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Wine Magazines: Uncorking Potential

Dan Farrell-Wright, founder of award-winning online wine merchant Wickhams Wine reveals how its customer magazine, The Drop, has helped build awareness and engagement

How do you use the magazine to showcase your brand?

We’ve just won a Decanter World Wine Award. We knew the judges would want to see evidence of how we’re engaging with our customers and how we differentiate ourselves from the competition. They also wanted to see evidence of trying to improve our customers’ understanding of wine and trying to increase the average spend per bottle. A wine and food magazine is a key part of all these factors and adds credibility.

How has using content from The Drop fed your social media, email and blog posts?

Once the magazine features have been written, we re-use them on our website and for social and PR. We recently had opportunities for media coverage and promotional activity which we could secure by reacting quickly as we had lots of great information available in our content library. ‘Create once, use often ‘ is our motto.

“It’s worked really well, although it’s not just about creating content – it’s also about having a content plan. The process of thinking about what we’d like to write about in the magazine means we have the perfect plan in place for other communications.”

We want to promote different wines and occasions at specific times of the year and the editorial planning process means we have plenty of time to produce that content. This gives us the freedom to quickly and easily produce more content or hooks to engage journalists, media and other partners.

An example of The Drop, food and wine magazine

How do you measure your customers’ engagement with the magazine?

We see orders that are so similar to wines featured in the magazine that it would be an incredible coincidence if someone had chosen them by chance and hadn’t been influenced.

For instance, we ran a feature on only six of the 40 Italian wines we stock. When the magazine was sent out orders for those six wines started rolling in. Was that a coincidence or was it because we’d recommended them in the magazine? You’ve got to say it was the magazine that did it. When the magazine goes out we have an uplift in sales I’m confident about attributing higher sales to the magazine. In the latest issue, we’ve included QR codes so we can try and see a direct link. Hopefully, it’ll generate data so we can start to link sales to a specific page in the magazine.

“When the magazine goes out we have an uplift in sales and engagement.”

What are the challenges in producing a magazine for your customers?

The main challenge is in striking the balance between entertaining wine and food magazine features and technical product information that helps customers buy the wines. It’s a difficult line to tread as the content needs to be interesting enough to engage the reader but also have enough listings to showcase our products.

The editorial team at Salt Media and I talk frequently about striking that balance and making sure the wines featured sit comfortably within the average spend of the customer. It’s generally easier to tell the stories of expensive wines, so it would be all too easy to focus on pricier bottles and tell the wonderful tales of where they come from and how they are made. However, you also need to find that spark for the £6.50 wines.

Having good writers, designers, and editors makes this easier – we work well as a team.

What have you learned about your customers since producing The Drop?

We often receive emails from regular customers telling us how much they like the magazine and what they’ve ordered. I love seeing these little vignettes of our customers’ lives and how we play our part. Sometimes it’s easy to forget that communication is a two-way street.

Find out how Salt Media can help you with your magazine production.