Thursday, April 26, 2012

e-Newsletters and Ontario Craft Beer: Who's Doing It Right

Originally when I started this post, it was going to be about how I thought it was about time Ontario craft breweries got more into email marketing. It turned out, they already were; I just hadn't signed up for any of them. So off I went, to brewery and association websites, entering my email address into their newsletter signup forms, eagerly awaiting both my confirmation emails and the first of many promising e-blasts about my favourite beers.

This was April 26th. On May 27th, return here for the 10 day countdown of the not so great, to the best of the best in Ontario craft beer e-newsletters.

Some of you may be asking why I have an image of an InBev e-blast in this post.

Here's why:
  1. It's got a featured beer deal. If you're a customer on a budget, this is the first and most important item you'll be interested in.
  2. It lists multiple other brands and their prices, so before you walk into the beer store, you know exactly what you're looking to buy.
  3. To the same point as above but on the company's side, InBev has the ability to put whichever of its brands it chooses in front of its customers.
  4. It's simply designed, and uses the same layout every time meaning not a whole lot of work goes into populating a new one
  5. It's sent to me every month, so you know when to expect new "Beer Deals", and plan your trips to the beer store accordingly
It's content is different than what a brewery has to offer, but they know who their audience is, and what their goal is with this kind of e-blast.

Content is King
Content is the king of all information companies choose to deliver to their customers.  With fan-bases such as the Ontario craft beer's, we, the customers, are itching for more information from our breweries - always wanting to know more. Craft beer breweries have a fun, main message - "Hey, we have good beer! Here's some information about it, and here's where you can get it!" and with so many events taking place involving craft beer, its fans surely deserve the means to finding out about those too.

Other Tools
There are quite a few online email marketing tools that breweries can use to create e-blast templates; MailChimp or ConstantContact for example. This isn't to say email marketing is the only tool available.  Many breweries are utilizing Facebook and Twitter to connect with their customers. Hopefully they'll keep it up, and continue moving forward with websites such as Pinterest, which can all be great tools for keeping up to date, staying connected with their target audience, and helping to grow both their fan-base and the quality of content they send out.

The Score
These are the newsletters I've signed up for. I obviously haven't signed up for all of the breweries in Ontario, but if there's one missing from this list that you think I should include in my review, let me know.

Amsterdam Brewery
Granite Brewery
Great Lakes Brewery
Lake of Bays Brewing Company
Muskoka Brewery
Nickel Brook Brewing Co.
Ontario Craft Brewers
- Railway City Brewing
Steam Whistle Brewery
Wellington Brewery

Additional MentionsNo newsletter available.

Beau's All Natural Brewing Co.
Reflections: has a lot, but a newsletter signup was not one that I could find. I wanted to mention this website/brewery because I really love what they're doing with "Beau's Points".  By putting point coupons on each 4-pack, they're really helping to build their brand loyalty, because fans will keep buying the 4pack's of Beau's to collect points, and redeem them for Beau's swag (some of which is clothing swag, that of course acts as a promotional tool for them).

Flying Monkey's Craft Brewery
Reflections: If the goal is to get my head to explode, mission accomplished Flying Monkey's website. I love your beer, oh so much, but navigating through your website is like trying to read a child's drawings on a wall as if they were some sort of ancient hieroglyphics.
Right, I couldn't find a newsletter signup.

Mill Street Brewery
Reflections: I scoured and for the life of me couldn't find a newsletter sign up anywhere in the pretty, new, flash website.

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