A Small Business Secret to Success Revealed. Great Customer Service and Email

by Joanne Steele on April 13, 2011

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Reporting live from Turkey, Texas! More about Turkey in a few days.

Casa Rondena WineryFor now, let me tell you about an interesting afternoon we had in the little rurban fringe community of Los Ranchos de Albuquerque, New Mexico.

Los Ranchos de Albuquerque is located on the outskirts of Albuquerque New Mexico.

The place we visited was the Casa Rondena Winery, a small boutique winery that not only makes great wines, it has learned how to create and keep very loyal customers.

Let me tell you about how Casa Rondena Winery has built and keeps their base of loyal customers.

We visited with my brother-in-law, who took us wine tasting. We walked in and he asked for the members book. He, it turns out, is a Clarion Member.

For $39 every other month, he receives two bottles of wine, free tastings when he comes in with a guest, all kinds of discounts on other food products sold in the tasting room, the right to have picnics in their lovely garden setting, and access to all kinds of special events.

There are several other more costly membership levels, but the folks greeting us treated us like VIP’s. We were treated to a special taste of one of their most expensive wines, given a little extra tasting of a lovely fresh white wine that was “perfect for sipping in the garden.”

The face to face customer service at the business was impeccable. I slipped back into the tasting room from our garden retreat and watched the staff person greet and pour for another group of tasters.

“Wow!” I thought, “These guys must REALLY be VIP’s!”

But no. In fact they weren’t even members…yet.

I asked to speak to their marketing person. I needed to know more.

Michelle, their marketing and pr specialist had only been on the job for several weeks, but was well versed on the marketing strategy that is clearly working very well.

Yes, the have a national distributor. No, they cannot ship wine around the country. And yes, a large percentage of their business is done with these loyal members, over 1100 of them.

“How do you get and keep such a loyal customer base?” was my question.

“We are in constant communication with our members via email.” She replied. “We email them sometimes twice a week during the summer and at least once a month during our winter off season.

What does she say in those emails?

Announcements about member events – special member tastings, parties, cooking classes held just for members.

She reminds them about usage of the special event space available to only highest level members… gently. She wants to encourage members to update their memberships, not make them feel left out.

She tells interesting wine-related stories. This is a boutique winery which means their owner is extremely involved in the winemaking process. That story is always interesting.

Yes, they have a website – but clearly the social media option that is getting most of their attention is email marketing.

It is the centerpiece of a busy active marketing effort that includes some special events, great customer service and building a sense of belonging among members.

In my workshops and trainings I stress over and over, only use the social media options that will put you in good communication with your customer and make you more money.

For Casa Rondena, it’s email marketing.

Have you used email marketing effectively? Or is there another social media option you use expertly. Let us know…

Below are other posts that might help you develop or improve your email marketing.

Rural Tourism Marketing Tip: Gather Email Addresses For Later Use

Write Effective Newsletters Your Customers Can’t Wait to Open

1 Kathy Sherwood April 19, 2011 at 3:11 pm

Joanne, Great workshop – “Making Internet Marketing Work for your Business & Your Town” this last Saturday in Van Buren, Arkansas. I’m excited to use the information to help promote Rural Tourism in Clinton, AR. I would appreciated information or the site to follow about artwork in vacent buildings downtown. Workshops are only effective if the information is applied. It will take some time, however, I do plan to take control of our internet marketing and embrace social media.

2 Joanne Steele April 22, 2011 at 8:36 am

Thanks Kathy. If you haven’t already, check out http://www.facebook.com/DunsmuirStorefrontGalleries. Also, check out what is happening in Eugene, OR. Keep in touch, and be sure to email me with questions as you implement your internet marketing strategy.

3 Herb Lawrence April 14, 2011 at 9:03 am

Great post Joanne, thanks sharing it with our rural tourist related businesses here in the Ozarks! Email is too often overlooked by a lot of small businesses, but stats show conversion with E-mail better than Social Should be part of the overall online marketing plan

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