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Email Marketing Content for Wineries — the demand for good content is higher now.

2024 is here, which means it’s time to remember the ol’ MailChimp password and churn out another marketing email. But not so fast — your subscribers are expecting more from your marketing content now.

 

Email marketing can build powerful connections with your subscribers, provided you’re meeting their needs. This article shows you how to quickly adapt and meet your subscribers’ higher expectations for your winery’s email marketing content.

Email marketing content for wineries in 2023 needs to meet a higher set of expectations than it used to.

Have you noticed that writing email marketing content used to be a lot easier? A personalized greeting with a photo of a bottle and an offer for free shipping, and suddenly you were everyone’s favorite winery.

Not anymore. Today, these same email “blasts” (we don’t call them that anymore) are not getting the attention they once did, and have become just one more thing your subscribers feel they need to deal with.

What changed?

What changed is that email subscribers have become tired of being marketed to. Marketing nerds (hello) call this email marketing fatigue, and according to a 2021 study by Edison Mail, 85% of Americans are feeling it to some degree.

Email subscribers are demanding email marketers provide something of true value. Emails perceived as wasting a subscriber’s time will likely lead to one or more of the following outcomes:

  1. Your email will be deleted without being read;
  2. Your subscriber will unsubscribe;
  3. Your subscriber will perceive your brand negatively.

Yes, your subscribers want to feel connected to your winery, but they don’t you to waste their time.

Image of a grandmother happily playing with her grandson because she is not spending time deleting your winery's email sales promotions.

What do your subscribers prefer doing rather than deleting unwanted sales promotions from your winery? Almost anything. It’s nice if your winery email marketing content is part of the solution, not the problem.

This article offers ways for your winery to adapt in this time of email marketing fatigue, and to minimize damage to your brand.

The other reason to improve your winery email marketing content: Deliverability

Before we get into how to improve your winery email marketing content, let’s look at another important incentive for adapting to subscriber needs.

Email Deliverability.

Email inbox providers (such as Outlook, Gmail, Apple, Thunderbird, etc.) use numerous deliverability metrics to determine whether an email message should be classified as spam, and consequently blocked from being delivered to the recipient’s inbox.

These deliverability metrics include open rate, click-through rate, click-to-open rate (the number of clicks divided by the number of opens), read rate, and deleted before opening rate, among others.

The more poorly your emails perform in these deliverability metrics, the lower your sender reputation score becomes, making it less likely your emails will get delivered.

How to get more followers for your wine email marketing content >

How to improve your winery email marketing content

As mentioned above, improving your winery email marketing content will please your readers, but it will also please the email inbox providers through higher open and read rates.

Higher open and read rates make your emails less likely to get blocked by inbox spam filters.

Emails can only get conversions if they make it to the inbox, leaving little wonder why the best winery email content strategies have a large focus on improving deliverability.

Now — onto the good stuff.

1. Use a contact name in the FROM field

Emails with just the winery name in the FROM field generally see a lower open rate than emails which come from a person. 

However, just displaying a person’s name is less effective than using both. The reason is, if you’re sending emails marked as being from, say, Jonathan Sánchez, your email recipients might forget who Jonathan Sánchez is, and delete the email, thinking it’s actually from the Puerto Rican professional baseball player, aka The Comeback Kid.

In other words, “FROM: Jonathan from Juicebox Winery” is better than “FROM: Jonathan Sánchez” or “FROM: Juicebox Winery”.

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Digging Deeper:

Learning your subscribers' interests

Your winery’s email subscribers are worth getting to know.

Here are three ways you can learn about their interests.

  • Use page-specific email sign-up forms throughout your website. If a visitor completes the sign-up form on your Events page, for example, it’s likely they’re interested in hearing about events at your winery.
  • Use tagged-links in your emails. If a subscriber only clicks on links for your Chardonnay, and never on your reds, maybe you should start showing them more Chardonnay-related content. Creating custom tags for your winery's emails is easily accomplished in all Email Service Providers (ESPs).

 

  • Ask your subscribers what they care about in a survey, or ask subscribers to respond to a question in an email.

2. Use personalization in your wine email subject lines

Wine email subject lines that include the recipient’s name just feel friendly. Even outside the wine industry, emails with personalized subject lines generally perform better than emails with no personalization in the subject line.

And as is the case with almost everything, there’s an opportunity to do even better. Personalization is not limited to the recipient’s name. If you know which of your subscribers love Zinfandel, you can create an email that only goes to those subscribers and includes the subject line “A deal just for [firstname] (and other Zin lovers)”.

 

3. Make your wine email subject lines relevant to the content

In the wine industry, we are above using click-baity wine email subject lines which provide no value to the reader.

Show your subscribers you cherish the relationship by providing them something that informs them what your email is about, and possibly saving them time if they’re not interested.

 

Digging Deeper:

Creating email audience segmentation

The three criteria for creating useful audience segmentation

Audience segmentation of your winery’s email subscribers is the process of splitting your winery’s subscribers into smaller groups according to interests, needs, demographics, geography, engagement, or other criteria.

The criteria you choose for creating subscriber segments need to satisfy three requirements:

1. The distinction is important to your subscriber,

2. The distinction is important to your business goals,

3. The distinction is information you can access.

To create segments from an existing subscriber list, export your list as a .csv file and open it in a spreadsheet application such as Microsoft Excel or Google Sheets. From here, you can create pivot tables, apply filters, and use formulas to make the data sing and dance.

Once you have created your segments within the spreadsheet, re-import the .csv file back into your email service provider into the appropriate segments. Not much of a spreadsheet person? Get in touch.

Moving forward, all new subscribers should go directly into an existing segment, a process which can easily be automated.

4. Use informative preview text

Likewise, your email’s preview text can save your subscribers’ time. This is like the movie trailer of your email message. It will let your readers know if they need to jump on it, save it for later reading, or perhaps ignore it. In any case, you’re giving your readers something they appreciate.

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Digging Deeper:

Advanced email personalization

Email personalization can enhance a subscriber's experience — or it can feel a little invasive.

Personalization in email marketing has come a long way beyond everyone’s favorite trick of automatically inserting the subscriber’s first name in the greeting.

Through the use of customs fields, tags, rules, conditional text, and a bunch of other tricks, you can give your winery’s subscribers a feeling that you really do care about who they are.

Email personalization can also give your winery’s subscribers the creeps if you get a bit too sleazy-salesman-y about it.

The trick is to use personalization in the right places; only where it improves your subscriber’s experience. It takes creativity and finesse — two of the qualities that got you hired, am I right?

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Digging Deeper:

Custom landing pages

Custom landing pages have a place everywhere in today's high-performing winery websites.

Landing pages are a little misunderstood. Yes, yes, they are pages where a user lands when they click on an offer to buy something. Right. But that’s not all they do.

In regards to your email marketing, think of the email as the beginning of a conversation you’re having with a friend at the pub. But it’s noisy in here, so we go outside. Ah, that’s better. Should we pick up the conversation like we both forgot we were just talking to each other? No, silly! We continue where we left off. That’s the landing page.

You don’t need to create your landing pages from scratch each time you need one; they can be based very closely on one of your site’s existing pages with the URL changed for tracking purposes, and the content edited to be customized to the audience.

Need some help getting set up with this? There's that button over there.

Wine email marketing content strategy

Get help defining an email content marketing strategy for your winery, with audience segmentation, custom landing pages, and ongoing reporting.

5. Use consistent, recognizable branding

Make your emails easy to recognize as being from your winery. Using a consistent header, consistent brand colors, typography, logo, imagery, and tone satisfies your readers’ trust, and allows them to click without being suspicious.

If your winery lacks a strong brand identity, we provide customized winery branding services to exactly fit your needs.

Customers don’t sign up for email;
they sign up for your brand

6. Make your emails easy for subscribers to get a “quick read”

Help your subscribers quickly scan your email and understand what it’s about, by using principles of good design (such as clear headings, a main focal point, and white space).

Your subscribers should be able to determine whether your email message is relevant or compelling within just a few seconds.

 

7. Keep your emails short

If you have a lot to say, provide a link to the content on your website. Avoid overwhelming your subscribers with massive blocks of text.

 

8. Don’t email too often

Absence makes the heart grow fonder, as they say, so give your subscribers a chance to grow fond of your emails by not bothering them with yet another sales promotion every week.

What is a new subscriber worth to your winery?

 

9. Don’t use image-only emails

Emails containing all the content within an image are annoying. If the message is being opened on a mobile device, it will take too long to load, and many inbox providers will require the recipient to click a button to allow images to be displayed.

Use design elements to support your brand, use text to deliver your message, and use images to support and strengthen your message.

These are best practices.

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Digging Deeper:

Get an email marketing content calendar

How to start using an email marketing content calendar for your winery's email marketing

A content calendar for your winery’s email marketing doesn’t need to be anything complicated — a simple Excel file will get the job done, and I’ll explain shortly how to set it up.

The benefits that a content calendar provides are difficult to pass up: the ability to look ahead, to brainstorm topics, to list keywords, to create a good balance of topics, to list calls-to-action, sources for quotes … seriously, there are tons of them.

Setting up your content calendar at the most basic level is simply a list of topics that you plan to cover over the upcoming months. As you begin to realize the usefulness of this, you’ll add more columns and more details until you end up with something as beautiful as this content calendar you can download for free:

If your subscriber can’t see your email, or it takes forever to load on mobile, it’s unlikely they’re going to engage or convert.

Martyn Lee

Litmus

10. Use segmentation and provide options for subscribers to select content

Allowing subscribers to select only the content they find interesting is becoming expected of increasingly more brands. 

Customizing your winery email marketing content by segment is not only liked by subscribers, but it also benefits your winery’s email metrics. With segmentation, you can expect to see higher open rates, click-through rates, and conversion rates.

Daunting as it may seem to segment your winery’s email subscribers, there are simple ways to dip your toe in the water. Start small by creating just two segments: club members and non-club members, and build up from there as your understanding increases.

 

11. Provide options for subscribers to select frequency

The average professional in the U.S. is currently receiving around 120 emails every day. Email fatigue is real, and if your winery is not providing a way for subscribers to choose to receive fewer emails from you, they may see the only option is to opt out.

Provide a link in your emails leading to a page where subscribers can select preferences, with email frequency being one of the options.

Final thoughts on improving your winery’s marketing email content

In many industries, the goal of content strategies is to convert someone at the edge of the sales funnel, into a customer. Once that is done, the strategy is more or less complete.

In that scenario, the content is designed to increase awareness of a product, educate about the benefits of the product, overcome objections, and then finally convince prospects to become customers.

However, in the hospitality industry, as we are, it’s beneficial for our email marketing to focus on relationship-building at least as much as on sales. Try to avoid badgering your valued subscribers with the same sales promotion week after week, and take some time to get to know your readers.

They’ll reward you for it.

Headshot

Bradley Squires

ENGAGEMENT CATALYST

Bradley Squires, the founder of Wine Chemistry Creative, helps small wineries develop good email practices with strong wine branding to establish their place in the market. He thinks of this as “Creating Chemistry with a winery’s customers and future customers.” Bradley cut his design teeth at the emergence of the digital era and brings to the wine industry what he learned from a successful 20-year career poking around under the hoods of some of America’s largest (and smallest) brands.

Need some help?

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We can help your winery’s ROI right now.

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