February 29, 2024
Lauren Platero

12 Effective Marketing Strategies for Local Coffee Shops

The implementation of standard restaurant marketing strategies is essential for local coffee shops. Here’s the thing–everyone loves either coffee or tea, so the potential to attract a massive customer base is there. However, between coffee shop franchises and hometown mom-and-pop businesses, there will likely be massive competition.

Coffee shop marketing tactics are essential for sustaining high profits and visibility. Without them, any coffee shop business owner will be at risk of debt or losing their venture entirety. But there’s no need to worry about that. After reading this blog post, you should have enough restaurant promotion ideas to remain profitable for the years to come. Now, let’s jump right into all of the perks th​​at come with marketing local coffee shops.

12 Marketing Strategies for Local Coffee Shops

Local coffee shops have a tendency to be unique from others. Some might specialize in innovation, with solutions such as kiosks to establish a self service coffee shop. On the other hand, it’s not uncommon to find local coffee shops that boast a warm and cozy atmosphere, emphasizing the social aspects.

No matter where on the spectrum your coffee shop sits, marketing it to the masses will always be part of its operations. If you’re still in the process of drafting a coffee shop business plan, coming up with promotional endeavors is a must. After all, the cost to open a coffee shop is quite high–you need to ensure its long-term profitability. Check out a dozen creative and proven coffee shop marketing strategies below!

1. Invest In Online Ordering Integrations

Cafe owners can connect their POS and coffee shop management software to third-party delivery apps. As a result, coffee shop online ordering services can increase the shop’s local presence more than you might think. As local residents browse through the many eateries, yours will appear on the list. In this situation, location, reviews, and SEO are no longer parts of the equation. In fact, it’s possible to build a loyal customer base from off-premise orders alone.

2. Implement Cafe and Restaurant SEO Efforts

Organic search engine optimization (SEO) efforts are vital for local coffee shops. When people search for coffee drinks and breakfast food nearby, they could potentially stumble across your coffee shop’s website. However, that’s only if you optimize your site accordingly. Such strategies include things like targeting relevant keywords, using alt text on images, writing captivating meta descriptions, and more. If you find that organic SEO is too competitive in your area, it might be worth investing in paid ads. But we'll discuss more about this later.

3. Send Out Email Marketing Campaigns

A restaurant email strategy can allow local coffee shops to contact nearby consumers directly. While they’re fairly short, there’s certainly space for visuals, text, and links. To stay relevant within your area, we recommend only sending out email campaigns once or twice a month. This way, you’ll stay within the forefront of everybody’s minds without bombarding them with too many emails.

4. Implement SMS Marketing Tactics

Restaurant SMS marketing is a powerful tool considering how it lets you speak to consumers directly. If you’re able to collect phone numbers from the coffee shop POS system and have consent from the customers, we recommend creating weekly text campaigns. These messages should be short and to the point–just enough to grab the reader’s attention.

5. Launch A Coffee Shop Loyalty Program

A coffee club membership for your most loyal guests is essential to customer retention. It would work similarly to any other customer rewards program where people can earn points for every dollar they spend. Then, after accumulating enough, they can redeem those points for perks.

6. Post Organic Social Media Content

Do you offer aesthetically pleasing specialty coffee recipes? What about mouthwatering baked goods? If so, hire a creative director who is skilled with a camera to capture footage for social media. Don’t forget to convert and repurpose all your content for various realms. This is in references to things like video reels vs. still photos.

7. Create Paid Social Media Ads

After you spend a few months posting organic social media content, you’ll begin to notice that some styles perform better than others. Just note that this result will be different across all local coffee shops. But once you analyze performance metrics and understand what works best for your business, invest some money into boosting those posts. In other words, build a target audience within a platform like Facebook or Instagram to promote your content. Just don’t forget to monitor the social media ROI to track tangible results.

8. Invest In Sponsored Google Ads

You’ll quickly come to realize that most local coffee shops will be competing for the top search results on Google. By investing in a search engine marketing (SEM) strategy, you’ll be able to beat your rivals–even the best coffee shops with a loyal customer base. When people in your area search for things like “coffee shops near me,” yours will be one of the first links they see.

9. Host Frequent Contests

Businesses can never go wrong with distributing freebies. By regularly hosting contests and giveaways, you’ll constantly have customers checking in with your coffee shop’s page or website. Prizes can range from things like gift cards to free coffees–whatever suits your budget. If you operate a drive thru coffee shop, you can even host an event where the 100th person who drives up gets the biggest prize that month. Once your creativity runs free, the ideas for this strategy will be endless.

10. Regularly Change Up the Menu

A local coffee shop should have more on their menu than standard coffee flavors and variations. After all, it’s a simple product to sell and the competition surrounding it is extremely high. Beyond hot and cold brew coffee, regularly switch up the menu. An easy way to implement this tactic is to get onboard with seasonal coffee trends. Whether it be peppermint mocha in the winter or pumpkin spice in the fall, thematic and time-sensitive flavors can result in surges of traffic. To accommodate those who don’t drink coffee, you should keep tea leaves and powders on hand, like matcha (see: matcha vs coffee). It’s also a good idea to offer an array of coffee brewing methods, using tools like pour over and French press machines.

11. Offer Catering Services

The best part about creating a catering menu for a local coffee shop is that it's a foolproof way to implement product differentiation. Many coffee shops don’t have a large enough selection of food items to offer such a service. However, this is an opportunity to boost visibility and profits by a long shot. If you operate a coffee shop in an area where there are a lot of workplaces and corporate offices, then you have a goldmine on your hands.

12. Promote Your Variety of Coffee

Local coffee shops that achieve success purchase coffee beans wholesale. In doing so, you’ll end up with a variety of roasts and flavors at the lowest possible price. These options should be the central focus of your marketing efforts. From different brews across your wholesale coffee beans to varying caffeine levels, these are all aspects of your drinks to promote online.

Qualities of Successful Local Coffee Shops

Sure, the popular local coffee shops that people in your town frequent have professionals on their marketing team. But what other qualities do they entail? Ensure that your coffee shop boasts a handful of the following characteristics:

  • A diverse selection of beans from the best coffee roasters.
  • A brick and mortar location that’s near a lot of traffic.
  • High-quality and inviting decor throughout the coffee shop.
  • A visible outdoor sign on the coffee shop’s property.
  • Coffee delivery service for off-premise transactions.
  • Pre-order functionalities for those who are on the go.  

When you learn how to start a coffee shop that’s destined for success, marketing it will be that much simpler. After all, you’ll have a thoughtful mission in place and spectacular menu items to serve. Use the list above as a checklist before investing a lot of funds into restaurant marketing campaigns.

Frequently Asked Questions About Local Coffee Shops

Local coffee shops function a bit differently from the big names within the restaurant industry. Read on for additional insight regarding this competitive yet lucrative business sector.

Should Local Coffee Shops Have Outdoor Seating?

It’s always a good idea to offer outdoor seating at a coffee shop if the property has ample space to do so. Just ensure to keep outdoor furniture in storage during the winter months.

Should Local Coffee Shops Serve Food, Too?

Yes, choosing to offer food items as well as drinks is one of the best decisions a coffee shop owner can make. Not only will doing so increase cart values, but it will also give the business competitive advantages over local rivals.

Is It Hard to Operate a Local Coffee Shop?

It’s not necessarily challenging to operate a local coffee shop. However, it can get pretty stressful due to high competition levels. If you’re in an area that’s home to a lot of coffee shops, capturing the utmost number of sales can be a challenge. But day-to-day tasks? Not so much!

Do All Local Coffee Shops Offer Free WiFi?

For the most part, almost all local coffee shops offer free WiFi. Cafes are popular go-to spots for students and working professionals, so offering internet access is a way to attract customers and keep them present for extended periods of time.

How Can I Find the Best Local Coffee Shops?

Anyone can find the best coffee shops in their area by using Google. Simply search the phrase “coffee shops near me.” and let the device detect your location. Then, simply sort the results by distance and ratings.

Local Marketing Efforts for Local Coffee Shops

Local promotions and marketing tactics are a bit different from those that are deemed as generic. That’s because for entities like local coffee shops, geography and targeted groups of people are the focal points of marketing initiatives. Without these factors in mind, you could potentially increase online metrics but not the number of orders to fulfill at your coffee shop. Hopefully, these twelve strategies will set up your cafe for success, granting it the ability to rise above all the other local coffee shops.