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It’s interesting that businesses want customers to be more connected with them, though many businesses are afraid to give the customers what they want, which is the connection with the people in the business.

Customer connection is a big part of the wine industry in general, and particularly true for customers who belong to wine clubs, especially when the winery is a “small, family owned winery.” Though even with wine clubs in corporate wineries, the members are still looking for connection.

There are many reasons why people may choose join wine clubs; yes they like the wine, yes they enjoy the events and yes they like to bring their friends and be able to taste for free. All these things are definite perks. Though there are two defining reasons: Connection and Access. 

The majority, though not all, look for connection with the winery owners, the winemaker and the staff. They like being recognized when they walk into the tasting room and the staff person knows their name. For those of you who are old enough, think about the TV show Cheers. Having those connections allows them to tell their friends:

“I was just at Bahoula Winery, talking to the winemaker, Susan, do you know her. Lovely person and she said…” There is a great deal of pleasure to be had by being one up on your friends.

The other reason people like to be a “special” customer at a winery, like one who is in the wine club, is access. They have access to events, to the wine clubroom, if there is one, and to other parts of the winery that regular customers may not see.

They also get access to more information about the wines and the option to buy older wines, newer wines before the general release and large format, limited release bottles. There are a lot of perks to being part of the wine club if wineries understand what it is that their customers are looking for.

Although these perks should not only be for wine club members. They should also be for those people who, while they may not belong to your wine club, spend a lot of money with you or bring others to your winery who spend of money.

Make sure that your best customers have access to you and feel connected. Drop them a personal email once in a while to ask them what they thought of a wine they just received from you. Or have pictures of your best customers on their customer record so you recognize them and call them by name. You never know you might make some new friends.

A tip of the glass from me to you

Elizabeth SlaterE Column
by Elizabeth “E” Slater, In Short Direct Marketing

A recognized expert in the fields of direct marketing and sales in the wine marketplace. Slater has taught more wineries and winery associations how to create and improve the effectiveness of their direct marketing programs and to make the most of each customer’s potential than anyone in the wine industry today.

Follow E on twitter @esavant and facebook.

 
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