Episode 10:

Does Your Email Marketing Suck?

A conversation with Chelsea Boss of SeaBoss Marketing


Chelsea Boss of SeaBoss Marketing is back for another episode of the Craft & Cluster Podcast, this time to help you decide if your email marketing sucks! The good news is, if it does, she is here to clear that shit up for you. 


In this episode, we talk about how the "spray & pray method" of emailing your entire list without segmenting is bad news bears, we list out some fun ideas for high-value emails, AND we give you a few actionable strategies to help you improve your email marketing strategy this week!


Follow Chelsea on Instagram at @SeaBossMarketing


To get on the waitlist for Chelsea's Wine Email Marketing Masterclass course just head to https://seabossmarketing.com/waitlist

So, why DO a lot of Winery Emails Suck So Much?

I think we saw this at the beginning of the pandemic, where wineries we hadn’t heard from in months, if not YEARS, were all of a sudden flooding us with emails to support them. It’s clear that they didn’t have a strategy.


Many wineries' emails end up sucking because they don’t have a plan and they often do what Chelsea calls ‘spraying and praying’ meaning they send out an email to everyone on their email list and pray that people click through instead of carefully segmenting their email list.


One example of how spraying and praying can really end up being a missed opportunity is when wineries will send shipping deals to everyone with the same message instead of adjusting the message based on the location of the customer. Customers outside of a certain radius should get an email that says something like “You get a shipping deal on your wine” and customers who are more local to the winery would get an email that says “pick up at the winery” OR “You get a shipping deal on gifts you want to send to your friends!”


This way, you are speaking to an individual problem rather than generalizing a problem.


You need to be organizing your customers based on how they interact with your brand and where they are located in relation to your winery.


They may not have a schedule to their emails. If you’re going to email once a month, do it. If you only email with your new quarterly release, then do that, but don’t email twice in a week and then not email again for 5 months. Get on a schedule and stick to it.


They are using outdated templates (or not using a template at all). Unattractive emails with outdated color palettes and graphics aren’t doing you any favors and can actually distract your audience from the content of the email. It’s best to use a clean and simple template for every email. If you need help with this, contact Chelsea or hire a Virtual Assistant to help you with this, it’s money well spent.

Where should wineries start to develop a better email marketing strategy?

First, we d have a great resource for you at www.craftandcluster.com/002 which will help you with your marketing strategy in general. But the main points for an email marketing strategy are as follows:

  • Understand your ideal customer and buyer personas
  • Optimize your email collection:
  • On your Website
  • In your Social Media
  • On Google My Business
  • At the winery/tasting room
  • Choose the right email marketing platform (we will talk more on this in a future episode)
  • And as mentioned earlier, get yourself set up with a good email template. It will save you so much time and heartache!

How often should an email marketing campaign focus on transactional content like wine sales and new releases, versus value-driven content?

If you are only emailing with releases then every single email should start off with a value add, whereas if you’re emailing once or twice monthly then for every 1 transactional, direct sales email there should be at least 2 or 3 value add emails.


And what are some good examples of value add emails?

First you really want to think about where your audience is on their wine journey and meeting them where they are at. So if you look back at the Wino’s Hierarchy of Needs you can see how certain value added content will resonate more with certain customers:

Here are some good value add content ideas:

  • Fun food pairing ideas
  • how to serve wines
  • Five of our favorite wine tools for beginners
  • How to throw the best virtual cheese and wine pairing party (or for when we open up safely again, here is a good way to enjoy our wine with your friends on the beach with ceviche!)
  • Here are our favorite nearby hikes on your next visit to wine country.
  • Lifestyle oriented: share things that we often take for granted in the wine industry but that our audience would find really cool or romantic
Nicole Crawford enjoying rosé on a hammock with a friend at Bodega Los Alamos

An example of an alcohol beverage brand that is doing great value add email marketing is Haus, an aperitif brand. Some value-add emails they've shared have been things like

  • Spotify playlists
  • Their favorite bar tools
  • Favorite mixed drinks

They also have a really good customer journey-they put you through a series of emails that tell you what they are all about, which is really valuable for a brand when beginners don't really know how to use their product. These customer journey emails can help your audience trust you, which will in turn lead to higher retention and overall sales.


Is there a sweet spot for word count in an email marketing campaign email?

If it’s the first email or the beginning of your client journey, make the email quick, factual, to the point, and give them value.


For regular emails, brevity is still your friend. If you have a lot of news or detail to share, then be sure you are taking your audience to a dedicated landing page that will go into more detail.  You don’t want to overwhelm your audience in the email, you have to remember that they are probably skimming it anyways, so you are much more likely to get a click through if you tease them with the offer or the value add with attention-grabbing headlines.


In short, don’t treat your email as the newsletter, treat it as the gateway to the newsletter

How many photos, videos, gifs, or other visual elements should be in an email?

I wouldn’t recommend doing more than 2 or 3 visuals


Some basics if you don’t know where to start:

  • Make sure your brand logo is at the top of the email
  • Then your banner photo should be something really hallmark about your brand, such as a photo of the two owners standing next to each other or a picture of the property. Essentially something to associate your audience with your brand.
  • And then a photo or video or gif representing whatever product or value add you are giving.


Lifestyle photos tend to perform better than a bottle shot, you want to show your audience examples of how they can enjoy your wine.


Also, if you’re the type of brand with an audience that gifs would resonate with, then feel free to sprinkle them into your emails occasionally! Don’t be afraid to get a little weird sometimes.


Side note: Gifs are really fun and powerful in the DMs on Instagram

Lifestyle photos tend to perform better in emails than a simple bottle shot.

What if someone listening doesn’t think that they have the time/energy to do one email/month? What would you recommend for them?

  • Build a template: If you don’t know how then find a digital marketer like me or a virtual assistant to do it for you.
  • Schedule one hour in the next week to sit down and look at your calendar/create your strategy.
  • What is going on each month?
  • What do your customers tend to love/what does your ideal customer care about? And what will have value for them?
  • Choose one topic just for the next three months
  • I like to start with a Quarterly plan because I find, just as it is with social media, the more content you produce, the more inspired you become. So you may find right now you only have a few ideas whereas two months from now you may have many more.
  • I’m also a huge fan of repurposing content. I will often repurpose emails for social media and vice versa.


If you found this episode super helpful don't forget to rate and review it, and please, tell me where you're listening by tagging @craftandcluster on Instagram!