Writing the Harvest 2009 Newsletter

I finished up the Harvest 2009 Newsletter yesterday and posted it on the Vrede en Lust website and via our GoldMine CRM system, to our database. It is always a much tougher job to write it than I expected – hopefully I will learn and set aside enough time in the future! This one took about a week to get done.

Some of my friends ask me why do I spend so much time writing it myself ? Why not just get a PR company to do it ? Well, I really believe that in our industry (and most others around the world), it is really important for the brand owners to communicate directly, personally and in their own words with their customers and prospective customer base.

There are tens of thousands of wineries around the world – the competition is intense and it is very hard to try and build a brand in such a crowded market place. We are blessed with a beautiful winery that attracts more than 5,000 visitors per month in the season. During the low season this will drop to about 2,500 per month. We will never get a better opportunity to develop an ongoing relationship, than when we are face to face with our customers.

It is my goal to establish an ongoing relationship with as many of our customers and visitors as possible. Using today’s technology this becomes easier and easier. Every one of the newsletter that goes out is personalised. In time I hope to increase the level of personalization, as we improve the level of information in our GoldMine database. I would love to get to the point where we send an Afrikaans newsletter to our Afrikaans clients and a German newsletter to our German clients!

It is a fact, that there is no shortage of marketing out there and that our clients are bombarded with thousands of messages a day. It is hard to turn a message into communication. By putting in the time and thinking about every word, editing it down, trying to balance the length of the email with the level on information on hand and doing it yourself, you improve the level of communication significantly.

I do believe that the vast majority of our clients are quite smart and can spot a PR written email/newsletter/messsage¬† a mile off. At that point the message gets downgraded to spam. So, while I am sure quite a few of our newsletters get marked as spam (especially due to the word ‘Lust’ in our name), I do believe the effort is worthwhile and I will continue to put in more and more efforts into the development and nurturing of such relationships.

Don’t get me wrong – I do believe that PR companies have their place – their place is just not here at a family owned and managed business. I originally went to university and learned how to write computer programs. So please excuse some mistakes when write a very different type of code!

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