Great Marketing Ideas

The most effective marketing (without having a million plus budget) is Word Of Mouth.

Make a fantastic product.
Educate by the cup.
Get to know your customers.

Quality of product, product offerings (menu), coffee/espresso knowledge, ceramic vs. paper, colors, design, music, professionalism of employees, etc. All of the choices, from product to menu to ambiance reflect exactly who and what you are; these are the critical points of marketing.

My cent.
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Hmmm. That sounds ideal but, what do you do in a less ideal situation.

For instance, getting customers to try out your store in the first place. I agree with you wholeheartedly on everything you said and will walk the walk with it.

I know once people come in, they will become loyal because of our delicious coffee (i swear my recipes are made from hard earned sweat)
service with a smile (baristas know that is my "thing") and cool place with free wifi.

Not to sound biased but, my place looks good! LOL.

I just need them to get into the door. I am thinking direct marketing with coupons blanketed within a one mile radius for businesses and homes. I am located in a one mile wide business park (my captive audience)

I was also thinking a grand opening party with free drink samples, baked good samples, and samples from my health herbal guy

(my smoothies have all organic herbal supplements, spirulina, and maca, acai. all good stuff for my customers!)

I think people will be attracted to that since its FREE.

Someone was saying get a sticker with my logo and stick on things but, i think that is actually vandalism so, I'm avoiding that.

I want to do charity work and was thinking because the party is free, having a suggested donation to a local charity for cancer patients, survivors and friends.

And I plan on walking into businesses and drop off a cup of coffee and muffins for free. This is for my morning delivery service I want to start.

I just want to cover my bases and I really don't like to sit in front of the monitor trying to reinvent the wheel when there is something as wonderful as COFFEEFORUMS.COM
I didn't do any of these things you wrote except when I first opened, I did coupon once, and it was a complete waste of time and effort, all I got was cheapskates wanting freebies. Other than that I did nothing. There is no short cut; have a good location, serve fresh roast and fresh brew coffee, do a good pastry case, have a clean place with efficient and friendly service. I don't do as much education but most of my customers really don't care about the from seed to cup coffee story they just wand and expect consistently good products. Don't spend money on marketing, gorilla or otherwise, invest that money on staff training and your own education. Word of mouth all the way.
Three most disastrous marketing ideas.

Discount Cards.

You CAN run a limited offering special, or an add that LOOKS like a coupon to get people to try a new offering, but rather having it be at a discount, have it be at a premium.

Discounted prices only bring those looking for discounts. Their loyalty is only to being cheap, not to any one brand or product.

As ElPugDiablo mentioned. There are no shortcuts. To expect to hit your stride from the get go is foolish. It's a long term proposition and you need to implement a long term strategy.

People in the door?
Open it. :D

Also, taking a stash of coffee, etc. to the local radio, tv, weekly papers now and again might get you a good mention.
If I can get up the nerve, I'll take some stuff down to the local radio dj's. I just imagine them tossing my stuff onto a heap of other gifts and things everyone else takes to them. :?

Word of mouth is the best advertising for your business. People listen to their friends and usually take their advice.

John P, did you coin the term "Educate by the cup"? It's brilliant and it keeps ringing in my head.
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ok. You guys win but, I'm gonna do it anyways! I can't help it, I think it's just part of my aggressive nature.

I want everyone to be converted to espresso!

I will chill down on the marketing. Honestly, I am one of those cheap people who like to try new restaurants out and whips out a coupon without shame to the waiter.

It is a great way for me to eat out alot and taste different varieties of food. And when I find a great place, I'm always upset that I didn't find out about it earlier because usually they don't do any type of marketing.

Though my business cards are doing triple duty. It is a business card, drink stamp on the back and first drink 20% off.

But, once again you guys are right. Train myself and the baristas for great service, great drinks, and great atmosphere.

And can I use that line by the way? Think I will have it printed on a poster or something. it's not copyrighted?

People might not be to worried about where there coffee is coming from but, I think that is slowly changing. There are people out there who wonder. That's why you have fair trade certified. I know that there is some debate about fair trade but, at least there is some standard.

I think it makes people feel good knowing that there money is going towards a good cause. I mean, honestly. An espresso is a mini luxury now a days. It's like my customers are like mini socialites.

They have their mini luxury drinks, in a mini luxury atmosphere and help the world in one mini luxury cup at a time.

That's what socialites do, either out assuaging their puritan guilt for having money while a third of the world is starving or they know they can make a difference.

Well, at sunrise coffee. The customers are, one cup at a time.
As long as you are reminded daily that it was not an original thought. :wink:

It's just something we do, and that's the best way to explain it. But if you say it, and don't do it, then...

Educate with GOOD coffee. So many educate the other way. :shock:
Word of mouth is the only advertising we do. Any time we do anything different the cheapskates are all we get. Those are not your repeat customers. If you have an attractive, good location. people will try it. As far as discount cards go. They do not create any sort of loyalty. How many stamp card do you have in your wallet, or your wife in her purse? These cards only take their discounted percentage off of your bottom line. I am 26 years old, and have only been at this for 6 years, but I learn very valuable lessons every day. I wish I would have known of this forum long time ago.

We've always tended to use whatever money we might have spent on advertising to donate goods to the local public radio station during pledge drive, donate to various fund raisers, bring music in, etc. I ran an ad in a local alternative paper for while and when I'd ask people where they heard about us, it was almost always because of word of mouth or our music. We haven't had much luck with coupons and we tried radio a few times and never seemed to get anything from that. I think trying to be an active, good, citizen of the community goes a lot further than some coupon.
In store roasting. Hands down, the greatest differentiator and most significant marketing proposition in a crowded market with little available in terms of product differentiating "new" or unique ideas. :wink:
Fresh roasting

Where does one learn about in-store roasting? I saw it at a trade show once and mentioned it to my coffee supplier who turned a bit pale at the mention.
RE: In store roasting


1. Quality of coffee - average coffee, fresh or not... who really cares?
There are plenty of places that roast in-store, fresh, and their coffee leaves much to be desired.
2. Quality and efficiency of roaster. Materials, design, repeatability of producing a consistent roast.
3. Quality of service. #2 will eliminate much of the need, but if you need them, will they be there? Do they go above and beyond?
4. Micro-batch roasting. What good is a large roaster in store? Do you need 11K? Do you even need 5K? Many shops have larger roasters--be skeptical on their claims of freshness. There's no point in freshness if it's only fresh once a month.

Great coffee, great micro-batch roaster, great service... I feel these are the crucial elements when roasting in store.
The coffee is up to YOU, but if the roaster delivers on everything else, you will have a winning combination.