Digital marketing should play a major role in any modern marketing strategy. Buyer behaviors are evolving with the digital age so understanding what you target audience is doing online is becoming increasingly important.
As a coffee shop owner, there are many routes you can take when it comes to digital marketing, and to be frankly honest, it can be overwhelming to manage and execute.
How are you supposed to create, fine-tune, and maintain an effective coffee shop marketing strategy when routine tasks are already taking up most of your day?
Depending on your budget, you may not have the option of working with a digital marketing agency.
Fortunately, there are little things you can do that can make a big impact.
We've compiled a list of five digital marketing strategies for coffee shops and included industry tips by leading coffee shops in Ottawa that will help increase your businesses brand awareness and drive customers to your location in the process.
1. Optimize Your Google Maps Listing
Verification of your local business' Google My Business (GMB) listing is one of the key steps in any coffee shop digital marketing strategy. Ensuring this is done will boost your chances of appearing in Google's Local Pack, Local Finder, Google Maps, and help boost your organic ranking in general. Coffee shops can claim this free listing on Google, and include information about their shop, such as address, phone number, business hours, and types of payments accepted.
Google's recently added Google My Business features can further assist coffee shops optimize their listings and capture the attention of users with more specific targeting options and listing notifications. Learn more about Google My Business features here.
Claim and verify your Google My Listing at google.com/business.
2. Visual Branding / Social Media Theme
With the abundance of social content, ensuring your coffee shop has cohesive visual branding in the form of a social media theme can take your business to the next level. Even minor changes in branding style can break the connection between you and your audience and cause confusion in the digital space.
Having a unified theme across your social media pages will ensure users on all platforms see you as one brand, streamlining your brand awareness in the process.
Seattle coffee giant, Starbucks is a very good example of unified visual branding across social media platforms. Notice the consistency in the Starbucks brand color and constant use of the logo in each post.
Listed, are some tips to improve your visual branding on social media:
Color Palette: While Starbucks likes to use a lot of color in their media, the classic Starbucks green is kept in the forefront of every media post. This repetition of brand logo and color ensures users remain familiar with your brand. While strategic use of various colors can help produce emotions in your posts, every business, yes, every coffee shops should aim for customers to associate a color palette and logo with your brand.
Logo: Use the same logo on every social network! Even if you change it for the holidays, make sure you change it on every social platform. This symbol represents your company and should be used to keep your brand consistent. Customers should notice a distinctive connection between your logo and your brand.
3. Social Media Contests
Social media contests are a great way of building a quick relationship with your online audience. If you give your customers something today, they feel more inclined to give something back; like their email address!
Image from Andrew Macarthy
Boost Online Engagement: These days, customers look to deepen their connections with brands. Social Media Contests help motivate your customers to be "conversation starters", consequently, making them communicate with you!
Grow Your Email List: Sometimes, advertising can only get you so far. The introduction of new digital marketing strategies in the form of social media contest can entice your customers in providing their email addresses for email marketing purposes. If your audience is convinced that they are getting a reward for providing you with their precious email address, your coffee shop can quickly build your email list and start strategizing juicy email marketing campaigns.
Inspire Virality: Today's online audiences are captivated by viral content and the ability to be a part of an experience. If you provide your audience a fun and exciting contest, they will surely want to share that experience with their friends and this will improve your chances of going viral in your region!
4. Audience Engagement
Let's begin by focusing on how you can engage with your customers; this is the most important and opportunistic unit of social media for businesses.
The art of expressing one's feelings via. the internet is practically limitless. Instead of analyzing your coffee shop or searching back and forth for biased points of view in store, use Facebook and Twitter to initiate and facilitate this conversation.
If you are not certain about potential changes in your shop, make sure to ask your customers first! Rather than making changes and hoping for the best, social media communication is a powerful tool to connect with your audience. Not only will this help you make a strategic decision, it will give your audience a feeling of importance and improve your customer loyalty.
Pay Attention to Responses and Provide Feedback
Asking questions is obviously not enough - you need to carefully analyze and utilize customer feedback.
Effective and timely feedback on requests and questions have the same effect as great customer service in your store. Pay close attention to what people like and reply to when you post an update. While you may think you know everything there is to know about your clients, taking the time to analyze your audience on social media will bring forth concealed ideas and suggestions that will help you scale your coffee shop business.
5. Social Media Advertising
It's simple, if your coffee shop currently lacks an online following, there is very low chance that your content will be seen -- yes, even that fresh social media contest from above. When you're starting out, a high percentage of your content will get no shares at all, and < 0.1% will be shared more than a thousand times. Facebook's recent news-feed update does not help either, which content from people's news-feed that do not relate to their interests.
Which is why many coffee shop owners turn to Social Media Advertising.
Image by AppInstitute
Social Media Advertising allows businesses to target their customers directly and ensure posts are being seen. This is currently the best way to kick-start a social media following, increase brand awareness, and bring more customers to your coffee shop from social media.
Advertising options are offered by all major social networks; but not all will be a good fit for your business. The most popular social advertising platforms for coffee shops tend to be Facebook and Instagram, which both run under the Facebook Ad Manager.
Various factors are considered when creating an advertisement on Facebook and Instagram. To ensure your coffee shop advertising campaign is effective, there is a lot of time that has to be spent understanding the platform, strategizing the campaign, and continuously optimizing ads when they are live.
In order to achieve this, many coffee shops in Canada are affiliated with digital marketing agencies such as Transpera. By teaming up with an agency, coffee shop owners can focus on managing their business while entrusting their coffee shop advertising campaigns to the digital marketing experts.
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Tips from Transpera's Favourite Coffee Shops
I think social media advertising and digital advertising directly relate to the success of an independent café or roastery nowadays.
Probably 4 times out of 10, when I ask someone in our cafe, 'How did you hear about us?' they say - "I saw you guys on Instagram, Facebook, etc. and the placed looked cool."
Having a platform to reach tons of people with one click of a finger is massive for a small business because it allows new people to find your product or shop with ease. It's cool to see how much it has impacted a company like LVC, where we now have over 5000 followers on Instagram within two and a half years, during which we have experienced a huge corresponding growth within the company.
Origin Trade has experienced great benefits from our coffee shop's digital marketing strategy. Particularly social media, which allows us to reach a larger audience, as well as keep our current customers engaged.
As we are located in the downtown core of Canada's Capital, much of the foot traffic surrounding our café is made-up of tourists visiting the Byward Market. By maintaining consistent social media presence and attractive feed, information about our coffee shop is readily available to those looking for "cafés and bars in the Ottawa area".
Additionally, part of what makes Origin Trade is our loyal community of regulars. Social media, specifically Facebook and Instagram allows us to keep in touch with our customers and quickly update them on new products, upcoming events, and in-store promotions. Of the hundreds of people that view our posts daily, many of them are individuals looking for a new favourite spot. We are eager to welcome them with open arms and full cups of coffee!
We view digital marketing & social media as a great tool to market to a large audience since we can reach a lot of people quickly, but also as a very cost effective way of doing so. Coffee shops don't necessarily have huge budgets right away for advertising so, evidently, social media allows us to have a presence, to establish our brand image and to engage with customers from the get go, even with a tiny budget. Even if you don't post a lot, just making sure they can find you and get to you is a golden reason to make sure your platforms are up to date!!
We see our social media as a way to interact and inform people on who we are and what we do, but also as a way to set the vibe we want people to enjoy when they visit us. We don't like to be too pushy and customers enjoy that. They get a good feel for what kind of place we are through our weekly posts and those who like the vibe we've created come in the shop. Stay true to yourself and have fun with it!!