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Build your winery email list — 6 methods to grow your audience

For small wineries, new email subscribers sometimes arrive at barely a trickle, leaving winery owners unsure how to get more email subscribers.

 

Here we help you grow your winery’s email subscriber list with six established methods. We explain how to improve your existing practices, and even tell you the practices you should avoid.

The six methods of gaining new wine email subscribers we’ll be covering are:

  1. Website calls-to-action
  2. Voluntary sign-ups in the tasting room or events
  3. Using email subscription for wine allocations
  4. Subscribing users when they make a purchase
  5. Subscribing users when they make a tasting reservation
  6. Subscribing visitors when they log into your wifi

1. Website calls-to-action to subscribe

For anyone not up with the marketing lingo, a call-to-action urges your users to take some action (for instance, click, join, subscribe) by offering a benefit for taking that action, such as “receive info about winery events.”

Calls-to-action for email sign-up can almost always be found in the footer section on websites, a convention which has become standard. The advantage of this placement is that if a user is actively looking to subscribe, they know to look in the footer. The disadvantage, if this is the only way for users to subscribe is, most of your site’s visitors will never scroll down as far as the footer.

An additional placement sometimes being used is to place the call-to-action in a pop-up which appears when the page loads. This practice is not recommended, as Google will impose a page rank penalty on websites that use what it calls “intrusive interstitials”.

Better practices for using calls-to-action to gain more winery email subscribers are to place calls-to-action within the page content, higher up on the page, or to display them as a pop-up when the user demonstrates exit intent.

Learn how to use calls-to-action to automate email segmentation >

 

Q

Digging Deeper:

Relationship-building in your email marketing

How building relationships with your subscribers makes your marketing easier.

Have you ever received an email from a winery that made you feel that you had a connection with the winery?

Winery marketing emails like this are pretty rare, but I definitely notice whenever one appears in my inbox. It makes me feel, at least to a small degree, that I’m an insider; that I’m more than just a credit card number. And guess what that does for my feeling of loyalty towards that winery?

Very few winery marketing departments include relationship-building emails in their content strategy, and consequently, winery emails are seeing decreasing engagement (lower open- and click-through-rates), and subsequently more subscribers opting out.

In the current post-COVID climate of decreased tasting room traffic and greater reliance online sales, telesales, and … wait for it … email marketing, a decrease in engagement for that channel is not good news.

Listen up: Of the goals of your winery's email marketing, one of them needs to be about building stronger relationships with your audience.

Relationship-building emails can cover topics such as what's happening in the vineyard, what the winemaker is up to, or seasonal recipes to go with your wines, but you should always invite your readers to share their responses, ideas, recipes, and photos.

If this sounds like a lot of work, just think about how much work it is to find new customers.

Q

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:

When looking at ways to get more email subscribers, it's good to know what you're willing to spend for each subscriber you acquire.

What is a new subscriber worth to you?

Estimate the potential average value of a subscriber by dividing your revenue from email marketing by your number of subscribers within a certain period.

So what is a new email subscriber worth to you? A 10% discount on their first order? A free tasting for four? Present these offers in your call-to-action.

2. Voluntary sign-ups in the tasting room or events

Inviting your tasting room visitors or event attendees to join your mailing list may seem like a no-brainer, but as with almost everything else, there are always opportunities to improve.

Instead of the old standard of a clipboard with a sheet of paper beseeching visitors to join your mailing list, try out some more creative approaches.

Here’s one: create cards for your visitors to fill out with their name, email, and favorite wine, which they drop into a box to be drawn for a prize. (Be sure to make it clear that by submitting the card, they are agreeing to receive emails from your winery.)

Use your winery’s brand voice and tone in your materials urging visitors to sign up, so potential winery email subscribers can get an idea of what they’re getting into.

Gaining permission to send promotional emails

In the US, commercial emails must follow the basic provisions of the CAN-SPAM Act, which requires that you have the recipient’s permission to send promotional emails to them. Your winery subscribers will appreciate your adherence to the rules and to common etiquette.

This is a picture of a goose who might be game to receive emails from your winery.

3. Using email subscriptions for wine allocations

Wineries using an allocation model for their wine clubs require allocation members to join a mailing list. Those who sign up for the mailing list understand they will be receiving email notifications about upcoming allocations.

However, be warned that using this list to send marketing emails without first gaining permission could be considered pushing the trust your allocation members have extended to you (and a violation of the CAN-SPAM Act).

A good approach is to allow users to check a box indicating they would like to receive special offers and promotional emails in addition to emails related to allocations.

 

4. Subscribing users when they make a purchase

Although wineries may send emails to customers with a receipt for a purchase or to confirm an order, it is not good form to assume they want to be added to your list for incessant sales promotions.

Getting permission before sending marketing emails to a customer, does more than just keep you in the good graces of the Federal Trade Commission; it demonstrates to your customers that your winery acts ethically and can be trusted. Such graciousness built into your branding generates good will and elevates your brand image.

A nice way of gaining permission is to include a link to subscribe in your order confirmation email.

 

5. Subscribing users when they make a tasting reservation

Again, sending marketing emails without first gaining permission is a questionable marketing strategy.

Far more desirable is for your winery email subscribers to have willingly chosen to be your followers. Such subscribers are more likely to share their enthusiasm with friends and cohorts.

Instead of taking the low road to subscriber acquisition, warmly welcome your guests into your tasting lounge where you can lavish them with your brand of hospitality.

Joining your email family at the conclusion of your guests’ tasting experience is a way for them to extend the relationship.

 

Could you use some help automating your email marketing? See how easy it is to get started.

This is a picture of a goose, representing one of your wine email subscribers ready to take  flight.

Benefits of gaining express permission to email

Higher open rate
Higher click-through rate
Lower likelihood of being reported as spam
Lower unsubscribe rate
Increased brand trust and brand equity

6. Subscribing visitors when they log into your tasting room wifi

Please don’t do this. Winery email subscribers should sign-up willingly and enthusiastically.

Subscribing visitors who log into your tasting room wifi without first gaining their permission is intrusive and underhanded. This can give your visitors a lasting negative feeling about your winery’s brand.

If your winery provides wifi access in your tasting area, requiring users to log in, you should clearly provide an option for users to opt out of receiving marketing emails. This is standard practice.

 

Get some help with that email marketing

And finally, if you would like some extra help reaching out to your winery’s email subscribers, making better use of personalization, segmentation, and personalization, we can help. Check out our email marketing services here >

Headshot

Bradley Squires

ENGAGEMENT CATALYST

Bradley Squires, the founder of Wine Chemistry Creative, enjoys helping wineries establish their place in the market through authentic storytelling. 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.

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