The answer is $6-10. The dollar figure is what we call “replacement cost” or what a business would spend (and Groupon did spend) using Google Adwords or similar PPC campaigns to get customers. That’s one of a few ways you can value an email.
A second, more interesting measure, is the Customer Lifetime Value (CLV) approach. It estimates the value that a customer generates over time. For example, if the average taproom customer visits twice a month and buys two $4 pints then they have an annual value of $192 per year, which translates to $960 over five years. If having their email address drives one more $8 visit each month, the address is worth an additional $96 per year or $480 over five years. Any time the customer introduces a friend to your taproom it adds another $192 per year to your customer community.
However, replacement cost and CLV analysis both ignore the fact that there are no average customers and that they are not just emails; they each represent a relationship with a customer who has given you permission to talk to them for free, show up on their mobile devices, and be part of their daily information diet. If you provide interesting and valuable content to these customers then you’ll get to occupy a premium space in their mind. This is what Julia Hertz at the Brewers Association calls “Top of Mind Awareness” or TOMA.
TOMA influences decisions like “where should we meet for drinks tonight” or “what should I pick up at the liquor store.” TOMA is not easy to measure but it’s a critical metric for craft breweries, local restaurants, and small businesses. Macro breweries spend a fortune on image ads, athlete endorsements, and other media. The cheapest, simplest, and most intuitive way to beat them is to own more TOMA from people who have visited your taproom or business.
Start by asking customers to subscribe, not just to your newsletter but to your brand, and then treat them like they are special. As Paul Graham loves to say, “it’s better to have hundreds of customers who love you than thousands who like you.” People who love you buy your products at the store, order your kegs for parties, come to the taproom more often, and bring their friends along for the ride.