Email marketing can be a game-changer for wineries looking to boost brand awareness, increase customer loyalty, and drive more sales.
With a well-executed email strategy that provides valuable content to subscribers regularly, wineries have a huge opportunity to easily 3x their business.
In this article, we’ll outline 15 powerful email marketing tips tailored specifically for wineries to help triple your customer base, purchases, event turnout, and overall success.
Whether you’re just starting with emails or looking to improve an existing program, these best practices will transform the way you connect with customers and sell more wine. And, with the right email marketing tool, you’ll be able to speed up the entire process.
Benefits of Email Marketing for Wineries
Email marketing delivers an impressive return on investment for wineries of all sizes. On average, email marketing earns $42 for every $1 spent, providing an ROI of 4,200% that vastly outpaces other marketing channels.
Beyond outstanding revenue potential, email enhances brand exposure, nurtures customer relationships over time, provides insightful analytics, and gives wineries more control over messaging than social media.
With the ability to promote new releases, special events, wine club membership, on-site experiences, and e-commerce wine sales through creative email campaigns, wineries can easily triple their customer base and repeat purchases.
The highly targeted nature of email also enables smaller wineries to punch above their weight and compete with bigger brands. For wineries seeking more brand loyalty, higher lifetime value of customers, and bigger profit margins, prioritizing email marketing is a must.
1. Collect Emails and Encourage Signups
When you start building your email list, the first critical step is to motivate visitors and customers to join your email list to establish an owned marketing channel for continual communication. Make sign-up forms highly visible throughout your website, especially on blog posts, product pages, checkout pages, and site headers/footers.
Offer a compelling lead magnet like a wine guide, recipe ebook, or coupon to incentivize subscriptions. Have tasting room staff verbally promote your email list and capture addresses during sales.
Include a signup sheet with every wine club membership. Utilize pop-up/slide-in forms to catch attention. Confirm new subscriber signups with a welcome email that delivers instant value and starts meaningful relationships.
When you start email marketing, growing your email list needs to be a top priority to maximize the marketing opportunities emails provide long-term. Capturing customer data also enables better personalization and customer segmentation over time.
2. Offer an Irresistible Lead Magnet Like a Wine Guide or Discount
Offering an irresistible lead magnet is a proven way to rapidly grow your email subscriber list. Rather than just asking visitors to hand over their emails with no context, you need to entice them by highlighting the exclusive value they’ll receive in exchange. For wineries, some of the most compelling lead magnet options include:
A wine guide ebook. Develop a meaty yet readable guide that educates people on wine types, food pairings, tasting terminology, or buying considerations.
The invaluable insider knowledge makes it easy for wine novices to confidently purchase the right bottles. If the guide successfully empowers visitors with helpful wine intelligence, they’ll be eager to download it in exchange for their email.
A coupon code or promo offer. Everyone loves saving money on purchases. Create a limited-time coupon for 10-20% off all wines or free shipping valid for first-time email subscribers. The coupon copy should spark urgency to motivate signups and provide a discount once new subscribers complete their first purchase.
Behind-the-scenes video content. Offering exclusive video content showing vineyard practices, fermentation processes or barrel tastings provides an insider’s view of your winemaking not visible to the general public. The educational ‘fly on the wall’ perspective will captivate serious wine enthusiasts.
Having a risk-free, high-value lead magnet eliminates any friction during signup. If you genuinely improve the wine-buying journey through your free resource, email subscribers will associate your brand with top-notch guidance and become more receptive to future promotions after developing initial trust.
3. Send Welcome Emails to New Subscribers
Welcoming new email subscribers is a crucial step to immediately delivering value, nurturing engagement, and setting the tone for future communications. Don’t miss the opportunity to make strong first impressions with an impactful welcome email series.
Start by sending an automated ‘welcome’ email as soon as a visitor signs up, acknowledging their subscription and expressing excitement about staying in touch. Thank them for joining and provide logistical details confirming they’ll receive future emails in their inbox (not spam).
Reiterate the value of your lead magnet they’ll access shortly. Include social proof of happy customers praising your wine selection/tastings to build credibility.
Follow up the initial welcome with a more detailed, personalized email within 1-2 days. Address them by name and revisit why they likely subscribed, whether for wine recommendations, event invites, or special deals.
Share 2-3 hand-picked wines you believe match their palate based on lead magnet selection or data, accompanied by tasting notes. Extend an exclusive welcome offer valid for 30 days like 15% off their purchase. This immediate reward strengthens the value exchange and gets new relationships off on the right foot.
Finally, shortly after completing their first purchase, onboard subscribers by explaining your wine club levels, highlighting member benefits like free tastings, and teasing upcoming seasonal releases. The post-purchase welcome email aims to transition subscribers into loyal repeat customers.
4. Segment Your Lists by Customer Type
Successfully segmenting your email lists enables sending hyper-targeted messages matched to the unique interests and needs of each subscriber group. Avoid the temptation to lump all contacts together and ‘batch blast’ the same overly-general emails.
Get granular with customer segmentation to provide more relevance, boost engagement rates, and increase sales opportunities.
Start by separating your master list into:
- Cold leads – Website signups or tasting room captures not yet purchased
- Wine club members – Segmented by membership level (silver/gold/platinum)
- Loyal customers – 3+ purchases in the last year
- Lapses customers – No purchase in 12+ months
Additional segments may include geography, price range purchased, or varietals favored.
From there, customize email content specifics to align with each list. Educate cold leads, nurture member perks for wine clubs, reward loyal buyers and reactivate lapsed customers with personalized outreach.
Segmentation also allows sending promotional pricing or exclusives tailored to the spending levels different groups have demonstrated.
Set up segmentation rules within your email service provider to automatically filter contacts as their customer lifecycle stage changes. Use data like order value, purchase recency, and product category interest to assign relevant segments for who should receive which emails moving forward.
Email segmentation is a best practice for wineries to maximize campaign performance through relevance.
5. Personalize Email Subject Lines
Personalized email subject lines are a must for cutting through the clutter and improving open rates. With inboxes overflowing, a generic subject like “July Newsletter” will likely be ignored while personalized lines pique curiosity.
Leverage data collected on customers such as past purchases, browsing history, birthday or anniversary, wine preferences, and signup source to tailor subject line phrasing per subscriber. Tools like mail merge make personalization scalable.
- “[First name], wines similar to your Pinot Noir favorites”
- “We’ve picked 3 perfect Summer wines for you!”
- “[First name], enjoy 20% off your next order for your birthday!”
Dynamic subject line personalization takes into account engagement metrics on recent emails like opens, clicks, and purchases to adapt messaging.
If Mary opened a Pinot Noir email but didn’t click recently, you could follow up with “Mary – Thoughts on the Willamette Valley Pinot we recommended?” Or if she clicked but still hasn’t purchased that wine, “We’re holding that Oregon Pinot Noir for you, Mary!”
Personalized subject lines build anticipation, intimacy, and relevance. Subscribers feel respected when a brand recognizes and speaks directly to them as individuals. In turn, tailored subject lines boost open rates by employing the power of personalization.
6. Test Different Email Lengths and Styles
Finding the ideal email length and style for your winery subscribers is crucial for maximizing engagement and sales. Avoid guessing which approaches perform best. Employ A/B split testing to let the data inform optimal formatting decisions.
Run subject line, content length, and design tests across three versions of each promotional email campaign. For email length, compare short (3-4 sentences per section), medium (5-7 sentences per section), and long-form (8+ sentences in paragraphs) formats. Evaluate opens, clicks, and conversion rates to determine the sweet spot.
Test concise emails with just text against longer emails with ample images, graphics, and white space. Try highly conversational first-person copy against formal third-person product descriptions. Send some variants on Tuesday afternoons, and others on Thursday mornings to assess the ideal timing.
Experiment with layout – compare a text-heavy narrow column format against a wide layout with text and graphics side-by-side. Tailor styles to mobile versus desktop as well.
Continually testing and optimizing email components will uncover the best practices for future campaigns. Let data guide decisions on word count, integrations of visual assets, conversational tone, timing, and layout based on the engagement shown by subscribers.
7. Use Eye-Catching Templates and Images
Visually captivating emails stop subscribers in their tracks, convey excitement, and make opening a campaign feel like unwrapping a gift. Take time styling templates and selecting compelling images to spice up your emails.
Experiment with template layouts that amplify seasonal vibes, special events, or purchasing occasions you aim to promote. Ensure adequate white space between sections for better immobility.
Use subtle background colors that enhance wine tones and descriptive copy. Size graphics appropriately so central focus areas have enough real estate for hero images alongside text.
Speaking of images, incorporate mouthwatering photos of beautifully displayed food pairings next to your wine bottles. For those bottling from their estate, showcase vineyard acreage in an autumn sunset or lush grapes nearing perfect ripeness. When announcing new vintages, splurge for professional wine-pouring videos to share tasting notes engagingly.
Evoke the taste and experience of uncorking one of your bottles through transportive imagery – wind down the winery road, enter the aging cellar, and admire fine craftsmanship on the bottling line.
Leverage visual storytelling to spotlight wines as the artwork they are, amplified by the meticulous creative process required from grape to glass. When subscribers visually fall in love, purchases logically follow.
8. Give Subscribers Value in Every Email
The surest way to lose subscribers is failing to consistently provide value with your email content. Avoid self-promotional product pitches with no meaningful takeaways. Identify knowledge gaps to fill or questions you get asked frequently that quality content could address.
For cold leads, share Wine 101 education on properly tasting different varietals. Explain industry terms or decode complicated labels. For wine club members, give a sneak peek at upcoming releases or dives into your winemaking philosophy. Offer serving tips like ideal pairing combinations, proper glassware, and decanting basics.
Provide utility by recommending subscription management settings to tailor preferences. Encourage reviews of the latest wine club shipments. Maintain open rates by sprinkling in humor, like wine memes or comics.
Surprise and delight tactics also deliver value – for example, unexpected discounts, extended loyalty rewards, or VIP access to special events. Send a coupon on subscribers’ birthdays or your winery anniversary. Recognize loyalty milestones and tenure with tiered gifts featuring your wines.
Deliver consistent value, not endless promotions. If subscribers consistently look forward to your creative content solving problems and improving their wine journeys, commercial messages will land better when appropriate.
9. Promote Wine Club Memberships
Wine club promotions are a perfect fit for email marketing. Onboarding new members and nurturing existing ones builds the foundation for repeat purchases. Dedicate campaigns specifically to advertise membership perks, and new club levels, and share member testimonials.
Describe the monthly or quarterly shipment cadences so prospective members visualize receiving your bottles consistently. Breakdown membership pricing/fees clearly and any savings versus buying wine a la carte online. Feature 3-4 of your most prestigious reds or whites they’ll receive to showcase quality.
For current wine club patrons, announce newly released shipments with tasting notes. Provide pairing recipes utilizing that shipment’s selection. Cross-sell add-on bottles not in their allotment to increase order value. Offer member-exclusive early access to reserve labels or first dibs on limited quantities.
Send a reminder email 3-5 days before the recurring auto-shipments process providing the option to pause/cancel any months they already have sufficient inventory. Surprise sporadic shipments with a mid-month “Happy Spring! Enjoy this special selection…” to elongate the buying cycle.
Wine clubs foster deeper relationships and higher customer lifetime value. Emails give affordable 1:1 engagement at scale to attract and reward members.
10. Highlight Special Events and Tastings
Email marketing represents the perfect medium to promote your winery’s special events and tasting room activities. Through creative messaging and imagery, generate buzz leading up to events and drive increased registration and participation.
Announce each event through a dedicated email 2-4 weeks before building anticipation. Lead with stunning visuals that set the scene – glasses raised for a toast at a winemaker dinner, musicians entertaining a vineyard sunset party. Share notable guest chefs, featured entertainment lineups, or exclusive vintages to be sampled.
Outline event particulars – date, time, location, attire, parking details, weather contingencies if outdoors. Make the registration process simple by embedding an RSVP form or links to TicketSpice.
For annual events, reminisce through photo highlights of prior years alongside current details. Offer email subscribers early bird pricing, extra welcome drink tickets, or VIP seating to incentivize signups.
Follow up the initial announcement email with helpful reminder emails a few days before each event. Continue nurturing relationships post-event by asking attendees to review their experience or share photos that can be used to promote next year’s edition.
Thoughtful events expand brand exposure and foster lasting connections with current and prospective customers in meaningful ways. Prominently featuring tastings and special events by email spotlights the human side of your winery.
11. Share New Releases and Winemaker Notes
One of the most exciting times for winery email marketing is announcing new wine releases. Subscribers anxiously await the first sips of the latest vintages as your winemaking star shines year after year.
Dedicate individual spotlight emails unveiling upcoming releases one by one in the lead-up to availability. Provide necessary details like varietal makeup, vintage date, tasting notes, origins of grape sourcing, optimal food pairings, production volume, and retail pricing.
Attach a short video clip of your winemaker describing ideal serving suggestions and the flavor profile enthusiasts can expect. If possible, share a short video snippet visiting the rolling hills of vineyard sites that stocked perfect grapes.
Offer email subscribers exclusive pre-order access to snag the newest wines in limited allotments before officially hitting shelves. Build excitement by announcing exactly which date/time upcoming vintages can be purchased online or in person.
New releases demonstrate the fruits of meticulous labor since prior vintages. Email marketing allows ample room for winemakers to express their craft year after year directly to loyal supporters.
12. Utilize Automation for Campaigns
Email marketing automation is indispensable for wineries to scale communications while retaining personalization. The technology sends triggered emails based on user behaviors, profile data, and past engagement. Automation eliminates manual tasks allowing you to focus on producing incredible wine.
Set up a signup welcome series to deliver lead magnet access, thank new subscribers for joining, and introduce your popular varietals. Automate happy birthday messages with unique coupon codes. When a purchase occurs, immediately send an order confirmation email. If high-margin items get abandoned in their cart, send a friendly reminder.
Email list segmentation allows tailored messaging alignment. Send new release announcements to frequent buyers but share winemaking articles to disengage subscribers and re-attract their interest. Integrate weather APIs to promote Cabernet Sauvignons on cold evenings or refreshingly crisp Rosés when temperatures rise.
Automation technology affordably provides the 1:1 feel of boutique winery relationships at an unlimited scale. Let platforms handle manual tasks so you can tend to vines and craft immortal vintages.
13. Send Cart Abandonment Emails
Don’t let all your hard work cultivating interest go to waste when customers fill their carts but leave without purchasing. Statistics show over 65% of online carts get abandoned at checkout, losing valuable sales. Win that business back through targeted cart abandonment emails.
Set up automated triggers to deploy these emails when people browse products and add items to their cart without immediately buying. Give shoppers one day to complete the purchase. Then send a friendly email reminding them items remain saved in their cart for easy checkout.
Highlight freed-up shipping promotions or lowered order minimums to tip them towards conversion. Share a coupon for 10% off if they return within a 1 week window along with an exceptional bottle you recommend adding to complement items already in the cart. Drive additional revenue through upsells while closing originally intended purchases in a helpful tone.
Cart abandonment emails effectively nudge customers who expressed initial buying signals to complete their checkout the second time around. Don’t let promising leads and sales opportunities permanently evaporate without trying your best to rescue them. Deploying cart-saver emails should boost conversion rates and order values.
14. Provide Exclusive Discounts to Email List
Loyal email subscribers represent a winery’s best customers. Reward their readership and ongoing support by providing exclusive discounts not promoted elsewhere. Limited-time savings and special offers add immense value to your emails for a captive audience already demonstrating buying signals.
Rather than sitewide sales offered to the general public, reserve specialty coupon codes, and flash deals specifically for VIP insiders on your email list. For example, offer 20% off any case of wine for email subscribers only on the 15th anniversary of founding your winery. Or provide free engraving and customization of large-format bottles ordered leading up to the holidays.
Surprise and delight tactics also apply. Unexpectedly treat engaged email subscribers who have supported your business for 5+ years with a major coupon code for 40% off their purchase. Or randomly select a handful of wine club members each month to enjoy an extra shipment on the house featuring new releases and tasting notes.
Exclusive savings and perks make subscribers feel valued as important customers, not just another nameless sale. Promotional emails spotlight your winery’s sincere appreciation for their loyalty and readings through special treatment and discounts.
15. Measure Email Metrics and Optimize
Don’t fly blind without quantifying key email success metrics to pinpoint what campaigns and messages resonate best with subscribers. Analyze open, clickthrough, and conversion rates. Evaluate by segment and recent trends over time.
Tools like Mailchimp and Constant Contact provide powerful analytics dashboards to surface insights. Review monthly performance reports detailing subscriber growth, automation triggered, top-performing email content types, and peak engagement times/days.
Let data guide decisions on ideal send times, email length, subject line approaches, and promotional tactics. Experiment with an A/B testing mindset to determine optimal wording, imagery, and calls to action. Continually fine-tune based on feedback via opens, clicks, and transactions. The key metrics will reveal subscriber preferences to hone future email relevance.
Rather than guessing what works, let subscriber behaviors demonstrate through email analytics what resonates best. Quantify engagement across campaigns to double down on successes and revamp poorer performers. Optimizing the member experience through data ultimately leads to strong ROI.
Implementing these 15 proven email marketing tips will transform winery-customer relationships and sales. With the right segmentation, personalization, automation, and optimization, open rates, click-throughs purchase conversion will hit new highs.
Most importantly, genuinely valuable email content builds lasting bonds with subscribers over the long run. As wineries master one-to-one digital communications scaled to their entire audience, they’ll earn the customer loyalty that forms the foundation of a thriving business for decades of memorable vintages to come.