Selling to restaurants can be a valuable distribution channel for your wines, but depending on the state you are selling in, may require different licensing and in many cases a distributor. To get some insider tips on pitching restaurant buyers we were fortunate to have Deanna Knieriem, Senior Operations Manager for Beverage and Food at The Renaissance Lodge at Sonoma on our coaching call this week. Check out the top 10 insights Deanna shared for working with restaurant wine buyers.

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Why would you not want to use Twitter to grow your business? This is one of the most powerful tools you can use, so get on it! Maybe it is underutilized because Twitter isn’t as intuitive as Facebook and it’s not so immediately obvious to people how to use it. It is an excellent traffic driver, relationship builder, and awareness generator, but did you also know it is a powerful listening tool? But too many times brands get on Twitter and don’t use it effectively. Here are the 7 biggest mistakes companies make when using Twitter:

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Have you overlooked public relations in your marketing strategy? A third party endorsement of your brand, or your wines is even more valuable than advertising, and usually won’t cost you anything except your time. Public relations is an opportunity to get your message out to a much larger audience by working with reporters, writers, bloggers and influencers. From wine scoring and review publications, to mainstream media, getting publicity for your brand can be immensely effective. The commitment is the time you put in to developing these relationships. Get my top 10 tips for effective public relations.

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We all know that having a Facebook page is a must for building your brand, but did you know that the main page is really just scratching the surface of what you can see on this platform? The Insights tab, in particular, is an invaluable resource to you that can help you increase brand awareness, loyalty and sales.

Facebook Insights can show you demographic information of the people that have liked your page, engagement numbers by post, data on when your audience is on Facebook, unlikes, traffic referrers and literally dozens of other interesting metrics.

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Creating events and experiences with potential customers can be a powerful way to market your wines; events give you the opportunity to tell your story directly, they give people something they will remember and generate word of mouth. However, creating or participating in a fabulous event can turn into a marketing disaster if you are not getting contact info, email addresses or even selling wine.

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Once you have your website up and running the first thing I’d recommend you do is add a Google Analytics tracking code. Google Analytics is an invaluable resource for anyone using a website for business purposes and it is free. There is absolutely no reason not to do it. What it does is generate detailed statistics about your website traffic. It will help you understand how people are using the site, how many are coming and not buying, and how you can fine tune your site to create more attractive content, and better buying experience.

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When you are selling something it is no different. In an ideal world you would plan your marketing strategy before you start the design phase of your label / website. (or at least be able to articulate all of this information to a designer), but at any point of your growth, you will still need to be planning in a strategic and thoughtful way to make the most of your investment and truly get results. The following is what you’ll want to consider when developing a marketing strategy.

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The way I see it, the way to cultivate top customers is to see them at the top of a pyramid. Under them you have your customers that can be groomed into buying more, and then the large segment at the bottom of your pyramid, is your prospects. These are all the people that you have on your email list but have never purchased. Feeding this bottom segment should be a big chunk of your focus – but the truth is each of these segments needs a different approach.

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Getting your head around how to sell to restaurants and retailers can seem daunting at first. There are a lot of considerations for a small winery, particularly around pricing, volume and how much time it takes to be successful. Mark Enlow from Zeal Wine Imports shared his expertise on a recent coaching call. To simplify, I’ve distilled our conversation into three key points; doing your homework, the importance of a compelling brand story and what it takes to secure and maintain restaurant accounts.

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