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12 DTC Wine Email Marketing Tactics to Increase Deliverability

Email marketing continues to be a cost effective and efficient way to build customer relationships, boost brand awareness and ease subscribers through the DTC sales funnel.

But there’s a snag – that darn Promotions inbox and dreaded Junk folder.

Getting your email into your subscriber’s inbox is all about the deliverability of your email campaign.

What is email deliverability exactly?

In Email Marketing, deliverability is the success of your emails reaching the inbox without bouncing or being marked as spam.

If you have issues with high bounce rates, flagged spam filters, and low engagement for your email campaigns, you may have deliverability issues.

And even though you are following the rules and have got the basic tech stuff sorted, such as

  • Using a trustworthy ESP (Email Service Provider such as Mailchimp, Klayvio, Constant Contact)
  • Have a solid sender domain reputation
  • Have authenticated your domain with the ESP
  • And have verified your email address…

…your bulk email sends may still end up in the Spam folder!

It’s frustrating as there seem to be so many secrets behind reaching the Inbox 100% of the time.

So what can be done…

Here are some straightforward tactics to improve your email deliverability.

No.1 Ensure you have a Double Opt-in

A double opt-in is when people sign up to your email list; an immediate automatic email is sent to them with a link requesting confirmation of their subscription.

Even though research suggests this is a wise option to ensure your email deliverability, many find it annoying as your email list size may not grow as quickly.

No.2 Send a Welcome Email

Like the double opt-in, ensuring the subscriber is engaged quickly after signing up to your email list is another tactic to ensure strong deliverability.

FURTHER READING: 5 Transactional Emails that Increase DtC Wine Sales

No. 3 Get Whitelisted

Another way to fast track to the inbox is to ask subscribers to safelist your emails or add you as a contact (instructions vary for email providers). This tactic tells spam filters that you’re essentially someone they want to hear from, and your emails shouldn’t be sent to spam.

When sending the Opt-in Email, ask subscribers to Whitelist your emails by suggesting they drag your email to the Primary Inbox, which will make it more likely that your subsequent few messages end up there. Or ask them to
“star” in Gmail, which automatically moves it to Primary.

These strategies may not keep you in the inbox indefinitely, so you might need to include reminders once in a while.

No. 4 Personalise From/Sender

If your open rates are lower than expected, it could be because of something as simple as your sender name (the From in your emails).

As spam these days is so common and sometimes risky, many will not open an email if they don’t trust the sender.

If you aren’t doing it already, use your brand name in your “From” line. This tactic reduces spam complaints and improves open rates, which will help deliverability.

You could also test sending emails from a company individual to give messages a more personal feel.

The options are endless—remember to test and see what’s working!
Email Marketing Campaings - sender information

Personalising the email by using your name and business name in the Sender area should enable subscribers to know quickly who the email is coming from, and if they trust you, they will most likely open the email.

No.5 Avoid “Trigger” Words in the Subject Line

When writing your subject lines, you want to pique the reader’s interest and compel them to read on.

Make sure you:

  • Avoid the spammy sales pitches.
  • Keep them succinct and to the point.
  • Deliver the message in your email, so readers know why they need to read on.
  •  D o n ’t p u t g a p s b e t w e e n l e t t e r s a n y w h e r e !
  • Only use one exclamation mark – don’t go crazy!!!!!!!!!
  • Stay true to your brand voice.
  • Remember that overdoing the EMOJIs doesn’t work.
  • Stay away from words and phrases that sound gimmicky: Buy Now, Click Here, Free, As Seen On, Double Your X, Money Making, Get Paid, Make Cash, Pre-Approved, Satisfaction Guaranteed, Low Price, Save Big.

No. 6 Optimise all Emails for Engagement

Whether you’re sending the Opt-in Email, Welcome Email or a regular monthly email campaign, always ensure it prompts engagement with a CTA. When a subscriber opens, clicks – and even better, replies to your email, it sends a clear signal to spam filters that subscribers like receiving your emails.

Having high engagement early on in your email campaigns is the best way to ensure the rest of your emails end up in the inbox.

You’re probably familiar with best practices for optimising for opens and clicks, but what about replies?

  • Elicit a response to your email as it can do wonders for deliverability.
  • Ask a question in your email and prompt your reader to reply.
  • Have the reader confirm they got your email or a download with a reply.

No.7 Avoid Spelling Mistakes

Typos and spelling mistakes are annoying to readers, but they are actually a spam trigger, too, according to Hubspot.

It makes sense as Spammer emails have multiple typos and are poorly worded.

No.8 Don’t Overdo the Images

Image-heavy emails with very little copy can be hallmarks of Spammers, so spam filters tend to be wary of them. Additionally, some ISPs (internet service provider such as gmail or outlay) may not display images by default, which means images may not even show up for some subscribers.

Images are also slower to load, which impacts the user experience (UX) and engagement.

Keep images minimal. Having more space in the body of an email taken up by images than by text raises many red flags. Aim for a high text to image area ratio.

Many brands are experimenting with more straightforward, text-based emails to improve load time and deliverability.

Of course, this is all highly brand relevant AND not necessarily something that will work for a wine brand, so if you use images, make sure they’re adequately compressed and include alt text.

No. 9 Don’t Use URL Shorteners

Using URL shorteners is a technique used by spammers to hide the nature of URLs, and therefore, this tactic ranks high on reasons spam filters may block your emails, even if the links themselves are legitimate.

Also, avoid inserting the full URL link as text in the body of your email. Instead, create a hyperlink with the appropriate text and ensure all your links go to legitimate domains.

By replacing URL shorteners with clear and attractive CTAs, you’ll also drive traffic and see more click-throughs on your sends. This tactic is another piece of the sending reputation pie that can further boost your email deliverability.

No. 10 Optimise for Mobile

Today, more than half of all emails are read on mobile phones. Time is precious, and if your design isn’t optimised for mobile, people might simply give up and click out of the email.

Sadly though, 1 in 5 email campaigns are not optimised for mobile devices (Superoffice 2020).

Think how frustrating that is for your subscribers who open your email and can’t read it properly on their device.

No. 11 Offer a Clear Unsubscribe Button

This should be a no-brainer, but your unsubscribe button isn’t easy to find; subscribers are more likely to hit Spam/Complaint, a killer for deliverability.

No. 12 Practice good list hygiene

Just like your hands, regularly cleaning your list is also an excellent idea. Unopened emails, unengaged subscribers, and bounce rates can affect your sender’s reputation and overall deliverability.
Build out re-engagement campaigns to regularly check in with short-term unengaged subscribers (every 3-6 months, depending on how much you mail).

  • Periodically segment unengaged subscribers into their lists and remove them from regular mailings
  • Every twelve months, fully clean your list of anyone that hasn’t engaged. Email marketing is permission-based marketing, but by twelve months, if that subscriber hasn’t engaged, consent to send emails has expired, and you run the risk of low open rates, high bounce rates, and spam complaints.
Tania Shirgwin

Tania Shirgwin

Founder + Head Consultant

Tania is a marketing strategist specialising in tourism, wine and hospitality marketing. As founder of Decant Digital (formerly bizeez communications), Tania’s unique role over the past 14 years has enabled her to follow her passions of travel and her marketing obsessions of strategic marketing planning, consumer-focused web development, search optimisation, and training. With over 80 customised websites built to date, successful event marketing campaigns and new business branding, Tania’s wealth of experience ensures businesses continually increase website traffic, direct bookings, and sales via proven marketing tactics.

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