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Scale your digital wine sales with these 5 tips

Scale your digital wine sales with these 5 tips

Ben Salisbury’s offers advice on how your winery can leverage marketing tech

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We welcome Ben Salisbury to the SPOTLIGHT blog. Ben is founder and president of Salisbury Creative Group, and he and his team specialize in helping small sales teams box above their weight by leveraging technology in their sales process—especially in the 3-tier channel. If you would like to learn more about this topic, you’ll want to check out Ben’s newest online course called Wine Sales Stimulator.

You’ll see how Ben’s perspective infuses wineries with constant forward looking momentum. His guidance is essential reading for a winery in 2021 and beyond. In fact, in one of our recent team calls, we discussed how influential and meaningful Ben’s content is to the wine industry. We are impressed and we are sure you will be too. Enjoy!

The DtC folks are way ahead of the 3-tier tribe when it comes to digital selling, but that need not be so. The pandemic has forced all of us to adapt the way we sell. Pulling samples and popping corks in front of on-premise and off-premise buyers used to be the primary way wine got sold in the 3-tier channel. But not anymore. To be honest, this is not a bad thing. One-to-one, in-person selling, after all, is just not scalable. Go ahead and take those face-to-face opportunities wherever you can get them. But, in the meantime, add these tools to your selling regimen.

1. Graduate to email software for personal selling

Everyone has software they use for day-to-day correspondence (Gmail, Outlook, etc.).  But this is no longer enough. We ALL need to level up our game and use tools like MailChimp or ConvertKit as well. These instruments allow you to communicate one-on-one to your trade buyers and distributor partners at scale.

You can leverage powerful features like segmentation, auto-responders, and nurture sequences as well as leverage landing pages for lead generation. Just having the ability to see who opened your emails and what they clicked on is reason enough to learn this stuff. Keep in mind each individual seller needs their own account. This is not something you leave up to your corporate office or marketing department. To try ConvertKit for free, click here.

open laptop showcasing a page from ConvertKit

2. Make a list of the top 25 accounts that deserve your focus

If the pandemic has taught sellers anything it is that we are extremely limited in terms of what we can do physically and in-person. It is time to become much more selective in the way we use our time and the best way to do that is to narrow the focus of our selling activity to ONLY the most attractive and responsive accounts.

Use tools like Yelp, Google, C-Vent, and Trip Advisor to research the most popular accounts in your territory. Hint: ignore subjective metrics like ratings and instead focus on objective metrics like number of reviews because these are indicators of heavy foot traffic and foot traffic correlates directly to volume potential. If one package store has been reviewed 300 times you can bet, they do WAY more wine and spirits sales than a store that has been reviewed only 25 times.

3. Roll out the red carpet to the trade on your website

Naturally, you will need to connect with the person who manages your website on this. But believe it or not, trade buyers and distributor personnel do visit your website regularly and they might even be willing to join your “trade only” email list while they are there. But you need to unhook the velvet rope for them and provide compelling reasons to so. If you do not currently have a trade-only email list, please remedy that immediately and use your new email software to do it (see #1 above).

effective popup example
Great example of what this looks like in action. It is triggered by someone visiting the trade section of the website.

4. Use the Facebook Audience Insights Tool to identify prime “trade audiences”

This tool is free to anyone and here is the link to access it. You need not be a Facebook ad expert to use this research tool to identify highly targeted “audiences” you can use to put your content (ads) in front of just the right audience.

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Once you have the tool open, go to the section called, “Interests” and just start trying out various things to see if they show up. For example, if you type “Wine-Searcher” into the search bar for “Interests” (go try it right now) you will see it come up as an audience you can use. This audience has 10,000 people in it. If you aim your Facebook and Instagram ads at this audience, you are likely to get in front of trade buyers because it is a very industry-specific topic/tool. Same goes for “Court of Master Sommeliers” and “Sommelier.”

If you sell craft spirits, you should be leveraging huge and powerful “niche” trade audiences such as “Bitchy Waiter” and “Tipsy Bartender.” These are some of the most enthusiastic trade audiences available!

open laptop with a Facebook dashboard

5. Create and launch your first “lead magnet”

This sounds way more complicated than it is but truly anyone can do this to find, attract, and retain industry trade buyers. The key is to create a piece of content (cheat sheet, guide, checklist, video, mini eBook, etc.) and offer it up for free in exchange for a trade buyer’s first name and email address.

All you need are three things: the lead magnet itself (PDF), a simple landing page (using your email software), and a highly targeted Facebook/Instagram “traffic ad” (see item #4 above) to drive traffic to the landing page. Practice makes perfect so get practicing!

Boot Hill distribution map in the US
Example of a successful lead magnet
You do not need any special skills to jump into using the five things above. There IS a learning curve but that is true for just about anything worth doing. We suggest you pick ONE and get started right away!

Want to hear more from Ben about selling wine digitally? Check out this free training Outshinery hosted with Ben back in December: How to become a digital wine sales pro. Get the replay. And don’t forget to check out Ben’s course, Wine Sales Stimulator, for a full deep dive into the topic – it’s chock full of gold!

Ben Salisbury

Ben Salisbury is the founder and president of Salisbury Creative Group. Ben and his team specialize in helping small sales teams’ box above their weight by leveraging technology in their sales process -especially in the 3-tier channel. Looking for even more resources on the topic of selling wine online? Look no further than this article: Why is it so difficult to sell wine online.

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