A Handy Guide to Online Marketing for Coffee Shops
How do you attract new customers to your coffee shop? This isn't always a simple question to answer. After all, people can get coffee practically anywhere. To get people to give your shop a try requires a comprehensive marketing strategy, both online and offline.
Effectiveness of Social-Media Marketing for Coffee Shops
By nature, coffee shops are highly social. Just consider all the first dates and business deals that have happened over a cup of Joe at a cozy coffee shop. By extension, these same types of people are the ones using social media, so using the medium is a logical way to spread the word about your shop.
Connecting virtually via social media has an incredible potential to spread the word about your products and brand. However, just having an online presence isn't always sufficient to attract new customers. Most larger companies have a larger coffee shop advertising budget and are able to win customers with simple brand familiarity.
Competition in the coffee-shop business is very high, so to bring customers into your smaller shop requires some type of incentive to get them to forsake the larger chains and their fancy home coffee maker. In order to attract new customers via social media you must develop customer engagement strategies that will make consumers want to stop in.
Many of the various barriers that allow people to express their feelings freely are removed online. Instead of having comment cards in your coffee shop initiate conversations on your social media platforms. Ask questions such as what type of coffee and pastries people like. This will make your potential customers feel their opinions are valued and will begin creating a relationship with them.
Be Responsive to Feedback
It’s never enough just to ask questions, you must utilize feedback by paying attention to what people are saying and respond in the most positive way possible. You will be amazed at how much you can learn by listening to your social-media followers. Being responsive to your customers is a good way to show them you have business acumen and that you know how to run a coffee shop smoothly.
Engage Followers with User-Generated Content
The most trusted online content comes from customers. Studies show that most people read reviews on social media before making a purchasing decision. Look for non-obvious ways to get people to leave positive comments and reviews about your business. Create promotions that give consumers a reason to comment. Always offer something related to your coffee shop as a reward or prize, such as a gift card or basket with your best coffee.
Help get the word out to potential customers by asking your current customers to “Like” your pages, as this will help you build your social-media following.
Pay Attention to Local SEO
Local SEO for coffee shops is going to target the people in the region where your local business is located. It also helps in driving visitors, and provides you with a higher conversion rate than you’d expect. Most SEO agencies offer local seo packages that are specially crafted to get your small shop ranked for local terms in a specific region.
Create a Website
The second stage in your online marketing plan must include channels past social media. While not technically “social media,” having your own website is an important factor in any online marketing plan. Having your website linked to your social-media pages, and vice versa, will make it easier for customers to stay current on all your business activities.
Create a “Pull” Strategy
There is a far greater danger of annoying your customers over social media-platforms with overly aggressive marketing strategies than with any other marketing medium. Don't overload your followers with excessive promotions, but instead look for what customers show an interest in. As an example, running an offer for free coffee to the next 20 customers through the door is not for those next 20 customers, but the buzz the promotion creates.
Remember, your social-media platforms are not your store, so don’t throw sales and promotions around like an auctioneer. The best strategy is to entice your followers with updates and posting photos of your new specials.
Add Visual Content
Just as when a customer comes into your store, a social-media user forms an opinion upon entering your page. The factors that will most affect the perception people have of your business are your graphics, your number of likes and events that immediately capture the attention. As the saying goes, a picture is with a thousand words and images are much more emotionally provoking than a lot of rambling text. Keep you graphics updated to fit your current theme, such as a banner that displays a message of holiday specials when Christmas is drawing near.
This process should be happening even before the thought of using social media to expand your reach. With that said, it means that you must have offline-marketing strategies first. Simply think about what could make you stand out.
Of course, every coffee business knows how to brew a great cup of coffee, but what else? What are some other things you are offering? How do you want your coffee shop to be best known for?
For example, you might want your cafe to be best known for your amazing organic coffee, you want your cafe to be best known for self-roast coffee beans, or you might want your shop to be best known for comfy atmosphere. Ask yourself these questions, keep it simple, and work from a single idea that you think will be right for your situation.
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