Premier Cellar Blog

Premier Cellar leads the wine industry in email marketing.

Print vs Digital

If you’re new to digital marketing you may be wondering how things differ from the traditional print marketing you may have been doing. Or maybe you just need a refresher on best practices for designing your emails. Read on to learn how to take your winery’s email marketing and design to the next level.

There are many similarities between print and digital media. Both rely heavily on a grid system for layout and design, white space helps your content “breathe”, and hierarchy of elements on the page helps your viewer determine what is most important. There are, however, a variety of differences that are important to keep in mind which can make a huge impact on the design decisions you make.

One cool benefit of digital media is the ability to have a variable “page” length and the ability to ‘link out’. An email, webpage, or form can be as long as you choose to make it and you can lead the user down a path or to another page. When designing you can include all the tasting notes, winery events, bottle shots,  and other supplemental text you want on the landing page(s) of an email campaign or just make the email longer. All a viewer must do to access the rest of the content is simply scroll. This advantage makes hierarchy, or arranging your content based on its importance, especially important. Traditional print media is far more constricted. You must consider the elements you need to include in a design and choose a page size that will fit all the content well. If you have more content than will fit on a single page you are stuck with the unfortunate dilemma of figuring out what to trim or paying for the expense of more pages.
Takeaway: consider your content and the space you have when developing a marketing campaign and if it doesn’t fit, link out.

You’ve likely heard that images for the web need to be saved at 72ppi in order to appear nice. What if I told you that’s all a myth? Image resolution really only factors into the quality of a printed image. Of chief concern on the web is the pixel dimension of the image. A 500x500px image at 72ppi will render exactly the same on screen as a 500x500px image at 500ppi (read this article for more information about where this myth came from). Those same images when printed, however, will come out at 6.94 inches and 1 inch square, respectively. One thing to still keep in mind when saving images is higher ppi means more information stored in the file, therefore increasing the time it takes to load in your recipient’s inbox.
Takeaway: PPI affects the quality of a print image, not a digital one. Higher PPI will mean a larger file, however.

Fonts are another important factor when designing for either web or print. There are a select number of fonts known as “websafe” that come pre-installed on every computer and that will appear the same no matter which web browser your recipient uses. If you want to specify a custom font, be sure to specify a websafe font as a fall-back. If it is important that all people receiving your email see the same custom font, it will have to be exported as an image wherever it is used in your design.
When using custom fonts in print, it is much easier to include the necessary font files when sending to the printer. Since that file will only be opened on a computer once to print multiple copies it is easy to ensure that all pieces will look the same.

Font size is another design facet to keep in mind. The usual standard for print that most of us have grown up hearing is “12pts to ensure easy readability”. When translating to web, however you must increase your font size to 16px for text to be easily read (check this out for a visual representation). Notice the difference in units; webpages deal in pixels whereas print is measured in points. If you were to specify 12px when designing a webpage (making the assumption that the 12 in print=12 in web) your text would display rather small; closer to 9pts.
Takeaway: Keep font family and size in mind when designing your emails.

An interesting and advantageous difference between print and digital media is the ability to update your content. If you discover a misprint or incorrect image in a deployed print piece you must fix the error, pay for a reprint, then take the time to have all of your pieces mailed or posted again (or just choose to cut your losses and hope nobody notices). Digital media, especially webpage, can often be edited and re-uploaded without your recipients ever being the wiser, since webpages are refreshed each time they are viewed.
Takeaway: Web content is much easier and usually cheaper to update.

One of the largest advantages digital media has over print is interactivity. Through the use of hyperlinks and design elements like animated GIFs, you have the ability to take a simple design and add tons of interest. Linking to another webpage allows you to design a condensed, more visually interesting email that can take you to a page or entire website full of extra information. For those that just need the bare minimum facts, the email can be light on information and rely on beautiful imagery to draw click-through interest. Animated GIFs can be timed to change the displayed offer text or information; allowing you to condense and declutter the design (just keep in mind those opening your email in Outlook will only see the first frame of the gif). You can even embed social media sharing so people opening your email can share the awesome offers they’re receiving with their friends.

Takeaway: Take advantage of digital interactivity to create engaging and informational emails.

When developing a marketing campaign always remember to take advantage of both digital and print media. Consider how each will relate and support each other and be sure to keep the unique differences and advantages each has in mind as you develop your materials. If you take the time to plan everything out your campaigns should run without a hitch.

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Resolve to send better email in 2016

Happy New Year! I hope you’re enjoying a little “Hair of the Dog” as you kick back and enjoy this hangover-busting and hopefully inspirational post.

light-person-woman-fireI’m a big-time New Year’s Resolution-er. I spend a good amount of personal time on the first day of the brand-spankin’ new year mapping out the vision for how I want the coming 12 months to go. I make goals, I write them down in my trusty journal, and if I’m feeling artsy, I make little posters of the year’s Resolutions which I hang next to my bed to inspire and/or guilt me into some level of consistency.

In my 30+ years of resolving, the most successful resolutions I’ve made are the ones that I put instant momentum into. For instance, one of my 2015 resolutions was to save for a down-payment on a house. On the first business day of 2015, I went into my local banking institution and set up an automatic sweep from checking to savings, enough to add up to the necessary down-payment amount for my dream house in 1 year. Guess who’s house-shopping in 2016?

Another key factor in my resolution success has been making the goals SMART: Specific, Measurable, Actionable, Realistic, and Time-Sensitive. Breaking down a big goal into little steps, putting timelines on certain behaviors, and making sure you’re not completely out of touch with reality are, let’s face it, kind of important.

As we head into a bright, shiny 2016, my goal is to help you send better email this year. I’ll be tackling one big topic every month, sharing actionable insights that you can apply NOW to your email marketing program. Join me in Resolving to Send Better Email in 2016!

(OR, you can stop reading this post now, take all the inspirational and probably COMPLETELY unique info above, and apply it to your personal resolutions. I’ll look forward to your thank you card next year when you’ve lost 20 pounds and increased your net worth 15%.)

Resolution #1: Set it and forget it
This month, add ONE triggered or automated message to your email marketing program

set-it-forget-it-1There’s a reason Ron Popeil loved this catch phrase. Don’t you want to do your work once, and have it pay dividends for days, months, years to come?

Triggered messages generate a higher click through rate, and the more relevant your message is, the higher the revenue generated. Relevance=revenue, baby!

Where to start? The obvious place is the welcome campaign. Nearly ¾ of us expect to receive a welcome message immediately upon signing up for an email list (source: Blue Hornet)… if you aren’t meeting that expectation, you are missing out on the customer at their HIGHEST level of engagement. Welcome emails have 4X the open rate and 5X the click through rate over traditional batch and blast email campaigns, according to research by Experian. And subscribers who receive a welcome message have a 33% higher engagement level over the lifetime of their relationship with you (source:

Some ideas on what to include in your welcome message:

Set expectations on what kinds of content you’ll be sending and how often
Give them a quick run-down on where to get more information on your website
Share a coupon for their first online order
Link to a brief survey to capture even more subscriber data (which allows you to send more relevant communications in the future… Relevance=revenue, remember?)

Already have a welcome email?

Take it to the next level with some of these other data-driven, highly relevant and automate-able messages.

Wine Club Anniversary
“Miss You” – It’s been 90 days since your last purchase
Re-order offer – How are you enjoying that Syrah?
Cart Abandonment – Did you forget something?

After your welcome email campaign is in place and you’ve explored date-based or behavioral-triggered messages, you will have several programs constantly running to drive revenue and increase engagement with your subscribers. Kick back, relax, pour yourself a glass of wine and be glad you SET IT and FORGET IT to kick-start 2016!

Stay tuned for our next Resolution: Put A/B Testing to the Test



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Vintner’s Village Chronicles: The Most Important Tool for OND

SketchesResponsible Roger pulled into the parking lot of Petite Vineyards and parked. Responsible Roger’s business card said Wine Club Manager & Direct-to Consumer Sales, but with the size and budget of the winery he wore many hats. Sales, marketing, public relations and even tasting room duties were among the many tasks that filled his day. Staying organized was a very important part of his success.

He strolled through the tasting room and headed into the employee lounge, which in all fairness was more of a catch all with a small kitchenette in the corner. He started the morning coffee and looked at his watch. It was 8:20am. He smiled to himself and thought, “Just like clockwork.” Roger enjoyed the feeling of being ahead of things. He didn’t officially start till 8:30am and liked to get settled before he actually clocked in.

Once at his desk he opened up his calendar. He was so glad he had created his “editorial calendar,” as a blog post from an email marketing agency had called it. In January he had set aside an afternoon and had figured out the email marketing plan for the year. With a little extra planning he was able to stay ahead of the game all year long. Even when Petite Vineyards Estate Syrah had scored 94 points, he had been so far ahead it was easy to quickly turn around an email to his customers about the great news. They announced the exciting score to their club members first and followed it up several days later a release to the rest of their loyal followers.

In the January planning session he had marked all the dates  when the email communications should be sent. He then created a notification 3 weeks ahead of each deployment date. This gave him plenty of time to get everything together for each email marketing campaign. Photos, bottle shots and all the copy were all done and ready to go long before the due date.

Roger was looking forward to the 2 week vacation he had scheduled with his family in December. Everything would be scheduled and sitting in the queue ready to send out at the perfect time on the right date! All because he had taken the time to plan it out in advance and put it on the calendar!


Careless Clarence pulled into the parking lot of Tiny Wines and parked. He looked down and noticed that in his haste to get to work he had spilled some oatmeal on his shirt. Not a good sign of how the day was going to go. He said some choice words under his breath. Everyone else was already there for the morning team meeting. He hated being late, but had been late enough times that he no longer felt the embarrassment that he originally had. He walked into the small conference room and took his place. Larry the CEO, who also was the owner and general manager shot him a look. All the tasting room staff looked at him, he mumbled one of the common excuses that they were used to hearing. Larry went back to his discussion with the staff about creating the experience and hospitality  that he wanted Tiny Wines guests to have when they visited.

As the meeting came to a close Larry asked “How’re the December email marketing campaigns going?” Careless Clarence gulped, he had been working on getting the club shipments out and had started on the ideas back in the first week in October, but hadn’t got too far. With all the hats he wore he’d put them on the “back burner” and had totally forgot. Trying to make the save he responded “They’re coming along.” “How about the photoshoot I requested for the 12 Days of Christmas campaign?” asked Larry. Clarence’s jaw dropped he had totally spaced that! He’d meant to put it on the calendar and somewhere in the black hole he called a desk he had made a note to himself. Larry began probing further into the directives he had requested to make this holiday season a smashing success. With each one Clarence felt that drowning feeling that he had felt so many times before. If only he’d kept better track of the email campaigns and the pieces they needed to put them together. What a stressful time OND was! He’d have to bail on some of the holiday plans, work late and hope he could make do with some stock photography online. It was going to be hectic and not a lot of fun.

~Tip #1 Build your editorial calendar with all information that you will need for a successful year in email marketing, including photo shoots and any additional assets that will be needed.

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We’re back… with a Holiday Marketing Guide for you!

PremierCellar (sticker)
Welcome to our blog! As you can see we’ve been super busy and haven’t made the blog a priority. That is all about to change ~ at Premier Cellar we have decided as a team, that we want to serve up quality information, tips and tricks for those interested in succeeding at the monstrous obstacle course that is email marketing. Our commitment to you as a loyal reader is to post a blog on the 1st and the 15th of every month. The schedule may be thrown off by weekends and holidays. In these instances we will perform the same way our government offices and financial institutions do and deliver on the first following business day. Sound good? Glad you are on board! We will also periodically include tools that will be printable and downloadable for ease of use. We welcome you to share with your friends and also provide any feedback or input you might have. Our first of many gifts to you is our Holiday Marketing Guide. To receive it click here.

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