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You had a unique coffee shop idea and set to work creating a business plan for a café. That was step one. Step two: getting every item on your coffee shop equipment list and starting a coffee shop in your neighbourhood. You may still be stoked from your grand opening, but the work doesn’t stop there. The next thing to do is find some customers. One of the best ways to find new customers (and keep current customers coming back) is to create a coffee shop marketing plan.
If you’ve never put together a marketing plan before, we’re sorry to say that there isn’t a one-size-fits-all strategy that you can simply implement. The marketing plan for your coffee shop is based on your specific market, your target consumer, and your business’s maturity—it’s unique.
With that said, there is a basic outline you can follow, whether you’re just starting or you’re a few years in and it’s time to fine-tune your coffee shop marketing plan.
Establish marketing goals.
The foundation of your coffee shop marketing plan is your set of marketing goals. Marketing goals are the specific objectives that you want your marketing efforts to accomplish.
How should you determine your marketing goals? Your goals should support the long-term business objectives established in your business plan. Maybe your focus is to raise total coffee sales, the amount of coffee sold, or an incremental increase in foot traffic.
Once you have listed out the specific marketing goals for your coffee shop, it should be easy to identify the key marketing action plan for your coffee shop and promotional campaigns to help you meet them.
Analyse your customer.
You can come up with compelling goals in your coffee shop marketing plan and create supportive promotional campaigns, but these won’t be effective unless you target the right audience (your target market).
Understanding your customers and knowing why they want or need your product should influence all of your marketing efforts. You can look at our Australian coffee report to get an idea of who drinks what and where, but you will also need to hyper-focus your research in your local market to have the greatest impact.
Be sure to also look into their spending habits. For instance, if you have started to notice that more businesses in your area are taking contactless payments, you want to make certain you are set up for that. You don’t want to spend all that time and money attracting your customers and not have a way to accept payments that they prefer.
When you create a café marketing plan, segment your target market to identify different customer profiles. Then think about the best way to reach each of these audiences. Messaging resonates differently with each customer segment—some campaigns are more effective with certain groups than others—so think about messaging for each customer profile.
Develop a calendar of activity.
Creating a marketing calendar for your coffee shop is a great way to organise and prioritise your marketing strategy.
Brainstorm the various types of promotions and campaigns you want to execute for your coffee shop marketing plan. These efforts should support the marketing goals you established and are dependent on the maturity stage of your business. Before you open a coffee shop, you may consider a soft opening, online paid advertisements, or social media marketing. Coffee shops that are more established may consider sending out monthly newsletters or sponsoring local community events. You should also think about specific holiday marketing tactics and how you can work those into your overall strategy. An easy-to-implement tactic is having gift cards readily available next to your Square Stand during the giving season. .
When you’re brainstorming different marketing plans for your coffee shop, be sure to include the various marketing channels you’ll use. Creating a Facebook account for your business is a great way to promote new products or announce deals going on at the coffee shop. You may also implement email marketing efforts to send out exclusive offers or incentives to bring customers into your store. There are heaps of social media channels to help your business grow with a specific audience, so reflect on your customer before committing to a channel.
After you have your ideas developed, craft a simple calendar of your marketing action plan for your coffee shop using a spreadsheet and list out the marketing initiatives and campaigns you want to complete each month. Your marketing calendar should be a working document that you are constantly reassessing and improving. You can use customer analytics to evaluate coffee trends and create additional marketing campaigns to better target your audience.
Retain recurring customers.
Many new business owners focus on finding new customers. But when you create a marketing plan for your coffee shop, you also need to think about how to retain the customers that have already walked through your door.
Customer retention both saves you money and can make you more money. It’s often touted that acquiring a new customer is at least five times more expensive than keeping a current one. And according to research by Bain & Company, increasing customer retention rates by 5 percent can increase profits by anywhere from 25 to 95 percent.
In order to improve the pillar of customer retention in your coffee shop marketing plan and establish brand loyalty, you need to stay connected with the people who frequent your coffee shop. These are just a few ways you can increase customer satisfaction and retention:
- Email marketing
Make an announcement, share an upcoming event, or reward your customers with coupons and other incentives. Targeted email campaigns like these allow you to send custom emails to a specific audience.
- Customer feedback
Give customers a private channel to respond to their service while visiting your coffee shop. With customer feedback, you can build deeper relationships with your customers. Square POS for coffee shops allows customers to leave feedback, making it easier to deal with any issues versus having to read a bad public review.
- Customer loyalty program
Incentivise your customers with free drinks and treats so they return to buy the products they tried and loved. These are just a couple of ways to create a successful coffee shop loyalty program.
There are also ways you can retain current customers without any outside coffee shop marketing plan at all—delivering great service day in and day out. It’s not just service with a smile, but also making sure that you have proper inventory management so you don’t run out of your customers’ favourites. With Square, creating an invoice is easy and quick, so you can pay those vendors on time to make sure your best-sellers are ready when your customers are.
Ensure your finances.
Owners often underestimate marketing costs when they are laying out the business plan for a café.
The Australian & Securities Investments Commission defines a small business as one that has an annual revenue of less than $50 million and fewer than 100 employees. This means that even many large businesses can still be defined as small ones. There is no one-size-fits-all approach to your coffee shop marketing plan budget, but a good rule of thumb is that you should spend 5 to 7 percent of your gross revenue to maintain your current level of business. To grow your business, you may need to spend more.
If you feel like there just isn’t enough money to fund your coffee shop marketing plan, you might consider taking out a small business loan or researching available Australian government grants and programs.
Of course, taking out a loan might seem more overwhelming than putting together your marketing plan for a coffee shop. So, when you evaluate a loan offer, here are four things to take into consideration:
- The total payback amount (loan amount plus outstanding costs like interest, origination fees, credit reporting fees, application costs, etc.)
- The application process
- Ease of repayment
- Lender’s reputation
Revisit and reinvent.
After you have created a coffee shop marketing plan, it’s important to remain flexible. Consumer trends change and new opportunities surface as you manage your business.
It’s important to continuously revisit your marketing plan for your coffee shop to make sure you are on track to meet your goals. This means taking time to revisit your customer profiles, using the analytics dashboard, and discovering what your competitors are doing that is successful.
You also want to look at your campaigns and promotions and reinvent stale ideas that might not benefit your store anymore—you always want to search for ways to improve your strategy and elevate your coffee shop.