Why Email Marketing Part Two?

By Carl Giavanti

This article is an update of Part One which I posted in December 2012. Much has changed with email marketing over the last three years, especially how ubiquitous and technologically improved email marketing systems (EMS) have become, and how valuable email marketing as part of your DTC arsenal.

Why discuss email marketing at all? There are so many other marketing subjects of interest i.e. Loyalty clubs, social media, mobile marketing, winery PR. Mid-year planning is a good time to get back to the basics, and email is one of the primary branches of the content tree, leading to many other points of connection with consumers. I still meet people who are just getting started with social media, mobile devices and other tech, but I know for a fact that just about everyone already has an email address.

The value of email is to facilitate communications and build brand loyalty. It is likely that some form of social media will replace email communications in the future. Evidence of this is generational. My mother who is in her 80’s doesn’t have email and can’t be bothered. My niece who is 15 may have an email address, but has only given me her phone number for texting.

There are several things I like about email marketing compared to social media (at least right now):
· Subscription is opt in and can easily be cancelled, so there is little risk for new followers.
· Subscribers will receive your communication, unlike social posts which are now highly filtered.
· Promote adding the winery email to address books, and your email will definitely land in In-boxes.
· Email Marketing System (EMS) publishing is now highly integrated with social media networks.
· Analytics and Tracking allow you to see results (opens, clicks, bounces), so you can take action.

All of this brings me to the point of this article. Email Marketing is a proven driver of actions you want current and prospective customers to take. It’s inexpensive and you can segment your audience (prospects, buyers, club members), target specific to their interests and track the results. If your winery has a tasting room, this is how you drive traffic to promote your wines, and where you’ll be able to really connect with people. And, if subscribers are out of state, you can communicate by pointing them to your website and hope to transact business there. If you’re one of my email subscribers and read this article in my next newsletter, I’ll suggest that you “click here to read more”, which takes you out to this blog post where the balance of this article resides. I want you to read the conclusion of this article on my website, which is my point here. It’s difficult to sell wine using email and social media, but you can create calls to action that take your customers to where you can sell wine – in person or on your website.

Content has become as important as the media through which it is conveyed; and targeted content even more so. Use strong Subject Lines and one good call to action to build immediate curiosity, as attention spans and reading time are so shorter these days. Segment your email lists and deliver content relevant to specific group interests. Shipping promos for out of state subscribers and local events for those in state are simple examples.

Newsletters are just one of many ways you can build customers and followers. It is critically important that your newsletter is consistent with your advertising, presents well on social media sites, sizes correctly on mobile devices and is easy to share. Additionally, you can create integration and build your emails lists with signup forms on your website pages and your social networks.

I see so many newsletters with content that seems very noisy and spammy with lots of pitches and sales promos. I get that, but your newsletter needs to be simple and appear educational. Use the 80/20 rule (Educate/Promote) and you’ll be fine. People will appreciate it, and when you do offer special deals they’ll take notice. Newsletter marketing will boost wines sales and the effect can be immediate.

THE PR CONSULTANT AS SHRINK

Guest Article by Alan Goldfarb, wine journalist and media consultant

This really happened: In the midst of our initial meeting with a PC (prospective client), the man turns to me and says: “You have to manage my wife. I can’t. She has severe depression.” I know this man; he has severe ADD, and he wants us to manage her? Get a shrink!

But Carl Giavanti and I – in our winery public relations consultancy biz (because we prefer to work with small producers), almost every time, run into unique family situations. Sometimes we have to play the role of psychiatrist.

That’s not the case, of course, with you, dear PC. But we know that every situation, every PR campaign, every client, is unique. There are few cookie-cutter shortcuts when we take on a client (and goodness knows, we don’t take everyone as a client). That’s why it’s a great challenge – and I mean that in the best sense of the word – to ascertain the quirks and differences of each of our winery partners.

And when we do that – when we figure out the key to your puzzle – it makes it special and even easier for us to convey those qualities to the media. After all, it’s the writers who will ultimately be your messenger, who will tell your story to the rest of the world; and ultimately build your brand and in the end, sell your wine.

Oh, did I tell you we make house calls?

The ‘Three R’s’ of Wine Club Loss Management

Wine Clubs have become exceeding popular with many consumers. I’ve heard reports of folks belonging to as many as 4-5 different clubs. It’s easy to join and drop clubs, so we all need to be on our toes. After all, members are our best customers (almost like our business family), aren’t they?

There are many reasons our customers RETRACT their membership including lack of winery contact, not being acknowledged and treated special, dumping of wines and inflexibility of choice. Be proactive during the winter months (after holiday bills arrive and with shorter tasting room hours), recognize the challenges around jobs and the economy, and keep a watchful eye on anniversary dates as the average life span of club membership is between 1 to 1.5 years.

So how do we RETAIN members? Give your members what they want! Remind them of their benefits and do something special during slow winter months. Try to take members aside in a separate area of your tasting room when they arrive during regular hours. Non-members will take notice of course. Use Customer Management Systems to track your members preferences, purchasing patterns, anniversary dates and tailor communications and promotions specifically to them. When is the last time you sent a poll to find out how they liked their last wine shipment?

When someone cancels, what do we do to RECOVER? Give them options of course! First of all sincerely find out the reasons. If within your control, make adjustments to accommodate retaining the member. If not, offer to skip a shipment or suspend for a period of time. If these don’t succeed, move them to the general email list to keep in touch with the winery. I manage a few wine clubs and know this is difficult and time consuming, but certainly worth the effort. Remember these former members have brand loyalty and are highly qualified, so be creative, prepared and have a plan to follow-up with them in the future.

Why aren’t they scanning my QR Code?

I was enamored of the novelty of QR codes for small wineries when I wrote a related post in June. I still am. However, I’m hearing that scan rates are very low and consumers aren’t getting it. Who’s to blame?

A wine savvy social media technologist I know weighed in recently stating “Wineries are at fault”! But how can this be so? Even small wineries are coming online with QR codes, recognizing the use and importance of mobile devices.

Wait a minute! What’s obvious to us in marketing isn’t always so with consumers. I see QR codes as bridging the gap between traditional (print) and new (social) media, but just placing them in a print ad is not enough. Tell your readers to “Scan This!” next to the code and offer a specific reward for doing so. Make sure your landing page is optimized for mobile devices and has an offer with a specific call to action (not just your website). Eventually consumers will realize there are rewards at the end of the QR codes!

Connecting with Consumers

I think we all know that social media is not going away. If you are currently involved in social media marketing, you are a leader and early adopter. Most small wineries in the Willamette Valley know they need to have a social media plan and a program but just can’t find the time or justify the effort. Don’t we all survive on ‘word of mouth’ marketing? Think of social media as conversational media. It is one and the same. You are sharing information about your winery, and creating a conversation where the consumers are and how they want to communicate. Here are answers to the top 3 questions I get from winemaker/owners on this topic:

1.        Will it help me sell more wine? No, it will not … directly. However, it will help drive consumers to your website or tasting room where you can transact Consumer sales

2.       What is it going to cost me? Virtually nothing but your time. It’s like having your own media department! The most important thing to remember is that it does take time … social media is not an immediate return on investment opportunity.

3.       Where will I find the time? Make the commitment, keep it simple, carve out 1 hour/day, and use social media tools like TweetDeck and HootSuite to your advantage; there are countless resources via the web. By the way, the mobile applications for these sites are very easy to use, so you don’t need to be tethered to your desktop to be engaged.

You may already have setup the basic platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and a winery blog. Be sure you understand the rules, etiquette, appropriate content and frequency for using these tools. An important rule for engaging is that for every one self-mention, talk about others four times (80/20 rule).  Promote everyone else and you will benefit greatly—that’s what makes this type of engagement “social.” Have a marketing plan and be consistent. There is plenty of talent right here in the Chehalem Winemakers Association. Reach out, and get the conversation started!

Economic Impact of Wine – Oregonian Article

Hard to believe direct/indirect wine related revenues almost doubled in 5 years. Profitability for small producers certainly hasn’t. What am I missing here? I think percent of total increases due to Direct to C0nsumer is understandable. Byron Dooley’s comments about his strategy and results are a testament. I’m sure we’ll be hearing more about this from all wine corners in Oregon. Here’s the article:

http://www.oregonlive.com/business/index.ssf/2011/07/oregon_wine_industry_nearly_do.html