A Letter from Tammy

I’ve been thinking a lot about 2008. The year of the financial crisis when distributors suddenly stopped ordering wine. The year that wineries woke up to the importance of the direct to consumer channel.  It took a crisis for our industry to focus on direct to consumer and those wineries who embraced this have grown their businesses as a result.

Fast forward to 2020 and this moment in time. We’ve weathered fires, floods and now we’re facing a potential pandemic.  Regardless of the outcome of this virus, the damage to your business is already done and you can’t afford to wait for the next crisis to make some changes. What’s the learning from these crises? First, we can’t control mother nature, the press or even club attrition.  We can control our efforts and our focus.

Just as the financial crisis of 2008 changed the wine industry, smart wineries will see our New World reality as an opportunity to once again take their direct to consumer business to the next level. I’ve long thought that the next, biggest opportunity lies in marketing, or what I prefer to call communications.  Specifically, create ways to engage your customers, wine club members, visitors, anyone who has reached out to your winery.  Best practices?

  • Create your brand messages. Why do you exist and what makes you different? How will you creatively express your uniqueness in every customer touchpoint?
  • Personalize your messages. Studies show that we feel most engaged when we feel that we are truly seen and acknowledged. Example? Don’t send wine offers to an audience to whom you can’t legally ship!
  • Have one message and send it across all channels. Most businesses have a theme, a wine, an event, on which they want to focus and they change that message each month!
  • Make it easy!  Chat windows, one-click offers, easy online booking.
  • Ask your customers. That’s right! Survey them, talk to them when they are in your tasting room, chat with them online. Ask questions and then listen. And then implement.

I know you’re busy, you are juggling lots of balls, but customer engagement is not an option. Just as important as your wine club membership is…ongoing, consistent engagement with your audience is crucial.  Let us know if you have questions, or need help creating a communication plan for your different audiences.

Tammy Boatright

VingDirect Founder

Email lindsay@vingdirect.com or call 512.308.2908