Coffee Shop Marketing Tips: 12 Ways to Market Your Cafe in 2022

As of 2022, there are 65,410 coffee shop stores in the US. In 2020, there were 37,274. Whether you’re an independent specialty coffee shop owner, an operator of a multi-location or franchise brand, the competition to gain attention is heating up. 

How can you market your business effectively? What are some of the best coffee shop marketing tips you can use to help get you noticed? Let’s dive in!

How do you make a marketing plan for a coffee shop?

The first steps to marketing your coffee shop include a location (physical and/or online), a concept and a brilliant brand name. Next, it’s time to attract customers to your cafe!

Marketing your coffee shop business is a must for getting regular guests who drive revenue. When you open, you’ll be able to rely on some new customers coming to check out your coffee shop from the physical location alone. You’ll need marketing to keep them coming and to keep getting new guests.

What is the target market for a coffee shop?

Your target market might not be the same as other coffee shops. Use a data software like GoGoGuest to see what your current market is or choose your ideal market, research, and cater to them.

How do you market a coffee shop during Covid?

Since the pandemic, marketing for coffee shops has shifted. This is because of the increase in online ordering, and the decrease of in-person interactions.

This article will tell you how to use the latest technology to market your coffee shop during Covid – the same that helped many similar businesses grow in 2020-2022.

How do you make a marketing plan for a coffee shop?

  1. Know your budget. There are many ways you can market for free if you don’t have a budget, but most coffee shops use $100 or less per month on marketing.
  2. Know your brand identity. The clearer you can be about who you are as a coffee shop, the better all your marketing tactics will be!
  3. Write down clear goals for your coffee shop. Do you want to open 2 new locations by the new year? Or, do you have a goal for the amount you want to be making monthly? Whatever your goals are, make them as clear as possible. Then you can work backwards to reach them.
  4. Research your competition so you know what they’re doing. Be unique and have a competitive strategy for your coffee shop’s marketing plan.
  5. Get organized by using software that helps you lay out all your marketing plans in one place. Make sure your technology, like your POS system and WiFi, are up to date. Then, look through this list for ideas of what categories to focus on.
  6. Find a plan of action. Start by focusing on one thing – for instance, social media – and once you’re comfortable with that, move on to the next thing.

GoGoGuest is a platform that can help you with a digital marketing strategy, faster because it’s a holistic digital marketing platform that saves you time and money. But more on that later. For now, let’s look at the best marketing tips for coffee shops.

Here’s our rundown of the 12 best marketing tips for your coffee shop in 2022:

1. Show up in online searches so people can find you

It’s 2022, and people are looking online for coffee shops more than ever.

You need a responsive website that utilizes SEO (Search Engine Optimization) for your coffee shop. 89% of adults are searching with their smartphones for places to dine and gather (“coffee shop near me”, anyone?), which means they’re mostly finding coffee shops online.

Here are some more reasons to launch your coffee shop with a responsive and mobile-friendly website:

  • A great website will help you create brand awareness.
  • You’ll be able to establish your business in your local market presence.
  • Connect with your audience and guests quicker.
  • Share different ways potential customers can interact with your brand by offering ways to contact you, order online, ask about catering, purchase gift cards, subscriptions or merchandise.

"The power of GoGoGuest gives us full control of our cross-channel customer engagement, starting at the first customer visit on our website, eCommerce shop, online ordering and our coffee shop locations.

2. Grow Brand Awareness With Social Media

Using excellent photography and hashtags is a great way to build an audience online. And if you’re not active on Facebook, Instagram, TikTok or Twitter yet? You may want to think about changing that. 

Most coffee shop customers use social media. Coffee shop owners and operators can use photography and written captions to generate interest. Food content remains popular on social media, as does support for small- to medium-sized coffee shops.

To stand out among the competition on social media, be sure to have a curated and aesthetically-pleasing, on-brand feed. Show your guests who you are in a clear and enticing way through pictures and words!

Be authentic, but have quality content. Get a photographer, or if you take your own photos make sure they’re well-lit and have good angles, and think about making them look consistent for your feed so people know who you are by your photos.

If you’re still looking for reasons to use social media in your coffee shop marketing plan, here are some more:

  • Instagram, Facebook, TikTok and Twitter are all free and are easy to use.
  • Social media is easy to integrate with your website.
  • You can strategically build a community around your brand by giving customers chances to interact with and share your content. You can also host giveaways.
  • Engage directly with your customers and find out what they like, and also discover things you need to improve on or add.
  • You can also try paid ads on these platforms for even more visibility.
Customer taking a photo of his breakfast pancake and coffee at coffee shop

For many users, social media is part of their daily routine. Roughly three-quarters of Facebook users – and around six-in-ten Instagram users – visit these sites at least once a day.

3. Consider A Storefront Renovation

Lots of coffee shops focus all their attention on social media and advertising but forget about more traditional ways customers discover their business.

Data shows that a large percentage of coffee shop customers discover new cafes by storefront. A great-looking storefront is the best way to capture attention.

Carrying out a few renovations or adding little details can make a big difference to customers noticing your business and coming in to grab a cup of coffee.

This can be done through signage, paint colors, art and murals, outdoor seating, plants and places with shade to let people sit outside.

You can also use this renovation as an online strategy through photography. Share it on social media, do a walk-through of your store and more!

An empty coffee shop with a women coming in and a few people working behind the counter
Coffeebar's Menlo Park location

4. Focus On Acquiring Reviews & User-Generated Content

Positive reviews can be some of your best sources of new guests. Today, potential customers will look up a coffee shop’s reviews before trying them out. Positive customer feedback will act as a magnet for prospective guests.

You’ll want customer reviews on Google My Business and Yelp. You can also use the reviews on your social media and website for content!

Ways to get more reviews from happy customers:

  • Have staff ask if guests will consider leaving a review.
  • Give guests discounts for leaving reviews.
  • Post signs inside your store with a QR code that leads to the review place online.
  • Post online to encourage more reviews (you can even offer a contest entry for reviewing and sharing on social media).

What is user-generated content?

User-generated content is when a customer posts something about your coffee shop, which you then re-share and use on your cafe’s social media. This kind of content plays a significant role in building trust in a coffee shop.

In today’s world where social media feeds are so polished, guests want to know if the experience you offer lives up to expectations. Sharing user-generated content where guests are enjoying your coffee shop shows potential customers the reality, from other customers’ perspectives.

5. Take a Holistic Approach to Your Coffee Shop Marketing Plan

After getting to know your brand online, you’ve created curiosity for customers. Enough for that individual to submit their information on your website or, better yet, they walk in and purchase or place an order online.

What do you do with customer information you’ve captured? These days, guests love it when a brand brings humanity and personalization to every step of their customer journey. Guests are willing to exchange information for a more personalized experience with your brand.

Here’s how you can take a holistic approach and have an all-in-one coffee shop marketing strategy:

  • First, gather customer data from your website, POS, WiFi e-Commerce and third-party apps with a data platform that finds all your data and organizes it for you.
  • GoGoGuest gives you access to guest behavioral data like frequency of visit, average order spent, which channels they prefer when interacting with your brand and more.
  • Get to know different customer groups or segments so you can tailor offers to them.
  • Know which combination of menu items are purchased frequently with the power of basket analysis, deep analytics and AI.
  • Craft personalized marketing automation in every step of your customer lifecycle.
  • Send cross-channel campaigns on Email and SMS coffee shop marketing.
  • Offer milestone-based rewards and loyalty programs that are associated with purchases in-store and online.
  • Use your data to inform decisions on where to advertise, target audiences and menu engineering.

Part of coffee shop marketing is understanding what the customer goes through during their initial decision-making process to make a purchase. Once you understand your guests, you can personalize your brand’s engagement in every step of the customer lifecycle. 

 A data-rich customer engagement platform makes it easy to personalize the guest experience, regardless of whether they’re a first-time customer or a loyal fan.

6. Use WiFi Marketing

Coffee shops use WiFi marketing to better manage limited table space by requiring a purchase to gain access to a timed usage of guest WiFi.

Coffee shops can also use WiFi marketing to grow subscribers by offering access to guest WiFi in exchange for permission-based contact information.

Using WiFi marketing can help you learn about your shop. Information like foot traffic, where customers spend time inside your coffee shop, repeat visits, type of devices being used and more can help you make wise marketing decisions.

WiFi marketing offers built-in Email and SMS marketing. It also includes deeper integrations with your POS and eCommerce systems, allowing you to engage with guests on a much deeper level.

A women drinking a coffee and using her computer while entering a WiFi Captive Portal on a coffee shop

7. Share Behind-the-Scenes Videos

Sharing information about your brand doesn’t have to be in perfect posts and stylized shots. Showing real “behind the scenes” videos helps you connect with your customers and build trust.

Guests love to buy from brands with strong stories, passions and values. Talking about what you do, who you are and your “why“ can help build trust, interest and a desire to buy from you. 

Showing how your business works behind the scenes should be relevant and exciting for customers.

For example, you could feature the brewing processes of different types of coffee, share more about where your coffee comes from or how to make coffee-based drinks. This type of content should engage and delight your audience and be designed to drive demand for the goods and experiences you offer.

8. Implement Unique Loyalty Programs That Cater to Your Guests

At GoGoGuest, we view customer loyalty programs in a unique way. POS systems and other third-party loyalty programs focus on point-based systems ($1 equals one point, for instance). GoGoGuest is unique because it offers flexible, changeable milestone-based loyalty programs that scale to your coffee shop’s goals.

Possible things you can do with milestone-based customer loyalty programs:

  • Milestone-based rewards programs give guests the opportunity for exclusivity-based offers and interactions.
  • Rewards are offered across available channels like in-store, online orders and eCommerce.
  • Coffee shops can set start and end times. As an example, points do not accumulate forever, encouraging guests to aspire to a milestone to gain access to unique experiences.
  • Add points for specific guests and customer groups to encourage more purchases.
  • Communicate rewards by Email or SMS marketing.
  • Directly integrate with your POS, online ordering channel and eCommerce.
  • No third-party hardware needed.
  • No plastic or digital reward cards needed.

Coffee lovers won’t miss their coffee fix, and you’ll find you get loyal customers who buy regularly or daily from your brand. But just because you can rely on customers coming back to purchase from you doesn’t mean you should take them for granted. Statistics show that even when a consumer is loyal to another brand, 18% will choose you over others if you offer rewards.

You can figure out if your guests love a simple program or if they love a challenge, like having a wheel to spin or other challenges to complete, known as gamification.

Coffee shops with customer loyalty programs usually have more sales than those that don’t.

A graph of types of loyalty programs you can add-on or mix and match like Ear and burn, Tiers plan, Perks or Gamifications

9. Make Your Cafe More than a Cafe by Engaging in the Community

Your customers want more from your business than just great coffee, food and WiFi. If you can find ways to host small events, feature live music and get involved in community causes, you’ll become a much-loved venue.

Here are some more ideas for becoming a community staple:

  • Offering lessons and workshops (in person and on social media) of how to make coffee.
  • Post local art in your venue and promote local artists online.
  • Host events in your store, but also sponsor and host events elsewhere in the community.
  • Give away freebies at events in the community, and donate to causes.
  • Do pop-ups at events and venues.

If you provide more than just a cafe environment, you’re likely to win more customers, and those who do buy from you will be more emotionally connected to your business.

10. Use Advertising

While posting on social media, having a website, sending communication to customers and renovating your store’s appearance are all effective marketing tactics, you can still benefit from other, paid forms of advertising, like:

  • Paid ads on social media.
  • Paid ads on google for keywords, using SEO.
  • Traditional print ads in local magazines and newspapers, on buses and billboards, etc.
  • Selling gear in-store with your logo to turn customers into walking ads (like t-shirts, hats and mugs).
  • Having coffee cups and sleeves with your store logo emblazoned on both sides for more walking ads.

11. Measure the Performance of Your Coffee Shop Marketing Strategies

Actionable coffee shop marketing does not end in implementation and execution. Measuring the performance and iteration of each customer touchpoint is key to your success.

If you’re not already convinced, here are more reasons why it makes sense to measure the performance of each actionable coffee shop marketing tactics:

  • Use deep analytics and insights to know which customer touchpoint is performing well or not
  • Learn from successful engagement for each customer group
  • Iterate on underperforming touchpoints
  • Measure ROI
  • Measure KPIs (key performance indicators)
A bar chart view of customer groups by frequency of visit

12. Don’t Stop When It’s Going Well – Keep Going!

Make sure you remember that just because it’s working, that doesn’t mean it’s time to leave it be. Constantly put effort into your strategies, and you’ll get more out.

When you’re constantly acquiring real-time data, then testing your strategies on customers, you’ll be able to stay relevant. Changing things up a little from time to time helps avoid complacency and brings spice to life, which will make people love you that much more!

Next Steps for Your Coffee Shop Marketing Plan

Imagine that instead of having 100 more things on your plate than you already do, that you could have one platform that integrates with your existing software and gives you a holistic coffee shop marketing plan? That’s what GoGoGuest does. We help you scale so you can do more of what you do best!

Book a free assessment today to see if GoGoGuest is right for your coffee shop and how we can help!

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