Hey, lucky you! You’re the winemaker and owner of a small, (dare we say, “Artisanal”?) winery! And guess what? You’re also the marketing department (hooray!). And while this might sound, to many outsiders, that you’re living the life, we know that there are just some mornings when you do not want to climb up onto that tractor.
During those busy months in the winery and vineyard — you know the months I’m talking about; January through November — marketing naturally takes a back seat, but at the same time, you know that marketing is what makes the money keep flowing in.
Here are 10 things you can do right now to make your marketing better and also easier for you. But notice that I didn’t say “10 Simple things …” ? Some of them are simple, while some take a little effort, but all of them will improve things for you year after year.
Create an entirely separate email account that is just for your winery
When a prospective customer emails you, they are thinking of you. The longer the delay between sending you an email and receiving a response, the less warmly that response will be received. To speed up your response time with potential buyers, create an email account that you only make available to your customers – meaning, don’t use it to enter all those exciting Free Cruise Giveaways, or to subscribe to random newsletters for taco recipes — THIS IS JUST CUSTOMERS.
Create an alert on your email account so you are notified when an email comes in related to business
Related to #1, create an alert on your phone that tells you when you receive an email in your winery mailbox so you can get back to them right away. If this doesn’t seem practical, then set up an auto responder that automatically replies with a message telling the sender that you’ll respond at the end of the day, and “in the meantime, why don’t you go and pick up some wild Alaskan salmon to grill – it goes just perfectly with the Pet Nat Rosé of Pinot that you’ll find on our website.”
Comparing the Costs of a Full-Time Employee
with those of hiring Specialized Contractors
Hiring Specialized Contractors
While independent contractors come at a higher hourly rate, the advantages they can provide in filling in the gaps in capabilities in your existing marketing team, while also letting you avoid paying the additional load of paying employment taxes and employee benefits, can be very significant.
* “Employment Taxes” includes: Social Security Tax, 6.2%1, Medicare Tax,1.45%1, FUTA (Federal Unemployment Tax Act), 0.6%2, SUI (State Unemployment Insurance), 3.4%3, SDI (State Disability Insurance), 1.0%3, ETT (Employee Training Tax), 0.1%, and Workers’ Compensation Insurance, 3.0%
1 Social Security Fact Sheet. https://www.ssa.gov/news/press/factsheets/colafacts2020.pdf
2 Employment Taxes. https://www.irs.gov/businesses/small-businesses-self-employed/employment-taxes
3 California 2020 unemployment, disability and employment training tax rates and limits. https://taxnews.ey.com/news/2019-2001-california-2020-unemployment-disability-and-employment-training-tax-rates-and-limits