BoozeMonkey.com

BOOZEMONKEY WINE SOCIAL NETWORK BREAKS WEB TRAFFIC MILESTONE

The last 3 months have been a wild ride for Marc Jardine, developer of the online wine community BoozeMonkey (www.BoozeMonkey.com), and recent web traffic figures to the site have left him feeling justifiably pleased with the company’s progress so far.

Since launching the site in March 2009, BoozeMonkey has gained new members at a rapid pace and has achieved something of a cult status amongst wine-loving punters the world over.
The new stats put BoozeMonkey traffic in the top 0.01% of websites globally – a remarkable milestone which Marc and the BoozeMonkey team were not expecting to hit until later this year.

“We knew we were beating our expectations but we are surprised that it has happened so quickly,” commented Jardine. “We have been concentrating on producing great content and features for the website so we weren’t taking much notice of the web stats, but these figures are extremely encouraging. And they are particularly good news for our advertisers of course.”

BoozeMonkey is a wine community, a social network made up of wine-lovers from around the globe and winemakers from Australia and New Zealand. The website is a central source of information about all things wine and serves as a meeting place for wine-lovers to discuss their passion, to make friends, to discover new wines and to meet the winemakers who produce them.

Interaction between winemakers and wine consumers is proving to be a significant attraction across the board, whilst free marketing advice from the in-house BoozeMonkey marketing team and support from their peers is proving a particular winner with the wineries, with many wine companies sharing their ideas and experiences with each other.

Another popular attraction is the recently launched Wine Reviews feature, with wine-lovers avidly adding reviews and commentary about their favourite wines.

“Wine Reviews are now being posted on BoozeMonkey from members all over the world, showing there is great interest in Australian wine,” comments Jardine. “We know that times are tough right now, but there are some smart companies who are making full use of the in-built social media tools which BoozeMonkey provides, and who understand that the connection with a global customer base is to their advantage. More and more winemakers are finding that BoozeMonkey is the ideal vehicle to market their brands to our consumer base of web-savvy wine drinkers.”

Little wonder then that the latest addition to BoozeMonkey’s arsenal is online banner advertising. As with everything the company does, the advertising model is simple and uncluttered, with just three simple advertising plans on offer.

“Since day one our winemakers have been keen to take advantage of the marketing opportunities BoozeMonkey provides, and really that is just another indicator that more wine companies are shrewdly investing marketing budgets in online media.”

So, what’s next for the BoozeMonkey Team?

“Online wine sales of course! We are being bombarded by wine companies wanting the sell their wine and by wine drinkers wanting to buy their wines, so that is definitely our immediate priority. BoozeMonkey is driven by the Industry and by the wine-loving fraternity, so we listen to the feedback and suggestions from our members and our winemakers, and we will deliver!”

With an attitude like that, it’s not hard to understand why the BoozeMonkey Team are getting results.

Contact marc@boozemonkey.com for more information

New online mediums have arisen and for many businesses, it all appears to be a bit overwhelming.

No-one wants to admit at a party that they don’t have a Facebook page. Marketers and business owners are under pressure to embrace WEB2.0 and social networking media to market their products.

All well and good.

But if you haven’t got a clear strategy that deals with basic DELIVERY of your flash, new promises, then take a good hard look at your precious marketing dollars disappearing into cyber-space.

The basics of marketing haven’t changed, we simply have more methods to communicate to our customers, and our potential customers.

What hasn’t changed, and in fact is more important than ever, is the need to use all methods at our disposal to FORM LASTING AND RETURN-ON-INVESTMENT RELATIONSHIPS.

I see plenty of slick websites around, but with little or no substance contained. One example had stunning images of the region, but absolutely no contact information for a punter wishing to speak to a real person. Another website, expounding the company’s commitment to service delivery resulted in the phone simply ringing out.

Old web and new web are simply mediums, allowing faster communication and potential to turn strangers into customers.

Basics have not changed with advent of new web/web2.0, and the plethora of social networking opportunities such as Twitter, YouTube, blogs, RSS feeds and the many others that will pop up over coming months, are a blessing and a curse for marketers and customers alike.

These are communications TOOLS, not the REASON for the communications. Just because you CAN blog, doesn’t mean you should (maybe its me, but I find an increasing number of bloggers to be the sort of people I try hard to avoid at parties)

So I definitely don’t want to have them in my in-box.

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Let’s get practical with some TIPS:

  • Review your existing customer base and your desired customer base. If you don’t know, find out. If you don’t know who you are talking to, your message won’t resonate.
  • Make a strategic decision on how to best communication with them. If your customer base is in their 20s/30s Facebook, Twitter etc are worthy considerations. However, select your communications medium based on the REAL behaviours of your customer group, not a ‘one size fits all’ approach or by over-labelling. Don’t leap into a Facebook frenzy, just because everyone else has one.
  • Tailor your communications to suit your customer needs. Make options a choice for the customer. Remember you are communicating for THEIR benefit, not yours.
  • It doesn’t matter how fancy the envelope if it doesn’t contain anything the customer wants to know. Just because you can access additional formats of online communication doesn’t mean you have an open invitation to spam your clients with ‘stuff’. The Monday morning inbox is daunting enough without having to wade through a lot of waffle mail. You don’t like it, so don’t do it to others. Tell them something they WANT TO KNOW and make a strategic decision on content, frequency, style etc.
  • Each contact is a new relationship, and needs to be treated as such. The word here is commitment. How many of you are guilty of not updating your website or rushing to slap together the Newsletter at the last minute and without real care? If you can’t commit to it, and resource it, don’t do it.
  • Follow up – don’t waste your money on a you-beaut email campaign if you haven’t got your front line customer service sorted out. Delivery of service/experience is still the end goal. The flashest website won’t mean much if the staff member answering the resulting call from a potential customer is uninformed, uninterested or worse, the phone-call is unanswered.
  • Online media is labour intensive – it is after all, about forging and maintaining relationships. A number of ‘trend hunters’ are predicting the rise of the Community Relations Manager – someone who is responsible for maintaining the relationships your online efforts have delivered. Make sure you are resourced to maintain your relationships. Repeat customers are worth their weight in gold, and the word of mouth affidavits they give your business. It is easier lose a customer than make or retain one. Think technology can replace good staff? Think again.
  • Does the communication fit your brand? A good web based strategy will ensure that your brand is consistently represented, regardless of medium. Don’t deviate from language, story, tone or style.
  • Be personal. You’ve made it into a customer’s in-box because something they have seen, experienced or been attracted to has opened up that opportunity. Make your communications personable, honest and professional. Web based communication should be no less rigorously edited and reviewed for style, punctuation, grammar and content than traditional communications.

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The common thread here is less about the technology and more about the relationships it can generate.

Online media, web2.0 and social networking technology offer a range of new avenues to capture, engage and communicate with customers.

To get value from these tools, make sure your approach is strategic, you have something worthwhile to say, and your follow-though and delivery to customers is sound.

The Reluctant Twit

Posted: May 23, 2009 in marketing, wine
Tags: ,

I admit to approaching Twitter with the same enthusiasm as my annual flu shot – a mix of resignation, cynicism yet glimmer of hope that the whole experience might pay off – in the case of the jab, I wouldn’t catch the flu, and in the case of Twitter, I might actually find the experience rewarding, personally and professionally.

So, imagine the conversation around the BoozeMonkey coffee table :

Sandie: “I’m going to be a Twit today…”

Marc: “Thanks for the warning, I was heading out anyway.”

Sandie: “Wow. You are hilarious. No, I’m going to log on to Twitter and start Tweeting.”

Marc: “Why?”

Sandie: “I have absolutely no idea.”

So, in the name of science, truth, beauty etc etc, we Twittered. Or Tweeted. Or something.

I think the Honeymoon lasted, oh what, a DAY before Marc and I were Twittering each other with little gems like “How the hell do people DO this??” and “I just feel all DIRTY…”

But then something happened. In between shaking our fists at the heavens and bemoaning the drivel that shot into our inboxes every second, it happened. We got hooked.

Right, let’s take a step back. None of us would be here if we didn’t invest some credibility with social media, and find that it makes our lives more interesting, connected or informed.

But WHY? (Imagine more fist shaking at the heavens…)

Facebook has only been around since 2006, and let’s face it, most of us have socks older than that, and Twitter is quite a recent phenomenon.

Facebook boasts over 100 million users and have their demographic roots firmly in the 25~50 year olds, making it a pretty powerful medium for advertising. Likewise, Twitter has grabbed the Guernsey for the fastest growing online community in March this year, with 7 million users.

So, there is no doubt that these media have grabbed our fancy.

But, why..?

Young Mr Zuckerberg, the pimply genius who invented Facebook puts it simply down to the simple fact that “this is just social norms catching up with what technology is capable of”.

Basically this means that social forums like Facebook and Twitter are simply connecting humans in the way we naturally wish to engage with others – brought together by similar interests, concerns and linkages.

Human beings have a natural, genetic need to socialize with others and be part of the lives of others, and technology, using Zuckerberg’s rationale, has simply caught up with our primal need to communicate and form a tribe of other like-minded souls. As traditional forms of interaction (church youth groups etc) decline in popularity, new forms of technological engagement spring up to satisfy the need.

None of this is rocket science. And it still doesn’t explain why rational adults (and for the sake of the social petri dish, I will include Marc and myself in this..) feel the need to update their circle about the fact they are about to have a cheese sandwich.

Or even MORE bizarre, the followers who WANT to know about their buddy’s sandwich situation.

Social scientists have a name for this incessant online contact – Ambient Awareness. They compare it to being physically near someone and picking up on their mood through the little things they do – body language, sighs, stray comments – out of the corner of your eye.

But talk to other Twits and Facebookers, and discover that the mystery of Twitter (or any sort of micro-blog) is not about the single, individual tweet, but about the holistic connection it builds with the other person.

Social scientists (honestly, do they get a degree from the L’Oreal Institute…??) claim that every little snippet of information coalesces into a more complete, intimate portrait of your friends lives. Clive Thompson, a writer for the New York Times cited Japanese sociologist Mizuko Ito as first finding this pattern and calling this aggregate phenomenon ‘co-presence’.

Another L’Oreal Institute protégée Marc Davis, a scientist at Yahoo confirmed this by explaining that following Twitter for a day was like the beginnings of a short story; follow it for a month, and it became a novel.

I admit it, and so does Marc (although he’s still in denial) – we are converts; the cynical turned believers, the knockers turned advocates.

I have connected with old friends and made new ones.

Dammit, I think I may have actually learnt something from people with not just the same, but different points of view. I have found myself following and being close to people and the ups and downs of their lives, simply by their regular tweets and updates.

And, hey. At a time when we are isolating ourselves more and more in real life, because of swine flu, recession or any one of a smorgasbord of fears, concerns and nasties, anything that brings us together and keeps a social fabric alive can’t be a bad thing.