Whether you’re running a coffee cart or a high street cafe, the following coffee shop marketing ideas will hopefully get your creative juices flowing.
Consider paid marketing activity
To really draw new customers in, you’ll need to engage in some paid advertising activity, such as:
Groupon ads: Groupon might have been around for quite some time now, but it’s still popular for businesses that want to unleash their best offers to a very captive audience.
Facebook location ads: If you know someone who knows their stuff when it comes to Facebook advertising, bring them on board. If not, spend no more than £50 for a couple of weeks and define your audience as tightly as possible. Facebook’s location advertising feature will help you find local customers.
Instagram ads: If you haven’t got a lot followers on Instagram, their ads platform is a great way to significantly increase your follower count and reach potential new customers in the future.
Waze ads: Waze is a community-powered GPS route guidance app but it also has a brilliant advertising platform built-in. If you’ve used Waze yourself, you’ve probably seen the ads it surfaces; your restaurant could feature at just the right time for passers-by!
Take control of customer reviewsIndependent restaurant owners understandably fear online review platforms due to the ever-present threat of bad or unfair reviews.
However, dealing with negative reviews and those of a more positive nature should be viewed as a key part of your marketing strategy and an opportunity to engage with customers and showcase your excellent levels of customer service.
Offering social proof for your business is key to winning more loyal customers, and one of the best ways to do that is to emphasise the good reviews you receive on your website and social media feeds.
To get as many good reviews as possible, you need to:
- Reply to every review - good or bad - to demonstrate that you listen and take customer feedback seriously.
- Ask customers to leave a review as they pay or depart your restaurant (pop a link to your Tripadvisor profile on business cards or receipts)
- Place notes on tables and within menus to leave reviews
- Use technology that encourages people to leave reviews when they use services such as your WiFi.
By doing the above, the better reviews should start rolling in, enabling you to engage with those happy customers and share their good words with anyone who happens to pass by online.
Make your venue more than ‘just’ a cafeIf you’ve done any amount of reading on modern hospitality, you’ll probably be sick of the phrase ‘experience’.
Just as modern hotel guests apparently want far more than just a bed for the night, the coffee shop ‘experience’ has evolved. And that doesn’t mean the end of customers who come in for business meetings, quiet coffees with friends or bouts of focused, headphones-on working.
Instead, it means you need to think a little beyond your role as a cafe.
For instance, what if you have a business networking event nearby that needs a new venue? Would they consider your cafe? Probably not if you’re not making noises about being a networking venue.
The same goes for speed dating (this is big business, no matter any preconceptions you might have), launch events and meet-up evenings for hobbyists. If you start marketing your business as a venue for groups of people or those with similar interests, you’ll immediately set yourself out from the big brand competition.