By Ben Salisbury, Salisbury Creative
I write and speak a lot about the need for a newer, more modern “playbook” for wine and spirits producers. Things have changed a lot in the last few years and the route to market for wine and spirits Makers is tougher than ever. What used to work no longer works and Makers need to keep up with the times. This is especially true for small Makers. It’s time to take responsibility for your own success.
The good news is, the “modern playbook” is chock full of DIY strategies that can help any brand. One of the best and most powerful strategies is the use of Facebook Lead Ads. This is a special kind of advertising by which trade buyers (and consumers) “opt in” by giving up their name and email address. You can then use email marketing software (i.e. MailChimp or Constant Contact) to “nurture” those leads. It typically takes multiple “touches” before someone will buy. This works beautifully for both trade and consumers and is a particularly attractive approach to selling more wares.
Here are a few tips to make Facebook Lead Ads work for your brand:
- Know your target audience and how to reach them. Generating Facebook Lead Ads is all about getting the right messaging (see point #2) in front of the right audience. Aiming your ads at the right audience is key. The good news? Facebook makes this quite easy! For example, by targeting FB users by job title (Bartender), Interests (Sommelier, Restaurant Management), and Field of Study (Hotel and Restaurant Management), you can make sure your ads are seen by trade buyers.
Another hack for small production liquor businesses is to take lists of trade contacts that you already own, upload them to your Facebook ad account, then save them as a Customer Audience. You can then create a Lookalike Audience from that list. Do this for lists as small as 25-30 contacts! Then aim your ads at these Lookalike Audiences. Lastly, create a Customer Audience that includes all your website visitors for the last 30 days. This is your “warmest” audience!
2. Dial in the messaging. It’s important that Facebook Lead Ads strike a chord that is relevant to the target audience – especially addressing desires, needs, and pain points. For example, there are small, independent restaurants and package stores that would LOVE to support small craft Makers. Why? They can make better profit margins on not-so-well-known brands (as opposed to major national brands). They can also surprise and delight THEIR customers with wines & spirits considered to be new “discoveries.” Finally, small businesses love to support other small businesses. So, tailor your messaging accordingly!
3. It’s not about your product so much as it’s about our story. This is tricky but essential. People are not going to buy your wine or spirit because of inherent “attributes.” They’re going to buy it because of your story, your authenticity, and your reason for being. So, restrain yourself from talking about your product and get really good at telling your story. THAT’s what engages people on the Facebook platform and causes them to “opt in.”
4. Follow up and do it correctly! I can’t stress this enough. Selling craft wine and spirits these days is very much a one-to-one relationship. Treat new “leads” accordingly. I highly suggest setting up an automated “welcome email” that fires off automatically. Hint: you can “integrate” your Facebook Lead Form with your email software provider so this will all happen automatically. After that, nothing beats a personal email from you – the Maker. Once they are emailed put the contacts into your monthly “drip campaign.”
Note that there is a learning curve to all of this. But it is SO WORTH IT! Don’t hesitate to reach out to LibDib’s Maker Support team to point you to more resources. As you scale your operations and find more success, you may consider upgrading your liquor and wine distribution to an online platform like LibDib for more fluid growth.
In the meantime, access more education and trainings on Facebook Lead Ads. You can access one of these online courses. All LibDib Makers can get 50% off by using the code LIBDIB (all caps) at checkout. The code is good for any course on the platform!