Planning a coffee shop opening for 2019? Got amazing coffee and an inviting interior? Do shops, offices and potential customers surround your shop? That’s a great start. But to keep your business busy, you can’t rely on passers-by wandering in off the street. Spend time establishing your brand online and get customers to come to you.
Why your coffee shop brand needs an online presence
You may have been on a fact-finding trip to South America before opening your business. You might sell the best speciality coffee for miles, but have you translated this into your brand? How will you show this knowledge and passion to your customers and use it to win you sales? Establishing your brand’s ethos and personality online will help set you apart. Be easy to find and tell your customers what’s at the heart of your business and you’ll be on the right path.
When customers are looking for somewhere to eat and drink they grab their smartphone. They search for cafes, look at local food bloggers on Instagram, and snoop on review platforms. These are opportunities for you to get noticed. Use them to showcase the customer experience you offer and explain what you’re about. Here’s how you align your online presence to your customer to drive footfall…
1) Set up your Google My Business page
If someone’s looking for somewhere to eat or drink and they search Google for a coffee shop nearby, can they find you online? Your Google My Business page is a free marketing tool. It can help customers find you and learn more about you.
Set up your page to display your location, opening hours and contact details. Write a summary about your establishment that speaks to your target customer. Use words that tell them if you’re a comfy spot for casual coffee drinkers. If your shop is aimed squarely at coffee aficionados, make sure they know. Your target customer should identify with your coffee shop brand when they look at this page.
Upload photos of your food, drink and your shop interior. Give potential customers a sense of what it’s like to visit you. Want to let people know about your launch party? You can add a post to let customers know about special events. Don’t forget to link to your website so customers can learn even more about you.
2) Invest in a coffee shop website
Do you really need a website for your coffee shop? Not always, but coffee shop owners often overlook the benefits a website provides. A branded easy-to-navigate website can enhance a customer’s online experience with you. Plus, it gives you real estate you control to set out your store.
What should be on your website? Start with an easy to find food and drinks menu, use great photography that sets the ambience for your shop. A website blog is a great place to share photos and facts from that fact-finding trip to South America. It’ll show ’em you know your stuff. A website is a platform where you can share the stories, news and events that shape your brand for customers. Don’t forget to link your site to your social media accounts. This helps Google to identify your profiles and draw them into your Google My Business page. It also encourages customers to connect with you.
3) Begin your social media story at the start
If you want customers to wake up and smell just how good your coffee is, social media can help you to waft the scent. According to research (Allegra, Project Café UK, 2019), 45% of coffee industry leaders think social media is their most effective form of marketing. Coffee quality was identified as the biggest factor behind café success, but you need to lure those coffee drinkers in to taste what you’re offering. And the experts say you should get this strategy started before your launch.
Simon Fogal, Creative Director at Food and Drink PR firm Chapter 81, spoke to BLACKBX to share his tips for launching coffee brands on social media. Yes, #latteart and #pastryporn play a part. But it’s those behind-the-scenes images that shape a brand and pique social media user’s interests.
“Our first port of call is great photography, images that can set a scene and really get the ambience of the venue through the lens. So we do simple set-up shots, product shots. But there are also basics like opening times,” advises Simon.
Simon spoke to us about Chapter 81’s successful launch of Leed’s coffee shop, Archive. Behind the scenes teasers were used to generate interest in the brand well before the baristas got busy with any beans.
“We helped launch their Instagram and did the shop build in sets of three. We had to do several shoots as the impact dates were very tight and it was still being built. Details of the shop and machines were used to create hype and intrigue and we did the sets of three to build up a quality Instagram feed.”
When customers hear about new business launches, they’ll often head straight to social media to find out more details. Building anticipation by sharing your story so far can help strike the right impression with your audience.
Provide reliable and free Wi-Fi
The rise of remote workers has driven demand for free Wi-Fi in coffee shops. Yet there are extra benefits beyond promoting you as a freelance friendly spot. With a captive portal your customers login via a personalised branded screen. You can collect data to help turn first visitors into valuable repeat customers. Insights help you to craft targeted marketing. You get a fuller picture of your customer.
Offering free Wi-Fi also makes it easier for your customers to act as ambassadors for your brand. They can tag your coffee shop’s Instagram profile in photos of their fantastic flat white or fluffy pancake stack. And a good Wi-Fi connection makes it simple for guests to submit a review before they leave your venue.
Be proactive with your review strategy
When you’re the new coffee shop on the block, online reviews are super important for boosting business. Your Google review score sits within your Google My Business page. Potential customers can read reviews with just a few clicks. This helps them to decide whether to visit you. Reviews on platforms such as TripAdvisor and Google and responding to reviews can increase your visibility. They help to build your brand’s reputation.
You don’t need to be pushy in asking customers for reviews but you can say you’d appreciate one if they give a compliment. You’ll need to be mindful of how you respond to reviews. Aim to address them in a timely fashion. Thank guests for feedback and show empathy when issues arise. A genuine attitude and personal touch can go a long way in building your coffee shop’s brand online.
If you’re considering introducing Wi-Fi for your coffee shop customers, find further reading here:
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