5 Ways Spirits Brands Miss the Mark on Email

Is Your Retention Machine Working for You?

If you’re a craft spirits brand working to get your liquid out to market, you’ve likely already got an email marketing platform set up. You may have even sent a few campaigns and switched on an automation or two. As one of the greatest tools to engage your growing audience, monetize your customer list, and drive customer lifetime value, the importance of winning in the email channel is obvious. But as easy as the basic setup of your brand’s marketing email account and reaching your first inboxes might be, that’s just the beginning. In this blog, we’ll cover five of the biggest opportunities we uncover for many of the new brands we work with.

Shout your brand voice from the rooftops with an on-brand sender address.

This crucial information adorns every email you send, precedes your Subject Line, and should be considered your brand’s first impression for your email audience. And, unlike a subject line that changes from email to email, your email moniker will stick around and rack up tons of impressions inside the inbox, on your website, and in printed marketing collateral. In this way, it makes sense to involve your brand team to discuss the opportunity to lead with something that stands out and helps tell your brand story.

These days, sending your brand messaging from stiff, unoriginal email account names like info@genericbooze.com or marketing@bigspirits.com just won’t cut it. Some ideas to kickstart your thinking:

  • Got a hands-on brand? Use the founder’s name and actual email address and encourage the audience to reply to the emails and say, “Hey!”
  • Kinda informal & irreverent? yo@sassyspirits.com might do the trick
  • Premium rum brand Papa’s Pilar gives a nod to their spirit’s iconic namesake, Ernest “Papa” Hemingway, with the uber on-brand heypapa@papaspilar.com

There’s no rule here, the limit is your imagination. Make it catchy, funny, classic, or cool. Just make sure it’s you.

Invite them over, but make sure somebody’s home to greet them first.

A new fan opted in to receive marketing from your brand after checking out your newly revamped website. Nice! Now, your email marketing program should step in with some marketing automation magic, like your Welcome Flow, which greets new opt-ins to your email list with a kind word and a brand story or two. But once you have a solid three-email sequence turned on, the job’s not finished.

If you’re like many alcohol brands, your early days are spent pounding the pavement on a mission to bring liquid to lips by any means necessary. This means countless activations, tastings, festivals, and trade conferences. You’re out pouring the gospel and bringing back the email addresses and ZIP codes of the converted. But what happens to your leads list after the day of the event? How quickly was it uploaded? Did it get uploaded at all? Was it uploaded to the appropriate list? Does that list trigger the Welcome Flow for these new profiles or… crickets?

As your brand scales, your lead generation efforts will become more complex and involved, which, if left unaddressed, can result in what we call “lead neglect.” Lead neglect occurs when your hard-earned leads go into a dangerous wasteland in your marketing email platform that never triggers a Welcome Flow or are rendered useless because of some administrative oversight. Take the time to ensure your account is set up properly to hit the ground running with new leads, delivering your brand story at the right time and capitalizing on the excitement of your newfound fanatic. Often, that momentum has a pretty short shelf-life.

Integrate, automate, and do not procrastinate.

One of the biggest mistakes brands make is manually uploading leads, often days after receiving the opt-in, when there’s an easy way to automatically sync the leads using an integration. Leads are coming into your email platform from all over: D2C ecomm website, brand website, social media lead ads, and more. With so many moving parts, ensuring the data is flowing automatically, in real-time should be job one. Let’s work smart, not hard, people!

At first blush, it could seem overwhelming, but often, these integrations can be enabled by even the least tech-savvy among us. With just a few clicks, as long as you have proper access to the platforms you’re connecting. It’s often as simple as typing into a search engine: “Platform 1 + Platform 2 + Integration” and following the simple instructions provided by the platforms in their support documentation.

If a direct integration between platforms doesn’t exist, consider using Zapier, a powerful tool that can help connect countless web applications and marketing platforms.

And, finally, if all this integration talk has you flustered, your friendly neighborhood marketing tech experts at Drinkubator can help you connect your tech stack and ensure your omni-channel digital strategy is seamlessly integrated and firing on all cylinders. We’ll empower you to spend more time doing what you do best: Build your spirits brand!

No wallflowers allowed—Everybody on the dance floor!

One of the most prevalent issues that we encounter when we onboard new email accounts is the client has been drastically underutilizing their total available list. Time and again, routine audits show campaigns being sent to incorrect, old, or irrelevant lists, leaving otherwise eager potential customers gazing at their shoes behind the punch bowl. This mistake can be costly, in certain cases, we’ve seen brands leaving thousands of dollars of revenue per campaign on the table.

A good email program will utilize lists and basic segmentation to deliver the right message to the right people. A great email platform like Klaviyo will allow you to segment your list based on behavior, demographics, geography, and even predictive analytics. This is email marketing 101. But, as important as precision targeting is, it’s important to ensure you’re giving everyone on your list an opportunity to engage.

To accomplish this, we recommend bolstering your precision segmentation strategy with a “pinch” of brute force—the full-list email blast. Sending valuable or urgent messages to your entire list (sparingly) to highlight major news or big promotions is essential to allowing everyone an opportunity to engage with your email marketing. Occasions perfect for campaigns like this are new product drops or promoting a significant discount.

You’ll never get that dance if you don’t ask, right?

Keep your enemies close. And the insights they provide closer.

Maybe enemies is too strong a word. Adversary, opponent, challenger. Whatever you want to call them, there’s an easy way to keep tabs on them—Join their email list. First, create a free email account with an inconspicuous name dedicated to your opposition research. Then, head to the websites of all of the competitors in your space, and subscribe away. Not only will you be able to see what their emails look like in your inbox, but you’ll also be able to audit their entire opt-in process.

An email program doesn’t start in the inbox, but at the point of opt-in. Take note of the styling of the popup or embedded opt-in form, the number of steps in the process, the questions they ask, copy style, and tone. Once you’ve hit subscribe, take note of how long it takes to receive your first email. Upon first open, take note of their template design, structure, and copywriting. Are they using dynamic and personalized content? Did they immediately hit you with an offer or some brand storytelling?

Many insights you distill from this oppo research will come over time. How many emails are in their Welcome Flow? How many days between them? As you begin to receive campaigns, take note of the different occasions they promote. How frequently do they send? Is there a preferred day or time that you can discern? Can you spot any new cocktail recipe trends? What about pricing, discounts, and shipping costs? It’s all there, delivered conveniently to your inbox. The point isn’t to copy or imitate, but to stay on the pulse of what’s happening in your industry and provide some great perspective you can apply to your own email marketing efforts.

Your Enterprise Value is Our North Star

Email is just one piece of a highly complex puzzle that is the beverage alcohol space. Drinkubator uses our 50+ years of experience in the spirits industry to laser-focus on increasing the enterprise value of your brand. For us, no two brand strategies are the same, and we’re ready to work with you to forge yours. Our team of brand builders, storytellers, and data-obsessed strategists is ready to launch with you.