Grow Your Coffee Shop Customer Base With These 8 Simple Strategies
Running a coffee shop is a lot of work. As a business owner, the last thing you need on your plate (or saucer) is having to constantly come up with new marketing ideas.
Most people think marketing means spending a ton of money on ads, but as many coffee shop owners have learned, that simply isn’t true. A local business like yours can easily have plenty of customers by implementing a few smart marketing strategies that involve a little effort and planning.
Here are eight great ways for you to draw potential customers to your coffee house without spending a ton of money and building out a robust marketing plan.
Eight Online Marketing Strategies for Coffee Shop Owners
If your coffee shop does not have an online presence, it’s time to change that. People love using the internet to find the new best thing, and you want your coffee shop to show up when they’re ready for that next cup of great coffee.
1. Be On Social Media
Social media marketing is all the rage lately, but you don’t have to have a marketing budget for ads to attract new customers to your coffee shop. The best thing you can do is to ensure an active presence on your Instagram and Facebook pages by posting beautiful images, responding to messages promptly, and making sure all your information is accurate.
Try posting stories on your Instagram page and using relevant hashtags (#coffeeshop, #cafe, and #coffeelovers are a good start.) On Facebook, make sure your hours, address, phone number, and menu are always up to date. If you have any special offers or events happening, be sure to share them on both social media platforms. Building a strong online presence is key to building brand awareness.
2. Improve Your SEO
Local SEO done right can make a huge difference for a small business like a coffee shop. The first thing people do when looking for something nearby is to check Google maps. If your coffee shop is loved by Google and visible on Google maps searches for coffee shops in your city, you’ll end up with lots of new customers.
One of the easiest things you can do to improve your local SEO is to make sure your business name, address, and phone number are listed in your website header or footer and that your Google My Business information is accurate.
3. Get Featured By Local Bloggers
One of the best ways to get some great online word of mouth going is by being featured by local bloggers. People trust recommendations of a company by a third party more than they will any information coming from the company itself, so if a local blogger is willing to talk about your coffee shop, that gives it a human boost. If you are launching a new product or opening a new storefront, this could be a great opportunity to invite a influencer to post about the news.
Local bloggers usually need to create a fair amount of unique content every month, so helping them out with a cool story or experience they can share is a win-win.
In-Person Marketing Strategies
Once people know your coffee shop exists, you need to give them a reason beyond a great cup of coffee to love it and to come back again and again.
4. Have Free WiFi
If you have a coffee house and intend to compete with big chains like Starbucks, you’re going to need to have speedy and free WiFi. Some of the most loyal customers at independent coffee shops are freelancers and remote workers who need to get out of their houses and don’t want to join a coworking space.
If your coffee shop is offering them great internet, delicious food, and high-quality coffee, it’ll quickly run out of seats. As a bonus, remote workers are usually the type of people who will go out of their way to spread the word and ensure their favorite coffee shops are successful.
5. Put Out a Dog Bowl of Water
Putting out a small bowl of water for four-legged friends who are running around town doesn’t cost much. For a few pennies of water and time every month, every dog owner in your neighborhood will know you do it and will pop in for a cup of coffee or a snack to go when they stop to hydrate their dog.
Community-Based Marketing Strategies
Your coffee shop is a local business that is part of a community. By engaging with your customers on a community level, you’ll both attract more customers and increase current customer loyalty.
6. Reward Customer Loyalty and Social Sharing
A loyalty program can be an excellent way to get customers to come back to your business. People love being rewarded, so make it easy for them to earn rewards for being loyal customers and for social sharing. This can be as simple as having a loyalty card where they earn a free coffee or free drink for every ten purchases or upgrading the size of their coffee order from small to medium if they check in on Facebook or post a photo on Instagram.
7. Run Coffee Education Classes
Specialty coffee workshops are big business for independent coffee shops around the world, and a great marketing tool to boot. You could teach your students about anything related to coffee, from the roasting process to how to pour a perfect latte. Your baristas will love having a more informed clientele appreciating their coffee art efforts, and your coffee shop will benefit from the boost in reputation and foot traffic from all the potential customers coming to your classes.
8. Get Involved in Community Events
A great way to be known in your community is to get involved in local community events. For example, you could sponsor and participate in a cold brew dunk tank at a summertime street fair. Or you could donate bags of coffee as prizes for a game. You could even hand out free samples at the street fair to draw attention to your coffee shop.
As a bonus, any donations you make to community events may qualify as tax deductions, although you should check with your accountant to be sure.
Looking for ways to engage with your customer in an online venue? Check out this informative article from Biz2Credit on the Four Online Events to Engage Your Customers.
While these are eight effective and low-cost strategies for growing your business, they aren’t the only tactics out there. You know your company and community best, so use this as inspiration to experiment and see what marketing tactics work best for your business.