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Fixing wine email subscriber engagement

How to bring back that spark with your winery’s email subscribers

When wine email subscribers become less engaged with your content, your winery’s email performance will suffer.

For small wineries, declining email performance means lost sales and revenue, lost audience, and a weakened brand.

But there is good news. There are actions you can take to re-engage subscribers whose interest has waned. You can bring back that spark.

Here are five actions you can take to re-ignite your email subscribers’ desire for your content.

Nurturing email subscriber engagement is factored into the best wine email marketing practices.
When your wine email subscribers start unsubscribing, sometimes a little too happily, it’s time to work on increasing your email subscriber engagement.

Understanding email subscriber engagement

There is a natural lifecycle that your winery email subscribers will move through. It begins with Acquisition and Onboarding and then proceeds to the Engagement phase.

The Engagement phase is usually where your subscribers will spend the most time.

Eventually, all of your winery email subscribers will begin to disengage, before opting out of your emails altogether.

(Learn more about the Email Subscriber Lifecycle here.)

Many email managers I’ve worked with seem to have thicker skins than I do. They regard subscriber attrition as nothing more than a numbers game.

But for me, as someone who sees the enormous value of email marketing, highly engaged subscribers are to be cherished like grandchildren.

Remember, these are people who have willingly signed up to receive whatever marketing you want to send them, directly into their email inboxes!

In case I’m not making my point clearly enough, email is, for half the population, the first thing they check in the morning.*

But even with good, clean acquisition practices and a subscriber welcome process that has your new followers waiting eagerly by their email app, over time, they will naturally become less engaged, less clickety-clicky, and a lot more unsubscribey.

They won’t feel that Zing if you give them the same old thing. That’s just how it is with your winery’s email subscribers.

Identifying when your winery email subscribers lose interest

The first step in improving your winery’s email subscriber engagement is identifying those subscribers who appear to be losing interest.

Thankfully, this is easy to do. Most Email Service Providers (ESPs) provide a built-in way to organize your email subscribers by engagement.

This is accomplished using historical data on email open rates, click-through rates, frequency of engagement, and a few other factors.

Low click-through rates can indicate that your content is not compelling or relevant to your subscribers.

However, there are many reasons why your emails might not be getting opened — ranging from a subscriber disengaging from your brand, to simply being too busy to catch up on emails.

Wine email marketing content strategy

Want to see your winery’s email content marketing take off? We’ll get you set up with audience segmentation, custom landing pages, and ongoing reporting. You’ll see.

Tips for re-engaging your winery email subscribers

Having identified your least-engaged subscribers, you can easily segment these folks into a different mail stream.

The following suggestions can then be tested for improving your subscriber engagement with your emails:

1. Ease off on the sales promotions.

Subscribers who have become disengaged are likely to be annoyed to receive sales promotions, which they consider to be wasting their time.

If you wish to win these subscribers back, either pause the sales promotions for this group entirely, or at least cut them back to say, 25% frequency.

Not only will this make you less annoying to your disengaged subscribers, but your email’s deliverability score will dramatically improve too. As the kids would say, Boom!

2. Send a re-engagement email

A re-engagement email mentioning you’ve noticed the subscriber hasn’t been opening your emails recently is a surprisingly simple and effective way to invite your subscribers to re-engage.

Your re-engagement email should include a subject line that is strikingly different from your norm, it should be personalized, and it should be noticeably unique and engaging.

Some good email subject line ideas we’ve seen are:

“[Name], are we still good?”

“[Name], the days just don’t seem right without you”

“[Name], I miss you deeply, unfathomably, senselessly, terribly!”

“A year’s supply of free corndogs” (just kidding — don’t use that one)

“A gigantic discount just for our subscribers named [full name]”


In the body of your re-engagement email, you can ask subscribers to update their email preferences (and provide a link to do so). Or simply ask them to tell you how you can make the emails more suitable for them.

3. Take a hard look at your email marketing content.

If you have subscribers who have stopped opening your emails, there’s a good chance you’re sending the wrong content.

Take a look at the types of email content you’re sending; are your emails heavily weighted towards sales promotions with little attempt to build connection? Do your emails contain long blocks of text that ask too much of your readers’ time? Are your emails boring? Is there a mismatch between your content and what your subscribers signed up for?

If you find that you’ve been guilty of any of the email missteps mentioned above, it’s time to atone for your wrongdoings. Send an email saying you get it, you’ve been a dreary old bore, but things are going to be different now.

Additionally, ask readers to give their input by creating a survey. Surveys are easy to create in most ESPs (Email Service Providers), and it’s amazing the kind of surprises they can generate.

4. Experiment with new content.

If you’re still not able to get information from your readers about what kind of content they want from you (maybe they don’t know), try out different kinds of content yourself. You should already be using a content calendar to manage your balance of topics, and if you’re using teaser text in your emails to link to the full article on your website, you can easily track what people are interested in.

If your ESP gives you the capability to use link triggers and other kinds of automation, now is the perfect opportunity to put it to use. If your ESP doesn’t provide this capability, now is the perfect time to check out my favorite email service, ConvertKit.

Running dry on content ideas for your winery’s emails? Try some of these.


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.

5. Use better personalization.

Email technology indeed moves at a slower pace than web technology, but simply using mail merge fields to insert the recipient’s first name into your emails is no longer enough to earn an email ninja badge.

Personalization provides an opportunity to demonstrate you understand what your subscribers care about.

If, for example, you have subscribers that just love Petite Verdot — because … I don’t know … they like having purple teeth and enjoy the feeling of blowing out their palate and losing the ability to taste anything, then for Pete’s sake, find a reason to reference that in your content to them.

You can use tags and conditional text to accomplish this kind of email sorcery, and your recipients will think you’re magic!

Get help setting up conditional text, leveraging tags, and applying useful email personalization.


6. Offer some REAL deals.

If folks are opening your emails but not clicking on any offers, consider sending an obscenely juicy discount. Offer them a serious deal as a thank you for having been a part of your family, and tell them what that means to you. Send the email in a different format — different template, different subject, etc. — so your recipients will not expect the same old thing, and put a short time limit on the offer.

Remember that disengagement is bound to happen in a subscriber’s lifecycle. These six steps will help, but you and your subscribers will inevitably say farewell to each other.

With this in mind, there is one last thing you should do:

Make it easy for people to unsubscribe.

Don’t put the unsubscribe link in light gray text on a white background, and don’t hide it within a block of 6-pixel legal disclaimer.

If your readers want to unsubscribe, but can’t find a link to click on, they can always hit the “Report as spam” button, which will hurt your sender reputation score.

If you’re having a hard time keeping your subscribers enthusiastic about how cool your winery is, we can help!

View our selection of winery email services >


Bradley Squires


Bradley Squires, the founder of Wine Chemistry Creative, helps wineries become memorable. He thinks of this as Creating Chemistry with your customers and future customers. Bradley has provided marketing services for some of the largest (and smallest) brands in the U.S.. Notable brands include Vintrace, UCSF, Ericcson, Grgich Hills, The Nature Conservancy, and Napa Valley Vintners. He holds degrees in Oenology, Viticulture, and Wine Marketing. He doesn’t have a dog.

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