By Clare Goggin Sivits On December 22, 2022

How Distilleries Measure ROI on Digital Marketing

Craft distillery customers spend time online, just like every other customer. It’s just a matter of finding them where they are. An effective digital marketing plan for your distillery allows you to hit those targets. It should include clear goals, a budget and a plan for how to measure ROI in digital marketing.

Pressure gauge measures elements during distillation in a distillery.

Yes, you read that right: you want a budget for digital marketing. When it comes to liquor marketing, digital marketing offers an effective way to spread awareness and grow an audience. It’s critical to invest in that tactic in order to reach as many of your customers as possible on the platforms where they’re spending time. It requires money, in many cases. Of course, you’ll want to spend that money in a smart way — that’s where measuring your ROI comes in.

You’re already tracking ROI for your distillery business, carefully measuring a number of factors. It’s a tedious assessment but the result is a straight line from A to B. On the other hand, when it comes to finding the same ROI in your digital marketing efforts, the calculation takes a few twists and turns.

Unless you’re selling craft spirits and products through an online store — a difficult feat for many distilleries even now, it’s hard to see a clear connection between digital marketing and your sales. That certainly shouldn’t keep you from spending on effective digital marketing strategies. You just need a better way to reveal the return on that investment.

If you’re looking for the right recipe for measuring ROI, we can help. As an alcohol marketing agency, we’ve learned a thing or two about digital marketing and how to evaluate its effectiveness. Here are a few ways to make sure you’re spending that digital marketing budget in the right way.

Measuring Your Audience Growth Against Sales

After you launch an effective digital marketing plan, you’ll clearly see your audience grow online. Fans will follow you on your selected social media platforms, customers will leave reviews and traffic will increase to your site. Over time, it’s a smart idea to collect that audience growth and see if it translates to sales growth.

This calculation may need a little time to mature. For instance, a 25 percent increase in your Facebook following one week won’t necessarily drive a similar increase in sales that same week. But if you keep an eye on those numbers over the following month, that bump may appear.

If you want to confirm the sales bump originated with your digital marketing efforts, compare data points as much as possible. For instance, if you’re running ads, narrow those ads to a geographical area or some other factor you can also track in sales. That way, you can put those numbers side by side to confirm that the audience you saw online and lives in a particular 25-square-mile area also went to the store and bought your spirits.

Tracking Engagement Rate Around Products

If you’re looking to tie digital marketing efforts around a specific product to sales boosts, look at engagement rate around product-specific campaigns. When running ads for one of your spirits on either social or search, watch engagement metrics, like comments or clicks.

Calculate the engagement rate by dividing the total number of engagements by impressions or views. A high engagement rate around that specific product tells you that your audience responds to your spirit. It can be insightful to run ads featuring different products alongside each other to see if one product drives a higher engagement rate than another then compare that to sales rates for the same products. You may see a pattern.

Add value to those ads by engaging back with your audience. If a fan comments on your boosted post or ad, respond with information that can help them track down a bottle near them. Maybe you can suggest a retailer that stocks the bottles (if legal in your state) or direct them to an event where they can buy bottles. Either way, you’re getting more bang for your buck by delivering that added intel directly to them.

Tracing Website Traffic from Ads

By using Google Analytics, distilleries have the ability to see what customers explore on their websites. This data allows you to hone in on products that interest fans the most. By creating an ad that drives to the most popular landing pages, it’s possible to get the most out of your digital marketing budget while raising awareness around your products.

Additionally, it’s wise to develop a few different creatives that drive to the same landing pages to determine which works best. After testing for about three weeks, you can identify the most effective ad and put all of the budget behind it. When the campaign comes to an end, not only will you be able to see where customers went on your site (after coming from the ad), but you’ll also have a better understanding of the designs and copy that activate your customers most.

To see the real-world impact of your ads, compare sales for products featured in your ads to the data you collect on your website. Perhaps a boost in visits to your vodka products translates to an increase in sales for your vodka in the tasting room or at the retailer.

Connecting Tasting Room Sales To Online Listings

One of the easiest ways to draw a direct line between digital marketing and sales is to launch a promo code or special for your tasting room. Depending on local laws, you may be able to give your customers an exclusive deal when they visit you in person through online listing sites, like Yelp, or through a social media site.

To successfully launch this effort, invite users to use a coupon or promo code when they visit you in person. Users can unlock this coupon or code by visiting an online listing or viewing an ad on social media. When they arrive and redeem the promo, you’ll know where they saw it and that your campaign was successful.

Driving Sales Through Product Finder

Short of selling spirits direct to consumers, a product finder application is the best way to take a customer from digital marketing to point of sale. By using a tool like our award-winning Small-Batch Maps, distilleries also get a lot of data to help them measure the effectiveness of their digital marketing efforts.

Direct users to the map and you’ll get information about their location as well as the products they’re searching for. Not only will this data help you predict demand and respond to it, it also helps you identify where additional stock is needed and at which retailers. Finally, distilleries can use this information to broker distribution deals in high-demand regions.

Bottom line: measuring success in digital marketing efforts seems tricky but it’s certainly not impossible. If you have questions about where to go next, set up a consultation with us today and we’ll point you down the right path.

Clare Goggin Sivits

As a marketer with a strong writing background, Clare Goggin Sivits has worked in the beer, spirits, and wine industries for nearly a decade. She oversaw digital marketing for a small wine startup as well as a craft brewery and distillery with a nationwide footprint. A Florida ex-pat, Clare now lives in Portland, Oregon, and continues to write about craft beverage marketing and the industry as a whole.

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