Coffee Shop Marketing Plan: Free PDF Template and Walkthrough Guide ☕️

8 Coffee Shop Marketing Ideas

Marketing 17 minute read 23rd January 2022

Coffee shop businesses has been booming for many years now. If you live in an environment, you can’t miss the industries growth.

Things are showing no sign of letting up although, naturally, competition is getting fiercer than ever. Each outlet or brand has to not only offer something special, but make sure everyone knows about it, too!

Let’s get started with eight brilliant marketing ideas for your coffee shop.

1. Get to know your audience

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You may want everyone to be welcome in your coffee shop, for it to feel genuinely inclusive, but that doesn’t mean that you don’t already have an audience that skews a certain way. Older or younger, affluent or bargain-hunting, male or female; tapping into your audience can lead you to strengthen your brand in a particular direction or, even, pivot to follow a clientele you hadn’t realised you had.

If you’re a new startup and you’re not sure about the kind of people your establishment is most suited to, it’s time to find out! This can be done in an informal way, simply by making careful observations on the shop floor, or perhaps offering a free coffee to customers who fill in a short questionnaire about themselves and what they look for in a cafe.

But it’s better to get a bit technical about this. Analyse your social media likes and check-ins to get a rough idea of age and gender breakdown. Take a look at who’s sharing or commenting on your content – what are their interests?

Not to blow our own trumpet too hard, but Beambox keeps you up to date with your customers’ activity, birthdays and preferred social channels. It’s an absolute goldmine of information.

2. Lean into what makes you different

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Knowing which segments your primary audience falls into can help you focus your thoughts on what your brand is trying to achieve. You have a vision and you have an audience: try to turn up the contrast to stand out from the crowd.

Let’s say you find you’ve got a younger, more millennial customer base than you’d imagined. Do a bit of research on that age group and you’ll find that there’s a concrete trend of people eschewing alcohol on nights out, looking for alternative ways of enjoying themselves without too much intoxication.

Many coffee houses are starting to open in the evenings and offer more than just a great decaf latte and a well-curated playlist. Life drawing classes, live music, talks and stand-up comedy nights are all starting to find their natural home in night-time coffee venues.

Alcohol is, of course, still an option for many; you may want to look into getting a license.

Maybe your vision was less artsy and more glamorous. You could take the non-alcoholic evening vibe and add low lights, table service and small plates – either from your kitchen or via a collaboration.

Whichever direction you take your brand, remember to think carefully about your demographics, your location and your own passion, then make a comprehensive plan and go for it. A chandelier here and a halloumi burger there do not a strategy make!

3. Collaborate

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If you know the direction your coffee shop is headed in, you may be able to add value sooner than you think by working with other businesses. Again, don’t just throw anything at it. What kind of ‘bonus features’ are most aligned with your branding and your biggest demographics? Some ideas are:

  • selling local crafts;
  • a vintage or locally-made fashion market;
  • a pop-up book and art store;
  • a permanent counter selling locally-produced groceries;
  • working with Amazon to provide lockers for delivered goods, or
  • a seasonal gift market.

Of course, you don’t have to franchise out these features of your business. Doing it in-house could be profitable but it could also take important time out of your day to stay on top of core operations.

4. Keep ‘em coming back for more

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You’ve probably already got a beautifully designed card for your customers to get stamped so they get their free tenth coffee, bagel or mocktail on the house. This works for some customers but it’s quite a passive approach.

A lot of repeat business is down to the experience a customer has in your venue - one of the most important elements of which being the quality of service. Whether it’s a fast-paced interaction at the counter or a more leisurely table-service chat, having your staff develop genuine relationships with regular customers is often what makes them want to come back.

And maybe that’s when a coffee on the house would have the greatest effect. Why not give your baristas a daily allowance of, let’s say, five giveaway coffees?

Using Beambox, you can schedule giveaways to repeat customers, offer them something special on their birthdays and reward their tenth visit even if they don’t have a stamp card: each time they log on to your WiFi network, their visit will be registered.

Grow your venue with WiFi Marketing

Beambox helps businesses like yours grow with data capture, marketing automation and reputation management.

Sign up for 30 days free

5. Name recognition

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It’s time to think basics: name, address and phone number (NAP, for short).

Make sure that your coffee shop is listed clearly and consistently across all platforms, channels, review sites and – crucially – Google.

Register your business, input the same address and phone number details everywhere and list your COVID-19 safety protocols.

Once you’ve done that, consider other ways to sneak your brand into people’s heads. Merchandise is a nice, old-school way to do it. Sell your own branded mugs, hot flasks, water bottles and even clothing. It’s criminally easy to get all sorts of items printed in tiny batches nowadays, so make all of your merch limited edition!

6. PR, darling!

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Advertising all that’s good about your venue doesn’t always need to cost a lot of money. Making yourself known in the community and beyond can cement your coffee shop in the scene and also do some good.

Events that are on-brand and newsworthy can bring information about your venue to a new audience. Stories could involve:

  • achievements by your staff or customers (be it sporting, educational or otherwise);
  • an extravagant party you’ve thrown for a local event;
  • an amusing seasonal competition that has captured the public’s imagination; or
  • a talk by a famous (or not-so-famous) speaker in your venue.

7. Helping out

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‘Corporate citizenship’ is a common buzzword these days. It basically boils down to being a positive influence on your community – while still making money.

Coffee shops are often key social hubs for local communities and therefore are perfectly placed to play a role in helping local people and causes. For example, your coffee shop can:

  • offer a room or area for local campaign groups to meet (although, you might want to be careful if things get political!);
  • donate food and drink to local shelters and other people in need;
  • sponsor charity events and supply prizes for raffles and the like; or
  • collect money for local causes.
  • Look for the biggest employers near you and work with them to provide an exemplary lunch offer.

Lastly, ensure the packaging you use is sustainable and up for the job.

8. Social, social, social

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All of the above elements are naturally woven into your social media presence. But do you have a strategy?

Enthusiasm and vision can go a long way but if you don’t set explicit goals, how will you really know if it’s working? The great thing about social media is that the analytics are mostly done for you. Here’s a couple of vitally important points about all forms of social media for coffee shop businesses.

Free Resource: 50 Instagram Hashtags for Coffee Shops

The importance of ‘pulling them in’

Constantly bombarding people with offers or samey photos of muffins or latte art on Instagram may put people off. Getting people to engage with you takes a little bit more effort and a touch of inspiration, but it can start conversations that snowball.

First of all, the low-hanging fruit are the reviews and comments you organically receive, both on social channels and review sites. Be sure to respond to as many as humanly possible, as they are the perfect place to promote your brand: hear new suggestions from loyal followers, limit negative publicity by reacting thoughtfully and generously to complaints and generally just join in the conversation as much as you can – it’s the next best thing to seeing them in person in your shop.

Beambox helps minimize poor reviews by asking customers to rate their experience via the app; three-star reviews and lower get deflected back with a feedback form, which gives you the chance to improve the customer’s impression of your coffee shop before they leave a permanent review. Competitions work!

Competitions offering gift cards or product giveaways can have multiple benefits and are perfect for coffee shop marketing strategies.

Take the following example of a photo competition:

The theme can help remind people about your brand – perhaps ‘best children’s painting’, if you’re big on welcoming kids, or ‘cosiest living room’ if you’re known for your sofas – don’t be scared to go off on a tangent! Sharing pictures on your social channels – with a caption linking back to your brand – shows that your coffee shop is alive and busy with activity. Let your audience decide on the best through voting, for that extra bit of customer engagement.

Reinforce your branding by making sure the prize is clearly connected to your shop, such as a generous gift card or free coffee for a week (or longer?), and by letting people know about next month’s competition straight away, to get them thinking about your coffee shop for the weeks ahead. Enjoy free user-generated content! The more on-brand the competition is, the more useful this content will be in strengthening your coffee shop’s identity.

You can’t do any of this without content

Whether it’s user-generated or from your own fair hands, keeping your social channels buzzing with interesting, entertaining and appropriate content is not as big a task as it might seem.

The trick is to weave it into your daily routine.

When something exciting, out of the ordinary or just totally on-brand happens, consider sharing it. Arrange a time – and outfit? – with your top barista to shoot a video of their best latte art. Get your resident wordsmith to do some research into the provenance of your coffee beans, espresso machine or furniture, to share as a blog or a short clip.

Highlight how to get involved with the latest conversations, competitions and content through signs around your coffee shop. As much as your venue is going digital, bring the online world into your physical space, too.

The pace of change and the relentless growth of the coffee shop sector means it surely has more surprises left up its sleeve. Your imagination and commitment could be behind the next viral trend to sweep the world.

So, what are you waiting for? Let’s get started!

Grow your venue with WiFi Marketing

Beambox helps businesses like yours grow with data capture, marketing automation and reputation management.

Sign up for 30 days free

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