So you’ve opened a coffee shop. The next thing to do: find some customers. One of the best ways to find new customers (and keep current customers coming back) is to create a marketing plan for your coffee shop.
If you’ve never put together a marketing plan before, we’re sorry to say that there isn’t a one-size-fits-all marketing plan 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 a coffee shop or you’re a few years in and it’s time to fine-tune your marketing.
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Establish marketing goals.
The foundation of your coffee shop marketing plan is your 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 that’s 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 efforts and promotional campaigns to help you meet them.
Analyze your customer.
You can come up with compelling marketing goals 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.
When you create a marketing plan for a coffee shop, 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 as well — some campaigns are more effective with certain segments 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 organize and prioritize your marketing strategy.
Brainstorm the various types of promotions and campaigns you want to execute for your coffee shop. 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.
When you’re brainstorming different ways to market your coffee shop, be sure to include the various marketing channels you’ll use. Creating an Instagram account for your coffee shop 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 a plethora of channels to think about that resonate with a specific audience, so reflect on your customer before committing to a channel.
After you have your ideas developed, craft a simple marketing calendar 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 customer retention and establish brand loyalty, you need to stay connected with the people who frequent your coffee shop. Customer engagement software enables you to increase customer satisfaction and retention with the following features:
- 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.
- Customer loyalty program — Incentivize your customers with free drinks and treats so they return and buy your products.
Ensure your finances.
Owners often underestimate marketing costs when they are laying out the finances for their coffee shop.
The SBA recommends that small businesses with revenues less than $5 million (with profit margins between 10 and 12 percent) allocate 7 to 8 percent of their revenue to marketing. It is also recommended that these funds be used specifically for brand development and the cost of promoting the business.
If you feel like there just isn’t enough money to fund your marketing plan, you might consider taking out a small business loan.
Of course, taking out a loan might seem more overwhelming than putting together your marketing plan. 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 marketing plan for your coffee shop, it’s important to remain flexible. Consumer trends change and new opportunities surface as you manage your coffee shop.
It’s important to continuously revisit your marketing plan to make sure you are on track to meet your goals. You also want to look at your campaigns and promotions and reinvent stale ideas that might not be benefitting your store — you always want to look for ways to improve your strategy and elevate your coffee shop.