There’s been an explosion in new 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 advertising response and most importantly, helped their profits skyrocket.

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

Here are 6 critical 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.

If you have great data and mediocre creative might work. But if you have mediocre data, great creative won’t work.

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

This includes an amazing process that knows prospects have purchased by category and affinity, how much money they make and spend on purchases, and where they spend the most money including a direct mail select.

More importantly, they take all transactional data information on the person and create a 95% or better look-a-like audience.

The TDM is so much more effective than any kind of data you can get from online search history, click-throughs, or likes. 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 box 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, complementing their online marketing.

Why direct mail?

Because direct mail is a proven, high-return strategy to getting response rates at a cost per sale as goods are usually much better than online efforts.

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

So, we created an envelope mailing that our highly targeted prospects wouldn’t be able to resist tearing open…

Here’s what the envelope looked like:

As you can see, the outside copy on 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 offer – $152.96 for just $9.98.

The first rule 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 letter and its copy.

It’s the most important part of the internal content.

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 part of the letter, below:

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 little-known 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 (mentioned on 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: The Offer Premiums that increase the perceived value. 

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 $9.98.

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.

Key #6: A persuasive spokesperson. 

Many of the components for Wine of the Month Club’s mailing package featured a spokesperson – their sommelier, 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 615-814-6633 or email Caleb at