So now you understand that email must be an integral part of any craft beer marketing plan. And we’ve given you 51 ways to use email. Now in this last of 3 posts by Alex Standiford, you’ll develop a deeper understanding for the nuances of running a healthy email list for your brewery.
Alex Standiford is a web designer and a WordPress developer. He loves craft beer and wants to contribute to the community in a way that will make an impact. One way he does that is through his Brewio WordPress Theme for breweries and his Easy Beer Lister WordPress plugin, which can easily load your entire beer menu onto your website. The plugin is completely customizable to pick which beers are on tap today, and it can display your beer menu on a TV screen in your taproom. Both Brewio WordPress theme and the Easy Beer Lister WordPress plugin are free.
How to build a healthy email list for your craft brewery
My favorite strategy to keep a taproom full is with an effective email marketing strategy. This is a powerful tool that keeps people engaged in your brewery, and gives you plenty of opportunities to promote your business. Email campaigns are only as effective as the size and health of your email list, so in this article we’re going to talk about how to build a healthy email list for your craft brewery.
What you should not do with an email list
Although an email list can be purchased online, don’t do it. First off, it’s illegal in the US to mass-email an individual without their prior permission to do so. That’s called spam. If you do this, you will get blacklisted and will lose your digital “license to send marketing emails,” and that’s just not good.
Besides, it’s just not a cool thing to do. Nothing will turn off a customer faster than bugging them about your business offerings without their expressed interest in the first place. Annoying your customer is never a good way to promote your business, so avoid it.
Now that we’ve established what not to do, let’s talk about ways you can build your email list.
Offer a compelling incentive to join your email list
When faced with an opportunity to get added to your list, your customer will probably ask “What’s in it for me?” In other words, “Why should I sign up for your email list?”
To develop a large email list, give away something that you don’t give away to anyone else. These exclusive offers will make your customers want to subscribe to your email list. You could offer something special, such as a special membership or first dibs on invites to exclusive keg tapping of new batches. For a good example of this, check out Dogfish Head’s Mug Club offering.
Related: I have built a 20-point list of irresistible brewery offerings that will help you grow your list. You can get that here.
Start with your website
The first place to add your incentive is on your website. Add a signup form in a prominent place on your website, and show your compelling offer. Try to keep anything you write about the offer focused on what’s in it for the customer. Explain in clear terms exactly why it would be a good decision for them to sign up to your email list. If possible, place the form where it will be seen by as many of your website visitors as possible. Tell anyone who enjoys your beer about your great offer to join the email list.
RELATED: My #1 tool for growing an email list
Use your brewery
Create a print version of your online form, and place it in your taproom. Every day or so, add the new names to your email list. This straightforward strategy has 3 primary benefits.
First, since the opt-in form is at your physical location, it’s more likely that your list will be full of local people. The local customer is the most likely customer to visit again, so it’s important that you find ways to build a list of locals. By nature, a website is global, so it can be difficult to keep your list dedicated to the nearby customers.
The second advantage is that you can watch people interact with your offering, and get unique insight on what is or is not working. This will allow you to make adjustments to your offering, both online and in the taproom.
Third, this gives you the chance to not only capture traffic on your website, but also traffic that comes through your taproom. Not everyone will visit your website, or feel compelled to sign up for your email list until they’ve visited your taproom. This is where most people form their opinion of your brewery, so it’s a great place to ask them to stay in touch.
Events can be a huge opportunity to build your email list. I wrote about how to build an email list from beer festivals. Offer what you normally offer on your website opt-in form, but add an extra bonus incentive just for signing up at the event. People are in a hurry to move on to the next booth, so you need to make a compelling reason to stop them long enough to sign up. This bonus offering should cost little, or nothing at all. And be sure the added incentive is reason enough to stay subscribed to the email list. The problem with offering swag is that it does not give the person a reason to stay on the list, and you will end up spending a lot of money on a list of customers that may unsubscribe just after signing up. Make it a goal to obtain valuable email addresses, and your list will stay healthy, and will continue to grow.
Email frequently (but not too frequently)
Once you get a list of people signed up, deliver that special incentive you promised, and start sending some content. Once you have a person on your list, you must commit to sending messages to them with some frequency. If you don’t, they will forget who you are and why they signed up. Soon your email will be marked as spam, which possibly results in your domain getting blacklisted.
On the flip side, if you email them too frequently, people will get annoyed by the barrage of emails filling their inbox and will unsubscribe. And maybe mark you as spam! The key is to find the best frequency for your list. I typically recommend no more than 2 emails a week starting out, and no less than 2 a month. This is a fairly safe starting point for almost any business, including your amazing craft brewery.
Send more than event invites
I mentioned in another article that email is a transactional medium. Technically, you could send nothing but event invites to your list, but your list will probably see some unsubscribes, and lackluster growth.
Most people who sign up for your email list expect to be sold to, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t offer some value as well. For example, an email with a homebrew recipe of your most popular beer doesn’t directly bring people to your taproom. But it does build relationships, which in time, can lead to better interactions and strengthened relationships.
Marketing, at its core, is getting people to know, like, and trust you. Send emails to make all 3 of those things happen, and you’ll find better results in the long run.
Image showing Little Creatures Brewery Patio by Monica D. on flickr (CC BY 2.0) was modified from its original state.
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