An hour ago I was asked by a big shot winery CEO, “why is Chatterbox’s email marketing so much better than what we are doing?” Flashes of light and sirens were going off simultaneously, proceeded by sweat and panic….then Lloyd Christmas from Dumb and Dumber appeared in my head. I replied, “you are using rockets NASA launched to land on the moon and we are using Elon Musk’s Falcon 9 … they both get you to space, but one of is 40 years old and the other just came back from space smelling like a TESLA….which one would you prefer?”
The things we do for each and every campaign align with what you see in Internet Retailer 500 marketing. Your wine (if you will) is the payload in this equation, and our methodology the fuel. It’s our fuel when coupled with your payload that creates a vehicle for “interstellar” conversion rates.
Here are our techniques contributing to our overall email marketing methodology:
Data Validation: A biggie…your first line of defense for your IP address and the best way to ensure high deliverability rates. Data validation is an automated process where your database is graded record by record. It’s essentially a fitness test – any addresses that aren’t fit (graded a B or below) are removed.
Segmentation by preference: So you are a vegetarian and you are emailed a recipe for beef bourguignon – how does it help you? It doesn’t. And it may just irritate you enough to unsubscribe. Offer your database of customers an opportunity to give you their preferences (red wine or white wine, cabernet sauvignon or pinot noir) and email them accordingly.
Text to image ratio: Change it up – it’s time to get away from the long lists of wine; you just don’t have time <DING> because you are <DING> competing for <DING> your customer’s attention <DING>. Each <DING> is your inbox filling up. While your read one email, another is entering the inbox with a subject line that may pull you away before you are done reading. Big images with quick & bold snippets describing the offer work best. Use landing pages to handle the heavy lifting on your site.
Image Tags: It’s so weird to look at the names of the images before you hit the “download images” button. Name your images something relevant to the campaign -as opposed to ‘wine-header.jpg’ try “you-gotta-have-this-wine.jpg’ and see what happens. One caveat: spam filters will pick up on the names of image files so avoid using the word “buy” in the name of the image.
Mobile optimization: The stock templates provided by your email service provider should be mobile optimized. If you don’t know for sure, send yourself a few emails and see how they display. Remember, 51% of all email overall is opened on a mobile device (Litmus), and 65% of all Gmail. You can’t afford to be clunky.
A/B Testing: A mandatory activity that every single winery should start doing TODAY. The variables you can test are subject line vs. subject line, content vs. content, send time vs. send time and sender profile vs. sender profile. I think wineries should consider content vs. content to nail down their email offer architecture. Build two different emails with the same wines to find out which converts better. Then use the subject line tests going forward.
Cross browser testing: Before an email is ever sent out into the world – spend 10 – 15 minutes of your time running it through Litmus. Litmus will show you how your email will display across every version of desktop & mobile device you can imagine. This will ensure everyone has a properly displaying email in their inbox.
Subject line optimization: <DING>…here we go again. Just step back and look at your own inbox <DING>. Not your work inbox…your personal inbox. Look at the list and think about “what makes you open an email?” …we’ve talked about it before. Take an extra 15 minutes to write down 10 ideas for subject lines and then A/B test two of them. The rule of sending 10% vs 10% and letting the remaining 80% receive the winner is a sure bet to getting higher conversion rates.
Analytics: Open rates, bounces, clicks, conversion rates are all your business. Those stats are your report card for your email efforts. Become comfortable reading your tea leaves and learn to respond to what the database is telling you.
By the way, it’s not really about your spaceship – most email service providers offer a full suite of tools that will suffice. It was an easy analogy for someone who doesn’t think about data validation, mobile optimization or A/B testing on a daily basis to understand why we are different. If you have a winery anywhere, you have rich content to share, and it’s the little things you do that will get you past the Moon this year and greatly affect your DTC revenues in 2016.
Here are a few email stats that might encourage you to say “hell with the moon…we are shooting for the stars in 2016”
51% of all email is opened on a mobile device. Litmus
People check their mobile phone 150x a day. Use email and social together to reinforce your message in all the places that people visit on their phones. com
Our brains process images 60,000 times faster than text. Change up your text to image ratio and take time to choose images that tell your story. 3M Corporation
Receiving too many emails is the #1 reason people unsubscribe. Chadwick Martin Bailey
Email conversion rates are 40X that of Facebook and Twitter(what?). Promote email signup opportunities on social media and then use email to convert. Kissmetrics
iPhones will cut off a subject line over 32 characters. Put the most important words of your subject line first. Harland Clarke Digital
Relevant emails drive 18X more revenue than broadcast emails. Use the data you’ve collected to segment your subscribers and create targeted, personalized emails. Jupiter Research
The human fingertip is 46px squared, so size your buttons accordingly to make tapping easy for mobile readers. Apple
We are committed to building the spaceship that helps your brand reach the stars.
Learn more about Chatterbox Wine Marketing Services at: http://www.chatterboxwinemarketing.com/
Stats from MyEmma
*Litmus allows you to build, test and monitor your email campaigns.