Since its inception in 1985, Wellington Brewery has upheld an unwavering commitment to high-quality craft beer, sustainability, creativity, their customers, and the community. 

“Connecting with people who want great beer, and really building a community around that, has been a big part of how we’ve grown over the years,” said Brad McInerney, Marketing Director at Wellington Brewery. 

For the last 14 years, Wellington Brewery has relied on Constant Contact to make those connections, ensuring their customers go beyond just sipping and become loyal advocates of their business.

Staying relevant in a crowded industry

As one of the first independently owned craft breweries in Ontario, Wellington has always prioritized communication with their customers. But as the craft beer industry began to explode in popularity, they realized they needed to adjust and adapt their marketing efforts to remain relevant.

Wellington Brewery circa 1990 (left) and Wellington Brewery today (right)

“Our approach to marketing definitely has changed over the years pretty significantly,” explained Brad. “Even in the last few years, the focus towards digital and ecommerce has been a huge change.”

Even prior to this shift, Wellington incorporated newsletter marketing into its overall marketing strategy. Before transitioning to email, they used to physically print their newsletters. So, even as they have evolved their marketing, the foundation of their customer communications has remained consistent. 

“It’s interesting to see how things have changed, but they’ve also stayed similar because underpinning that is the idea of building a community around your brand and really treating your customers in a way that could build a much deeper relationship with them. And that’s something we’ve been lucky enough to do.” 

Brad McInerney, Marketing Director, Wellington Brewery

Their commitment to email newsletters led them to prioritize growing their email subscriber base, frequently using sign-up forms and special promotions to entice customers or prospects to join their list. Developing an engaged list has allowed them to stay top-of-mind for their subscribers, and their audience frequently replies to their emails with comments and questions, as they have built a strong connection with them over time. 

“[Our email list] is definitely a really important focus for building a deeper relationship with the customer. If somebody goes and buys one of your products, that’s great, but if you get the opportunity to actually speak to them in more detail, share a bit more about your brand, that’s where you get to build something special.”

To date, Wellington has grown their email list to more than 10,000 subscribers.

Moving beyond email newsletters

With Constant Contact, Wellington has been able to integrate their email campaigns into their overall marketing strategy, including ecommerce, which has had a profound impact on sales.
“We’ve seen some great results in Constant Contact, especially since our email campaigns have become a focus for ecommerce.”

Wellington Brewery Upside IPA

To boost their ecommerce sales through their email campaigns, Wellington utilized the Shopify integration within Constant Contact. This integration provides a seamless connection between their online store and email communications, streamlining the purchase process directly from an email. Integrating with Shopify has helped the brewery to average more than $2,300 in sales through their weekly email newsletter over the past six months, and to drive 50 times their return on investment with Constant Contact.

“Shopify has been by far the most powerful integration and one that we’ve focused on.”

Ecommerce emails have been so successful that Brad and his team can see an immediate impact on sales after sending an email. 

“We can plan our days based around when we send out our email campaigns. We know that day is going to be busier for ecommerce,” explained Brad. “So we plan our shipping and staffing around those days because we know that it’s a much higher likelihood that’s going to result in more sales than, say, a social media post or something like that.”

Elevating personalization with segmentation 

One of Wellington’s primary goals this year is to grow their nonalcoholic beverage portfolio. To ensure they can tailor their messaging to this particular audience, they rely on the ability to segment their email lists. 

“We’re just starting a new email list that’s going to be customers who are exclusively buying a nonalcoholic product. [With segmentation], we can focus on that messaging a little bit better.”

Carefully dividing their email subscriber list into segments has allowed Wellington to connect with new and unique audiences. Beyond segmenting their audience based on interests, Wellington has taken it further by utilizing their Shopify integration to categorize customers based on their purchase behavior. This integration allows them to pinpoint their most loyal customers, reengage those who haven’t made a recent purchase, and address abandoned online shopping carts. 

With each of their segments tailored to the specific interests, preferences, and purchase history of their audience, they have succeeded in delivering content that connects with their audience on a personal level, drives sales, and increases engagement.  

Automating Success

The brewery has continued to elevate their email campaigns by introducing automated emails, allowing them to cut down on manual email outreach.  Each of their automations serves a specific purpose: The welcome series automatically greets new subscribers, sets expectations, and makes subscribers feel important and valued.  Their hops sparkling water automation (for their nonalcoholic product line) provides new subscribers with a coupon code, igniting their interest and driving immediate conversions.  Finally, their abandoned cart automation works to reengage customers to ensure no sale is left behind.

By incorporating automation, they have increased their engagement and sales successfully. Their abandoned cart automation, in particular, has helped them to achieve an additional $36,000 in orders.

One of the emails from Wellington’s abandoned cart email series

“We’ve seen an increase in conversions based around the automation for following up with customers on their carts,” said Brad. “So if we haven’t seen a purchase in a few weeks, sending them a discount code … [has] been really helpful in terms of driving ecommerce sales.”

Ale’s well that ends well

By adopting new marketing technologies such as automation, segmentation, and ecommerce, Wellington Brewery has experienced remarkable growth. With segmented and automated emails, they have made every email count. Now, they have the opportunity to meaningfully connect with their customers at the right moment with the right messaging. 

“Now we spend a lot less time for a lot more impact.”

This personal touch has not only fostered the strong connections they currently have with their base, but it has helped to increase their sales and overall engagement rates. With the help of Constant Contact, Wellington continues to cultivate a vibrant community of craft beer enthusiasts eager to explore their newly crafted products and brews.