Are You Marketing Your Coffee Shop the Right Way?

Bright and lively. Crisp and sharp. These aren’t just adjectives explaining coffee flavors, but should also be terms that describe your coffee shop’s marketing campaigns. 

With more than 32,000 specialty coffee shops in America, marketing is no longer a plus but a must, especially since a lot of the fierce competition is coming from big-name chains such as Starbucks and Dunkin’ Donuts. 

Considering that almost 70 percent of consumers drink at least two cups of coffee a day, you need to create a marketing strategy that targets all customers from first-time buyers to repeat purchasers. Keep reading as we share marketing tips designed to help small coffee shops better compete in today’s market.

Attracting New Customers

The first part of your marketing strategy should be focused on attracting new customers. The trick is to broaden your reach by promoting your brand on different channels. Here are three top places to advertise: 


Today’s consumers are always on their smartphones, tablets, and desktops. Therefore, it’s no surprise that business owners should be promoting their business online. The first step is to create a Google My Business account so that your coffee shop shows up on search results. Did you know that the average business with a Google account is found in over 1,000 searches per month? This is a great opportunity to get your brand name in front of potential customers. 

You should also consider putting some of your marketing dollars towards digital ads. You can choose to place these paid ads on Google’s search engine results page whenever a user searches “coffee shops near me,” for example. Or, you can invest in social advertising, which places your ads on target users’ Facebook or Instagram newsfeed.   


Besides digital marketing, it’s smart to invest in some forms of traditional advertising. This could include print ads in local newspapers or voice ads on popular radio stations. And even though these tactics seem outdated, they are proven to still be effective. In fact, 70 percent of the population reads newspapers regularly, and every dollar spent in radio advertising generates up to $17 of revenue from listeners exposed to ads. Out-of-home marketing is an excellent solution for small businesses looking to build a reputation in a given area. 


In-store marketing, such as window displays and branded signage, can help increase walk-in traffic. That’s because these marketing materials can help boost your coffee shops’ curb appeal as well as encourage spontaneous purchases from pedestrians strolling by. 

It could also be beneficial to host events like poetry readings, live music, and trivia nights. These community events are great for attracting new clientele into your shop, building up your brand name amongst locals, and creating relationships with new customers. 

Retaining Existing Customers

The second part of your overall marketing strategy should be about customer retention, that is, keeping your customers coming back. This type of marketing is less about promoting the brand and more about building relationships. 

Loyalty Program

Almost 70 percent of customers admitted that rewards or loyalty programs do influence their shopping decisions. Loyalty programs can, therefore, go a long way in enticing customers to come back to your cafe versus the competition. Plus, this marketing tactic is very flexible and easy for business owners to implement. A program can be as straight-forward as a punch-card, or more complex like an app that sends notifications and one-time promotions when users are within a certain radius of your store. 

Social Media

Social media is a great tool for communicating and engaging with customers. The key to this marketing tactic is to build a community of existing customers and then extend the brand experience beyond your doors. This can be done by posting feel-good images of menu items, organizing a social contest, or asking your followers questions. Having a social presence will help keep your brand name top of mind when thirsty customers are deciding where to buy their next cup of joe. 


Email marketing is still a useful marketing tool for businesses. Simply ask customers if they would like to join your email list for any news, promotions, or special events. Then, you can slowly build an opt-in email list that keeps you connected to customers. Keep in mind that today’s consumers are bombarded with promotional emails daily, so be sure to follow email marketing best practices, such as creating personalized messages, writing compelling content, and using incentives. 

It’s important that every business owner, big or small, has a mixed marketing strategy that targets customers at different phases of the buyer journey from discovery to post-purchase. These marketing tips are great to keep in mind whether you’re buying a cafe for the first time or looking for ways to improve your current coffee shop.