For wineries, email marketing is still, by far, the easiest, the quickest, the cheapest, the most targeted, most effective, and most lucrative form of digital direct marketing available.

And yet … the vast majority of wineries continue to undervalue this form of direct marketing, with many winery marketing teams focusing on shooting for Instagram Likes instead of developing a compelling winery email content strategy.

This is understandable, as wine marketing professionals consistently face the challenge of creating fresh, varied, and on-brand email content that is both engaging, and which — remember why we’re here — sells wine.

But emails, sent directly to your target audience’s email inboxes, still beats social media in bringing your audience to your web site.

The best wine marketing plans include a strategy for email content marketing.
Your winery's emails should be welcomed by your subscribers. If not, well, there's a link in the menu for you to contact us.

Another enormous advantage of email marketing over Instagram posts, is your email newsletters can link to your website — and, I don’t just mean your homepage, but to a specific landing page designed just for people who have read your email.

Don’t get me wrong — social media has a very important role to play in wine marketing, but compared to email marketing, which is like hooking a fish and reeling it right up to your boat, social media marketing is like scattering bits of bread out to a flock of squawking seagulls.

Nurturing Your Email Marketing Channel

Having been granted a free pass directly into your subscribers’ email inboxes, you definitely do not want to squander this privilege by incessantly spamming your subscribers with sales promotions. So what is the right way to nurture your winery’s email marketing channel?

Writing email marketing content that makes your subscribers feel that you know them

That’s the answer, right there. But, how do we write emails that make your readers feel like you know them? That’s easy. We get to know them!

The first thing to recognize is why members of your winery’s target audience signed up for your newsletters in the first place. Here are some general reasons for joining a winery’s email list:

  • They joined your wine club
  • They responded to an offer (10% off your first order if you subscribe)
  • They wanted to be notified of events or promotions
  • They wanted to hear from you
  • They filled in a card in your tasting room, not realizing they were signing up for your email
  • You captured their email address when they made a purchase or logged into your wifi (also, not knowing you’d be emailing them)

Those are pretty much it. If your website’s CTAs (calls-to-action) to subscribe are clearly worded, and you have a different CTA for each sign-up reason, you should be able to determine each subscriber’s reason for being here. Armed with that information, you can give them what they signed up for. In this way, you’re already off to a fine start in providing relevant email content.

We can take this further and get to know even more about what our subscribers care about through the strategic use of links within the email body. For example, let’s say you’ve been writing about what’s going on in the vineyard each month, but you don’t know if people care, and you’re wondering if it’s worth your time. By placing a small amount of teaser copy instead of the full article within your email with a link to the full story, you can see how many people clicked on the link. Likewise, if you want to see if people like your wine-pairing recipes each month. Useful, no?

Unfortunately, the vast majority of the 11,000+ wineries in the U.S. today are missing these opportunities to make their email content more personalized, more relevant, and more clicked on, and as a result, their winery’s email marketing isn’t living up to its potential.

Using Tags and Email Segmentation

In addition to using differentiated links in your email body, as just described, another way to gather information about your winery’s subscribers is by using the tags feature in your email service provider (ESP) account. By configuring different tags that will be associated to actions taken by your readers, your list can be segmented into increasingly tightly-defined groups. These actions can include subscribing to your email from a particular page of your site, buying wine, signing up for a wine tasting event, reading a particular story by your winemaker ... really, anything.

This allows you to send emails that are more personalized to smaller segments of your audience. It's like you're working the room.

Your email marketing can build your subscribers’ loyalty to your winery

Visitors to wine country more often than not, want to feel that they’ve made a connection with someone on the inside. You’ve seen this in action when visitors to your tasting room go all gushy when the winemaker comes out to meet them.

Likewise, your winery’s email subscribers want to feel like they have a connection with someone on the inside too, and if your emails talk to them like you remember them, they’ll get that gushy feeling all over again.

Your winery's email newsletters can lead to a stronger connection between your subscribers and your winery, securing a place for you brand in their hearts and creating greater loyalty for years to come.

This is how brand loyalty happens, and what it means for your winery is that your loyal email followers begin to gain an increasingly positive feeling about your wine, which leads to them repeatedly choosing your wine over others.

It is worthwhile then, for your wine branding strategy to place a significant emphasis on using your winery’s email marketing campaigns for strengthening these ties.

You may have sensed by now, that I view your winery's subscribers as more than just target recipients of your winery’s marketing. They are supporting your winery, which makes them your friends.

Everything we do around developing an email marketing strategy, designing your email templates, or writing your email content is focused on increasing your readers' sense of connection (that is, their loyalty) to your winery.

Your winery’s subscribers are more than just target recipients of your marketing. They are your supporters, they are your friends.
Treat them that way.

If your winery’s email marketing is your responsibility, along with a million other tasks, it may be impossible for you to do all this — adding tags, segmenting your audience, writing different messages for each segment, and creating custom landing pages. You may already feel overwhelmed simply by the task of creating new content each week and tracking performance. If this is you, and you’re looking for an email marketing agency to help you out, let’s talk.