The one thing I know well besides marketing and branding online is coffee shops. I spend a great deal at Starbucks, other chains and the local independent stores and have seen it all. One of the smaller coffee shops here in Victoria asked me for some help after getting to know the owner over the course of the last six months. I decided to make a deal/bet with the owner that if I could increase sales a certain amount, I’d win free drip coffee for a year. That was a deal for drugs I was ready to commit to. There were a lot of obvious first steps to take, those I won’t go into here as it’s pointless, but rather share with you some of the more unique strategies I put in place with little effort. The results were rather fantastic!
While not many people use search engines to find a local coffee shop as they’re everywhere, so we didn’t worry about ranking for a specific term here. Instead, I took on some unique social media methods that would drive a lot of customers and hopefully turn them into returning ones. Tapping into the local community played a huge role here and it turned out to be a game changer for this local business. So let’s get into the inbound marketing strategies and even a couple link building ones. One last thing, I’m happily enjoying my free coffee as I write this post!
Like I stated, the link building aspect wasn’t really a focus here but we did nab some links that would come in handy down the road. The other part of the social media marketing also netted the company a few links, so all in all it worked out nicely nicely. In their case we just focused on links from;
- local business directories within the area only
- links from the local bakery website they got their goods from
- links from the company that supplies their beans
- links from a few coffee shop directories
So nothing hardcore, just general link building that should be applied in almost every scenario like this. This alone did manage to bump them to the first page for their local area. This was not unexpected but the links combined with a few on page SEO changes did the trick no problem. This should be noted by other coffee shop owners trying to achieve this…chances are good that there is no real competition.
Utilizing Their Local Sub Reddit:
I’m a 4 year long Reddit veteran and a huge fan of my local subreddits. We decided to just let everyone know there that they’d get free refills on their coffee and tea if they just mentioned Reddit. We also put out an open ended invitation to host any Reddit meet-up events they had as well provide discounts that night on everything in the shop. This strategy was received quite well and has been providing them with more and more return visits. We nerds love our coffee, and if you have a unique shop with quality product, then you’re going to be a hit for sure. Just make sure you don’t come off as spammy or pushy with this route, and don’t expect great results every time.
Marketing With Meetup.com:
Meetup.com provides tons of amazing networking and marketing methods, and restaurants are always benefiting huge from it. Some of the events I go to in Vancouver attract over 100 people, and the bar we go to makes some serious bank that night. Almost every event lists where the meeting will take place, and usually this leads to a link.
We got in touch with half a dozen groups and offered the place out to the group, even after hours for a few of the late night crowds. The coffee shop now hosts nearly 4 Meetup events a month and it has done wonderful things for their sales.
Daily & Group Deal Sites (Groupon Etc):
You all knew this was coming, and it’s a no-brainer. A lot of local businesses complain that the cost of running a daily/group deal is not worth it. I had to remind them here that it’s more about branding and buzz in hopes those customers will return. If you can provide them with an amazing experience, your chances are really good that you’ve nailed down a new customer. Another interesting feature of some of these deal sites is that they provide a vendor link, and those are natural quality links you’re going to want in your profile.
Foursquare Mayor Deals:
Foursquare is still blowing up all over the world and it’s a great way to attract new and old customers. Your vendor page can net a worthy link, and your customers can fight over the mayor deal you offer. This coffee shop owner had never heard of Foursquare and that’s no surprise as it’s targeted at a much younger generation.
We made sure to get the check-in sticker on the door, a mayor deal on the web and added a few tips to add more depth to his venue page. The more geo-located tips from other users the better. These will pop up on your screen if someone has checked in near your business, and this can be worth it…it’s bloody free folks!
Obviously the coffee shop had seen an explosion in sales compared to the previous 3 months. Obviously doing something over nothing would have a positive impact, especially how easy it all was to do. I spent no more than 20 hours setting everything up and I’m now going to be enjoying a lot of free coffee. Now I’d love to hear from other coffee shop owners who’ve either tried some of this out, or are going to now. Let us all know how it works out!