Written by: Chris Deutschman, Sales Manager, Elite Brands

I grew up right in a fascinating time for technology in our generation, especially with email. While computers and the internet were maturing by the time I graduated college, I managed and owned restaurants in the late 2000’s and felt like sending emails to our customers was a strange thing to do. I remember the awkward first emails we sent that were designed with so many colors, goofy fonts, and the overall clumsiness probably made it seem like we were a joke. Even as we got better, we never understood the why behind sending our emails. Let’s remember that not long ago our phones only flipped and made calls, so sending these emails as a local neighborhood restaurant seemed unnecessary and irrelevant because they were only being read by the few industry professionals that were on a computer every day. Fast-forward to today in our industry and we are consumed by our inboxes (especially on our phones). From how we read your weekly email newsletters to the emails we send you, we’ve learned to take this communication seriously and work hard to balance the fine lines of what and how we communicate every week.

Personally, I love getting my local restaurant and liquor stores’ emails and have signed up for many of yours over the years. It is even a part of our training program for each account manager to sign up for all their customer email newsletters and programs. These emails are mini-ecosystems for what all our companies have going on – and they are often loaded with valuable local info and “insider deals.” And even if our inboxes can get overloaded, when handled with some organization, all these emails coming in from your {our} great businesses give us a “special” look into our favorites with things like special events, worthy news, access to unique products, and more. Even if you take a minimalist approach to your inbox. (is that a thing, Marie Kondo?), the right professional emails can be a powerful tool as you navigate your daily flow at work.

So, when our team got together in early 2020 to discuss our email strategy moving forward, we wanted to make sure to really consider the efficacy and purpose behind each email we send. We want to make sure that when our emails hit your inbox, they mean something to you. We want them to be valuable. That can be a lot of things to different people, but if anything, we want to make sure you get access to our latest, greatest, and most relevant products, deals, news, and opportunities for your business and customers every week. And to never become an email farm that just crowds your inbox. Because let’s face it, there are a heck of a lot of emails in your inbox and products in the market…and your jobs to curate the best beverage program for your customers and neighborhood can be tricky. As such, we hope our emails strike the right tone of being concise and useful so that you can choose what works best for you and your customers.

ELITE’S IN YOUR INBOX

MONDAYS FROM OUR SALES TEAMS

Every Monday (or other days for some territories), you should get an email from your account manager with the top deals and items from our warehouse…if you are not receiving these emails, we have a plug at the bottom of this article for you to get signed up. These emails have become a canvass for our sales team to update you on their favorite Elite happenings. They have become “email artist” of sorts as they communicate their top recommendations and favorite products. So much so that you can see our team’s unique personalities and specific market wisdoms shine through.

And for some, they have turned these weekly emails into true expressions of their territory and your communities. If you live and work in the Vail Valley, you are getting one of our top examples of this. John Bruner has been our Account Manager for this area for the last 2+ years and has used this weekly email as an opportunity to communicate to the very specific tone and needs of the market. Every town has its own pulse and Vail is no exception with its foundation in ski resorts, strong local community, seasonal workforce, and vacation-goers. For John, he sees these weekly emails as an opportunity to educate and dig into our portfolio with recommendations that are specifically geared to the businesses, styles, and clientele of the area. From higher end wines to more regional beer offerings and a heavier dose of our Belgian/Austrian portfolio, John gives his territory an incredibly custom and knowledge-backed set of recommendations based on this unique market and community. While it is just one of many amazing touches that John provides, his custom weekly email has become such a valuable market source for so many of his informed buyers.

MID-WEEK FOR THE INDUSTRY GEEK

From new brand launches to seasonal news and offerings, these mid-week emails are geared for the geek in all of us. Every month, we plan out a couple of emails to deep dive into specific brands or seasonal opportunities. We hope it is a good chance to learn more about a brand you are interested in or to find the sort of products that would be a gem for your store or restaurant. In previous months, we have highlighted some amazing new brands launches, took a deep dive into one of our top Champagne producers, and broken down our top selling wines of the season. In the months ahead, we have even more goodies planned, including more brand launches, a feature on our top Dry January ideas, our favorite Stouts, and more!

WHAT THE FUTURE HOLDS: GET READY FOR ONLINE ORDERING

The biggest email trend that we want to provide our customers in 2021 is a click to order setup. With help from our online ordering partners, we have linked the products in our emails so you can easily order online and communicate with your account managers.  This has been a major reason why we have invested so much of our energy and time into our partnerships with Provi, DSDLink, SevenFifty, and others. While we will continue to provide the same level of in-person service as is allowed and able per the times, we want to make sure that if there is something that piques your interest on an email, that with just one click, you can get quick access to more product information and order now capability that goes directly to your sales rep and our invoicing system.

It seems like a minor touch considering how online shopping stores dominate our current shopping habits, but we want to make sure we have a safe, easy, and direct way to get your orders into sales reps. Whether you wanted to place your entire order online or just add in something to an existing order, this ‘order now’ capability from these emails can be a great way to ensure you get the products you want every week easily, quickly, and without hassle.

After that, we will continue our efforts of creating informative, purposeful, and engaging emails that aim to serve you and your customers. We want to be mindful of how often we send emails, to keep them fresh, and lean into the feedback you all have. As such, we would love to hear what sort of things you love, hate, and want us to highlight in the months to come!