Why Your Alcohol Brand Needs a Holistic Digital Marketing Strategy in 2023
- by Andi Whiskey
We've seen many wine & spirits brands trying to enter the e-commerce and tech world, and struggling to make their investment pay off.
Many are used to just dealing with distribution and sales to on premise locations and liquor stores, and for some, that was it.
Now the world of e-commerce has changed the game for wine and spirits. You can now sell directly (kind of) to your customers. That means it's now your brand's voice making the sale, not a sales person, distributor, or bartender.
Wine & Spirits brands are jumping into digital marketing to get their brand out there and see results from their e-commerce stores. And so many brands are struggling.
It's not good enough to just pick your marketing channel and dive deep, anymore. You can no longer just be a big brand on Instagram and call it good. You need to have a holistic approach to marketing, including marketing efforts that nurture your current customers, as well as new ones.
Look at your marketing strategy as a whole and pay attention to the user experience of any who enters your marketing/sales funnels.
How do they find you? Is it on social media first? Is that from an ad or have you worked hard for your organic to have good reach?
What is your marketing funnel? Another way to approach that is what is your customer’s journey?
Have you looked at the user experience of your customers in your marketing strategy yet?
The marketing strategy funnel we use for our clients looks like the following:
How do customers find the brand in the first place?
At Twist & Tailor, we recommend:
How do you convince customers to buy?
At Twist & Tailor, we recommend:
Optimized Landing Pages
Organic Social Media Management (ie. Community Management)
How do you let customers buy your products?
At Twist & Tailor, we recommend:
Optimized Checkout Processes
“Where to Buy” pages on web sites
Now how do you keep them coming back?
At Twist & Tailor, we recommend:
Social Media Community Management
We see a lot of wine & spirits brands just focus on organic social media (ie. posting to Instagram regularly) for their whole marketing strategy. They get frustrated when they don’t see sales going up, even though they’re throwing more and more time or money at organic social. And the brutal fact of the matter is organic social media is dying… Meaning it’s not the only option you can use for finding new customers.
You have to look at the whole customer journey to make sure you’re finding new customers (Awareness), teaching potential customers why they should buy (Consideration), helping them make the purchase (Conversion), and convincing them to buy again (Retention).
To figure out that funnel, you have to choose what marketing channels you want to use for each step of the customer journey.
Marketing Channels Your Wine & Spirits Brand Should Consider in 2023:
These are just a few channels that we feel get overlooked currently by some wine & spirits brands, and may be worth considering for 2023.
Email Marketing for Everyone
Everyone continues to sleep on email marketing. This is a must for every beverage brand’s marketing plan.
An email newsletter list is literally people who have trusted you with their personal information, asking for you to tell them more about your brand and products.
So do that.
Use email marketing to:
- Grow brand loyalty
- Convince potential customers to buy
- Educate everyone on your products
- Share your brand's story
With email, you're not shouting into the abyss of social media; you're talking one-on-one with people who trusted you enough to be there in your email newsletter list so treat it that way.
We cannot emphasize enough the importance of email marketing to our clients. It’s where you develop deeper relationships with your customers, adding to their lifetime value (LTV) and all with usually a very good ROI.
Our clients tend to see 3-10X ROI on their email campaigns. A single email sent out can bring in thousands of dollars with a good email list, so don’t wait to build that list out.
A quick note on building your newsletter list: we don’t recommend purchasing lists. You want to build and nurture your list on your own. The size of the list matters, but only somewhat. The health of the list is the most important factor.
That means you need to treat your list with respect, not spamming them or sending them emails that they aren’t interested in. Keep the emails helpful, informative, and nurturing to build up your relationship with your customers. This will keep the list, as a whole, healthy and active and profitable.
First steps to building your newsletter list are: put a signup form on your web site, and make sure you’re collecting emails from online purchases. These seem like no brainers, but many clients, when we first start with them, don’t have these simple things activated, meaning they’ve missed out on hundreds, maybe thousands of potential emails and customer relationships over time. Start now. Go make sure those are up, active, and working.
If you aren't sure where to start with email marketing, we can help. Let's talk through your email marketing strategy.
TikTok for Alcohol Brands
I know everyone over the age of 30 is groaning over this. I'm with you. It hurts.
You need to pay attention to it.
We've seen some beverage brands have some success with TikTok.
But be careful just throwing a bunch of money at it.
First, test the market a bit. See if your customers are there. Alcohol brands are seeing some success with TikTok, but find those brands and watch what they do. Then consider if their methods match your brand voice and style before emulating them.
TikTok isn’t for everyone. But it’s worth a look.
Pinterest for Alcohol Brands
Pinterest is often forgotten, but it's been a topic amongst social media marketers in recent years. There is a lot of value on this platform. It does depend on your brand, though.
- Is your wine or spirits product widely available?
- Is it something people aspire to have in their lives, or is your brand one that uses aspirational marketing?
- Does it make them feel inspired, or more classy, more wealthy, more creative, more cool by buying it?
If yes to those questions, Pinterest may be a good channel to consider.
Those points are important to consider because Pinterest is where people go to create mood boards for their lives. It's for people to wish, want, and dream. Does your brand fit into that?
If so, this might be a channel worth exploring in 2023.
You'll want to create posts that meet them where they are on the platform: planning out parties, or dreaming of having a classier looking bar, or mood boarding their new apartment style, etc. Think about why people use Pinterest, and meet them where they are.
Some ideas for Pinterest pins:
- Photos of your spirit in creative, trendy, or luxury lifestyle scenes
- Creative and unique cocktail builds with instructions on how to build the cocktail
- House party planning ideas that involve your brand
We can help with creating Pinterest Ads that help your brand stand out on there, if you're interested. Book a call with us and we'll talk through it with you.
Twitter for Wine & Spirits Brands
We're not leaving it off the table.
There are a lot of disgruntled users after Elon took over and made a mess of it, but it has more and more people looking at Twitter. We're not saying to go throw your advertising dollars at it right now. We're just saying to keep an eye on it.
It'll also be an indicator of what the potential new social media platform is that might take over Twitter's audience.
We still love Twitter for some brands, because it’s where you can go to have a real conversation with your customers and potential customers. Instagram often feels one-sided, just shouting (visually) into the abyss of selfies and food photos. Twitter, on the other hand, is more conversational.
We have a client, an alcohol-free craft beer, who does great on Twitter, even with a smaller follower list, because people are on Twitter discussing craft beer and NA beer options, and we’ve helped our client join those conversations.
If your brand is worth talking about (and it should be), Twitter may be a good channel to look into for the Awareness and Consideration stages of your marketing strategy.
Influencer Marketing for Wine & Spirits Brands
This may involve one or many channels, depending on your influencer marketing strategy and the influencers you work with. But influencers are still worth considering for your marketing.
We worked with a vodka brand that did exceptionally well with this. They worked completely trade-for-product, by sending out bottles of their brand new vodka to Instagram users ranging from 5,000-25+k followers. They specifically targeted bartenders and cocktail influencers on Instagram, and suddenly, all over the Instagram bartending world, everyone was using their vodka in cocktails. It was one of the quickest, and most effective brand launches we had seen in a while.
With influencer marketing, someone else has done the work to gather the crowd. Now you just need to ask for a chance to share the stage with them. You don't have to always grow your own following; sometimes you can use someone else's following.
Paid Social for Wine & Spirits Brands
Advertising on Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, and the like are proving to be valuable as spirits brands take to e-commerce to sell their products.
You have to pay-to-play these days. Trusting to just be able to post to your account, and that will get people to buy is just a bad plan and waste of time and money. Targeted ads are how you can utilize the algorithms to go out and find your potential customers and introduce them to you.
If you want to actively get ahead of the game, instead of just waiting to get discovered like an actor working as a barista at an LA coffeeshop, put the investment into solid ads.
This doesn't mean going and "boosting posts" on the platform you're active on. This is the quickest way to just flush money down the drain. You aren't able to control much with those ads, and you're able to test very little. Just trust me on this. Don't boost posts.
Create a Facebook Ads Manager (or Twitter, or TikTok) and take a moment to get familiar with the platform. Ask for help. These ads managers can be daunting.
You can try to have a go at it yourself, or reach out to us. We're happy to help you manage your social media ads.
But make sure you have a budget for ads and a solid ads strategy to help increase your brand awareness and get your brand in front of your customers.
2023 Is Your Year to Grow. Let's Make It Happen.
Don't just sit back and do what you've always done.
If you do that, you'll stay right where you are.
It's time to try something new, stretch your business, and grow.
If you want help with any of that, feel free to reach out. That's what we're here for!