When we think about increasing our tasting room sales, we often think about increasing the number of individuals coming through our winery doors. But does more traffic equal more sales? Surprisingly, more traffic can actually decrease sales – if we are not properly staffed and / or if they not the right kind of visitors. So how do we actually ensure qualified visitor traffic?
Visitor qualification is actually a process. It means earmarking those visitors with a propensity to buy, buy again, and become loyal ambassadors for the winery. It also earmarks visitors who will likely be interested in the types of wines you offer, consider the pricing reasonable for the quality of wines and enjoy the tasting room experience(s).
How do we know who we’re looking for?
The first step is to profile your “best customers” by understanding both their behavior and demographic information: Where did they hear about you (track this info and attach it to their customer records)? Where do they stay when they visit? What are other wineries they visit? Etc.
Once you’ve tagged who your best, qualified customers are, you’ll need to track where they are coming from. If you know where they are coming from you can create marketing programs around these referral sources that work best.
How can we track where guests heard about your winery/tasting room?
Track your referral sources. Look for (or create) a field asking “How did you hear about us?” and have it on your:
- Daily sheet with list of primary referrers & ‘other’
- Wine club enrollment form
- Mailing list enrollment form
- Order form
- POS – Ask at check-out and attach to customer record
Train your staff to track this information – it could be as easy as a making checkmark to indicate the source.
So, how can we drive qualified traffic?
Once you find your top referral sources (by tracking and seeing which sources send the most qualified customers), you’ll need to educate them as well as build and manage the relationships, especially for your top influencers.
Two of the most popular ways to drive qualified traffic include gatekeeper relations programs or online outreach programs (eg. web site, social media, email marketing…).
- Gatekeeper relations programs might include: thank you notes, pizza on Fri evening for front desk staff or limo drivers, VIP tastings for key referrers, unique offers for guests and/or tastings at hotels & B&Bs, trainings at local restaurants, offer a relaxing place for limo drivers, schedule regular ‘special events’ at the winery for the gatekeepers to sell, etc.
- Online Marketing (excluding advertising) might include:
- Your website: enticing description of the experience, wines, hours and location, tour & tasting options, pricing, destination reviews, reservation and/or request form; easy “Visit Us” access and contact information;
- Use Google Analytics to see where referrals are coming from.
- Email marketing: consumers & gatekeepers! – events, special offers available at tasting room with new releases, clear call to action, photos, location, map, phone, email address, etc; email marketing program for first-time buyers
- Social media: wine and travel blogs, Yelp!, TripAdvisor, photos on Flickr, videos on YouTube; rewards program for following; referral programs; etc.
Just remember, while it’s important to focus on attracting more ‘best customers’, you also need to understand the optimal volume of traffic for your space, staff and guest experience. By quantifying the volume of visitors to staff during the days with the revenue AND order conversions, average order, club conversions, data conversions – we can identify the optimal number of guests – and types of experiences – for the tasting room on one day.
To drive more qualified traffic, understand the “best” and use this knowledge to invite more just like them!