The Way Early Mountain Adapted Its Email Marketing

Like many wineries, Early Mountain Vineyards in Madison, Virginia stepped up its e-mail communications to customers during the pandemic.

“I’m fanatical about watching open rates through MailChimp,” said Aileen Sevier, VP of Strategy & Marketing. “Just looking at data, you can tell if people want to hear from you or not, because you’re watching the unsubscribes, or watching for the opens.”

Early Mountain went from sending emails about twice a month to a frequency of almost twice a week during the height of COVID because open rates were “through the roof,” Sevier explained at the 2022 CiderCon.

With a captive audience, Sevier ramped up her communications during the pandemic, writing for an audience that was looking for ways to pass the time.

“I was doing much longer-form content in emails,” she said. “It was so much content and I was having everyone sending in the recipes they were cooking at home. And I was just like coming up with content for the sake of sending another email because every time I sent an email I would sell $5,000 of wine.”

Watching data also helped her determine when the time was right to scale back communications. Consumers will tell you when it’s time, she said, by stopping opening emails or unsubscribing.

“I’ve dialed it way back, and now I’m back to about twice a month,” she said. “What I’m now focused on is really getting smarter.”

Sevier said that there are many amazing targeting tools available in your email system that can help you get smarter with targeting a consumer inside your entire base.

“Try to get additional and complementary data so that we can not send something to people who don’t want to get it,” she said, pointing out that they will break down consumers by purchasing habits. “We can really just focus on, say, a Rose buyer. I’m going to hit you with three Rose emails, but you only bought whites, you’re not going to get this email.

“It’s not hard to do with the tools that are available.”

Executive Editor Jon Sicotte contributed to this report.

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