I wonder.  These days I’m reading reports every day about how Facebook Fan Pages and Twitter accounts are the latest in how to build your direct to consumer business.

At the same time, there is a very powerful wine marketing medium still being under utilized by many wineries–of all sizes.

inside_thumbs3As part of my research to write the definitive report on wine industry email practices I attempted to subscribe to over 1,000 wineries newsletter.

Of these only 497 sent me anything.

And after reading several thousand winery emails I would say the utilization of this powerful medium is not getting its full due.

Even worse as social media marketing gets more play as the latest and greatest I feel that email marketing is getting overlooked.

If you are a winery looking at beefing up your direct to consumer channelonline, here’s what I suggest you do.

Get Your List in Order

If you are collecting email addresses on your site, in your tasting room, and from your customers then you are on your way to building a solid list.

Make Sure Your Website is Up To the Task

If you are going to start sending new visitors to your site, it has to be able to convert those visitors to buyers.  That means having more than a few informational pages about your wine.  You have to look at your site as a sales process.  How do you convert a stranger to a friend and a friend to a customer. (see Seth Godin post)

Learn How to Properly Send Wine Marketing Emails

There are many ways to send emails improperly or ineffectively and I talk to wine industry marketing staff who feel that email doesn’t work.  Well, it doesn’t work if you don’t do it properly.

Add a Blog to Your Website

This is where it starts to get a bit tricky.  If you don’t have time to create, compose, and send an email each month, when will you have time to sit down and create blog content each week?

And that’s just the tip of the social networking iceberg.

So take a step back and make sure you are doing an ace job of email marketing in your winery.

It’s still the most effective of marketing channels.

Read more about winery marketing practices here.