any comments about brand management but there is often a vagueness in what winery brands represent. Perhaps I should be doing more but I’m concentrating on the internet side of marketing. I suggest brands look at different types of customers, their competitors and how they can be unique and compelling in an authentic way in internet marketing as well as everything else.

Seminar Presentation Files

To download the files or read it in bigger format click the “slideshare” button to the bottom left of the SlideShare player, this will take you to the SlideShare website where you click “Save File” to download the presentation (you will need to login to SlideShare using Facebook or sign up for your own Slideshare account).

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