Stag's Leap Wine Cellars toast to e-mail

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Stag's Leap Wine Cellars has found e-mail to be a great way to get out in front of customers. The winery uses e-mail to communicate with loyalty wine club members and people who have signed up to receive information.

The winery works with e-mail services firm Vertical Response to send 12 e-mail campaigns a year. Six are launched every other month to the house mailing list and the company plans to double that number this year. The others are launched on the opposite months to club members only.

“The strategy is to reach out to our consumers who have requested information about our winery and to hopefully prompt them to visit our Web site to build a long-term relationship with our customers,” said Nancy Burton, Club 23 manager at Stag's Leap Wine Cellars, via e-mail.

Stag's Leap Wine Cellars sends e-mails to two different lists. The first is the basic mailing list including those who signed up to receive winery news at either the winery or via or the Web site. The second is comprised of wine club members. The winery also segments to targeted lists within these two categories. For example, those who like only Cabernet Sauvignon will receive an e-mail letting them know a particular wine is almost sold out.

“The goal is to build a strong direct-to-consumer sales program by offering the purchase of wines not found in distribution or which are limited in production,” Burton added.

The e-mail's content includes new wine release announcements, a chance to purchase a library wine, as well as limited offerings. For the six campaigns to loyalty members, the content is a pre-shipment notification letting consumers know which wine is included in their next shipment and when it will leave the warehouse. The notice also asks if they will be available to sign for the wine, if they will be away on vacation and need to delay the shipment, and if their account information is current.

“The e-mails are used to educate our consumer in the art and science of winemaking and the pairing of food and wine through winery events and newsletters,” Burton said.

The brand tries to avoid lengthy e-mails, recognizing they're likely to be deleted.  Instead, the company provides links that direct customers back to the site. In addition, the winery is careful not to abuse the inbox.

“Today, people receive hundreds of e-mails that they do not want, or are put on lists that they did not join,” Burton added. “We build our list by stating that we will not sell, lease, rent or share their information with anyone.”

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