It was 2013 and Leslie Frelow needed a new challenge in her life. She was tired of setting policies with her 9-to-5 Washington DC job. Her aspirations were to be her own boss.
That’s how Vino 301 Wine Concierge was born.
Vino 301’s mission is to connect wine lovers with local Maryland vineyards. As a new entrepreneur, Leslie had 2 main challenges: educating wine lovers that Maryland is an up and coming producer of high quality wine and getting people to sign up for vineyard tours.
When she first started Vino 301, her exposure came from advertising on TravelZoo. And it worked. Customers started signing up for their tour experiences.
Leslie achieved her goal of delighting customers and exceeding their expectations with every Vino 301 event. And word of Vino 301 quickly spread as happy customers advocated for the business.
But email marketing, and the support of AWeber, became an important part of Vino 301’s continued success.
How Vino 301 Incorporated Email Marketing into Its Business Strategy
Leslie always knew she should incorporate email into her business strategy but she wasn’t sure how. As Leslie put it:
“It wasn’t until later that I understood the value of a strong email campaign and the ability to communicate that way”
Early on, Leslie was just happy if somebody liked her page on Facebook. Then she realized the impact a successful email marketing plan could have on her business. So, Leslie registered with Constant Contact. Vino 301’s initial goal through email marketing was to establish a connection and educate her customers about upcoming events.
“..once you capture those email addresses … you have an opportunity to make a connection individually with people.”
Leslie started sending emails to her customers letting them know when the next tour and events would be taking place. But Constant Contact couldn’t provide the powerfully-simple features Leslie knew she needed to elevate her email communications.
AWeber is a More Robust Platform than Constant Contact
As Leslie started gaining experience with email marketing, she realized that a more robust platform was needed if she wanted to impact her bottom line. To be truly successful, Vino 301 needed to evolve their email strategy from sending one-off emails to their entire list.
“The longer I started doing this, it (Constant Contact) didn’t have the robustness of an AWeber, it didn’t have the different campaigns that I could schedule in the segment of my population. I just did not have that with Constant Contact.”
The AWeber Features That Improved Email Performance
With AWeber, Vino 301 was able to improve its open rate and click-through rate by sending more targeted email messages at the right time with segmentation and email automation.
Leslie learned the importance of email automation early. After trying to write a new email to everybody who subscribed early on, email automation gave her the power to automatically trigger a welcome email to her new subscribers.
Leslie also uses tagging and segmentation to send more targeted and relevant messages to specific groups of customers. For example, based on an event a customer attended or a specific email they clicked, an automated campaign is set up to send that group of customers a message or announcement which Leslie knows they will be interested in based on their previous interaction.
“..before we would just send an email out to everybody and we would not have a large open rate, but once I learned, let’s just focus on the people who actually clicked on a specific link within an email, then it began having more of an impact.”
Take action! In the video below, learn how to easily create a segment of subscribers using tags, how to save your dynamic segments, and then send a personalized email within AWeber.
This One Email Marketing Best Practice Boosted Performance
After reading one of AWeber’s educational articles designed to help small businesses improve their marketing efforts and grow their business, Vino 301 made the decision to clean their email list and purge email addresses that have been inactive for over 6 months.
A strong, healthy list is about quality, not quantity. As tough as it may be, suppressing inactive emails can actually boost your performance.
Leslie experienced this first hand. Before removing those inactive email addresses, she sent one last email to a contact with customers who hadn’t opened an email in over 6 months. The email asked if they would like to remain on the Vino 301 list to continue receiving valuable content and upcoming event information. Those that responded or had an interaction with the email stayed on her list, the rest were removed.
How Vino 301’s Email Strategy Evolved After COVID-19
Emailing during a disaster or pandemic can be challenging, especially for a company like Vino 301 where the majority of their revenue is generated from vineyard tours and events. So like any great business owner, Leslie changed her email strategy during this time.
Her goal was to keep people engaged with her brand while providing them valuable tips to help get her customers through the pandemic. The messaging wasn’t focused on making a sale. Instead, they were informative during that period of time. These emails actually generated her highest opens and clicks.
Keeping her customers engaged with the Vino 301 brand during a time where Leslie couldn’t generate any sales was very important. She established a deeper relationship with her customers.
Expanding and Giving Back
The Maryland-based company Leslie started back in 2013 is now going national. This expansion is taking the form of a new trade name, “The Wine Concierge.” This brand is a wine subscription like no other. What makes this wine subscription unique is that the subscriber will be able to try wines from boutique vineyards featuring minorities and women winemakers.
And a portion of the sales from The Wine Concierge will go to Urban Connoisseurs. They provide scholarships for minorities interested in pursuing a degree in viticulture, which is the study of cultivating and harvesting grapes to produce wine.
How does Leslie plan to grow this brand? According to Leslie, email campaigns are going to be a strategic channel. One of her first communications will be to email her existing customer base informing them of the new service. Other ideas include creating a unique wine quiz lead magnet, which will help grow her email list.
However Leslie decides to promote her new brand, we know she’ll be successful.
How You Can Grow Your Business With Email Marketing
Running a business is a full time job. With limited time and resources, it can be difficult to put energy into marketing your business. But with email marketing, promoting your business becomes a whole lot easier.
In our guide “How to grow your business with email marketing,” you’ll get all the tools and resources you need to become an email marketing pro in no time.
You’ll walk away knowing how to:
- Create sign up forms and landing pages
- Write and design beautiful emails
- Build your email list in creative ways
- Measure email performance
- Avoid the spam folder
Plus, get access to tons of fantastic templates that help you get up and running quickly.
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