The Secret to Winning Marketing- Change the Rules

“I’ll tell you my open rate if you tell me yours…”


When I ask wineries about their open and click through rates, the response ranges from mild satisfaction to disappointment, with a healthy dose of confusion in the mix (for those of you that were wondering, open rate is the number of customers who opened your marketing message divided by the total number of customers you sent it to. Click through rates are similar- the number of customers who clicked on a link or button divided by the total number of customers you sent to.)

Don’t get me wrong- wineries have a lot to be happy about. Most average an open rate of over 30%, a good 5% more than most similar industries, and a 12% average click through rate that is a good 8% higher than most other industries. In short, engagement is relatively high.

Relatively is the key word here though. The prize for winning the email opens and click through game is 3% of customers adding wine to their shopping cart; we’re competing for fractions of a percentage point, when most of us want to be 3 times better than our competition. We want to stop winning in the 11th inning, and start winning by Mercy Rule. To do that, we need to start playing a whole new game.

Before I share the name of this game and the rules, lets talk results- according to Frost & Sullivan and confirmed by my own data, this game has 3x the open rate of email, and 3x the conversion rate as well. Average order volumes and values are higher playing this game, but despite this most of our competitors aren’t even playing.

So, what is it? To quote Lord Voldemort himself, it is “Something that, conveniently enough, lies in your pocket.” Your phone.

Customers are on their phone while sitting in traffic, while eating at a restaurant, and while on the can. Mobile engagement is a huge opportunity for your winery, but the competition is huge as well; the average cell phone user receives a whopping 1,216 emails a month.

If you’re paying attention you’ve probably already guessed how to beat the competition- start playing a different game. Customers receive 1,216 emails a month, but only receive 178 text messages and 150 phone calls. Rather than constantly trying to “cut through the noise” on email, why not avoid the noise entirely and compete where its quiet with phone calls and text messages?

There’s a way to do this right, but that’s a topic for another time and another blog post. If you’d like the details now, send me an email Michael (at) with your phone number and a good time to chat, and I’ll share more.

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