By: Bryan St. Amant, Founder & CEO of VinterActive
Silicon Valley Bank’s latest research on wine marketing shows that fewer than 9% of U.S. wineries took advantage of text messaging in 2021. But those who did report phenomenal success with open rates of 98% and click-thru rates of 12% – generating 32-times more customer engagement than email marketing.
So savvy wine marketers are now asking the same question: How can we grow our text marketing lists as quickly as possible?
The good news is today’s wine consumers – even Baby Boomers – want you to text them. According to PC Magazine, “85% of smartphone users prefer mobile messages to emails or calls.”
The great news is the seven customer touchpoints outlined in this article offer ample opportunity to grow your SMS wine marketing list quickly, so you can delight your customers and sell more wine.
Since 80% of U.S. wineries already use email marketing, the fastest way for most wine merchants to grow a text marketing list is to reach out to existing email subscribers and offer them a new way to stay in touch.
To convert existing contacts, we recommend introducing text messaging to current customers the same way you’d release a new wine or announce an upcoming wine country event.
Most wine marketers will enjoy the best success with a series of three email messages:
• A straightforward announcement of what you’re offering and why.
• A follow-up email that focuses on what customers miss by not signing up.
• A final email about how your SMS program addresses their main concerns.
If you have a thriving wine club, start with them first and consider offering club members an incentive for joining your SMS list. And as you write your email, it’s worth reflecting on what it means to ask anyone to sign-up for text messages.
Here’s a hint: they’ll be giving you access to the most direct and personal way to reach them. So, successful sign-up campaigns offer unique value to new subscribers in return.
The latest research shows that SMS subscribers want first dibs on flash sales or promotions. With that in mind, you might offer early access to new releases, special discounts, and tickets to upcoming events.
Once you hone your pitch, the wineries we work with enjoy the most success by pointing their email subscribers to a web-based opt-in form. Many text marketing platforms now make it easy to create an opt-in form you can add to any website.
Tasting Rooms & Events
After mining your existing email list, now’s the time to invite your in-person guests to stay in touch with text messaging.
In tasting rooms or at winery events, QR codes make it easy for consumers to join text marketing lists using their mobile phones. In just a few minutes, you can make it happen by printing tasteful signs that feature a QR code, legal disclaimers, and simple instructions on how and why winery visitors can join your list.
Instead of pushing your tasting room staff to ask customers for their email address – then deciphering hand-written forms – using QR codes to market your SMS list makes it easier for everyone. As a bonus, once your customers sign-up for text messaging, many SMS marketing systems can also automate the process of asking for an email address.
Social Media Channels
DTC wineries report social media is now their most widely used marketing channel.
So enticing online followers to join your text messaging list — using the same offers you promote in your tasting room — is one of the most concrete ways to leverage your investment in social media.
Digital wine marketers can use unique text marketing keywords like “Text INSTA to 888-592-2832 to join our text club,” QR codes, or web-based sign-up forms to invite your followers to join your SMS list.
Since it’s so easy to test marketing ideas using social media, the best practice is to experiment with multiple conversion techniques to see what resonates best with your followers. For the most impact, you might consider creating unique offers explicitly customized for your most vibrant social media communities.
If you sell wine online, accept reservations, or manage a wine club, your commerce system already sends order confirmations, appointment reminders, and shipping notices via email.
These transactional messages offer another proven way to grow your text marketing lists. Imagine offering your wine club members the option of receiving a text confirmation when their next shipment is on its way. A keyword like ORDERSTATUS is tailor-made for this application.
The footer of your online order confirmation page is also a perfect place to promote the option of receiving transactional messages via text. Here’s an example: “PS: Text ORDERSTATUS to 888-592-2832 to receive updates about your wine order via text. No spam, just news you can use.”
Not only do today’s consumers prefer text messaging 2-to-1 over email, transactional messages about orders, shipments, and appointments are among the most popular text messages consumers receive.
Website visitors using their phones to browse your site are the perfect fit for text marketing offers. Not only are they on their phones already, but they don’t even need to enter any data to subscribe to your text messaging lists.
Without any special software, you can generate a QR code that website visitors can scan to join your list in just one click. Some text messaging platforms popular with wine marketers also offer the ability to generate online pop-ups visible only to visitors using their mobile phones.
Today’s wine marketers can add “click-to-text” buttons or custom mobile pop-ups to any web page. Perfect for building a list of text marketing subscribers, these same tools can engage your customers by enabling two-way text conversations with your hospitality staff.
If your winery website offers online visitors the opportunity to join an email list, doesn’t it make even more sense to give them a chance to subscribe to text messaging?
For visitors browsing your website from their desktop computers, web-based sign-up forms are the way to go. Simple text marketing sign-up forms only require a mobile phone number plus consent with the terms of your offer.
But if you offer consumers a choice of text messaging content — from concierge services to weekly tasting room updates — a Text Messaging Preference Center can give your customers the ability to curate their own unique customer journey.
Your wine labels and the shipments you send to wine consumers can also work to grow your list of SMS wine marketing subscribers.
QR codes printed on your labels can invite consumers to engage your brand at the point of purchase and consumption. For maximum flexibility, use a dedicated landing page that can be re-directed as needed over time.
Wine shipments to consumers offer the perfect opportunity to market lifestyle content like recipes delivered by text messaging or encourage customers to post their photos and wine reviews via text.
Make Hay While the Sun Shines
With today’s wine consumers thirsty for brands that engage them with text messaging, summer is the perfect time to get started with SMS wine marketing.
If you can print a QR code or send an email message inviting your best customers to join your text marketing list, you’ll soon be on your way to success. With the proven power of SMS wine marketing on your side, even a modest list of 300 contacts can generate the same results as another 10,000 email subscribers.
Summer sales are just the beginning. Once the holiday season arrives, your new text marketing list can drive record sales while delighting your customers with an easy way to order your wines using their favorite way to stay in touch.
We hope the simple methods outlined in this article can help you achieve your goals. Happy Selling!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Founder & CEO of VinterActive, Bryan St. Amant, is a pioneer in developing preference-based direct marketing and its successful application in the wine industry. His advice has helped hundreds of wineries across the U.S. grow sales and customer satisfaction by leveraging the best practices of DTC wine marketing.
St. Amant holds an MS from M.I.T. and a BS from U.C. Berkeley. His award-winning work has been featured in books, magazines, and seminars, including CFO Magazine, Inc., CNN Money, eMarketing Magazine, Integrated Direct Marketing, Direct Marketing Association, Wine Marketing Report, and the Wine Industry Network.
VinterActive is located in Windsor, California at 707-836-7295 or vinteractive.com