Messina Hof

A historic family-owned winery based in Bryan, TX known for exceptional hospitality, food, and customer service

Overview

Messina Hof is a Texas-based winery founded on the cornerstones of family, tradition, and romance. Planted in 1977 with the vision of merging Old World hospitality with New World ambition, Messina Hof has become the most award-winning winery in the state and one of the largest producers of 100% Texas wine. Its four Texas locations feature tastings, full-service restaurants, private events, and yearly festival activities.

The Challenge

When Messina Hof engaged our services in early 2020, its goal was to increase wine sales by publicizing in-person events, managing the reputation of Messina Hof, launching its Bonarrigo Family Wines product line, and promoting the grand opening of its Harvest Green location. 

2020 had other plans. 

When lockdown hit, Messina Hof’s restaurants and tasting rooms were forced to close indefinitely. What initially seemed like a calamitous turn of events inspired brilliantly adaptive creativity. Messina Hof pivoted from in-store sales to a digital ordering system, offering curbside pickup, delivery, and wine club subscriptions. In-person events were transformed into virtual gatherings, and digital promotion of the Harvest Green grand opening continued despite pandemic-related construction delays.

The Approach

Our search engine optimization (SEO), web development, PR, and advertising teams sprang into action, adjusting to the unexpected changes wrought by Covid-19 via a 4-pronged approach. We aimed to:

  • Support business model changes by promoting curbside, delivery, and at-home tastings
  • Move forward with the marketing and product launch of Bonarrigo Family Wines
  • Continue to create buzz for the Harvest Green opening, despite construction delays
  • Increase reach and visibility by redesigning the site architecture and populating it with keyword-rich content

The Execution

As users spent increasing amounts of time online, our ad team adjusted its approach to increase engagement and call attention to Messina’s new offerings. On social media, we implemented catalogue ads that allowed customers to swipe through products before clicking, as well as map cards at the end of Harvest Green promotions that made it easier for customers to plan their visits without navigating away from the platform. We also increased our spend on display/programmatic ads – which target users based on data insights and sophisticated algorithms – in order to direct more sales to Messina Hof’s site. 

Having successfully weathered the hardest period of the pandemic, our web development team went to work on a complete overhaul of Messina Hof’s website. Content from the separate WordPress blog was migrated to the site, thereby enriching it with keywords and allowing users to access all of Messina Hof’s web content on one platform. Location pages were enhanced with information about accommodations and activities, along with Google Maps and Open Table widgets that made it easier to access directions and make reservations. We also improved the site’s event calendar by adding location and event type filters.

The SEO team populated Messina Hof’s newly renovated site with content based on extensive keyword research in order to boost search visibility and drive traffic to the site. Local optimization on Google My Business allowed us to bolster the winery’s reputation while promoting events and happy hours with calls to action tailored to specific geographic regions.

The Results

Our approach yielded fantastic results. From April to July 2021, we oversaw the following transformations:

  • Pay-per-click ads increased sales by 20%, expanded impressions by 28%, and grew wine club subscriptions by 175%
  • Paid social ad impressions grew by 7%, clicks increased by 51%, and the click-through-rate climbed from .75% to 1.2%
  • Display or programmatic ads increased by 65%, clicks rose by 64%, and in-person visits to Messina Hof locations climbed by 7% (despite safety restrictions during the ongoing pandemic!)
  • Local search optimization significantly improved the winery’s search result rankings and map views. We saw a 10% increase in total searches, 5% growth in direct searches, a 13% rise in discovery searches, and a 9% increase in map views.

 

Takeaways

This project offers a masterclass in the pivot-don’t-pause approach. Rather than slowing down, we maintained our momentum by pivoting from promotion of in-person events to safer options like curbside, delivery, and virtual tastings. As home-bound consumers sought the comfort of sophisticated wines, we made sure Messina Hof’s carefully cultivated products were more visible and easier to access than ever.