If you are a winery, move on, this doesn’t concern you. You guys are doing great – Google knows where you are and as long as the local winery directories (Example: local vintner association) and Yelp list you on their site, online users will find you. Who should read this? Wine e-commerce retailers and wine industry B2B (business services) businesses should. Let me make something clear, Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is no longer a thing. SEOmoz.org - the leading source for education for the internet marketing industry is no longer called SEOmoz but just “moz.org” . There is a reason for that – online business growth isn’t about tips and tricks to get listed for page rank (appearance on the first few listings in online search results for a specific keyword) anymore. Not that search engines are not important, but now most websites can’t even get ranked on them unless their internet marketing strategy involves superior engagement from online users – and this doesn’t happen from tricks. Trix are for kids, man.
Engagement is Key
- Bounce rates (percentage of users who only visit one page and leave)
- Time spent on webpage
- Social media fan comments and shares
- Inbound links (links on other websites to your website) from other wine industry websites with high engagement themselves
- Blog comments
Still make sure each page on your website is optimized for keywords, that is the easy part. But the wine e-commerce industry and wine B2B is competitive and keyword optimization is not enough, that is just scratching the surface.
“Content is King” is the saying in online marketing. But not just any content, good relevant content that appeals to your specific audience. A good example of superior blog content is Gary Vanyerchuks’ tv.winelibrary.com. If you’re B2B in the wine industry, look to none other than Rob McMillan’s blog. These guys know how to create loyalty and trust with great content. That in turn leads to what they are really after – not just page rank - though that comes naturally with great content – but actual sales of wine for Gary V and leads for winery and vineyard business loans for Rob. Another great B2B example is www.winelawonreserve.com, a wine law attorney’s website; Lindsey Zahn knows her stuff.
Gotta Have Niche in Wine Business Marketing
It is a really smart time to get into retail wine e-commerce. If you can identify a niche – like a specific varietal, region or style (biodynamic, natural, etc. ) you can really make a place for yourself online. I see huge opportunity, not in the general wine e-commerce websites like wine.com, but very specific online wine retail sites. If you haven’t checked it out, there are some really great online fine wine auction sites that are an interesting subset of the wine e-commerce business model.
If you don’t have the option to niche your online brand, blogging is even more important. If you are a new general wine e-commerce site, in the beginning of your online marketing, you will need to create traffic to your website in some other way than search engines. This is where it becomes even more important to work on generating traffic to your website from social media and other referring sites. Wine bloggers love great content and with proper outreach they will link to your site referencing your blog post articles. Besides inbound links, creating great content on your blog will build your own huge following on social media – like Gary V.
For all those wine barrel, bottling and label design companies, you need to rely on the big guys like Wine Business Monthly, The Drink Business and Wine Industry Insight to share your blog posts. Not only are they sharing your content and generating traffic to your website, but they are endorsing you. That goes a long way.
It is easier said than done. I know. But whoever is writing your blog posts needs to know your customers. They need to know the questions and concerns that your clients and customers are asking about. And it needs to have personality, I love the Wine Curmudgeon. He tells it like it is – is it no wonder he has such a huge following? This doesn’t come easy for him, nor do I suspect it does for Gary V. Producing great content is not a natural art, but takes years in the journalism biz like it did for the Wine Curmudgeon and I suspect that Rob McMillan has a love for storytelling that runs parallel his love for wine finance.
Boring Content Won’t Work
Those of you who are outsourcing your blog content for $30/article, I know who you are. I can see it in the writing. It has no personality, follows all the SEO rules with proper keywords, images and links; but is it really working for you? Did your sales increase? Did your leads increase? My husband and I were talking about buying quality products for our home last night. Josh said that he actually felt like he has lost money on the stuff we have purchased from Ikea. It fit our need at that time with our budget, but none of it lasted and has or will be replaced. Now we shop at Restoration Hardware and meticulously research online reviews on all the products we buy. Unfortunately for us, the lifetime value of that Ikea dining table was more expensive than the Restoration Hardware table that we bought to replace it. I know, the cheap furniture is so appealing! But does it really meet your needs or does it appear to? The same goes for anyone promising increased sales with blog posts outsourced for $30/per 600 words. You can test it for yourself, but if it doesn’t achieve your goals, don’t eat your dinner on the floor, just spend some real money on a quality table where you can enjoy a lifetime of wine and food.