Coffee shops have been booming for many years now. It seems as if there’s a coffee house on every corner. Are you looking towards coffee as a business investment or want to start a cafe? If so, you can’t miss out on this growth opportunity.
Luckily, this industry shows no signs of slowing down. So, naturally, competition is fiercer than ever. Each outlet or brand has something unique to offer. Furthermore, each one ensures their audience knows about it too. Set your company apart from the competition with brilliant coffee shop marketing.
Coffee Shop Marketing Strategy: Why It Matters
You might wonder why you should invest in a coffee shop marketing strategy. First and foremost, good marketing sets you apart from the competition. One of the main goals of marketing is to create awareness, interest and demand for your product. In turn, this drives business and makes your brand more visible to potential customers.
With a good marketing strategy, you’ll gain a plethora of benefits. These include increased sales and market share, improved customer satisfaction and enhanced brand reputation and awareness. Needless to say, how you market your coffee shop matters.
Read on for eight smart tactics to start your marketing journey.
Coffee Shop Marketing Tactic #1: Get to Know Your Audience
You want everyone to be welcome in your coffee shop – for it to feel genuinely inclusive. But that doesn’t mean you don’t already have an audience that skews a certain way. Perhaps your crowd is older or younger or affluent or bargain-hunting. Tapping into your audience can lead you to strengthen your brand in a particular direction. Or, you might need to pivot to follow a clientele you hadn’t realized you had.
Are you a new startup and not sure about the kind of people your establishment is most suited to? If so, it’s time to find out. Do it informally by making careful observations on the shop floor. Or, offer free coffee to customers who partake in a short survey about themselves and what they look for in a cafe.
But it’s better to get a bit technical about this. This is where good coffee shop marketing comes into play. Analyze your social media likes and check-ins to get a rough idea of age and gender breakdown. Look at who is sharing or commenting on your content – what are their interests?
Coffee Shop Marketing Tactic #2: Lean Into What Makes You Different
Do you know which segments your primary audience falls into? This information helps you focus your thoughts on what your brand is trying to achieve. You have a vision and an audience: try to turn up the contrast to stand out from the crowd.
Let’s say you have a much younger customer base than you imagined. It’s time to do some research before you make a coffee shop marketing plan. Do some investigation on that age group. You’ll find that there’s a concrete trend of people eschewing alcohol on nights out. They’re looking for alternative ways of enjoying themselves without too much intoxication.
Many coffee shops stay open in the evenings and offer more than a great decaf latte and a well-curated playlist. Drawing classes, live music, talks and stand-up comedy are finding their natural home in nighttime coffee venues.
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. Partner with local food trucks or eateries to encourage your patrons to “eat local.”
Whatever direction you take your brand, remember to think carefully about your demographics, location and passion. Then make a comprehensive marketing plan and go for it.
Coffee Shop Marketing Tactic #3: Collaboration
If you know the direction your coffee shop is going, you can add value quicker. Wondering how? An excellent coffee shop marketing plan we briefly mentioned is to work with other businesses. Again, don’t just throw anything at it. What kind of ‘bonus features’ align most with your branding and your biggest demographics? Some ideas include:
- 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, or another delivery service, to provide lockers for delivered goods.
- A seasonal gift market.
Of course, you don’t have to outsource these features of your business. Doing it in-house could be profitable. But it could also take significant time out of your day to stay on top of core operations.
Coffee Shop Marketing Tactic #4: Keep ‘em Coming Back For More
You probably already have a beautifully designed stamp card for a free coffee, bagel or mocktail on the house. This works for some customers, but it’s quite a passive coffee shop marketing idea.
A lot of repeat business is down to the experience a customer has in your venue. One of the most essential elements of which is 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 often makes them want to come back. 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?
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. There are a multitude of marketing tactics that lead to customer growth and retention.
Coffee Shop Marketing Tactic #5: Name Recognition
It’s time to think about coffee shop marketing basics. Name, address and phone number (NAP, for short), to be exact. List your coffee shop clearly and consistently across all platforms, channels, review sites and – crucially – Google.
Register your business, enter the same address and phone number details everywhere, and list any relevant 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 easy to get all sorts of items printed in tiny batches, so make some of your merchandise limited edition.
Coffee Shop Marketing Tactic #6: Public Relations and Advertising
The oldest play in the coffee shop marketing playbook is investing in advertising. 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 cements your coffee shop in the scene.
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.
- A talk by a famous (or not-so-famous) speaker in your venue.
Harness the power of social media to help with your advertising. Utilize on-brand hashtags, and be sure to use location tags. There are an astounding number of people that use social media. Since they are already online, market your brand so your audience naturally comes across your posts.
‘Corporate citizenship’ is a common buzzword these days. It boils down to being a positive influence on your community. The best part is that it also serves as a coffee shop marketing tactic for your brand. It’s a win for everyone.
Often, coffee shops are key social hubs for local communities. Therefore they are ideally placed to play a role in helping local people and causes. For example, your coffee shop can:
- Offer a room or area for local groups to meet.
- Donate food and drink to local shelters and other people in need.
- Sponsor charity events and supply prizes for raffles and the like.
- Collect money for local causes or organize donation drives.
- Look for the biggest employers near you and work with them to provide an exemplary lunch offer.
Ensure the packaging you use is sustainable and up for the job. The idea here is that your business is aligned with the community service it provides.
All of the elements above are naturally woven into your social media presence. And we briefly touched on social media posting. But do you have a coffee shop marketing social media strategy?
Enthusiasm and vision go a long way, but without explicit goals, how will you know if it’s working? The great thing about social media is that the analytics are mostly done for you. Here are a couple of important points about all forms of social media for coffee shop businesses.
The Importance of ‘Pulling Them In’
Constantly bombarding people with offers or samey photos of muffins or latte art on social media may be a put-off. Getting people to engage with you takes more effort and a touch of inspiration. But it’s a coffee shop marketing tool that can start conversations that snowball.
The low-hanging fruits are the reviews and comments you organically receive on social channels and review sites. Respond to as many as possible, as they are the perfect place to promote your brand. First, hear new suggestions from loyal followers. Limit negative publicity by reacting thoughtfully and generously to complaints. Last, join in the conversation as much as you can – it’s the next best thing to seeing customers in person.
Competitions work when it comes to coffee shop marketing strategies. Competitions offering gift cards or product giveaways can have multiple benefits. Plus, they are a perfect idea for your coffee shop marketing strategy.
For example, you can run a photo contest. Pick a theme that reminds people about your brand. Maybe ‘best children’s painting’ if you’re a super child-friendly establishment. Or ‘coziest living room’ if you’re known for your sofas – don’t hesitate to go off on a tangent. Share these pictures on your social channels with a caption linking to your brand. It shows that your coffee shop is alive and busy with activity. Let your audience choose the best pictures by voting for that extra bit of customer engagement.
Reinforce your branding by ensuring the prize is clearly connected to your shop. Offer a generous gift card or free coffee for a week (or longer?). Let people know about next month’s competition straight away. This type of promotion gets them thinking about your coffee shop for the weeks ahead. As a result, you get to enjoy free user-generated content. The more on-brand the competition is, the more useful this content will strengthen your coffee shop’s identity.
It’s All About the Content
At the end of the day, this type of coffee shop marketing is useless without quality content. Whether it’s user-generated or from your own fair hands, keep your social channels buzzing. Make sure your content is interesting, entertaining and appropriate. It’s 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 with your top barista to shoot a video of their best latte art. Get your resident wordsmith to research the provenance of your coffee beans. Share all things about your espresso machine or furniture and share it as a blog or a short clip.
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.
Final Thoughts on Coffee Shop Marketing
The pace and relentless growth of the coffee shop sector mean it has more surprises left up its sleeve. All you need is to have smart and successful coffee shop marketing. Marketing is an essential part of any business. By developing a solid marketing strategy, you can reach more potential customers. This results in more leads and sales. Follow these tactics, and you can market your cafe in an effective and engaging way.
Grow your business or venue with WiFi marketing. Beambox helps businesses like yours grow with data capture, marketing automation and reputation management. Ready to learn more? Start your Beambox free trial to start growing your business today.
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