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Why your business' 10-year-old digital marketing strategy will feel sluggish in 2020

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Digital Marketing

Shana Bull is a Santa Rosa-based marketing educator and digital storyteller, working with wine, food, hospitality businesses, teaching classes on marketing, and freelance writing. Reach her with your questions about digital marketing at shana@shanabull.com, @sharayray on Instagram or at shanabull.com.

Read past columns at nbbj.news/digitalmarketing.

It’s the beginning of the new year and a new decade, which means it is time to start thinking about taking the next step for your business—especially when it comes to digital marketing. What got you through the last ten years is not going to get you the same results as it once did.

When social media became a viable marketing tool 12+ years ago, early adopters were excited to connect with their audiences and push out content, directing people to their websites. As more and more people started using the platforms, a significant emphasis grew on quality imagery, videos, and paid ads.

But digital marketing isn’t just about creating ongoing content to share on social networks (though, that is a big part), and sometimes, sharing without a plan is just wasting your time. Look into the future of digital marketing — it is officially time for digital marketing to stop being an afterthought and start being at the forefront of any hospitality business plan.

In the spirit of new beginnings, here are a few trends I would like to see from North Bay businesses in 2020:

Hire someone to focus on digital marketing and communications, and let your wine club managers, tasting room or front desk staff, and servers concentrate on their specific jobs. Even if you have less than 1,000 cases, you can still outsource or hire someone part-time, so social media doesn’t get swept aside.

Change your mindset that social media won’t work for your brand because you are too small or your product is too niche. This is the beauty of social: there is a community for everyone! If you have the mindset that social media is a Young Person’s game, or that it’s just about posting selfies in the vineyards, you’re talking to the wrong people. Social media marketing has come a long way since 2008. It is one of the only marketing channels in which you can get data and see results (if you’re willing to put money into it).

Craft targeted digital ads for specific audiences. If you have a wine club, you can upload your email list of the 100 biggest purchasers in your wine club and create a Facebook target audience. You can target them with ads on Facebook and Instagram with new product launches, wine club member events, and behind-the-scenes content that you already know they get excited about.

Focus on brand ambassadors rather than influencers. Your regular customers are most often your biggest ambassadors online and offline. While they may not share every detail of their lives online, you can still encourage them to share and connect with your brand. Customers want to interact with businesses they feel proud to support.

Know where your brand stands on Google and test ways to change that. If you search for your top-selling wine and your wine region, do you come up? Make it a goal to add brand keywords to your blog posts and on your website. Better yet, outsource an SEO expert to help your site.

Find someone at your business to be in front of the camera. Video only grows in popularity every single year, so if you’re not focusing on it, you are missing out on telling your story with a personalized touch. Lucky Rock Wine Co. shared a video of cofounder Jesse Inman standing in a vineyard throwing a bottle of wine, and then cut to a partygoer catching it. This video tells audiences that this wine was made for social events. It is an excellent way to tell the story of the consumer and to make you want to grab a bottle for your next party.

Prioritize your budget. Business owners may spend thousands on landscaping for their tasting room or hotel, or chairs for their restaurant, but then spend pennies on actually marketing their brand.

Make sure your website and review sites are updated. Update your business information, menu, imagery, media page, and ensure that your website is user-friendly.

Remember that review sites are often the first thing many (potential) customers see when they search for your brand online. Keep these sites updated with your latest information, and answer questions from customers on these platforms.

Have fun, and take some time to get inspired with creative ways of looking at social media marketing for the new year!

Spend a few hours brainstorming with your team and come up with a plan for how you can market your brand in 2020! Spending a little bit of time upfront can save you time in the long run, and you will be a better marketer for it.

Digital Marketing

Shana Bull is a Santa Rosa-based marketing educator and digital storyteller, working with wine, food, hospitality businesses, teaching classes on marketing, and freelance writing. Reach her with your questions about digital marketing at shana@shanabull.com, @sharayray on Instagram or at shanabull.com.

Read past columns at nbbj.news/digitalmarketing.

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