Mini-Guide to Online Marketing for Wineries
When you are lucky enough to work in an environment that meshes technology and wine, and have had the good fortune of being handed a modicum of wine knowledge, you find yourself being asked a lot of questions about wine by tech-savvy folks. What’s “bret”? “Wait a minute, there’s Pinot Noir in Champagne!?” For whatever reason, wine has a tendency to intimidate, so sharing wine factoids is cool and helpful. Likewise, technology language, geek-speak, can sound foreign to wine folks. To further evangelize Inertia’s creed, I thought I should share with our winery friends some of the basic terminology of online marketing.
SEO: Search Engine Optimization
This is the dark art of getting your website to return higher rankings on search engines (Google, Yahoo, MSN…) for searches on keywords that are directly related to your website/business. These are the free, ‘organic’ results on the left of a Google page. There is no silver bullet for this, experts can help, but ultimately it is a reflection of how relevant the WorldWideWeb thinks your website is for the searched subject. When you type ‘Napa’ on Google, you will see that the Valley is second to auto parts… sorry folks.
SEM: Search Engine Marketing
This is how Google makes billions of dollars in exchange for providing us with an indispensable free service. When you type in search terms in any search engine, somebody pays to have a relevant ad displayed next to the ‘organic’ search results. These are the sponsored links on the right and top of a Google page. When you type in ‘Napa Valley Cab’ on Google, you’ll see that KLWine and Napa’s finest taxi and limo service paid good money to be displayed. It is an awesome money-making service Google provides called ‘AdWords’ that allows advertisers to bid money on search terms and have their ad shown in relevance to what they paid and how relevant their site is.
CPM: Cost Per Mille
aka CPI: Cost Per Impression or CPT: Cost Per Thousand
By web standards, this is the granddaddy of advertising business models. This is online advertising that works just like ads do on TV or in print. You pay for how many times your ad is shown. Say you want to run an ad on a particular page of an online publication and that the CPM for that page is $6. If that page is viewed 5,000 times, you will pay $30. Sounds great for publishers, but it offers no guarantee to the advertisers that the ad is driving traffic or sales. This is good for brand building, getting mind share. General Motors doesn’t expect you to buy a car online or visit its websites, it just doesn’t want you to forget it makes cool cars.
PPC: Pay Per Click
aka CPC: Cost Per Click
This is a method of advertising where the publisher of an ad, text or visual, gets paid every time that ad gets clicked on. If you run an ad for your winery on a blog with a CPC of $0.05 and the ad gets clicked on 100 times, you paid $5 for 100 hits on your website. However, this does not mean 100 new visitors to your site or 100 new sales.
This is the business model that dominates the online world today. It makes the publishers sell ad spaces relevant to its own traffic (otherwise, no clicks, no money) and it gives advertisers a return on what they spend (one click is one potential conversion/sale).
CPA: Cost Per Action or Cost Per Acquisition
This is an advertising model where the advertiser pays only if an action takes place. The advertiser defines what matters to him: a survey being completed or a bottle of wine being sold. He also defines how much he is ready to pay for that action. That cost can be a fixed sum like paying a website $5 for a newsletter sign-up. The CPA can also be a set commission on the sale of a bottle of wine, “a piece of the action”, whereby you give X% of that order amount to the referring website.
For an advertiser this is the ideal form of advertising, you pay exactly for what you wanted and only that.
This is the name for the industry built around the CPA model. To reconcile demanding advertisers with a multitude of heterogeneously targeted publishers struggling for ad dollars, third parties (LinkShare, Commission Junction…) or large retailers (Amazon) have organized affiliate networks, grouping publishers, to sell advertisers or merchants a relevant space to push their products or services. Instead of going to each individual publisher and figuring out if they are right for you, you trust an affiliate marketer who selects the publishers for you and you pay only for what you get in return.
SMO: Social Media Optimization
This is a fairly new concept that arose with Web 2.0 and its bevy of social networks. Rohit Bhargava coined the term and gives 5 rules for conducting SMO. It is another dark art way of generating more traffic/sales/exposure by using social media, online communities and community websites. Using RSS feeds, “Digg this” buttons, Youtube, Facebook pages, etc… are among the many ways to practice SMO.
For wine, SMO would be a way of getting your winery’s website and your wines listed on as many wine blogs and wine social networks and wine-related websites as possible. These include Snooth, Cork’d, TasteVine, Winelog, Calwineries, Openbottles, Vinorati, Bottlenotes, BoutiqueWineCellar, etc…
As you can imagine, which business model is chosen largely depends on the bargaining strength of the publisher and the advertisers, as well as the type of products or services that is being promoted. When it comes to selling more wine online, directly from the winery to the consumer, leveraging wine social network into an affiliate-type network is a very compelling argument. SMO is a concept Inertia strongly believes in. We will soon be putting it into action with the firm intent of driving new traffic and sales to our winery clients. Stay tuned.
Hopefully, this little introduction will make online marketing seem less esoteric. If you have any questions, feel free to drop me a line in the comments section or email me at email@example.com