Proliferating channels of online communication have created a situation where most online wine marketers currently involve themselves in an integrated multiple channel approach. This strategy is critical in order to appeal to the wine lovers on whatever channel they may be using at any particular time, as well as at different stages of the buying cycle. Wineries have found that the integration approach allows them to maintain a productive dialogue with their prospects, as well as accelerating the lead-to-sales process, while pushing their valuable leads downstream and finally to the checkout. Interestingly, email remains firmly ensconced at the core of online marketing strategies.

Marketers Use Email Twice as Much as Facebook to Dialogue with Prospects

A stunning 98% of all online marketers are employing email to dialogue with their prospects, compared to just 51% using Twitter, 47% utilizing Facebook and less than 40% turning to LinkedIn or blogging. SMS and other forms of texting are down to a mere 10%.

Email’s ROI Is Double That of Any Other Medium

Email’s inherent advantages of dynamicism, trackability and triggerability provide it with a wealth of benefits that no other channel can easily emulate. Return On Investment (ROI) is the primary determinant of the success of any marketing approach, and according to the Direct Marketing Association (DMA) 2009 “Power Of Direct Marketing” report, email marketing provides an ROI that is approximately double that of the next closest competing marketing medium. The DMA study found that for each $1 invested in email marketing, a thoroughly remarkable return of $43.62 was obtained: a rate that cannot be remotely approached in any other manner, even via the highly touted social networks.

Social Sharing Links Increase Email Reach by 24%

Even a powerhouse marketing approach such as email marketing should not stand alone in a winery’s overall online marketing strategy. Still greater returns may be obtained by playing off of the inherent symbiotic relationships between multiple online communications channels. Assisting your wine consuming audience to access content in one channel and share it with like-minded potential wine buyers in another channel is a wise policy adopted by a vast number of winery owners and managers. For example, statistics show that the inclusion of social network sharing links in email marketing missives increases the overall reach of the message by a median 24%. Cross-channel approaches may find you connecting your wine blogs through Twitter and placing links on your Facebook page, and the most effective strategy is always to ensure that these linkages are firmly connected to every single email newsletter you send in the course of your campaign.

Provide Fresh, Entertaining Cross-Channel Content

Engaging your wine buying customers in a cross-channel format should not simply parrot content from one media platform to another. If you are promoting a specific newsletter article, for example, don’t just copy and paste it onto your Facebook page or run verbatim quotes in your Twitter feed. You are promoting the article, not simply distributing it through different platforms, so you might want to cross link your article to another relevant content location whether it is on your website or on an independent blog. Consider having your Twitter entries reflect some humorous or “behind the scenes” winery anecdote that reflects on the primary article. Why not share with your audience funny factoids such as the one about when Winona Ryder and Johnny Depp were engaged and the romantic groom-to-be had “Winona Forever” tattooed on his arm. When the couple split up just three years later, Depp had the tattoo surgically altered to read “Wino Forever.”

Email marketing has proven to be the preferred manner for wineries to nurture their subscribers through the prolonged buying cycles that are an integral part of the seasonal nature of wine sales. When wineries provide content that is fully relevant and has significant essential value, the process of engagement becomes organic and self-perpetuating.