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Holiday messaging during COVID-19

  • 7 min read

What’s the last message you sent to your customers? Will they remember you for sharing Season’s Greetings or prompting them to buy now? For a video that makes them chuckle or stresses shipping deadlines? For a personal message from the owners or to-go, bundled, discounted and free-with-purchase offers?

The answer is obvious: they’ll remember the feel-good content over sales promotion. What’s not so obvious is that craft beverage producers can make customers FEEL GOOD ABOUT BUYING in their holiday messaging. Most just don’t understand how. We’ll show you.

Market Your Craft barrel logo for mobile discoverability emailWhy should you care?

Penguins photo for holiday messaging postCraft beverage producers are suffering from a sea of sameness: there are far too many options for drinkers to commit their loyalty and dollars to just you alone. And if you’re doing what everyone else is doing, it’s guaranteed you’ll be lost in the noise. The coronavirus only further complicates efforts for brands to engage with new and current customers.

In the time it took to type that last paragraph, we received 7 beverage emails, all of which offered discounted purchase and free shipping or delivery. Nothing unexpected. Nothing notable.

It’s time we all take a step back and remember what customers want to see from you this holiday: your humanity. The real, the transparent, you. It’s counterintuitive, but in that moment when you are most exposed, you are most relatable to new customers ready to buy craft beverage. Read on for ideas to capture their attention.


Female checking email for holiday messaging postEmail does a majority of the heavy lifting when it comes to holiday messaging. Even during a global pandemic, retailers fired up the email engines in late September to start promoting Black Friday, Cyber Monday and the holidays. This isn’t a commentary on capitalism – we all need customers to buy from us. It is, however, an urgent plea to end the year on a positive note: one sent via email to your current customers, newsletter subscribers, event attendees and other fans.

Here are five content ideas for engaging subscribers this season:

  • Message from the owners: take a moment to thank customers for their business and provide a quick recap on one crazy year. Offer encouragement and Season’s Greetings “from our family to yours.”
  • Food and beverage pairings: many of us will be staying home this season, so help customers create a meal worth celebrating with your craft beverage.
  • Inspired recipes: cooking with craft beverage adds an exciting twist to traditional holiday fare.
  • Share the love: now is not the time to be competitive! Share recommendations for enjoying a socially-distanced holiday in your city, including links to outdoor activities, community calendars and local shopping events.
  • Looking forward: every day, people are inundated with news about COVID-19, vaccine updates and politics. Share an update of what’s coming up in January from your brand, like a new beverage release, a virtual happy hour with the production team or other activity.

It should be easy to see the conversational sales opportunity in each example. The point is to be human in your email, first getting their attention with a relevant holiday message and second offering your craft beverage as a complement to their activities.

social posts

Male celebrating over Zoom photo for holiday messaging postIf you’re stuck in the social shortfall we discussed last time, it’s probably hard to think strategically about your content posting calendar right now. It’s tougher than ever to engage your followers on social channels because they’re bored after eight months of similar content. And while lifestyle photos of your customers enjoying a beverage are harder to capture due to indoor dining restrictions and limited outdoor options, you can celebrate the people and personalities behind your brand:

  • Top ten lists: have fun counting down the team’s favorite movies, gifts given/received and holiday fails. Be sure to introduce the team member and their role at the facility.
  • Holiday gift ideas: what would your lead producer recommend for the craft beverage drinker who has everything? Can range from serious to not-so-serious.
  • Decorations: celebrate the holiday experience inside your tasting room or around the facility, even if customers aren’t able to join you in person.
  • Frames and backgrounds: think “wish you were here” and other posting frames that can be shared among friends. December promises to be even bigger for video conference services like Zoom, so refresh your branded backgrounds and offer them for download on social.
  • COVID-era traditions: have your team share personal traditions and how they plan to adapt them this year.

The key here is to show your craft beverage in use, but be creative: skip the staged beauty shots, drinkers are tired of seeing those. If your team can subtly show or suggest your product in posts, you will be top-of-mind when the customer takes action to engage.

video content

Winemakers' video greeting for holiday messaging postWhen done correctly, video content stands the best chance of inviting a new or current customer to engage with your holiday message. From MailChimp, an industry-leading email service provider, we know personalized mail content has 29% higher open rates and video emails specifically have 19% higher open rates. And those rates will only increase over time.

Of course, craft beverage brands might still be a bit self-conscious about putting video content out there. Not everyone on your team will feel comfortable in front of a camera. Just remember: your team doesn’t have to be perfect – just real. Here are four examples worth stealing:

  • Personalize your video greeting: using newsletter subscriber data or customer order information can help you customize a video greeting by individual, resulting in as high as 3X your typical response rate. Hippo Video is one of the services recommended by MailChimp.
  • Montage: if your craft beverage brand has been actively producing videos all year, consider a highlight reel with clips of the best moments.
  • Outtakes: the videographer role is never easy – you can take hours of footage for one 30-second clip. Compile the outtakes into one lighthearted look at 2020 through the eyes of your team.
  • Spoof: try to imitate some other video, like a scene from a favorite holiday movie. The point is not to be good, quite the opposite. Make it as fun and comical as possible!

Again, the selling message is not the focus: be the craft beverage brand drinkers think about as they close the chapter on 2020 and look forward to next year. Craft beverage producers who have consistently engaged their fans and followers throughout COVID-19 will gain even more traction when we are past the worst of it.

engaging your social channels

Engaging your Social Channels guide imageMany craft beverage brands miss opportunities to convert followers to customers on social because posts are uninspired, inconsistent or irrelevant. To your craft beverage brand and others, we’ve designed a guide with proven marketing tools to empower your team during COVID-19:

  • Define your strategy
  • Develop content worth sharing
  • Design calendars
  • Start listening!
  • Build engagement
  • Track performance
  • And more!

Purchase the guide for $99 and get a one (1) hour review of your social media efforts with one of our storytelling experts. Sharpen your focus on customer needs and keep fans engaged during the pandemic.

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