So, you’ve revamped that old, industrial building, replaced the chipped concrete floors, and set up the coffee shop of your dreams. Your sign is hung outside with pride, and you have every kind of java imaginable ready for your soon to be customers.
There’s just one problem — no one’s walking through those doors.
If you’re a new coffee shop owner and you’re struggling to generate that all-important foot traffic, here are a few startup marketing tactics that will help your new establishment find some momentum as you begin to build your coffee empire.
5 Coffee Shop Marketing Tips & Strategies
1. Set Up Your Google My Business Listing
If you’ve dabbled with online marketing at all, you’re probably already drowning in the sea of options available.
While there are plenty of ways to market your shop over the long haul — think a company blog, SEO, social media, influencers, email campaigns — there’s one low-cost, low-effort online marketing item that you’re going to want to address ASAP: your Google My Business Listing.
This is your company’s listing in Google’s search engine. It shows things like your hours of operation, name, location, and so on. Completely filling out the information for your GMB listing is a key element that will help you show up in local search results.
In other words, when someone near you searches “coffee shop near me” or another similar search term, you’re much more likely to show up in the results if your GMB is complete and up to date.
In addition, you may get reviews on your listing from time to time. Responding to these in a timely and respectful manner (even if they’re negative) can help build your brand’s reputation. You can also create short posts for your GMB, providing an excellent option to promote special events, sales, and other things of that nature.
2. Show Why You're Already Unique
Ever since the turn of the century, coffee shops have popped up on every street corner. If you want to stand out from the noise, then, you need to show potential customers why your shop is uniquely suited to their tastes and preferences.
What factors about your operation stand out, telling customers that “this is the place you want to get a cuppa”?
Don’t be afraid to think outside of the box, either. If you have a porch area, consider opening it up as a pet-friendly space. Although as an aside, you may want to ask your customers to only bring pets who are behaved or who have pet insurance to help protect you from any possible issues that could arise. Along these lines, particularly if you’ve renovated an older building for the shop of your dreams, make sure you get it inspected for the safety of your customers, employees, and their pets alike, especially since older buildings may have been constructed with dangerous materials like lead or asbestos in the walls.
However that may be, if you have a pet-friendly area, a cool coffee technique, an allegedly-haunted old building, a special atmosphere, or anything else that already sets you apart, that should be a major selling point in all of your marketing content. Look for the things that make you stand out from that rather crowded field of competition and then focus on them as selling points that can appeal to potential clientele.
3. Find New Ways to Be Unique
If you looked at the last suggestion and couldn’t find anything that distinctly set you apart, you may want to consider proactively finding the thing that can do just that. Again, don’t worry about being formulaic here, either.
For instance, the Santa Monica, California coffee shop goodboybob bucked convention by eschewing the traditional coffee shop vibe. Instead, they opted to fuse their java into a virtual reality experience that has brought them tons of attention.
Chances are you’ve already got the coffee end of things down pat — you do own a coffee shop, after all. Now it’s time to put on that marketing cap and start to get creative.
How can you stretch your shop’s identity? Can you theme your establishment after something, like the 18th-century London-inspired Addison and Steele coffee shop in Perth, Australia? Could you create a board game section of your shop for gamers to set up and play for a few hours? Would local musicians be interested in setting up shows on a regular basis?
Again, the name of the game here is to find unique things that set you apart from the humdrum java chain siphoning off your business down the street.
4. Create an Emotional Connection Through Your Customer Service
Customer service may feel like an afterthought, but it shouldn’t be. In fact, a quality customer service strategy should be front and center not just in your business plans, but in your marketing plans as well.
See, customer service isn’t simply processing returns, issuing refunds, and answering questions. A genuine customer service interaction represents a marketing opportunity. It allows you to:
Each and every time your customer service department (e.g. your employees and yourself) interacts with customers, it should be with the goal of providing a genuine, positive experience.
5. Create a Loyalty Program
While a loyalty card program won’t make or break your shop, it can certainly be a great way to encourage repeat customers. You can start a loyalty program by simply creating cards with a “tenth drink is free” option or you can get fancy by utilizing loyalty program software that allows you to take your program’s efforts online.
Either way, having a loyalty program can help spread awareness of your company and shop and can encourage those who have patronized your establishment to return in the future.
Marketing a New Coffee Shop
There are many, many, many different ways to promote your new coffee shop to the world around you. Some methods are internet-driven, while others involve good, old-fashioned interactions with customers.
The important thing is that you get a good plan in place, set achievable marketing goals, and then begin to let everyone know that you’ll have a cup ‘a Joe waiting for them when they stop in to pay a visit.