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Joanne Grantz
 
July 8, 2015 | Customer Relationship Management (CRM), Email Marketing , Marketing | Joanne Grantz

It's 11 pm. Do you know where your most loyal customers are?

Your most engaged customers already love your wine, and they're happy to tell their friends. Using brand evangelism to attract more customers is a low-cost marketing strategy that reaps continual rewards, according to Forbes. As social circles grow, so can your customer base. Here are three ways to cultivate and engage your most loyal customers:

Make friends with customers
Take a look at the activity across your social media channels. Comments, likes and shares can help you identify your most enthusiastic advocates, said Digital Sherpa. To save yourself some reading time, use analytics tools to track the sources of online buzz. Beyond social media, data from online wine sales can help you find other brand enthusiasts. Reach out to your vocal supporters. Like their Facebook pages and don't be shy about saying hello through social media.

"Use analytics tools to track the sources of online brand buzz."

Better yet, invite them into your tasting room so you can introduce yourself in person. If your budget allows, offer a free bottle as a thank you for the support. Offering a discount is also an effective gesture of recognition. Establishing personal, individualized connections is a great way to prompt excitement about your brand. When you reach out to customers, chances are they'll reach out to their friends. 

Give thanks
A little gratitude goes a long way, and those who help create buzz for your brand deserve a little recognition.  If your customers feel valued, they'll remain true to your brand. You can send a simple note of thanks via email or social media. Better yet, send handwritten cards to your wine club members. If other supporters have given you their addresses, don't be shy about sending them mail, too. Receiving a personal letter in the mail is a joyful surprise that really stands out among a crowd of online messages. 

Trade ads for reviews
Bloggers, columnists and magazine writers among those with the potential to influence wine-buying choices. Offering free wine in exchange for written reviews is a great way to advertise without a hefty price tag. Today's consumers are used to seeing ads everywhere, and often trust individual endorsements more than pictures. Try reaching out to a few online writers and print publications. Asking for reviews costs no more than a few minutes and a bottle of wine, and the potential to gain more business is well worth the effort. Don't forget to send a thank-you note for those who offer your brand glowing praise.

Written reviews, social media activity and in-person conversations all keep brand buzz going. Make customer communication a continual effort, and you'll have a thriving army of brand advocates. 

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