10 Email Marketing Tips for Wine and Food Brands

10 Email Marketing Tips for Wine and Food Brands

Email marketing has been the digital gold standard for 20 years, but everyone needs more email marketing tips. This free, old school communication platform has withstood corporate coup attempts by Facebook and Slack, among others. Nothing, however, has replaced this simple, incredibly effective tool. 72 percent of consumers prefer email as their primary means of communicating with brands, over social media and all other avenues. There’s even a 44 percent ROI on every email marketing dollar spent, so yeah, it’s not going anywhere. I thought text might be viable replacement, but that platform hasn’t yet bested email either.

But here’s the brass-tax question: Are you embracing this tool for the revenue powerhouse it can be? Done right, it can generate 20-30 percent more dollars if executed strategically and methodically. And you don’t need the bells and whistles of a fancy marketing platform like Hubspot (although it’s super cool) -- a simple Mailchimp account will do. A huge email list is awesome but even with a smaller group, the right outreach is crucial (how to grow your email list is a future blog post -- stay tuned). I usually recommend Mailchimp to my clients since I find it the most intuitive and is free for lists under 2,000. Choose your platform and get to emailing your customers today with these 10 email marketing tips designed with wine and food businesses in mind.

These ten email marketing tips will help


  1. Start with the why. What are you trying to sell? If not selling, what is the brand message you're trying to communicate? Don’t start an email until you have these concepts nailed down.
  2. The email should be creative, well-designed and free of any grammatical errors. In this day and age, copy and personality are crucial so that you stand out from the pack. Bland and boring is so… two years ago. That said, avoid single-image emails since so many people don’t download images anymore – the meat of the message should be text only with an image as a side item. Once your messaging is awe-inspiring and motivating, have at least three people read it before it goes out, testing all the links. If at all possible, work at least two weeks out from the send date so you’re not rushed. Yes, I know how hard this is from experience but give it a try.
  3. This email marketing tip might be obvious, but the offer should be compelling and concise. Be careful not to affect your brand with too much discounting. In the wine industry, shipping deals are better than product discounting for conversion. In food retail, coupons are very effective and can be tied back to ROI but you also don’t want to get people addicted to the deal. When possible, send out new offerings with no discount as well as stories about your business. More than ever, people want to know about the company and its internal culture before buying into the product. Consider starting a blog to tell more of your story. This effort will also help your SEO.
  4. The email should have a clear, concise call to action. “Shop Now” is a straight-forward, winning CTA if you’re driving traffic to your store. Or “Learn More” for non-sales emails. Don’t place the call to action button within an image (see tip #2). Be sure to track activity on your website using your Google Analytics.
  5. If you have the ability to personalize in either the body copy or the subject line, do -- this method raises conversion rates by 10%. “Taylor, We Have a Fantastic Deal for You” is more compelling than “We Have a Fantastic Deal for You”. Mailchimp can do this for you but it does require that the database you upload include the name (it's not artificial intelligence... yet).
  6. Does it make sense to segment the email? If you're selling Pinot Noir to a list of Cabernet lovers, do you think they'll convert? Research indicates open rates increase by 26% if the subject line mentions what the customer has bought before.
  7. Investigate the right day of week and time to send the email. Dive into your email analytics to find out what’s working and what’s not for your customers. Feel free to geek out for a few minutes to uncover the habits of your customers.
  8. If your list is over 10,000 emails, you can do an “A/B” test, which tests out two different subject lines and/or designs to see which one performs better to a random audience. The one that wins can then be sent to the rest of the list. Try it -- the results might surprise you.
  9. Get in the habit of sending out the same email to those who didn’t open it before, two to three days after the original send out. You can recapture loads of engagement this way, and it’s super easy to isolate these emails in most mail platforms.
  10. How often should you send? According to Entrepreneur Magazine, 69% of users unsubscribe due to “too many emails”. Most marketers send two to three emails per month, but your customers will let you know if that’s too many. I’ve never had any issues with once per week – my unsubscribe rate (usually less than 1%) stays pretty much the same no matter how many I send. But every business is different and this should be monitored carefully.

Email marketing, although far from sexy, remains the workhorse in the marketing world. But there’s still innovation to be had. I’ve used these ten email marketing tips successfully over the years, in many different industries to grow revenue and brand awareness tremendously. You can, too, but if you need help, give me a holla.

See my post on how to grow an email list