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There’s a temptation for smaller businesses to think that digital marketing isn’t worth the effort; that it’s best left to the big end of town with their big marketing budgets or that you need a specific skill set to do it effectively and efficiently.
This line of thought is rife within the café sector. Starbucks aside, the classic independent coffee shop is a small, cute and extremely local business. The bulk of new customers are presumed to be either random passers-by sitting down on a whim or fresh faces brought in by personal recommendation, and if the café is good at what they do those newbies will soon turn to diehard fans. For many café owners, digital marketing strategy doesn’t really seem to fit with their traditional avenues to growth.
How wrong they are.
Internet marketing is vital to the success of your coffee shop, and the reasons why are many and varied.
It’s quantifiable and measurable
Why is it that most cafés won’t think twice about getting 1,000 flyers printed, but baulk at the thought of spending a similar amount on marketing themselves on the internet? In truth, digital is the evolution of marketing – an upgrade from the traditional methods of radio, television and print.
Unlike traditional, internet marketing is quantifiable and measurable. You get hard numbers on how many people have seen your advertisement, and how many people have engaged with it. If you use social media you may also gain access to a wealth of demographic information on your advertising audiences such as age, location and common interests.
It future-proofs your café
Whether you like it or not, the world is going digital. Gone are the days when a person would pick up the phone book to find the business they’re looking for. These days everyone (quite rightly) jumps online and Googles it instead. By ignoring the internet you’re also ignoring every customer within your vicinity who is currently searching on their mobile for somewhere to have a nice coffee.
It saves you a bundle
You’ve got a limited budget, and you need to stretch those dollars as far as they can possibly go when it comes to marketing. Never fear, the internet is here to help.
When compared to more traditional marketing methods, internet marketing is an incredible value. That’s because the likes of email marketing and social media marketing will run endlessly, rather than in a single issue of a newspaper or for two weeks on radio. If correctly set up, this unending run will also have no tangible upkeep cost!
It gets you in the palms of hands
More than going digital, the world is going mobile. The fact that you can search for amazing coffee from wherever you are standing should be a boon for café owners, but it’s one that a surprising amount choose to ignore.
Ensuring your café is on the major review sites such as Yelp and TripAdvisor is non-negotiable, and completing a Google profile of your business will also make a major difference, allowing those new to your area to track you down on a map.
It prevents you from being overtaken
Think that you might worry about this internet marketing thing later? That’s a shame because your major competitor has just begun to take it very seriously. By putting off the marketing inevitable, you’re simply allowing yourself to fall behind the other cafés and coffee shops in the area. Getting a head start in the digital marketing race will allow you to capture the market before the shop next door has the chance.
It keeps you hungry for growth
You should always be aiming to grow your café or coffee shop, but most business owners will admit to falling into some form of comfort zone where they’re largely happy with their lot, which leads to stagnation and possibly even the death of your business. One way to avoid this rut is to involve yourself in digital marketing, particularly social media marketing.
Watching your follower count rise or your reach expand serves to keep you hungry for growth. Competing with yourself on offering up content that gets a record amount of likes can be a challenge that every café owner, or indeed every internet user, can get around.
Your coffee shop might be small, cute and extremely local, but that doesn’t mean the big ol’ World Wide Web should be ignored. There’s a wealth of digital opportunity just sitting there, and it’s up to you to grab it.