We all know the importance of using DTC (Direct to Consumer) email marketing to increase wine sales.

But, sending out the ‘once a month’, or worse, ‘once a quarter’ wine offer or newsletter no longer generates the dollars it once did.

Why is that, you ask?

The generic, ‘one-size-fits-all’ email simply doesn’t work in today’s market.

People Want customised communication - quote

As we have mentioned before, email marketing is permission-based marketing.

At one of your touch points, the customer gave you their email address in the hope you will give them something in return – preferably something of value.

This opens the door for you to send relevant, timely, targeted, compelling communication about your wine releases, winery events, wine sales and how they can get more of the wine they love.

It’s not just flogging your wares in a newsletter.

So, what can you be doing to increase DTC wine sales through email marketing?

Email Automation!

Using email automation (also known as transactional emails) in conjunction with your monthly wine offer newsletter, allows you to send emails at specific time intervals or in response to your customer’s actions (hence why they are called transactional emails as there is some form of transaction that has taken place).

Email automation saves you time and money, because you are not having to physically send individual emails manually.

On top of that, email marketing has an ROI of $38 for every $1 spent, and conversions generated by email marketing are actually 40 x more more than social media.

Email automation can be created for individual messages or a larger email ‘drip campaign’, it really depends on your requirements.

These automated email workflows are triggered when the customer performs a specific action. For example, they purchase a certain $ value of wine via your website and this action triggers an email to say Thank You for the purchase and offers them an upsell or cross-promotion of a future purchase.

And most transactional emails have something the rest of email marketing messages don’t have: Expectation!

Your customer is expecting to receive the email. It might be an acknowledgement that they signed up for a newsletter, or a receipt for their purchase, but they are expecting it. Therefore, they are more likely to open it.

So if your wine customer is expecting an email message that they are going to open – they are a captive audience. When you have a captive audience it’s imperative to take advantage of the situation to extend relevant offers and / or seek customer feedback. It’s a chance to truly engage with the customer that you cannot pass up.

How to create email automation workflows.

Step 1

Before you get started, make sure you create an account with a quality Email Service Provider (ESP).

Outlook, gMail or the email service you use to send your daily emails is not what we mean by Email Service Provider.

Email Service Providers offer email marketing services for bulk emails. They are built specifically for the purpose of sending bulk emails, running automation campaigns and helping you sell your products.

Read our post on Tips on How to Successfully Choose a DTC Wine Marketing Email Service Provider for a better understanding of ESP’s and what you should be looking for in their service offerings.

PRO TIP: We recommend MailChimp.

To begin with, you can send up to 2,000 emails monthly. Free of charge!

MailChimp also offers incredibly easy-to-use drag and drop campaigns, list segmentation, a vast array of customer training videos, A/B split testing and user-friendly reports so you can easily measure your success.

Step 2

Ensure your ESP integrates with your eCommerce system (your website shopping cart).

We would even go as far to say, ensure it integrates with your POS (Point of Sale System) in your cellar door and accounting system if possible.

The technology is readily available and will make your wine marketing and sales processes so much smoother.

Once you have completed the two steps above, it’s then easy to create automated email workflows to increase your DTC wine sales.

What are the 5 must-have automated emails you need?

1. The Welcome email

Trigger: Joining the email database via the ESP List.

Whether a new customers signs up at your cellar door, an event or on your website, an automated email should shoot out to them within minutes.

Note: not days, weeks, months or heaven forbid years as we have recently witnessed – but, minutes! Instant gratification is crucial at this stage.

Imagine you walked into a tasting room and were ignored. No one greeted you, asked how they could help – just completely ignored you. What would you do? Possibly, just walk right back out and never go back.

That’s exactly the same with the Welcome Email – greet your new email database subscriber immediately.

This ensures the customer doesn’t forget who you are and the great experience you created for them at one of the touch points is still fresh in their mind.

PRO TIP: The Welcome Email provides a fabulous opportunity to:

  • Acknowledge and reaffirm your contact and fulfil the promise of permission-based marketing – give them something in return for their email address.
  • Engage the new subscriber with your wine story – build a strong relationship from the start.
  • Remind them what, when, where and how you will be communicating with them.
  • And if you wish, reward them with an offer i.e. free freight on their first wine purchase or a special offer which entices them to your website to purchase wine.

2. The Wine Purchase Email (Thank You email)

Also known as the Order or Transaction Confirmation email.
Trigger: The wine purchase via your eCommerce Store (website)

Order and transaction confirmation emails are extremely important for any eCommerce store. If you purchase something online and don’t get a transaction confirmation, what do you do? Call the business immediately and find out what has happened to the money you just spent.

Like the Welcome Email, this needs to be immediate so sits perfectly within the Email Automation process.

PRO TIP: Don’t send out the boring generic email that states what wines have been purchased. Yes, include the purchase, but go beyond and don’t be afraid to mix it up a bit. It could include a family favourite recipe that pairs perfectly with the wine they’ve bought, a pre-sale offer, the next wine event or even a little behind the scenes history of what happened during that vintage.

Your wine customer is waiting for their wine delivery and is most probably feeling excited. By providing them with content that is useful, fun or generates a stronger affinity with your brand, further anticipation can be built.

3. Cart Abandonment Email

Trigger: Shopping Cart Abandonment

This one is a no-brainer, but still many wine businesses don’t set up an automated abandonment cart email because they don’t understand their power.

This is an email that is sent shortly after someone leaves your online wine shop without finalising their order. Acting as a reminder, this email improves your conversion rate, especially if your customers were genuinely interested in the offer.

So, let me tell you what you are missing out on…. around 67% of all online shopping carts are abandoned before the customer completes the sale.

PRO TIP: Immediacy is key here. Cart abandonment emails work well when they are both timely and relevant. If you want them to have an even stronger impact, you can also add free delivery or a value add to the message, and you’ll see that customers will be happy to return and finalise their purchase.

4. The Anniversary Email

Trigger: Birthday or anniversary email.

Now this could be a birthday email, but what if you don’t have your wine customer’s birth date?  Another option is an anniversary email reminder that they last purchased 3 months, 6 months, 1 year. Remind them what they purchased and offer an incentive to repurchase.

5. The Reconnect Email

Trigger: inactive subscribers who haven’t opened an email from you in ages. 

No matter how important, people often lose track of things they started. And that is similar with people following their beloved wine brands. They may have stopped visiting your website or reading your emails.

So how do you re-engage them?

Send an automated email every time your wine customer stops opening your messages for a particular period of time. Remind them why they signed up in the first place and reward them with a special incentive that will steal their hearts once again.

Extra tip to get more emails opened.

To boost the success of your email marketing campaigns, why not try a Double-Open Email Marketing Strategy?

This quick, yet powerful email marketing hack involves 3 simple steps:

  1. Send your regular monthly wine offer email
  2. Two days later, segment those who didn’t open the email
  3. Resend the email again to the segment did not open list with a new subject line

You can build this into your email marketing automation system, making the process super quick and simple.

Whether or not you get a dramatic difference in results with your second mail out, you’ll definitely gain additional, valuable insights into what subject lines resonate best and in turn, boost your open rates in future campaigns.

Ready to get started?

If you’re considering making email automation campaigns a part of your own wine marketing strategy, then you may want to consider bookmarking this post, and keep coming back for more ideas. Also, download our free Ultimate Email Marketing Checklist.

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