Coffee is one of the world’s oldest and most traded commodities and is produced and sold all over the world. As such, an exorbitant amount of time and money has been spent on marketing and advertising for coffee and coffee shops.
Whether you are purchasing whole beans or heading down to your favorite local spot, you probably have been inadvertently exposed to many advertisements and commercials. These are very common marketing strategies for commercial products.
Some of the earliest marketing strategies involved ads and television commercials, but with the explosion of the internet and social media, marketing strategies for both coffee and coffee shops has certainly evolved.
Early marketing practices of coffee
Several decades ago, the most popular way to receive information was in magazines, on television, or on the radio, which became the common outlets to market and advertise consumer products. Coffee marketing predates this era, as early printed advertisements are recorded as early as 1587. Ads during these earlier centuries market coffee for “legitimate uses of coffee” and or promoted it to be used as a drug.
In the 20th century, we are more familiar growing up with the Folgers jingle and other coffee commercials. Coffee commercials for products marketed toward the idea of creating coffee shop quality coffee in our homes were also very popular.
It wasn’t until the late 1980s and early 1990’s where the popularity of Starbucks began to explode. Still, during this time period the most common and popular marketing strategies came from television, radio, and printed ads along with word of mouth type of marketing. It was also very common for manufacturers to pay for their products to be featured in popular movies and TV shows.
Evolution of coffee marketing with technology
The internet revolutionized the way we receive information. At the instant click of your fingertips, people were able to receive mail, read about news and current events, search for articles and information without having to go through tons of printed materials.
A few decades later the internet gave rise to social media, perhaps one of the biggest game changers in coffee marketing history. Now coffee products and websites had a platform to promote their product and company. In the earlier stages of the internet, many companies would offer to mail you free samples if you visited their website.
Social media has become one of the easiest ways to reach a diverse or targeted audience for coffee manufacturers and coffee shops. In the 2000s, sites like Facebook and Instagram exploded with millions of users logging on each day to share anything and everything and to track what their friend, family and acquaintances are sharing each day. This also became an inexpensive and easy way to market products and companies.
Coffee Marketing with Social Media
One of the most effective ways to market coffee shops is to use social media pages such as Facebook and Instagram. For coffee shops, you should create pages on these social media sites that highlight the best aspects of your shop and you should have an active presence with your followers especially with your targeted audience.
You should update your page and posts to inform customers what is new and exciting about your coffee shop. You can also try adding incentives such as special promotions or discounts in the posts.
You might try something new on a day that is normally considered slow for your business. One major advantage to social media is that your customers can easily leave reviews or share your posts allowing your business to reach a much wider audience, or a more targeted demographic if your desired audience are students instead of working professionals. You might also choose to offer discounts when your customer shares or comments on your post.
Marketing tips for successful coffee shops
Some of the most successful coffee shops, have several things in common. We choose food or in this case coffee to suit four basic needs: whether it taste good, is budget friendly, convenient or is good for our health. Your coffee shop should appeal to these themes.
For example, some of the most successful coffee shops in New York City, are extremely popular because they are known for making some of the best coffee in the city. Always market your most popular drink or showcase what you are known for.
Also, make the coffee shop as appealing to customers such as making a welcoming storefront or creating a cozy, comfortable space for customers to stay and enjoy their coffee. If customers stay longer, they are more likely to purchase more coffee.
Starbucks, one of the largest and most popular commercial chains uses social media very well and even has an app for smartphones that allow customers to order and pay with the app. It also serves as a loyalty rewards program as customers earn stars to use toward free and drink.
If your budget does not allow for the creation of a smartphone app, try offering a customer loyalty reward program in store with a card. You might also try offering a discount or a free drink if a customer is very active promoting your coffee shop on social media.
Some other fun ways to market your coffee shop is to integrate your product into the coffee shop. For example, using coffee is a unique way to stain furniture. You can use some of your coffee to stain some of the furniture or storage containers in your coffee shop will create a more rustic vibe. It will certainly be a conversational piece for your baristas about sustainability.
Overall, changes in technology have caused an evolution in the way we market and promote coffee and coffee shops. The rise and popularity of social media sites has created an inexpensive platform to reach many types of consumers or can target your desired audience. Using a combination of marketing strategies, such as social media or a loyalty rewards program, can help make your coffee shop more popular and ultimately more successful.
Sarah is the author of We Dream of Coffee. She enjoys drinking the favored concoction, but she also wants to delve into the things that make coffee such a popular choice of drink.