Email Marketing: Tricks of the Trade with Erica Walter
Erica Walter is an email marketing maven with a long career history in the wine industry. Her solutions for email campaign strategy are approachable, actionable, and most importantly, measurable. We sat down with Erica to talk about email, strategy, growth, and communication.
What is the most common misconception about email marketing?
That email marketing = spam. The two are not interchangeable terms!
Spam, by definition, is ‘irrelevant or inappropriate messages sent on the internet to a large number of recipients.’ As marketers, it is our job to ensure our email campaigns are relevant and deliver value to only people who have expressly consented to receive our emails. When we make our message valuable, targeted, and relevant, we are not spamming our customers.
There is also a consumer perception of email marketing as spam. To overcome this, we need to be hyper focused on the tactics we use to capture email addresses from our customers and potential customers. If we ask for an email address from a customer under the auspices of “emailing them a receipt” and then start sending them all of our marketing email… sorry, friends, that’s spam.
We need to be clear about how your email is going to be used, and the best way to do that is by providing a value proposition to the customer when asking for emails. The above scenario becomes, “Would you like an emailed receipt?” *customer responds sure* “You got it, and hey, members of our insider email list are the first to know about x, y, z [insert your own email value statement here]. I can go ahead and add you to the insider’s list while we’re at it here, how does that sound?” *the customer responds in the affirmative because you made it sound so great.*
What would you say are the most important aspects of email marketing?
OVERALL: Our email marketing needs to answer the customer’s #1 question: “What’s in it for me?” By providing value and being respectful of your customers desires and time, your email marketing campaigns will enjoy much better engagement and in the long term, revenue.
OVERLOOKED: Most businesses are overlooking the “transactional” emails that their business sends, or neglecting to implement automated and triggered emails that have 7X the ROI over traditional “push and pray” batch emails. This is my FAVORITE topic of discussion because I truly believe EVERY email you send will be better received if you are nurturing and sending 1-to-1 automated emails along the way.
In terms of platforms to use, do you have advice for wineries both big and small?
I’m regularly asked “What’s the best email platform out there?” and my answer is pretty universally, “Whatever you’re using right now.” Most of us aren’t using the full scope of the tools that our existing service has built in. Before switching platforms, make sure you’ve really stretched the system you’re already using.
However, if you’re just getting started and don’t have a solution in place, look for email service providers that integrate well with your point of sale system and have easy-to-use email building tools. MailChimp tends to do both for most people I talk to, and another system I really like is Campaign Monitor.
Stay tuned for more insights and actionable resources in our next newsletter.