Coffee shops rely on commuters for a steady flow of traffic during the morning rush hour. If you want business all day long, you may need to attract students, entrepreneurs who need a place to work or meet with clients, or people shopping at nearby businesses. Once you know the audience you want to appeal to, you’re ready to implement marketing strategies that get them to try that first hot cup of brew and keep them coming back for more.
Reward your satisfied customers with a punch card or frequent customer card that gives them a free drink after so many purchases. If you use a point-of-sale terminal that keeps track of individual purchases, offer a freebie such as a specialty drink or baked good to thank your loyal customers. Near the holidays, offer gift certificates for $25 and give a free $5 card to the buyer. Hand out discount cards to area employees, ask them to sign their names on the back, and encourage them to give the cards to people so they visit your shop. Keep track of who sends people, and reward that person with free drinks or baked goodies as a thank you.
To get people to linger in a coffee shop, you need to offer more than just tasty brews. To entice these people to your store, offer extras such as wireless Internet access and space to work at a table. If you cater to business owners or travelers, provide a few computer terminals and a photocopy machine. Hold poetry readings and live events if you want to capture evening traffic. To entice people to buy more, offer free samplings of your coffee and baked goods, and create a package deal that includes a drink and baked good for a lower price than when bought separately.
Carefully crafted signs that instantly help passersby see what you offer help bring in people once the morning rush finishes. Develop an eye-catching logo related to coffee, and use it on the sign to build your brand. Check local city ordinances to determine the largest sign you’re allowed to put on the sidewalk in front of your shop, and use that size sign to make it visible to automobile traffic. List the products your shop offers, such as gourmet coffee, specialty drinks, baked goods and Internet access. For more branding, add stickers with your logo to cups or use sleeves with your logo and website address on them.
Get involved with nearby businesses and develop a cross-promotional marketing strategy that builds traffic for all of you. Introduce yourself by walking over and surprising a nearby business with a few cups of coffee. Start with businesses that offer services or products where their customers are required to wait 10 minutes or more, such as oil and lube change stores, hair stylists, laundromats, and repair shops.
Word of Mouth Marketing
Every customer that walks into a coffee shop is a marketing opportunity. This is because people talk, and people tend to trust friends and family more than they trust businesses.
When we asked customers about visiting a new coffee shop, the second most popular way they discovered it was by a friend recommendation. Coffee shop professionals agreed with customers on the importance of friend recommendations, with 34% saying that word of mouth marketing was an important part of earning new customers.
“Creating a really great customer experience is key to everything because they are by far our best marketing tool,” said James Yoder, of Not Just Coffee. “Everyone wants to be the one to tell their friends about a great spot they go to and we have so many customers who were referred by friends.”
Generating word of mouth marketing starts and ends with the customer experience. Average things doesn’t inspire many people to talk, but people love telling others about an exceptionally good–or bad– coffee shop experience. That’s why going above and beyond customer expectations is the key to generating positive buzz.
Goals and how to reach them
May we guess what your goal is? To stay profitable and grow your business! But how? Do you want to attract new customers? Sell more to existing customers? Let’s keep things straight and use an example goal:
To attract 30% more customer to my coffee shop by the end of the year through four contests on Instagram and monthly discounted offer codes on Facebook.
To test if you’ve come up with an effective goal, test it against the S-M-A-R-T philosophy.
Is it Specific?
Break it down, please. What do you want to accomplish? 30% more customers! Why would it make sense to my coffee shop? ‘Cause 30% more customers mean more money! How will you make this happen? Well, my creative friend John and I will come up with some new engaging contest ideas for Instagram.
Is it Measurable?
Yes, you don’t want to attract “more” customers, you want to attract 30% more customers!
Is it Attainable?
Is it realistic to achieve a 30% increase? Based on the fact that you doubled your revenues last year, yes!
Is it Relevant?
Based on your customer interviews, you know that your target audience spends a lot of time on both Instagram and Facebook, check!
Is it Time-bound?
I said by the end of the year, boss!
But only through your KPIs – so called numbered measures of success – you’ll know if you’re actually going in the right direction. Simply if your postings on Facebook in the end lead to more pounds into your pocket. For example, by customising discounts for specific items in your product library (in your Point-of-Sale) – for beverages you run on promotions – you can easily measure the success and see the percentage of returning customers in your sales data.