How Club Soda drives growth and revenue with Intuit Mailchimp

How Club Soda drives growth and revenue with Intuit Mailchimp

Club Soda connects with the sober‑curious by providing resources and alcohol alternatives using customer journeys, integrations, groups and more, thanks to Intuit Mailchimp, a marketing automation and email marketing platform. Co-founder of Club Soda, Laura Willoughby MBE, explains how the company has personalised its customer interactions using Mailchimp.

Club Soda was founded in 2014 by Dru Jaeger and Laura Willoughby when she quit drinking alcohol and couldn’t find the kind of support she needed. As a London-based B-Corp, it is on a mission to help people drink alcohol more mindfully and live well.

It started as a small Mailchimp mailing list and a Facebook group to connect with people who wanted to discover new no- or low-alcohol products. Now, it is communicating with tens of thousands of people internationally.

Club Soda focuses on three core things: change, choice and connection. First, it offers paid and free courses to guide people interested in changing their alcohol drinking habits – either wanting to reduce or quit completely.

It also helps people discover more beverage choices. It uses Mailchimp tools to help sell non-alcoholic beer, wine and spirits through e-commerce and its shop on London’s historic Drury Lane in Covent Garden. It also hosted the world’s first mindful drinking festival in 2017, which has inspired similar events in the US and South Africa.

Third, it creates connection through community. In addition to its face-to-face community opportunities, it has an active social media presence. However, not everyone wants to make their decision to stop drinking in public. Club Soda uses a Mailchimp email to welcome them into the community without broadcasting their journey to the world. “Being able to tailor our messages based on the reasons people join Club Soda is essential,” said Willoughby. “Everyone has a different relationship with alcohol, so getting that communication right helps us keep members engaged.”

The challenge: personalising content, building its audience and driving revenue

Club Soda offers different types of content that may not apply to everyone, so personalising it ensures its audiences get the right messages. Some people are just interested in new no-alcohol products, some want to drink more mindfully and some are worried about their drinking and want to quit altogether.

Club Soda’s main KPI for marketing success is audience growth. However, it knows that a successful programme means that people may unsubscribe after they’ve been engaged with the community for a while. If that happens, it means Club Soda was successful in its goals of helping people change their drinking habits, and a somewhat static subscriber list means it is continuing to gain more members.

As a B-Corp, it makes money through small donations, affiliate deals, advertising, sponsorships and grant funding. But it also concentrates on generating revenue from retail sales from its e-commerce store and tasting room, as well as sales of its online courses.

The tools: customer journeys, WooCommerce integration, conditional content, tags and groups

Club Soda uses several tactics to increase sign-ups. It has a robust SEO and content marketing strategy that drives people to its site where they can sign up through a pop-up form. Most interactions, like event sign-ups and course enrolments, as well as social channels, feature a sign-up form. It also uses Mailchimp’s WooCommerce integration to sync customer information, automatically tagging contacts and adding them to the right groups.

Enrolling in its free introductory course, ‘How to Change Your Drinking’, kicks off a Mailchimp customer journey featuring an introduction to Club Soda and content generated by people who have found success reaching their drinking goals, including a story from the Co-founder, Willoughby. This ends with a 25% discount on other courses to help drive more sales.

It also uses customer journeys as a vital onboarding tool to help customers stay healthy as they curb their drinking and provide opportunities and resources to help make sure they get the help they may need. When a person signs up for the course, they fill out a survey through a third party integration to assess their risk for alcohol withdrawal. Then they’re tagged in Mailchimp according to their risk and sent the appropriate information.

“Everyone on our courses needs the right prompt and time to guide them through the content,” said Willoughby. “Customer journeys have become an essential tool to take them through the process.”

In addition to these onboarding and course-related emails, it sends several more types of campaigns: new product or event promotions to drive sales, its monthly digest, a Saturday email with everything its community needs to know for the weekend and a daily motivational email to people enrolled in one of its paid courses. And each of these emails have different messages for the three different groups of their audience.

Groups, in particular, is a vital tool for Club Soda as it allows it to connect with people in areas that they’re interested in. With this feature, it can drop in a block of text using conditional content, ensuring readers’ preferences – change, choice or connection – are reflected in the emails.

The results: high engagement and sales from every campaign

Of the five emails sent through Club Soda’s Saturday email campaign during April 2023, only one had a sales goal, which promoted a course in rethinking wine drinking. The rest of them didn’t specifically promote a particular product or service, but incorporated content like discovering new ways to enjoy long weekends without alcohol, celebrating without bubbles and thinking about health priorities. These emails did contain links to its store, but also contained links to blogs, event sign-ups and community building opportunities.

The high number of links in the emails led to an average click-through rate of 3.14% and drove revenue as well, resulting in 93 product orders. Club Soda has also been able to open up new funding opportunities. “Through Mailchimp, we’ve been able to crowdfund so we could offer new services, whether we’re fitting out our first shop or activating members to demand more low and alcohol-free drinks,” Willoughby said. “Email helps us to delve deeper than a social post.”

Goals for the future

Moving forward, Club Soda aims to create more content so people want to keep coming back for more, and email subscriber growth drives the success of the business.

The organisation gets a boost from Mailchimp to interact with people who want to drink more mindfully. Its email communication strategy helps it connect with the right audience in the right way that gets results. Willoughby said: “Mailchimp has allowed us to keep in touch with our members. Most importantly, it allows us to ask them what we need to do next.”

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