Time to take a look at your Digital Marketing

No small matter. Judith Lewis of DeCabbit a SEO, PPC, Social Media and Digital Marketing Training & Consultancy tells us about Digital Marketing in the wine and culinary tourism industry. Her experience and know-how will help you take a look at the way you market your winery tour services and get you motivated to battle through the Pandemic Covid-19.

Your upcoming talk at IWINETC 2020 is titled: Website Optimisation and Digital Marketing for Dummies in the Wine Tourism Industry. How would you define dummy?

The ‘dummies’ name is more in the style of the books ‘XYZ for Dummies’ as a way of expressing a value-based simplification of a difficult specialism. By focusing in on communicating only the really important bits, rather than everything, it enables businesses to focus in on the most important elements which have a real business impact. There is, of course, a lot that goes in to assessing and optimising, a website but there are some more straightforward fundamentals that, if you get them right, can have a really big impact on ranking and visibility.

You have talked in the past about leveraging Facebook, Twitter and Instagram for wine tourism. Can you update us on any new trends which may be of use for wine and culinary tourism professionals?

Facebook remains the place that everyone seems to reside but they have improved their platform with additional targeting. Email marketing is not only the best medium for sales but using email lists of your best customers can help you design lookalike audiences on Facebook to ensure your marketing budget is spent on targeting people most likely to want your services or product but who don’t already know your brand. Twitter can still be used with scheduling in place as I have spoken about previously. Linking Instagram, Twitter and Facebook is still straightforward using either the native app or IFTTT (If This Then That) so there are easy free efficiencies there or for a paid solution there’s Hootsuite, Sendible or others. Don’t try and leverage Snapchat for organic reach unless you have the time to invest but you can use paid advertising there now unlike TikTok.  This deck does not cover Tictik or the new Snapchat advertising but attendees of my 2018 session on “Getting Seriously Social” may remember this deck: https://www.iwinetc.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/04/1.4-Ballroom-IWINETC-Getting-Seriously-Social.pdf

Would you say Google Travel is having or will have any impact on wine tourism businesses worldwide?

I don’t think Google Travel is as big a threat to tourism as it is to travel. While Google has created a multitude of destination guides, wine tourism is in the enviable position is including guides with specialist knowledge, access to cellars that are inaccessible by the general public arranging their own journey, and expertise to visit the most relevant wineries for the region – not just those with the biggest marketing budget. Google did purchase a PSS solution (ITA software) and has had a comparison engine guilt in to the search results which outranks the brand itself, and has for some time. This is a serious threat to airlines and travel companies as this usually results in Google being paid a fee on the successful completion of a purchase even when the search was for the brand and the searcher had intended to purchase directly from the brand. That is a huge issue but thankfully wine tourism for the moment while there are specialists with a passion for communicating the story of their local wineries and wines, it will be less impacted by Google’s destination guides than other types of tourism businesses.

How can players in the wine tourism industry make their webs sites more visible to customers?

They need to follow the steps to properly optimise a website which are: research the topic; group the keywords into topic groups (small groups of keywords clustered around a tight set of keywords, not too diverse); decide which page related to which topic (if more than one, split the content up); write naturally; optimise the title tag for keywords but also make it attractive for people (ranking factor); optimise the mete description (not for ranking but for clicks); make sure you include the target keywords once on the page but otherwise write naturally; ensure internal links point to the page; write naturally (did I mention you should write naturally?).

For example, I just looked at a website that had duplicated title tags trying to rank for a single keyword across multiple pages. Not only did this not work, the title tag (the short title that Google uses in the search results, often taken from the headline of the page by Wordpress but this is editable using a plug-in like Yoast) was replaced by Google because it was so useless. This teaches us that each page should be targeted at one topic only, title tags should reflect the unique, single topic using our keywords, and the meta description should be compelling, making people want to click. It is important to utilise proper optimisation in order to make our websites visible.

For more tips, IWINETC attendees from 2016 will remember I did an epic masterclass on this. The slides for that masterclass are here: https://www.iwinetc.com/iwinetcspeakers/judith-decabbit-lewis/

We are starting to hear about online tours where the customer is sent wines or tapas, video links to guides and written and visual documentation to their homes. Do you think this will be the future for wine and culinary tourism after the coronavirus lockdowns? That being the case, how should web sites change so they stay relevant and in business tomorrow?

I love the new subscription boxes I see with wine or gin plus snacks that are coming out which enable people to discover the wines and foods of a region each month or two or whatever. I think that this approach is fantastic as an additional offering to core wine tours, enabling people who may not be able to travel for whatever reason (time, fear, budget) to still virtually tour different wine regions, experiencing the difference terroir makes to not only wine but also the other products grown nearby.

As to the optimisation, because this is so new, there isn’t quite the search demand but it could easily become something should the restrictions on travel not ease substantially. As to selling, I think it is the kind pf product that could be added as a virtual wine tour, where different packages are offered to people for different wineries or regions where they get the package of wine and tapas or food of the region and a recorded guided tour of the cellar, winery, and the different farms involved. Given these could be recorded solo with a selfie stick and mic, or with two people from the same household, it could be recorded now with proper social distancing. This is then referenced using a QR code or similar link that is password protected so it isn’t just accessible to everyone and the content held that way. By relating the virtual tour to the in-person tours, within the same suite of packages, you can cross-sell to people who were looking for the tours. The key thing would be getting creative with Facebook advertising through targeting those lookalike audiences and advertising the new virtual tasting tours to that group and selling through that way. Sadly the SEO side of things might not work as quickly but if the packaging is sorted with the alcohol shipping regulation issues ironed out, it could work very well.

Meet Judith at IWINETC 2020 where she will be delving deeper in the topic of Website Optimisation and Digital Marketing for Dummies in the Wine Tourism Industry