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Posted on  | April 21, 2015   Bookmark and Share
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Beyond Product Ads, Email List Growth deserves extra attention
By James Laurenti
For a large percentage of wine retailers, when it comes to online marketing, strategies begin and end with listing products on Wine-Searcher or pay-per-click (PPC) shopping sites. While these shopping sites offer digital marketplaces for connecting buyers and sellers, there’s a  drawback:  most transactions are from first-time buyers more interested in finding products than building a long-term relationship. Still, one perk of these services, is that a subset of first-time buyers may sign up to receive e-mails and potentially become repeat, loyal customers. While most marketers recognize this value, why not make a direct effort in acquiring e-mails in the first place?  
Beyond the Clipboard
In many brick-and-mortar retail stores (across all industries), it’s not uncommon to have a cashier ask if you’d like to sign up for an e-mail newsletter containing exclusive offers.  Sometimes there’s even a clipboard next to the counter where customers can leave their name and e-mail.  While gathering e-mails in-store is one means to grow your list, this shouldn’t be your only acquisition strategy.  Besides problems with human error (e.g., typos, illegible names due to lousy handwriting), your list will never grow beyond customers that are already in your store.  
Today, with Google Adwords and Facebook, marketers have two effective platforms for creating ads and lasering in on relevant segments of consumers.  Not only can you limits ads to people in your home state.  You can target your home county, or even your home town (and, of course, limit the ads to people over 21 years of age). You can even potentially advertise exclusively to people who have previously landed on your website (a concept called “remarketing”). This flexibility gives you the opportunity to do one better than just getting e-mails of people in your store:  you can acquire e-mails of potential new customers in your area.  
Order-Focused Sign-ups
If you’re investing in ad space to convert people into signing up for your e-mail list, naturally you will want to make those ads as effective as possible.  To that end, consider incorporating offers (coupons, contest entries, etc.) to inspire sign-ups. This might take more effort, but, here too, there are services to help streamline the process. Privy, a Boston-based start-up, in particular, has an effective set of tools intended to help create offers to promote e-mail list growth and measure results. Not only will using offers help grow a list more quickly, your offers may in themselves help persuade consumers to make an initial purchase—the first milestone en route to becoming new, loyal, repeat-purchasing customers.
Product-based advertising such as Wine-Searcher is very effective at generating sales. For many stores, just having a sponsorship with them alone is effective enough to make having an eCommerce site worthwhile. However, today we have a  suite of tools available to grow our e-mail lists and grow them by using ads targeting consumers most likely to become loyal customers. Today, we should not rely on product listings alone. 

To learn more about how Beverage Media can help with a website for your store visit BevSites.com, or contact James Laurenti at 617-864-1677. Follow us on twitter at twitter.com/bevsites.

To comment on this column or to learn more about how Beverage Media can help with
a website for your store, visit BevSites.com or contact Ian Griffith at 617-864-1677.
Follow us on Twitter at twitter.com/bevsites

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