Arts Focused Wine Brands
Quail’s Gate Winery and Tofanelli Family Wines used social media platforms to increase their direct to consumer (DTC) sales. Two best practices for growing a DTC wine brand on social media are storytelling and using Facebook ads for ad campaigns and retargeting.
Case Study #1- Tasting Success: Quail’s Gate Winery Pairs with CREW Marketing
- Quail’s Gate Winery, a Canadian family-owned company, wanted to elevate its brand, align key assets and improve their social media presence to remain competitive with DTC sales since consumers have many options to purchase wine.
- The company worked with CREW Marketing to develop a new tagline, #PairTheMoment which highlighted the brand’s position and served as part of its social media campaign. The ad campaigns involved the use of video and photography, highlighting the new tagline and the “pairing [of] local business products with Quails' Gate wine”.
- CREW marketing also designed an improved eCommerce website to include “pairing local business products with Quails' Gate wine”.
- The brand generated more online activity through its multi-channel promotional campaign. This was a combination of “social media platforms, video campaigns, and digital ads” and lead to an increased audience on Facebook and Instagram.
- The marketing strategy lead to an impressive 76% increase in Facebook audience year-on-year (y-o-y), an increase in the number of new website visitors by 18% y-o-y, and an increase of 22% in website traffic. Other areas of success included “an increase in year-over-year sales, consumer basket size, [and] e-commerce sales”.
Case Study #2: Tofanelli Case Study — Social Media
- Tofanelli Family Wines wanted to use their social media accounts to drive DTC sales via new sales conversions, although they already had a “consistently high organic engagement”.
- WineGlass Marketing worked with Tofanelli to leverage its previous Facebook ad campaigns’ success to build awareness for the brand and improve its sales.
- The marketing strategy involved the use of four consecutive creative ads about Tofanelli’s brand/vintage story written by the owner, Vince Tofanelli.
- The campaign ran for a month with the social media ads leading to full content in the brand’s blog. Each ad ran for one week and was recreated “as an organic post”.
- An offer was made on the wine in the fourth ad and also in an email that was sent simultaneously, to a specific target audience that included “newsletter subscribers, the people who “liked” their FB page, look-a-like audiences, and individuals who met certain requirements based on their interests, locations, and demographics”.
- This marketing strategy was done twice, with a two-month break between and resulted in social media accounting for 33% of Tofanelli’s DTC sales over 8 months, over 100% increase in web traffic, a decreased bounce rate, and a 23.17% engagement in news feed reposting.
- Over 15 months, social media ads coupled with the email campaign “contributed to the highest net revenue” for the brand.
Best Practices for Growing a Direct-to-Consumer Wine Brand on Social Media
BP#1: Use Social Media Platforms to Tell Stories about the Wine Brand
- Social media can be used for digital conversations with customers and consumers, which could strengthen relationships and grow brand loyalty; using interactive web-based applications could also help.
- Founder of Virtual Vines DTC Sales & Marketing Services, Laura Larson, believes this can be achieved if wine brands start “creating an inspirational or lifestyle based brand story”.
- What makes this practice rewarding is that, 63% of U.S. wineries use social media for online marketing and the wineries that use high-frequency social media marketing saw their DTC sales increase “80% faster than average” in 2019.
- And just below 20% of U.S. wineries had excellent results using social media to DTC.
- A Market My Liquor report recommends sharing the “[brand’s] story, its history, the wine making process, recipes and even behind the scenes, events etc. through blogs and videos …on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and YouTube". The report showed the example of Jordan winery’s story in the form of a parody of a popular music video, ‘Despacito Embotellado’.
- The result of Jordan’s story was that it helped to “[break] down the barrier between the brand and [consumers]” by humanizing the brand.
- Sam Schmitt, former director of consumer direct sales at Adelsheim Vineyard believes that wine brands should prepare authentic stories and have multiple story lines to use with customers to be prepared if one doesn’t resonate with them well.
- He recommends storytelling for DTC wine brands based on experience where Adelsheim Vineyard saw a 60% increase in tasting room sales and a revenue increase by 100% following the introduction of storytelling in the sales process.
- According to Regulatory Counsel at Sovos ShipCompliant, Alex Koral, social media can be used to share behind-the-scenes stories for DTC wine brands on platforms such as Instagram to “virtually extend the tasting room experience to drive demand for both online shipments and in-person visits” which would lead to increased brand awareness and engagement of customers and website visitors.
BP#2: Use Facebook Ads for Ad Campaigns and Retargeting
- According to Ving Direct, the number of monthly active users of the Facebook social media platform in 2018 was 2.23 billion, with 210 million of them in the U.S. They stated that Facebook ads were inexpensive and there are benefits to be gained from ad campaigns with the appropriate “key performance metrics and web analytics” for the DTC wine brand.
- Market My Liquor recommends using paid ads on Facebook to get instant results and increase DTC wine brands’ profitability. This can be done by targeting customers by their “demographics, interests and location, even a particular zip-code and achieve branding and a healthy ROI”.
- It also showed the example of Winc wine brand’s use of the Facebook platform for retargeting ads and its use of “catchy visuals, potent value proposition and call to action”.
- Other experts such as “Sandra Hess, founder of DTC Wine Workshops” thinks that time sensitive offers on Facebook and YouTube can be beneficial to DTC wine brands and may help to convert website visitors to loyal customers. An example of a campaign that could be used is a “2 for 1 VIP tasting code” which could lead to customer conversion.
- “Susan DeMatei of WineGlass Marketing” suggests that wine brands (small ones included) should leverage Google Analytics and MailChimp for targeted social media campaigns, for good results.
- Facebook’s Ads Manager is another tool that can be used. It makes it easy for brands to run ad campaigns on other social media platforms, useful in reaching a wider audience. To use it successfully, DTC wine brands should define their objective and their audience, define their position, and set up the ad campaign. Pixel can be installed to track results instantaneously.
- Wine brands like Kendall-Jackson are taking advantage of Facebook’s Pixel for retargeting. The Director of Digital Marketing at Jackson Family Wines, Mark Gordon, stated with the help of “Facebook’s attribution modeling tools” and Google Analytics, the company can now pay close attention to their DTC site and see a successful return on investment (ROI) which it couldn’t accomplish before.
- Kendall-Jackson now tracks customer conversions. They earn 20% of their revenue from “organic search and social posts” and “[10%] from paid social posts”.
Case studies specific to wine brands that have increased direct to consumer sales using social media are limited. We determined that the cases of Quails’ Gate and Tofanelli fit the research criteria, although not stated in each case study, they both leveraged social media to increase their sales and they both offer direct-to-customer wine products. We made the assumption that this also meant an increase in DTC sales.
The best practices provided for growing direct to consumer wine brand on social media was repeated multiple times across industry-specific publications and were more frequently discussed by industry experts.