Sheri Hebbeln
October 16, 2014 | Email Marketing | Sheri Hebbeln

What is email deliverability and why do wineries need to pay attention to it?

The holidays are right around the corner, which means many wineries may be starting to plan their year-end promotions. Email is an important component of wine marketing, especially because it's cost-effective and scalable, but it's only impactful when you take deliverability into account. 

Email deliverability is the number of messages that actually reach consumers' inboxes. Even if you have compelling offers, snappy headlines and informative content, it won't matter unless emails are getting to your subscribers. As email clients increasingly become more sophisticated and offer more filtering options to users, it's more difficult than ever before to land in the inbox. In fact, recent statistics from email marketing provider Return Path revealed only 1 in 6 emails reach their intended destination. The rest are either sent to the spam folder or blocked. Not only do email users have more control over their own inboxes, but the major providers filter messages based on reputation. If a sender is known to send spam, the message won't reach the inbox.

How to improve email deliverability
Because email service providers are so concerned with the experience for their users, it's important to ask customers to opt in for messages and give them some say on the level of communication they receive from your winery. In particular, implementing a double opt-in for your email program can boost deliverability rates. Customers will offer their email addresses, and then you send them a message with a link to confirm their subscriptions. You can also give them some choices on how often they hear from you and what types of content they receive. For example, some subscribers will be interested in wine club information, while others want to know when there are specials on shipping. 

Adhering to these preferences makes it easier to prevent unsubscribes, but it's still important to give customers the option to remove their email addresses from your list when they want to. An actively engaged list will deliver better results for winery marketers than a large group of disinterested clients. You need to include an unsubscribe link in an obvious location. If recipients don't want to read your messages anymore, they certainly do not want to spend more time searching for the unsubscribe link. If this feature isn't readily apparent, you risk them flagging the message as spam, which can hurt your ability to reach future subscribers.

In addition, one of the best ways to ensure deliverability is to practice good list hygiene. Hard bounces - or addresses that are permanently undeliverable - and subscribers who have been inactive for a lengthy amount of time should be removed, according to Business 2 Community. Low open rates can be a sign to email service providers that your messages aren't delivering value to subscribers.

Deliverability is essential for holiday success
If you want to get the full benefits of your email program and maximize online wine sales during the holidays, deliverability should be a top concern. Because subscribers will have different interests and preferences, it's important to segment your list based on this information to send the most relevant offers to each group. For instance, long-time wine club members won't be interested in the same information as new online customers. 

While deliverability should be the top concern for email marketing, wineries need to plan out their holiday promotions in advance. In particular, wine shipping deals will be popular at this time of year, especially if you advertise the ability to reach most regions of the country within a short time. 


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