There’s been an explosion in subscription box services.

In terms of marketing, a lot can be learned from those who have been around for a while.

Wine of the Month Club has been around for over 40 years. They’re a subscription box service that delivers a selection of curated, high-quality wine to your home every month. And, they’re a multimillion dollar business and a standard for subscription services.

One of the reasons for their success has been their understanding of direct response – scientific marketing.

For example, let me tell you how my team helped them add thousands of new members, boosted their response and most importantly, helped their profits skyrocket.

Let’s take a look at the breakthrough direct mail piece that beat the control.

Here are 6 keys that helped Wine of the Month Club expand their original subscription box success:

Key #1: A strategically targeted audience for supercharged response.

Many box services fail here – identifying the right audience. 

First, we made sure that we targeted the “perfect prospects” for Wine of the Month Club’s offer for monthly, quality wine. Without accurate targeting, everything else in the campaign would fall flat.

We achieved this by using our proprietary TDM (Transactional Data Matrix) – a system that allows you to identify prospects based on actual transactional data.

This includes everything your prospects have purchased, how much money they make, and where they spend the most money.

The TDM is so much more effective than any kind of data you can get from search history or click-through’s. It shows what a prospect actually spends their money on – not simply what they’re interested in.

For Wine of the Month Club, we used the TDM to locate potential subscribers who were the most likely to respond to their offer. Then, we sent them a strategic mailing package, which you’ll learn about next.

Key #2: A direct mail package with an irresistible offer.

Many box services violate the rules of direct mail…or don’t even use direct mail.

For Wine of the Month Club, we created a direct mail package for a marketing campaign that would help them skyrocket to success.

Why direct mail?

Because direct mail is a proven, high-return strategy to getting a response.

And, for prospects who already love receiving something in the mail, direct mail marketing is a surefire way to grab their attention.

We created an envelope mailing that prospects wouldn’t be able to resist tearing open…

Here’s what the envelope looked like:

wine of the month club envelope

As you can see, the outside of the envelope contains an enticing list of premiums (which we’ll get into in a moment) …. A note telling recipients of a free checklist, right inside the envelope …. and finally, the promise of significant savings ($152.96 for just $9.98).

The first key to creating a powerful envelope mailing is to make sure that your recipients will want to open it. This envelope did that with intriguing copy and an immediate promise of what was in it for them (gifts, a free item and savings).

Key #3: A powerful, direct response letter. 

Most box marketers don’t understand the power of a direct response offer.

Inside the envelope for Wine of the Month Club, prospects saw a letter directly from the company spokesperson, telling them all about the special benefits of the club.

Like every other component of the piece, the letter used only direct response copy – “you”-oriented copy that stressed the benefits, not the features, of the service.

Quite frankly, this is critical to success or failure.

Here’s the letter, below:

wine of the month club letter

The letter contains powerful copy that tells prospects what they will get if they sign up for Wine of the Month Club, including rare, hand-picked wines, a set of free wine goblets and two bottles of wine for more than half-off.

Key #4: Value added marketing to build relationship and trust.

Marketing in an age of skepticism is difficult.

But one powerful way to overcome the doubt of your prospects is to offer them something completely free – no obligation required.

This is called a value-added piece, and in the case of Wine of the Month Club, we enclosed a free checklist inside the envelope (you’ll see the teaser on the envelope above).

The checklist contained valuable, engaging information that the prospect would want to keep.

It also communicated that Wine of the Month Club was interested in giving to – not taking from – the client…helping to build valuable, response-boosting trust.

Key #5: Premiums that increase the value of your offer. 

One of the best ways to boost response to your marketing is to offer something of value to your prospects for responding.

For Wine of the Month Club, we put together a variety of valuable gifts that prospects would receive for subscribing.

These gifts included:

  • An elegant slate cheese board
  •  A “Wine Exploration Course”
  • A free bottle of wine

Plus, prospects would receive two additional bottles of wine for less than $10.

The bottle of wine shown below was given to them completely free if they responded within 10 days…giving prospects an additional reason to respond quickly to this valuable offer.

wine of the month club wine


Key #6: A persuasive spokesperson. 

Many of the components for Wine of the Month Club’s mailing package featured a spokesperson – their “cellarmaster” Paul Kalemkiarian.

Using a spokesperson or personality can be a strategic way to build trust and relationship with your prospects. Putting a photo of this person on your front envelope and additional mailing pieces may be controversial….but it usually works.

Consider using your company President or a related professional….just don’t use your marketing director.


Using these direct mail strategies, we helped build Wine of the Month Club into the gold standard for subscription box services.

It’s the “OG” – the original subscription success.

If you’d like to talk to me about how you can create a powerful mailing campaign for your subscription box service, give me a call at (310)212-5727 or email Caleb at

Here are the rest of this week’s articles: