Sheri Hebbeln
May 16, 2014 | Demand Generation , Email Marketing | Sheri Hebbeln

How can you improve email marketing?

Email marketing is still a highly effective driver of new business and customer retention for wineries. However, there are some common pitfalls in wine marketing that could derail the effectiveness of your campaigns. Avoiding issues and measuring the effectiveness of your email efforts could help you continue seeing a high return on investment from this marketing channel.

Win-back campaigns are a common use of email in the ecommerce arena. If a customer has been inactive for a long period of time, many marketers utilize this tactic to send him or her a special offer in hopes of encouraging another purchase. However, a recent study from Return Path revealed you may not be using these campaigns to the greatest effectiveness in your online wine store. The study, titled "Email Win-Back Programs: Everyone Recommends Them, But Do They Work?" assessed marketing messages from top brands that were sent to 100 million subscribers and found that many marketers are quick to remove email addresses from their lists after not receiving an immediate response.

This could be because sending more mail to unresponsive recipients may result in a higher number of messages being directed to spam folders or blocked from the inbox entirely. Mailbox providers have different techniques of determining whether emails are spam or not, and if other recipients are interacting with the same message, it's less likely to be diverted to the spam folder. With Gmail, it's particularly tough to avoid spam, and it is the most popular email client. Return Path found it was harder for marketers to reach Gmail users than any other platform. It may be even more challenging since Google introduced different inbox tabs to sort messages. Marketers feared their messages would never be seen in the Promotions tab.

Despite the challenge of getting messages seen and the risks of too many spam emails, Return Path found that win-back campaigns are still worthwhile for many online retailers. The study found that 12 percent of people who receive win-back emails would read them. Although that seems like a small number, it is significant for customers who aren't actively engaged in the brand. Return Path suggested that retailers wait a little while before immediately removing customers from the list. After reading the messages, they could be engaging with the brand through different channels.

Key email metrics to watch
Outside of win-back campaigns, there are a variety of other ways you can incorporate email into your wine marketing strategies. If your campaigns haven't been a total success in recent months, it may be time to look at a few important metrics and make adjustments, Entrepreneur magazine stated. Here are three metrics that can tell you a lot about your campaign performance:

  • Open rates: The first step to running an effective campaign is getting customers to open emails. Other metrics don't matter if recipients are deleting messages without reading them. This could be related to poor subject lines.
  • Click-thru rates: How many people are ending up on your website after reading the email? If people are opening messages and not going to your site, your call to action may be lacking.
  • Unsubscribe rate: It can be disheartening to see large numbers of customers unsubscribing, but this usually means you need to make adjustments. Although catchy subject lines are important, the message content should be related, Entrepreneur said. Your headline can't make promises that the body of the email doesn't deliver. Emails need to offer subscribers informative content as well as promote products. This channel can be used as a relationship-building tool, but email needs to speak to things customers care about. 


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