List Building. Good Idea or Bad Idea?
Here’s a list to help you decide:
- Do you want to increase your business? If so, building a list is a good idea.
- Are you looking to go out of business and retire next week? If so, building a list is a bad idea.
Does this help?
Ok, so let’s assume you want to build a list. (If you already have a list, we’ll help you make it a bigger one. Size does matter. )
Is it difficult to build a list? Let’s put it this way. Do you need assistance when going to pee? No? Then you already can do this easily.
How to get people to join your list:
- Ask them.
- See #1 above
Laugh not. We once asked a winery if they had an email list. “No,” they responded. “The place where our wines are tasted doesn’t provide that capability.” “Next time you go over there,” we suggested, “stop at Staples first and buy a pencil and a yellow pad.” (We do amuse ourselves sometimes.)
So when customers come into your tasting room, ask them if they’d like to receive special offers, notices of sales, advance word of new releases, etc. And then you enter their email on your POS system or iPad, or the yellow pad you bought at Staples.
You can, of course, ask for more than their email. You can also contact people via this brand new invention, the telephone. Telephone wine sales are big. There are several companies that specialize in calling your customers to sell them your wine. One winery, which pays employees $1 for each email they get from customers, will pay that same employee $5 for each phone number. One wine telesales company reports selling about $7 to $14 million in wine each year for all their client wineries.
Since you have a website (you do, don’t you?), do you have a place where people can sign up to receive your newsletter? (You do produce one, right?) Is your sign-up form on the home page? Is it also on every page? Good. (Well, good only if you answered yes to these questions.)
You shouldn’t ask too many questions when asking users to sign up. Email address is a must. Asking for first/last name is good. This is so you can address the emails with “Dear Bob” (if that’s their name) instead of “Dear Unknown”.
Some wineries also ask for the users’ zip code. But ask yourself why you really need it. Do you separate newsletter users this way? There are other questions you can ask, such as wine preferences, but don’t do that here. You don’t want people to say they don’t have time now, but will do it later, because they won’t do it later.
Here is an example of a winery that starts out well, but then falls off. The signup shown here is on the home page, but not on the other pages. And then, once the customer signs up, the winery is missing out on an opportunity to really connect with that customer.
Saying “thanks” is really not good enough. Tell them what they’ll now get. Being on yet another mailing list is boring. Tell them why yours is special. Maybe offer a one-time promo code for a discounted wine as a thanks for getting their newsletter. And what really does “subscribe success” mean? Yeah, we know, but that is silly. It sounds like computer-speak.
Here are some other great ways to collect emails:
- At events, such as wine store tastings, restaurant wine dinners, and festivals
- Offer tasting room employees a set amount, perhaps 50 cents or $1 per email
- Promote your newsletter on Facebook or other social media app
- Create a contest and promote it through social media and/or on your website
The purpose of building a list is, of course, to promote your wines or whatever you want to promote. You can offer some wines only at a discount, perhaps to move slow-selling products. Or perhaps all your wines to increase cash flow. You can offer special holiday sales, e.g., Christmas gifts, 4th of July barbecues, Mother’s Day, Valentine’s Day, or anything really. You perhaps can offer special deals on case sales, free or reduced price shipping, or anything you want.
Some creative wineries offer bigger discounts the more people buy, e.g., “save 10% on 3 bottles, 20% on 6 bottles, 30% on 12 or more.” Or any combination of discounts on wine, shipping or even free merchandise (free T shirt with any purchase). Free wine is generally frowned upon, but your state regulations will determine that.
Not only can this generate sales, it also reminds your customers of your brand and could get them to think of you when shopping at the local stores too. A customer who buys at Safeway or their local wine store is your customer just as much as one who visits your tasting room or orders wine to be shipped. You won’t make as much profit on that sale, but it still is a sale.
By the way, it’s a good idea when asking for emails, to assure people that you don’t sell or rent your email list to anyone. People don’t like spam, and you don’t want to spam potential and actual customers. And provide an easy way for people to remove themselves from your list. If they ask to be removed, do it promptly.
Now that your list is built, you can actually create multiple lists from this one. Perhaps people only want to receive emails about your Cabernet or your Chardonnay. You can target these customers so they receive fewer emails, but more important ones. There’s nothing wrong with sending an email asking these questions.
Among the things you can ask are:
- Favorite varieties
- New Releases
- Special Events
- Library wines
- How often they want to receive email
Now you’re on your way to not only having a good list, but you are also starting to understand what is called target marketing.
Think of target marketing this way: If you buy books at Amazon.com, and every book you buy is about the Civil War, would you really want to receive an email from them announcing a sale on Harlequin Romance novels?
Didn’t think so. Targeted marketing is just that. Marketing targeted to the people who like what you are selling. And not what the customer has no interest in. If they only like Cabernet, and they keep getting white wine sales offers, they may ask to be removed from your mailing list.
But this does take more work, and if your list isn’t large yet (it will be soon, though), you don’t need to separate them in this way.
It is a good idea, though, to always have a separate email list for your wine club members. Wine club members like being treated as someone special. They are special. You may want to offer bigger deals for members, or perhaps wines available only to them. You can send just members an email or you can put the offer in a general email. If you send out one email to everyone, offer 20% off to everyone, and say club members will get 30% off. To do this you have to be sure your website is set up to recognize this by the email address, or by asking club members to log-in at the site first.
By the way, when you do send out emails, A/B test them first if you can, especially if you have a large list. A/B testing is merely a way of finding out which version of an email will better increase sales. For example, is it better to offer 20% off a wine or to offer free or reduced price shipping? Or a combination of both? For more information about A/B testing, see our previous blog post http://overabarrel.wordpress.com/2013/03/18/a-b-testing/
Another thing to keep in mind that email marketing used in conjunction with social media and blog posts can be very powerful. But that’s a topic for another day.
Let us know what you think about this post (or any of our posts). Comments are always welcome.