Marketing is a fluid and far-reaching term, however, and one that includes a number of distinct disciplines and techniques.
It is therefore crucial that you determine which marketing methods are right for you, as you identify the channels that will connect you with your target audience.
X Powerful Marketing Techniques for your Outlet
While the precise nature of your marketing strategy will depend on your business and individual goals, you can start by identifying the staple techniques that are typically favoured by coffee shops and restaurants.
Here are some of the most widely used: -
#1 - Invest in Local SEO
Unless you have an established coffee shop or restaurant brand, you will be unable to commit to a large marketing spend.
This means that you must invest your available capital wisely, with local SEO representing one of the most effective marketing techniques for businesses that operate predominantly offline.
In simple terms, local SEO enables businesses to acquire more regional customers through Google search, improving their ranking in relation to specified keywords while delivering a superior return on any investment that has been made.
Google reported that 50% of mobile searches lead to a visit to a local store, and that's a stat that simply cannot be ignored.
This combination of measurable attainment and cost-effectiveness has led to the widespread popularisation of local SEO during the last decade, particularly among companies who operate offline and derive the majority of their custom from within the local community.
The key is to choose viable keyword phrases that are relevant to your niche, while also analysing the competitiveness of the market and the performance of local rivals.
Armed with this and even a minimal spend, local SEO can help to improve your ranking among competing brands in the area, which in turn enables you to capture a larger share of the local audience.
Remember, any corporeal coffee shop or restaurant relies on a local consumer base to drive revenue, so your ability to build this through targeted marketing will prove crucial to your success in the long-run.
#2 - Drive Real-time Promotions through Social and SMS
On the subject of cost-effective marketing, social media and SMS are viable platforms that should be explored.
This is particularly true in an age of real-time marketing, where platforms such as Twitter enable us to communicate with customers in a live and conversational environment.
One of the best ways to utilise these platforms is through a real-time promotional offer, which is limited in terms of its availability and aimed at customers within a predetermined radius of your outlet (geo-targeting is an excellent way to determine your audience).
Using your brand’s Twitter account and the customer data that you have acquired through CRM, you can reach out to local consumers and offer them access to a generous promotion that is exclusive to them.
The concept of exclusivity is certainly appealing to your regular customers, as it affords them a sense of importance and helps to consolidate relationships within the local community.
By using real-time marketing channels too, you are creating a sense of urgency and imploring customers to take advantage of the offer before it expires.
This creates a potent combination that can significantly increase turnover for the duration of the offer.
Remember though, targeting local customers is crucial to driving a higher rate of conversions, while it is also important to utilise your data to ensure that you create a popular promotional offer.
#3 - Incentivise customers with Free Samples
When operating on a tight budget, one of the last things that a brand wants to do is offer freebies and give way valuable inventory on a complimentary basis.
The fact remains, however, that incentivising customers with free samples remains a potent, long-term marketing tool, and one that helps to drive awareness and brand loyalty.
This is particularly viable for coffee shops, who may specialise in a number of niche beverages and sweet treats.
Let’s say that you have created a uniquely flavoured hot chocolate, for example, and are looking to promote this among your customers to leverage the drink’s healthy profit margin.
Given that humans are usually creatures of habit; they are unlikely to spend their money on a brand new beverage without having first sampled its taste and flavour combinations.
If you are willing to offer this drink in the form of free samples (for a limited period, of course), you are incentivising customers to try the beverage and make an informed decision as to whether they like it or not.
While it may not be to everyone’s tastes, it is sure to appeal to some and this will instantly create a market for your exciting and profitable drink.
Those who enjoy the drink are also likely to recommend the drink to others, enabling you to target a larger market while eventually negating the need to offer free samples in the first place.
Just remember to keep an eye on the numbers when offering sample beverages, however, as the inventory that you give away on a complimentary basis will incur an initial loss that must be accounted for.
#4. Promote user-generated content on your website
Finally, it is important that you recognise your customers as an integral part of your marketing efforts.
After all, these individuals represent the heartbeat of your establishment, and this affords them power and influence over casual customers and new target markets.
It would be foolish not to leverage this, so why not consider promoting user-generated content through your website?
This opens up new avenues of interaction and engagement between brands and consumers, while it also adds a distinctly human element to your blog.
Above all else, this creates an entry point into a long-term relationship with your customers, turning casual consumers into loyal patrons in the process.
There are many ways through which you can achieve this too, whether you create a competition where customers are encouraged to share their favourite meals at your restaurant or challenge patrons to invent a new beverage for your menu.
Either way, there is a clear emphasis on involving customers as valued contributors to the brand, and this removes many of the barriers that typically exist between businesses and consumers.
By improving this proposition with cash incentives and innovative prizes too, you can truly empower your customers and leverage their potential as objective brand ambassadors.
The Last Word
Overall, these tips will help you to access affordable and measurable marketing methods that will drive the long-term success of your coffee shop or restaurant.
Above all else, these marketing techniques are ideally suited to businesses in the hospitality sector, so they have the capacity to deliver the very best return on your investment.