Thursday, September 4, 2008

More on Marketing for Wineries

I just can't seem to get off of the topic of direct marketing for the wine-making business, can I?

Last week, I shared with you news about Jordan Winery's new loyalty program (as well as some personal information about my love for wine and the genesis of my firm's name, RRW!). Today I thought you might be just as interested in how Stag's Leap is using email to build a customer relationship.

From DM News: Stag's Leap Wine Cellars toast to e-mail. The article goes into some pretty good detail about how this winery is maximizing the channel.

The winery works with e-mail services firm Vertical Response to send 12 e-mail campaigns a year. Six are launched every other month to the house mailing list and the company plans to double that number this year. The others are launched on the opposite months to club members only.

“The strategy is to reach out to our consumers who have requested information about our winery and to hopefully prompt them to visit our Web site to build a long-term relationship with our customers,” said Nancy Burton, Club 23 manager at Stag's Leap Wine Cellars, via e-mail.

I agree that email is an excellent channel for Stags Leap.

Email is a tool that, when used the right way, generates sales and boosts visibility. We all receive so much email on a daily basis, however. We know that the only emails that survive the 'delete' button in our own in-boxes are those that we want to receive; those that we're interested in. We all keep personal emails and we all have that short-list of commercial emails that we wouldn't miss, and that we definitely open.

So, what makes an email move to that 'open' short-list? In my opinion, it's as simple as relevance. If the email is coming from a company or an industry that I'm interested in, I'll open it, even if I don't have a long-term relationship with the sender. In my case, for example, I would definitely open an email from Stags Leap (or any other winery). I'm interested in hearing about wine. I like to buy it and I'm already a member of many wine clubs.

The challenge, of course, is to figure out who among your customers and prospects is receptive to hearing from you. This is where tried and true direct marketing disciplines such as testing and segmentation come into play. A strong offer and a clear call to action are critical components of a good email campaign, too.

And, to complete the loop, it's critical to measure success against campaign goals. By success, I think we need to go beyond open and click through rates, and do a much better job of quantifying email campaign results. Your measurement strategy needs to answer these types of questions:
  • How many incremental or new sales did the campaign generate?
  • How many referrals did you make? How many new names can you add to your list?
  • How did the campaign build loyalty (a really tough one to answer, btw)?
The bottom line: We direct marketers already have the knowledge and the tools to build superior email campaigns.

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