10 Cafe Marketing Ideas And Tips For 2022

Marketing 20 minute read 21st March 2022

If you just stumbled across this post and stopped to read it, it’s most likely you already know a harsh truth.

A coffee shop isn’t going to succeed by itself.

Yes, we’re a nation obsessed with coffee, 81% of Brits visit a cafe regularly. But the fact you just opened a new vegan coffee store doesn’t mean customers are going to start coming in. If only it were that easy. That’s why you need a marketing strategy. To attract customers to your cafe.

But, you may be wondering, how do I market my cafe business?

It’s not something done overnight, but with a good amount of effort and diligence, you’ll start seeing results. And your cafe will surely stay open.

In this post, you’ll learn some actionable ideas and tips that you can start implementing today. So, serve yourself a cup of your best coffee — to get into the topic — and let’s get going.

Have Fancy Coffee Cup Sleeves

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Doesn’t sound like a big deal, right?

But if we’re talking of one of the simplest and cost-effective ways of advertisement, this is the one. And I’m not talking just about the cup sleeves made from cartons. Remember, the ones made from fabric are quite popular.

When you hand these coffee cup sleeves with cool or relatable designs, your potential customers are going to love them. No one would want to throw away something that pretty (I know I wouldn’t). So, they’ll keep it and use it with their next cup of coffee, be that hot or cold.

Picture Miranda going to work with one of these cup sleeves. Her co-workers will look at the cool design and instantly get curious. So, they either ask Miranda to bring one for them next time or go by themselves to try it.

This is almost free advertising. You can even create a number of different designs for your customers to choose from — people love being given the option to choose. And you can start handing these in the entrance of local events, gyms or supermarkets. Wherever you picture your audience going. Go find them.

Appealing Store Fronts

“You eat with your eyes first” also applies here.

It doesn’t matter if you have the best vegan coffee in town with the best beans quality. If your storefront looks dirty, sad, and worst of all… basic. You’re not going to have the kind of customers that just pass by your store because they’re curious about what you offer.

Decorate the front of the store however you like, just make sure it stands out but at the same time is decent. You can even do some art on your walls, put flowers or even the traditional whiteboard thing that goes outside and says the special of the day and something funny to pick your customers’ interest.

Look at the example of Go Get ‘em Tigger. They go to lengths of having a small patio-like expansion in one of their LA, California stores. So customers can enjoy their coffee and the weather. It even has grass!

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And on the inside of one of their stores, we can see that this cafe gives off a cozy atmosphere.

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The presentation of your store is vital to get your brand in front of passersby and locals. So, be creative. Make it stand out. And think about what your audience would like.

Offer a Bottomless Mug

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For extreme coffee lovers. This is an appealing technique that most customers love and some want to try at least once (even if they don’t drink that much coffee).

The bottomless mug consists of customers paying a little more than what they’ll usually pay for a cup of coffee. But getting free refills until the end of their stay. With this technique, customers feel they’re getting a great deal and see the value of the money they’re paying.

It also helps a lot of all-nighters or people who really want to concentrate. After all, it’s not a surprise that a lot of customers go and stay in a cafe for the guest wifi.

This leads us to the next idea.

Provide Really Good WiFi

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No coffee shop is complete without this. WiFi for a cafe business is vital.

Nobody likes to go to a coffee shop where the internet fails every minute because there are too many guests connected to it. If customers like your coffee, they’re certainly going for it, but once in a while, and not to stay.

“Well, it’s not that bad. At least I can save on the internet bill and people won’t come just to take advantage of it”

WRONG

Access to Wi-Fi from cafes is probably why university students prefer studying with a cup of coffee in hand. Work-from-home employees enjoy the change of atmosphere. And entrepreneurs have the brightest ideas while sipping on a latte. They have all one thing in common; they want a place different from home to do their thing with a good internet connection.

We’re at a time when customers can be picky and want to stay always connected (always). And if they can’t, they’ll look for another cafe where they can stay. The more time they stay, the more coffee they order.

Provide a perfect WiFi experience

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Give Half Priced Refills

From the creators of the bottomless smug, here comes the half-price refill.

As its name suggests, you charge your standard price for a cup of coffee. And if your customers want a refill, they just have to pay half of the standard price. You can select a specific drink for this tactic, a day, an event, or a month. Whatever works for you.

This tactic gives your customers the feeling that they’re saving and you’re giving them a nice advantage. Which will drive them to keep visiting you.

But you don’t need to focus only on the half-priced refills. Expand your reach with other deals like Sunrise coffee does:

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It’s a little discount that matters in some of your customer’s wallets and in all their hearts. Reducing waste and helping the planet, like in this case, can go a long way in branding for positioning yourself as an eco-friendly cafe.

Try something new.

Get Serious About Loyalty Cards

This marketing idea for your cafe has a lot to do with gamification.

Why?

Because loyalty cards consist of giving a card where your customer can get a stamp for every purchase they make. And when they reach a certain number of drinks, they can get a free cup of coffee. It works because, as you already guessed, it’s like a game.

Most customers won’t want to change their usual coffee shop because they want the stamps — boosting your customer loyalty. For example, Grind House Coffee gives you the 8th cup of coffee for free if you’ve been filling the stamps.

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If you’re thinking of opening another cafe and have some money in the bank to invest in. You can offer your loyal customers an app to keep track of their points and drinks. A great strategy for a franchise or multi-location cafe. This works just like a loyalty card but with points and QR codes on your cellphone. We’re in a digital era and with this, you can make your coffee lover’s life easier. No more lost loyalty cards.

Create Seasonal Drink Specials

Let’s be honest here. Absolutely everyone likes the holiday specials, even those that say “Christmas is just another day” or “Valentine’s is just a commercial scheme”. We all love the diversity seasonal drinks or deals bring to our lives.

Seasonal drinks disrupt the monotony of your morning coffee. So, many people are going to want to try it for as long as possible during that one month and until the next year — when they come out again. With this marketing idea, your coffee makes the highlight of your customers’ day. And differentiates you from your competition.

Think about it. There’s a bunch of cafes out there that serve the same stuff every day, the entire year — boring. The reality is these holiday coffee specials warm your customers’ hearts about your business.

In fact, Starbuck’s huge coffee franchise had its best sales boost since the pandemic thanks to their pumpkin spice lattes and frappuccinos in late August 2019. And then, in October 2020, these drinks were outsold by the pumpkin cream cold brew.

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Create new drinks for every seasonal holiday. As an idea, you can tell a story behind these drinks to entice your customers to try them. Or do a contest on promotion ideas for new drinks with your staff. No one knows your customers better than your staff.

Launch a Hashtag Campaign

A hashtag campaign doesn’t only help you get brand awareness, it also means you’re getting user-generated content (content and “advertising” for free). But remember, a hashtag campaign isn’t going to do you any good if you don’t use the right social platform for your business.

Now that you know that, let’s see how to launch a hashtag campaign step by step.

Step 1: Create a Hashtag

But not any hashtag. You’re not going to differentiate yourself from other businesses by using #vegancoffee. Your hashtag should be:

  • Related and specific to your business
  • Concise and easy to remember (the sweet spot is 3 words or less)
  • And uncommon

As an example, let’s say your hashtag is #[yourvenue]artvegancoffee because you offer a beautiful design with every cup of coffee (yes, we’re still sticking to the vegan coffee example). A hashtag campaign doesn’t work by just typing the same general tags other businesses use. Be unique.

Step 2: Encourage Your Customers to Participate

Tell them what’s in it for them by participating. For example, you can offer gift cards, a brewing coffee kit, or roasted coffee from your brand (if you’re a coffee roasterie). Your event can be something like the best relatable [your business name] picture of the week or month.

And don’t forget to ask your customers to tag your business social media account in their posts for better reach.

Step 3: Consistently Post About the Campaign

You can’t leave all the work to your customers.

Post about the event for as long as it’s live. If you don’t promote your own event, at the beginning customers may help you with user-generated content. But later on, everyone is going to forget about it. So, make an act of presence.

The thing is when you post, you shouldn’t use #[yourvenue]artvegancoffee only. This differentiates you from your competition, but you still need the reach of generic tags like #coffee vibes or #coffeelover.

The rule of thumb is to include 5 to 10 related tags. Think this of a way for customers to find you from general hashtags. And then they see why you’re different — your unique tag. If you’re not sure of what hashtags for coffee shops you should use, you can look at your competence.

Cover Your Venue in Art

The walls outside your store are a good start. You can do some painting with stuff like coffee beans, people, or your coffee logo. Have in mind the style of your store and the feeling you want to give to your customers.

Do you want to position yourself as a modern cafe for tech-savvy customers? A traditional brewery for authentic coffee lovers? Or an eco-friendly cafe with cups made from recyclable paper?

Show don’t tell.

As an example, Verve coffee wants to give a relaxed but also modern look. And they nail it with signs, with their logo on it, that guide their customers to their venues. That’s not something you see often.

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Make your venue something your customers like. There are a lot of cafes out there, for instance, the surge has been of 700% in London alone. This means that it went from 50 cafes (2010) to over 400 (2021). Competence is fierce, so make your venue appealing to the right audience.

Host Tasty Giveaways

This one is easy!

Host giveaways to promote your brand. These consist of you giving away something for free. It can be part of your hashtag campaign or just a way for you to clean the dust from your Instagram and get some engagement from your audience.

Set a price, a timeline and post it on social media. Fazenda Coffee Roasters hosted a giveaway on National Coffee Day in which they were giving away a month’s supply of coffee. Way to get advantage of “special” dates.

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An Instagram contest or giveaway can help you grow your followers 70% faster in three months. Fazenda’s giveaway is a clear example of this. After all, the contest is doing something as simple as following their social media account and tagging a friend. Which, as a chain reaction, means more followers.

Stay Awake

Opening up a cafe is a lot of work and once you have it up and running, you still can’t lower your guard. Competition is fierce, so knowing how to market your cafe is incredibly important. In this post, you’ve learned some marketing ideas that can help speed up the growth of your cafe.

But don’t implement all of them at once. Go little by little, from the ones that need little to no investment to the ones where you actually have to spare some money. And don’t stop, diligence and resilience are the ingredients for success.

What marketing strategies are you using to promote your cafe? Drop a comment and let us know.

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