The winery industry in Australia is more competitive than ever before. Fact. Consumers are more educated and savvy too. The good news is that there are now greater opportunities to get your product and your offering in front of your potential buyers than ever before, also.

With a bit of strategy, confidence and a dose of digital smarts, you can get your cellar door attendance and your wine sales up, up, up. Most winery owners we’ve spoken to agree they are not using online as well as they possibly could. Many don’t feel confident where and how to go about it. One thing to keep in your mind is, more wine gets sold online by wineries now than at the cellar door and more people learn about wineries online. These seven tips will ensure your winery is heading in the right direction and capturing some of this opportunity. Cheers!

Here is a quick list that we put together from our experience of seven things your winery needs to do to attract more cellar door customers and online sales.

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1. Get your website updated and working for you

Of course! These days a website is often the first place someone goes to to find out more about your wines. There is no excuse in 2019 not to have a website that displays great on a laptop, tablet and mobile device and offers sales direct to your potential customers. These days it is easy to have a really fancy website created for you very quickly.

At a minimum you should expect your website has the following:

  1. responsive – adapts to different size devices;
  2. search engine optimised – code, hosting, images and content are all geared towards making google (and visitors) love your site;
  3. online store (ecommerce) – sell your wine online, please;
  4. wine club – member benefits, special pricing, exclusive events, early announcements. Give some love to get some loyalty;

2. Get search engine optimised

It’s not just your customers who come to your website and look around. Google scours the internet for websites to list as it sees fit. Chances are your site visitors found you on Google or another search engine. If not then consider yourself lucky.

Google is the number 1 search engine. If you’re not on Google and not doing all you possibly can to get in front of people who want to find you on Google then you’re doing it wrong. There are many things you can do to encourage Google to index your winery website and to get your site higher up in its ranks. The higher in the ranks, the more people will find you. Simple.

3. Get social

Social media is now the place you must be playing to get to your audience. A lot of winery owners are probably thinking “Well, I just got my website updated after six years, now you want me to do even more!?” Yes! Your website is the new little black dress – everyone should have one and everyone should look good in it. But if you’re not going to the parties, engagements, community meetings and soirees where people meet and talk then you can leave that dress in the closet.

Maybe your’re thinking “We tried Facebook and Instagram before, it was a waste of time!”. Try again and be smart about it. This a brand exercise. Look at your competitors, what are they doing? Make some time and get those good photographs of your latest releases. You’re at the party, don’t stand in the corner. Get targeted about who you want to speak to and what you want to achieve. Try and pinpoint your primary audience – who is likely to buy from you and likely to be loyal: what’s their age bracket, what’s their gender, where are they?

These days you’ve got to pay or you’re wasting your time. You’ll need to spend a little bit of money but not as much as you might think on social. Twenty dollars a week can go a long way. Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest offer far greater return on investment than Google these days.

So, just think “Everyone’s at the party and everyone’s dressed up but I’ve done my homework and I know who to talk to.”

4. Great photos

Photos of your wines, winery, vigneron, cellar door, chooks, happy visitors, kitchen garden and anything else that will inspire. These are the fuel that will help to drive your website and your social media. These days you can use a smartphone. Make sure its a nice day – there is no alternative to good lighting. Go for interesting angles. Hire a photographer for half a day if you have to.

5. Wine club

A wine club is easy to setup. You can do it online these days with any number of website plugins. A wine club develops loyalty and allows you to reach out to your audience for ideas and advice.

Most wine clubs have a requirement that members purchase a dozen wines twice a year.

6. Get TripAdvisor active

You’re a winery with a cellar door; you’re a tourist destination. Get your TripAdvisor listing and reviews humming. Second to Google, people use TripAdvisor for ideas, reviews and recommendations on things to do. This is the place you’re quite likely to be in contact with more international visitors coming to your region and looking for things to do and wine to taste and buy. These people will broaden your reach and quite possibly add their own review on TripAdvisor.

Go to TripAdvisor, claim your listing if you haven’t. In your cellar door have a big, friendly sign encouraging visitors to give a five-star review. On your website, encourage users to give a five-star review. Guide your existing audience to help build your credibility and reputation. Excellent free reviews from visitors are worth their weight in gold!

7. Encourage your visitors to follow you on social media

It’s important to be posting out paid, targeted material on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Youtube, Twitter, Messenger – you can do this without followers – but it’s also important to build up your audience. Followers give you credibility. It shows people value your content and your brand. Where ever and whenever possible, ask your visitors to follow you. Get some nice signs made up for your cellar door and make it easy for guests to follow. On your website add those social buttons and tell visitors to follow you for specials, updates, freebies, you name it. On your social posts encourage users to follow your other channels. Cross-pollinate. Don’t be ashamed or shy to ask.

Once your visitors are following you, they should get your posts and updates. In those updates you can ask your followers to share with their friends and so the ripple grows.

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