Though we’re still experiencing some rain here in the valley, as I look out my window I’m seeing signs of spring all around. Personally, I’m looking forward to the warmer weather and longer days since my triathlon training starts this weekend (which I’m sure will end up in my blog at some point)!
With this change in the seasons, I inevitably end up feeling like I need to “clean house” and get organized. What about you and your business? Feeling like to you need to do some cleaning and organizing as well? Things will only get more hectic as your club shipments start going out and your tasting room gets busier, so why not take advantage of this “slower” time and start with your most important asset - your customer and contact lists!
Now I know this might sound daunting, but believe me, you’ll save yourself some valuable time in the long run! The first thing to do is prioritize - I’m sure you’ve figured out that your club member lists are the place to start. This should be an easy exercise as you probably know many of them by name. Just check to make sure you’ve got all their information - shipping address, billing address, credit card (is it getting ready to expire?) and a current phone number. Not sure if it’s current - call them (I highly recommend this personal touch whenever possible) or send them an email asking them to update their information online, or contact you if anything has changed. When you get ready to process your clubs you’ll be glad you did, and so will they! I’ve worked with many winery clients who have thanked me time and again for this advice because they learned the hard way how long it can take to process a club shipment if addresses are wrong or credit cards have changed or expired!
Now that your club members are taken care of, time to tackle your customers. Here again, prioritize! If you’re lucky enough to have a very large customer list, and not nearly enough time to contact them all personally, then segment your list - call your top 50 or 100 customers, or your most frequent purchasers and thank them for their business and let them know you’re just checking to make sure their information is up to date. If you’re really on top of your game, you’ll have checked their purchase history and offer to send them more of their favorite wine, or let them know you’ve got a club shipment coming up and you’d love to sign them up so they’ll be sure to receive it!
For the rest of your customer list, send them an email and let them know you’re doing your “spring cleaning” and want to verify their information. Let them know you’d be happy to send them more wine as well, or sign them up for your club.
Most wineries will stop here - and I can understand that. With all you have to do in a day, it’s hard to find the time to reach out beyond wine club members and customers, but taking the time to reach out to your contact list (you might just have an email address, or a snail mail address) can reap some nice rewards. Though there isn’t much “cleaning” to do here in terms of their information, taking the time to reach out to these contacts a few times a year can help you know when to “clean” them out of your database. And again, you’ll want to prioritize - start with your email contacts since they’ll be the least expensive to reach out to!
For those you have an email address for, send them a note letting them know you’re doing some “spring cleaning” (sensing a theme here??) and would like to keep them on your list, but need a response back to know they’re still interested. Keep those you hear from in a week or two, and delete the rest! Reward those that respond with an incentive to make that first purchase so you can convert them from being a contact to a customer - email them a promo code, or offer an extra gift with their first wine purchase - something simple and small that you can include in their shipment. And for those that do make that first purchase, I highly recommend contacting them a few weeks after they receive their shipment to thank them - it will go a long way to building their loyalty, securing additional purchases, and possibly converting them to wine club members!
For those you have a snail mail address for, consider doing a simple postcard, or if you have the budget, a letter with a contact/order form. Explain to them that you’re moving to an electronic form of communication and would love to get their email address and other contact information. And again, the same rules and rewards would apply - keep those you hear from in a month or so, delete the rest and reward those who respond!
If you can perform these exercises even twice a year, you’ll have much cleaner information, a better sense of who your customers are and a list of customers and contacts that you know are responsive!