Everyone has a morning routine, often involving making or buying coffee.
If somebody makes it out the door without already having a home-brewed cup, there are countless options on their commute, which means coffee shop owners have a wealth of competition.
That competition puts marketing at a premium.
In any industry and every size of business, marketing is one aspect of a business plan that can be tough to navigate. What is the right budget? Who should I target and how?
Big brands and corporations may employ a healthy staff and budget specifically for those purposes, but local coffee shop marketing ideas have to overcome the uneven playing field to grow a more loyal customer base in their community.
Let’s break down a cost-effective coffee shop marketing plan, using ideas that are proven to work without blowing the budget.
Because utilizing social media has become so common among businesses and brands across a broad spectrum of industries, it may seem like an impossible task to break through the online noise.
But that doesn’t mean social media can be overlooked.
It remains the quickest way to continue a consistent conversation with your customers and community. It also doesn’t cost much, aside from the time needed to prioritize this aspect of building your coffee shop’s brand.
It will take effort and a clear strategy to find what best fits your coffee shop’s marketing needs.
Perhaps your coffee shop is one full of Instagram-worthy visuals. Maybe your target customer profile is more professional, meaning Twitter or LinkedIn could be where you market most.
Whether social media is used as a tool to curate a coolness factor or simply target a particular local customer base, there are many ways to put it to your advantage while keeping costs relatively low.
While social media has gotten much of the attention in marketing for growth, small businesses could certainly work on keeping those new customers through email.
It may not seem as flashy as an Instagram post, but with so many Americans still reliant on email, it can be much more valuable in the right space.
Building a usable email list is one of the most proven ways to stay top-of-mind when fostering customer loyalty. This could be done through multiple avenues. It may come in the form of a loyalty rewards program or when a customer reviews the coffee shop. This is where creativity plays a role.
Of course, the key is to provide desirable and useful information when contacting any subscribers. Few things are worse to customers than being bombarded with marketing emails that don’t matter!
While small businesses often lack the resources to place advertisements where it would do any good, there is often a viable alternative in local media.
TV stations, newspapers, and other local publications are constantly searching for newsworthy stories to cover and are much more likely to emphasize coverage of a local business rather than a national brand.
The key, however, is to pitch a specific story — not a commercial. If done correctly, the coverage will provide the same value, if not more.
If your coffee shop hosts a community event or assists in charity work, for instance, local media coverage can help both the causes you support and spotlight those efforts to a good portion of the local customer base. Plus, it’s free of cost.
Much like local media coverage, the key for small coffee shops is to build a network of community supporters.
It may seem like a small win, but hosting business meetings or town gatherings can open many doors when it comes to decision-makers and influencers around your community. It guarantees traffic on those given nights and could also result in further recommendations or possible catering opportunities down the line.
Networking within the coffee industry, or those closely related, could be even more fruitful.
Maintaining a blog, sharing a newsletter, or hosting a podcast could be ways to shine a light on the local coffee shop and café scene. Relationships matter, and these networking options could form partnerships or simply grow a more specified and loyal customer base to view your brand favorably.
Each of these options can save money on marketing efforts, but will still be just that — effort.
Any time that is devoted to coffee shop marketing means less time is available for the countless other factors of running a coffee shop. Whether building from the ground up or growing off of an already successful franchise model, curating a marketing plan will take a combination of creativity, dedication, and effort in execution.