How Golden Gate Wine Increased Online Sales By 150%

Case Studies

Golden Gate Wine is a Hong Kong-based importer of vintage California and US-based wines. Founded in 2004, they import a spectrum of mid to high-end labels from Napa, Sonoma, and the best wine regions in the US, and resell to HK-based individuals, hotels, restaurants, clubs, airlines, governments, and distributors. If you see a Far Niente chardonnay or a Calera Pinot Noir the next time you are strolling through Hong Kong, you have Golden Gate Wine’s owner, Toby Marion, to thank.

Golden Gate Wine uses Autopilot to:

  • Centralize and organize their contact base
  • Send personalized promotions and offers based on products purchased
  • Keep in touch with their contacts through regular email newsletters

Our team had the pleasure of hearing Toby’s story in our visit with him to wine country:

Toby Marion and the Autopilot Team

Since transitioning to Autopilot, Golden Gate Wine has seen 150% growth in online sales. Here’s how they made it happen, and takeaways you can apply to your own business.

Scrubbed their database clean by removing over 1,000 contacts

As their first step in getting started with marketing automation, Golden Gate Wine cleaned up their “dirty database” from 5500 to 4200 over six weeks, by eliminating duplicate contacts, soft and hard bounces, and uninterested subscribers. Or as Toby would say, they “cut the chaff.”

With this essential step, GGW was able to discover the high-value segments already living in their contact base:

  • VIPs who frequently buy and promote Golden Gate Wine’s products
  • Wine preferences like the Chardonnay lovers or the Rex Goliath fanatics
  • Business types including hotels, restaurants, clubs, and others with unique needs
  • Total purchases showing who’s spent the most, least, and everything in between
  • Recent meetings giving insight into warm leads to follow up with right now

These gems were just waiting to be found in GGW’s contact list, and set the stage for more targeted, personalized marketing.

Takeaway: Gather your scattered contacts from your email lists, CRM, piles of business cards, and spreadsheets hidden in your hard drive dungeon. Massage the data in Excel or Google Spreadsheets to find duplicates and consolidate rows into a single contact. From there, you’ll be able to segment your contacts and find leads you never knew you had.

Sent personalized promotions to upsell customers and increase sales

Before trying marketing automation, Golden Gate Wine did what Toby calls “shotgun marketing” – which is another way of saying batch-and-blast emails that are generic, one-size-fits-all messages to everyone in your contact base. Having already experienced success serving more than 5,000 clients over the past decade, his team was still looking for a new way to make a dent in Hong Kong’s notoriously low online wine sales.

The solution? Send follow up promotions to clients based on products purchased, pages viewed, and emails clicked. In other words, the oenophiles obsessed with Chardonnay receive follow up offers for Chardonnays they haven’t tried yet. Or the fine wine club members clicking like crazy through a recent promotion are sent an invitation to try a new fine wine.

Here’s a glimpse of the actual journey Golden Gate Wine created in Autopilot:

Golden Gate Wine's Promotional Journey

Contacts who open the initial promotional email are sent a different promotional email and a “thanks for clicking” text message for a multi-channel marketing experience. Contacts who did not open the initial email are resent the same promotional email two days later, which is the secret the doubling email newsletter open rates.

The impacts of this journey were immediate – with online sales increasing by 150%. These personalized offers led to happy palettes for customers and quick results for Golden Gate Wine.

Takeaway: Think through the “interesting moments” in the customer journey where you can make a targeted offer or upsell to existing customers. For well-executed broad promos, expect conversion rates of 5 – 15%, and 50%+ conversion rates by targeting smaller, more niche audiences with personalized messaging.

Re-engaged low hanging fruit to bring dead leads back to life

Over a 6-week period, Golden Gate Wine used a combination of feedback surveys, keep-in-touch emails, and ongoing newsletters and promotions to engage 3,500 former customers. Contacts who had “gone cold” for years clicked and opened emails, inquired about new wine labels, registered for events, and provided valuable feedback.

Toby was excited about the results: “I spoke to former customers who hadn’t bought in years – now they want to buy more today. We would never have thought to call him. Remarkable.”

Think about your own contact base. What sales leads, opportunities, and low-hanging fruit are ripe for the picking if you reached out and re-engaged?

Where is the Low-Hanging Fruit in Your Contact Base?

Takeaway: Use the quick-and-dirty 9-Word Re-Engagement Email to quickly identify hot prospects and motivated buyers.

The future with Autopilot

To keep growing, Golden Gate Wine plans to keep their contact base up-to-date, continually refine customer segments, and launch more targeted, personalized promotions. Because just like a good vintage, it takes time to produce the perfect blend of remarkable marketing.

Are you ready to grow online sales for your business? Give Autopilot a shot with a free trial.

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