“Email marketing has an ROI of 3800%.” – Direct Marketing Association
“When it comes to purchases made as a result of receiving a marketing message, email has the highest conversion rate (66%), when compared to social, direct mail and more.” – Direct Marketing Association
With those statistics, I should just “drop the mic” now and walk away, right? So why is email marketing still an afterthought for many wineries? Why do we still encounter wineries not even collecting customer data online or in the tasting rooms so they can send emails to anyone willing to hand over their information?
Today’s World of Email Marketing
We love it and we hate it. We complain about our overflowing inboxes, but we still spend hours each day reading through our emails. Email marketing has changed, but not as far as the basics. You receive an email. Offer looks compelling. You click through. You decide to buy or not. What has changed is HOW you are reading your emails. Back in the day, we all read emails on our desktop computer. Now you have your inbox literally in your hands all day! According to Campaign Monitor, over 53% of emails are now opened on mobile devices with the iphone being the most popular device for subscribers to open their email the first time. Are your emails mobile friendly? Is your website mobile friendly? If not, it’s long past time to change that!
Emails and the Customer Journey
I like to look at email marketing as a journey with each customer. I like to look at the journey as a bus ride. Guest comes into the tasting room and look to you to tell them how cool it would be to hop on your bus. You do that by sharing your wine, your story, your facility, etc. You try and get them to buy a ticket for a long journey (the wine club). Some will take that ticket immediately and join. Others may some day want that longer bus ride with you but are not ready at that moment. They may just hop on and off the bus with a day pass. They may buy a few bottles right now and you might be able to get them to engage further now and then. Others may just want to hop on the bus once and hop off. You need to be collecting data for EVERY person who is willing to share it so you can get them on the bus with you for however long or short a journey they are willing to take. You keep them on the bus by engaging them with emails, social media, events, etc.
The Next Step-Email Marketing Automation
While not entirely new, the wine industry is just catching up with the concept of marketing automation. The ability to automate marketing processes, especially email so you can more easily build customer journeys and not just do one email blast to everyone. Examples of email marketing automation is the ability to create “ if this, than that” type automations. You send an email out to everyone, but set up anautomation to follow up with everyone who didn’t open the email a few days later. Or resend a new email to everyone who opened, but didn’t click through. So based on behaviors of the subscribers, you can automate the process to continue the journey with them. Other examples of automation are birthday or anniversary emails that are set up to send to everyone you have those important dates for. You can also set up a welcome series for club members to welcome them to the club. Vin65 currently offers these type of automated emails in their “action email tools” and other winery CRM platforms are just starting to scratch the surface of offering the tools. I recently talked to Stephen Mutch, founder of winery CRM platform SimplyCMS, about marketing automation tools and he has recently added these features into his platform. I am sure we will see other platforms follow suit as the demand grows in the industry for taking e-mail marketing to the next level!
Start your engine and get the bus moving!
Now that you are convinced of the great conversion and ROI statistics, you are ready to get started. So what should you do first?
- Start collecting data in the tasting room and online. You most likely are collecting wine club member information already, but make sure you have some type of way to collect from everyone who comes in. How you do it is up to you; an old fashion sign up form, guest book, POS receipt signup, digital tablet kiosk.
- Create an e-mail marketing calendar. Sit down every year in November or December and plan out the coming year. Get all the national holidays, local and regional events, new release dates and winery events on a calendar. Next look at each month and what you want to feature. Plan out the exact days for email campaigns to go out.
- Figure out which messages will go to which segment of your list. Wine club members may get different offers than non-members. You can try different emails to different segments of the list (A/B testing). If you are sending automated follow up emails, you will need to figure out what the follow up messages are if different from the original. In other words, TEST, TEST, TEST!
The actual sending of emails will vary by your available staff and tools you have available. If your winery CRM platform does not have built in basic emails tools and/or marketing automation tools, there are email platforms out there like Vertical Response, Constant Contact, Mail Chimp, etc. that can get you started with the basics. Whether you have in an in house marketing person or hire an outside professional to help, make sure you stick to your calendar and be consistent in engaging your “bus riders” to keep them on the journey with you as long as possible!