31 Jan 2012
Pinterest is now one of the top five drivers of referral traffic to brand / product web sites. What is all the Pinterest craze? How can proper use of Pinterest drive traffic to your web site? In short, Pinterest is a highly addictive visual sharing tool where users ‘pin’ items they like onto virtual boards. Think of it as a virtual vision board or even a visual version of your ‘favorites’ folder. The social side to Pinterest is users who follow you or your boards can share (repin) your items onto their boards, creating a viral aspect to the things you like. The kitchen counter top you pinned from Home Depot to your “kitchen remodel” board may inspire another kitchen remodel 3,000 miles away from you.
How is Pinterest Driving Traffic?
An image is either uploaded by a user or pinned from a web site. Those images attached to a web site will always be connected to that domain name. As users click the image to see a larger size or more information about your kitchen counter top they are taken to the web site in which it was pinned from. Boom, traffic to Home Depot!
I started noticing a trend in November with more traffic to my “7 Creative Uses to Recycle Wine Bottles” post. The majority of the referral traffic was coming from Pinterest. I made a mental note and started to watch traffic more closely to other visual and viral images. In looking at the last 30 days of referral traffic to my web site, Pinterest outnumbers Facebook 3 to 1. The 800 million user network was losing the referral game in my world.
Best Practices for Businesses
Rule #1 – Avoid “SELLING” – Pinterest is not about selling, it is about sharing. Let your product images speak for themselves. Users will virally share your product and the referral traffic will lead them to your site. From there, you need a good rule #2.
Rule #2 - Develop a conversion strategy. What are you going to do with that traffic once it is on your site. Do you make it easy for users to buy your product, download your recipe, opt in to your mailing list? If done right, you can convert the eyeballs to dollars.
Rule #3 – Organize your Pinterest boards. Be thoughtful about how you organize your Pinterest boards. Make it easy for a user to understand what you’re about and how your products relate to each other. Whole Foods has a great Pinterest board that is engaging, fun and educational. A local company, Apple Brides wedding event planners, does a great job of showing users how to plan a wedding. I also like to see brands create a few boards that have nothing to do with their product. If appropriate for your business add boards like “Books I like,” or “Things that Inspire Me.”
Pinterest is still in BETA and will naturally evolve over 2012. It’s easy and it’s fun, but be warned it is highly addictive. Give it a try for your business or brand and watch the referral traffic to your site grow.
Below is an infographic from Mashable.com explaining more.
ONE UPCOMING CLASSES ON PINTEREST $19.99
4/19 @nectarMEDIA 120 N Stevens http://nectarmedia.eventbrite.com
18 Jan 2012
Prepare your palate for culinary pleasure. Nectar is pleased to announce the visit of the popular and acclaimed chef Frank Magana on January 29 for our first dinner of 2012. If you love wine and amazing food, you won’t be disappointed in this fabulous five course dinner.
Chef Magana gained a stellar reputation as the premier wine country chef in the Columbia Basin, Prosser and Yakima with his winery event catering and restaurant Picazo 717. Frank’s newest venture, Chef Magana Catering, continues that tradition and gets Frank back to his roots of working directly with wineries.
Wine and Dine with Chef Frank Magana January 29
This exclusive engagement is limited to 40 people at the beautiful Nectar Tasting Room at 120 N Stevens. Ticket prices include tax and 18% gratuity for Frank and his staff (small event processing fee added to ticket price).
$85 / $75 for Club Nectar members (and their guests)
Tapas Served Family Style
Tosta con Sardinas, Roasted Garlic Mushrooms, Cherry Chipotle Pork Empanadas
WINE: NW Cellars Unoaked Chardonnay or NW Cellars Brut Rose
Mixed Field Greens, Apples, Craisins, Grape Tomatoes,
Brown Butter Croutons and a White Balsamic Vinaigrette
WINE: Skylite Cellars 2010 Viognier
Pan Seared Shellfish Cakes with a Tangy Thai Aioli
(Scallops, Crab & Prawns)
WINE: Hard Row to Hoe Petit Verdot
Porcini Crusted Flat Iron Steak,
Gorgonzola Butter, Pancetta-Caramelized Onions
Sautéed Yukon Potato Gnocchi
WINE: 2009 Anelare Cabernet Sauvignon
Duet of Dessert:
Dried Cherry & Apricot Bread Pudding
WINE: Terra Blanca Port Forte
The San Francisco Wine Competition is the largest competition of American wines in the world. With a record-breaking 5,600 wine entries from 1,379 wineries from more than 25 states, 65 judges from many aspects of the wine industry met in Cloverdale, Calif., to determine the top wines of the year.
A quick look at the list of winners reveals another very strong showing for Washington wines. The highest recognition going to Barnard Griffin as the 2011 Rose of Sangiovese sweepstakes winner for that category. Other Washington wineries winning “Best in Class” are:
- Dry Riesling > 2010 Chateau St. Michelle Riesling $9
- All other white wine > Nicola’s Redmark 2009 Table wine $10
- Grenache > 2009 Maryhill Proprietors Reserve Grenache $19.95
- Cabernet $20-$25 > 2009 Milbrandt The Estates Cabernet $24.99
- All other reds up to $20 > Kiona 2009 Lemberger $11.99
One of our very own Nectar Tasting Room wineries scored well at the SFWC too! A huge congratulations to Walla Walla’s Skylite Cellars for the following recognition. Two of these wines are new to Nectar, so you better stop on by and give them a try.
- GOLD – 2008 Walla Walla Valley Soiree (Category: All Other Red Varietals/Blends – up to $19.99)
- SILVER – 2007 Yakima Valley Minnick Vineyard (Category: Syrah/Shiraz – $25.00 to $29.99)
- SILVER – 2007 Walla Walla Valley Estate (Category: Merlot – $25.00 to $29.99)
Skylite’s wine maker, Robert Smasne also received some top recognition in a very high quality category. Congrats Robert:
- GOLD – 2008 Owens Reserve (Category: Bordeaux – $50 and over)
- GOLD – 2008 Carmenere (Category: All other red – $20 and over)
- SILVER – 2009 Grenache (Category: Grenache)
See the complete list of award winners at winejudging.com
16 Jan 2012
Wine often comes across as stuffy and snobby. Wine, however, is an alcoholic beverage and has a humorous side as well. The following funny wine quotes always make me laugh and I hope they bring a smile to your face as well. Many of these were found on friends Facebook pages and Twitter streams. Enjoy, pin away and share. Enjoy life with friends, drink happy.
Another reason why I prefer PCs over MACs – they just seem to understand me.
Classic quote. I’ve seen this at several friends houses.
Men are like fine wine. They all start out like grapes and it’s our job to stomp on them, keep them in the dark, until they mature into something you’d like to have dinner with.
No one likes a quitter. Drink up!
So that is why the the Christmas tree always dries up before Christmas.
Do the right thing…make the call…don’t be that guy.
Year one of Nectar Tasting Room is in the books and it has been a year of incredible life, business, and marketing lessons. Being a business owner I have experienced some moments of extreme joy, gratitude, frustration and sheer terror. Nectar is my first business venture and as an entrepreneurial virgin I learned a great deal during the first year. I’m not offering any of this as expert advice to young start ups, rather consider it some viewpoints from someone who went down the road and experienced a modest amount of success and a great deal of opportunities for growth.
Things that didn’t work
I’ll start with the biggest areas of opportunity that I learned and observed from the first year.
This seems like a simple no brainer but a lot of energy goes into opening a business and making projections, securing funds, getting permits and just opening the flippin’ doors, planning the details of a full year of events and activities can be a challenge. At Nectar we overlooked the various events that pulled people out of the downtown core, the nuances of local events like Hoopfest, Armed Forces Lilac Parade, and the summer exodus for many Spokane residents.
In 2012 we have these events locked in and will be marketing differently during the summer. The best advice I can give to a start up is to take a moment to plan. When you’ve got things planned out, sit down with a group of business friends and plan even more. When that is over, keep planning.
One of my biggest struggles this year was staying organized and on top of all the little details. Some of this comes from the fact I am still managing a full time day job, was going through a divorce, and was also building the foundations for other business opportunities. Being unorganized caused too many things to sneak up on me that made us less productive and less profitable.
This year I am organizing my files and will hand over some of the details to someone else. Many start ups are too small to afford an assistant but struggle with the time to manage everything. Focus on the areas you are good at (for me it’s marketing and communication) and delegate some of the other areas (for me that would be finance and payroll).
We are a winery
While our space looks/feels like a wine bar, we are actually a winery; FIVE of them in one space. One struggle this year has been marketing one of our biggest strengths. Visitors get to experience FIVE Washington wineries and over 40+ wines in one location. We focus on wine education, showcase unique varietals, and also have the space to sit down and enjoy a glass of wine. A focus this year will be getting the word out about the wineries in the spot and hosting more and more Saturday / Sunday afternoon wine tasting traffic.
During our anniversary weekend I was asked over and over, “Did the first year meet your expectations?” That is a difficult question because I have VERY high expectations. Did we meet sales projections? Not quite, but that was mostly due to an unexpectedly slow summer. Did we make money (which is the key question)? Yes, but not enough to quit my day job. I AM very proud of what we accomplished in year one and Spokane residents must agree because we were voted by Inland Business Catalyst Magazine as the “Best Business Start Up” for the year. Below are the key contributors to our success and I encourage any start up to place your focus here.
Over and over again relationship marketing through Facebook and Twitter proved to be the best drivers of traffic. The relationships built through social networks extended beyond the internet into face to face with so many significant partnerships. Success stories include visitors from San Francisco, Washington DC and even Australia who started following my blog through Twitter. Each of these people spent money at Nectar. We also exclusively marketed many events just through our social networks and email list (now over 1000 strong). Many of these events were sold out or packed including the Spokane Wine Magazine release party (close to 100 people), New Year’s Eve event, and our Wine and Dine dinners. Staying completely social, we hosted over 40 people for a tweetup in December. The largest gathering so far for this type of event in Spokane.
A side note to this online marketing is the success of sites like Groupon and Deal Planet. We ran three deals in 2011 and have seen so much positive response. When using these deal sites, there are several important things to consider. Check out my post “Five Tips for Thriving with Groupon”
Membership has its privileges
I love my members. They are the biggest ambassadors and supporters we have. Now over 300 strong, our club membership is the most consistent driver of bottle sales and event tickets. Many of our members make visiting Nectar a regular routine of their weekly schedule. We will continue to look for ways to add value for our club members to reward them for their loyalty. If you’re not a member, check out our two wine clubs (Club Nectar and Quarterly Sip). You can even join online.
It is important to give back to the community in which you do business. Spokane has given Nectar their support and we eagerly jump on opportunities to support charity events and non-profit organizations. We were proud to offer discounted or free event rental services to the following non-profits this year; National Association of Business Women, Green Drinks, Spokane Symphony, American Childhood Cancer Organization Inland Northwest, Project Beauty Share, Make a Wish Foundation, and Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. Collectively these organizations raised over $10,000 at their events and Nectar was proud to donate over $1000 in 2011.
Key areas of focus for 2012
I recently completed a S.W.O.T. (Strength, Weakness, Opportunity, and Threat) analysis for Nectar. Below are the key areas of focus that you will see to make 2012 even better than 2011. The foundations have been set, now it’s time to launch into the stratosphere of success!
- Menu partnership with 4-5 restaurants that surround Nectar. Offering a greater food option to our guests.
- Introduce a small amount of retail product as the year progresses
- Consistent calendar of events (dinner, wine classes, and new events)
- Greater partnership with local non-profits and charities
- Brand merchandise – soon you’ll be able to wear your Nectar loyalty
- Event coordinator and space rental – We have one of the most beautiful spaces in the heart of downtown Spokane. Our goal is to have the space rented 6-10 times per month for groups of 20-100. Check out our EVENT PAGE for details.
- More consistent blogging. Yep – it drives traffic. Google search is a key driver of business.