The Grapevine

Wine Shop Marketing: Starting from Zero

March 18th, 2015

Whether you have a new shop, new marketing challenges or just feel like you need to hit restart on your marketing, having a solid plan in place is important. [level-members]

Beyond that plan, which when you’re first starting, can feel way to abstract to wrap your head around, it helps to have some concrete ideas to get moving. Once you gain some traction, you’ll begin to get a sense of what’s working, what kind of marketing you enjoy doing, and most importantly, what kind of marketing connects with your target audience. Here are a few ideas.

Get Out There
Attend events at – and join – local trade groups and chambers. The more involved you are, the more your efforts will pay off in raising your profile in your community. Yup, this will likely lead to some costs like benefit-event donations, but that’s a good thing. You want to get your name out there associated with positive events.

Let ‘Em Tell You You’re Great
Ask for testimonials from your best customers and publicize the positive press. (Actually, ask for honest feedback from your customers. Use the best as testimonials and use the negatives as opportunities to improve your business.)

Create Contests and Awards
Get your customers to participate in fun promotions that they’ll share with friends. The sillier the better – no point in taking yourself too seriously …

Promotional Items
Everyone creates pens and calendars. Stand out by creating food & wine themed bookmarks for your customers to use in their cookbooks.

Educate ‘Em
Use your social media channels and website – and printed materials in your shop – to provide useful information to your target audience. Everything from basic food & wine pairing guides for folks new to wine, to info on how to extract dried-out corks from older wines for more knowledgeable buyers, to auction or travel info for your most sophisticated customers. This is probably the #1 marketing tool in your arsenal.

As you put some of the ideas into play you’ll get a sense of what you can manage on your own and what you might turn over to a staff member or part-time consultant. The goal is to track the work you’re doing and the revenue it is generating. More on that measurement next week.