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A Bottle of Red or White?

Any entrepreneur will agree that passion is an essential ingredient for success. Winemakers are particularly passionate about the art of making wine.  The process of marketing and selling the product can be just as laborious. Fortunately for vintners, the 21st century has given them powerful tools to reach customers effectively.

Technology coupled with the Internet continues to redefine the entrepreneurial business model. The logistical challenges for growing a business through branding and marketing have been drastically mitigated by the social media revolution. The digital age has brought unlimited access to informational resources, fully open lines of communication, and a culture of user democracy where customers become vocal brand advocates.

Entrepreneurs like Gary Vaynerchuk, a bestselling author and entrepreneur who transformed a family owned wine shop into a national industry leader by harnessing the power of the internet, understand this message of opportunity. Take advertising as an example. His small shop purchased a billboard in a high visibility area for 2 months, costing $9,000. On the billboard was a coupon code, that when seen by thousands of people, generated 250 new orders. Using social media, he offered the coupon code through his twitter account, and leveraged an expansive network of followers, generating 1700 orders in 2 weeks. The cost of social media = $0. The advantages are glaring.

The wine market in the US is becoming a crowded market, with thousands of bottle options lining store shelves across the country. With sales continually on the rise, there is too large a potential windfall to risk ignoring the power of new media. Successful winemakers and merchants are reaching their customer bases through their online networks, building brand affinity and driving increased brand loyalty and sales. Without effective digital solutions, it’s a struggle to keep up with the curve.

Many would-be entrepreneurs are unsure or even afraid of using the internet, but it is unwise to think that traditional marketing methods can create the same opportunities as digital tactics. There is a lot to learn, but a little effort and some adaptation can mean a huge payoff for winemakers.

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