With the recent backlash against Starbucks by British consumers, there’s never been a better time to run an independent coffee shop in the UK. But what are the best ways to promote your business using print? Solopress have 10 tasty tips for all you budding baristas out there…
The most expensive methods of marketing, like placing a print ad in your local newspaper, aren’t usually the best ways to spend your money. The smarter, and more inventive, marketing campaigns are the ones that people are more likely to notice and remember.
Handing out flyers in the street is a very effective way of marketing your coffee shop. They’re cheap and quick to be made. These days, it’s possible to get your flyers professionally printed overnight and delivered the next day. You could also arrange a ‘contra deal’ with other local businesses, whereby you distribute flyers for one another at each of your own premises. Flyers are also particularly useful if you want to promote a special offer for a limited time only – or an upcoming event at your coffee shop like a poetry reading, hosting the work of a talented local artist, a comedy night or an evening class in cupcake making.
Whether it’s for a freebie, discount or meal deal, an eye-catching voucher with a great giveaway offer works equally well for both attracting new customers, and bringing previous patrons back, to your coffee shop.
These are a great way to encourage your customers to keep coming back to your coffee shop on a regular basis. A loyalty card with an offer like ‘Buy 6 coffees and get the 7th one free’ is the simplest way to do it right. If you find business is slower on a certain day of the week, why not introduce a ‘Double Stamp Day’ to increase footfall, whereby customers who make a purchase during that day will receive two stamps on their loyalty card instead of just one. Talking of rewarding regular custom, why not offer to sell personalised mugs, printed with a person’s first name or favourite cartoon character? The mug can be hung behind the counter for this customer to use when they come back to your coffee house.
Learning from the honest feedback given by your paying customers is crucial to the success of any business. Simply place a feedback card on every table in your coffee shop. Why not ask them for their mailing address, e-mail or mobile number as well? That way you can add them to your mailing list to receive special offers and other news about your coffee shop via leaflets, e-mail newsletters or SMS text messages.
Always remember to include your full address, opening hours, telephone number and perhaps a mini-map with directions on your coffee shop’s business cards. Don’t forget to add any website and social media links too if you have them.
A promotional sign situated outside on the pavement, known as A-boards in the printing trade, will help attract customers to your coffee shop. As this is possibly the first thing that people will see about your business, make doubly sure that the advertisement uses a striking image or message that instantly grabs their attention.
The same design rules apply for posters as pavement signs – you must create something attention-grabbing and memorable. And if you’re not lucky enough to possess any cool graphic design skills yourself, please hire a professional designer to do the job for you. Take a look at their portfolio of work to see if they’ve previously made anything that catches your eye. If you’ve picked the right designer, you should instantly see why hiring a professional is such a wise decision when the design proofs come back to you!
If there’s one marketing trick that’s almost guaranteed to work every time, it’s giving away a free sample to prospective customers. If you do decide to give any coffee away outside your shop, we’d recommend you still keep the sugar and milk inside the premises. People will then have to pop inside to load up their coffee – thereby also getting a closer look at all the other lovely stuff you have to sell them. You never know, they might be hungry enough to buy a slice of cake, cookie, sandwich or panini once they’re inside your shop.
Finally, here’s another marketing ploy that’s worth trying: put your most expensive coffee drinks – maybe a cappuccino, espresso or latte – near the top of your menu. It’s a simple way to boost your coffee shop’s profits in a single move. Giving your drinks and food a funny or imaginative name in the menu will also help your business stand out from your competitors in the minds of any customers. Which nicely leads us back to tip #1. Be Creative!