Have you ever heard of the 4 P’s of marketing? Popularized in the 1950s by a Harvard professor, the 4 P’s outline the most important parts of a business’s marketing strategy: product, price, place, and promotion. And they can help define how to think about your 2023 coffee shop marketing plan.
In your case as a coffee shop owner, the physical product is coffee. It should be great tasting and approachable specialty coffee that delights customers with every cup. Meanwhile, the price is what customers see next to each item on your menu. Successful coffee shops in small towns and big cities set menu effective prices that account for the cost of goods sold and target profit. They also push right up against the threshold of what a customer would be willing to spend (perception of value) without exceeding that ceiling. The place is your physical location—like a brick-and-mortar shop plus any drive-thrus, coffee trucks, and even online ordering options.
So what about promotion? That’s what we want to help you hone in on while creating your coffee shop marketing plan for 2023. How and to whom you talk about your coffee shop can greatly impact its success. The quality of your promotion can also play a large role in your customer’s perception of value for your brand and the products you sell.
If you’re ready to get started with a marketing plan, check out our step-by-step guide below!
Step 1 of a 2023 Coffee Shop Marketing Plan: Build Your Brand
The truth is that there are so many specialty coffee shops with excellent coffee, beautiful spaces, and delicious pastries. These aren’t your “brand,” these are simply the minimum requirements for being a coffee shop.
If you want to create a coffee shop with loyal customers, potential to grow, and sustainable staying power, what you need is a unique, intentional brand. And that doesn’t start with what you do, it starts with why you do it.
If you’ve attended our 3-Day Coffee Business Master Class, you know we start with concept development. We help our Coffeepreneurs® think about their business’s core values, the people they’d like to serve, and how these values and ideas can be experienced in every aspect of the coffee shop–from the design to the menu to the customer experience. Finally, you find a location in fertile soil–planting your coffee shop in a place full of your target audience.
Of course, a great concept gives way to all of the fun parts of branding: logos, colors, design inside and outside your coffee shop, menu, uniforms, customer experience, and more. We recommend truly investing in powerful branding and design so that your customers can recognize, experience, and take part in your brand.
But remember this: A brand is so much more than a logo. It’s born out of a unique, innovative concept that doesn’t imitate what others are doing–it carves its own path. It is the outward facing pillar of your company culture.
Need some examples? Some of our most successful former students have created inspiring coffee shop brands because of their unique concepts:
- At Galindo’s, you can bring your family in for haircuts, aesthetic services, and–our personal favorite–great coffee. They’re mastering the hybrid business model, where multiple streams of revenue live under one roof.
- The founders of Kind Cafe agreed on their why early on: that you never know what may be going on in a person’s life, but if you can have a positive impact, it can change the trajectory of their day. Over time, it could change the way they see the world.
- Pop’s Coffee Company came to be when the space next to Pop’s Garage Fabrication became available. Now, the motorcycle-themed coffee shop brings in huge crowds–not just for the coffee, but for the new motorcycle dealership they’ve added.
How do you build a strong brand for an existing coffee shop?
Whether your coffee shop is just starting out or has been open for a decade, it’s not too late to develop a memorable brand. It starts with truly understanding your core values, concept, and audience. Carve out a unique space for yourself. By aiming to please everyone, you might end up pleasing no one. Thus, identifying those key customers with shared values, lifestyles, and interests will help with the rest of your marketing strategies.
Step 2: Create a Google Business Profile
Next, it’s time to take advantage of the free advertising and own your spot online by creating a Google Business Profile. It’s common for folks to look for nearby coffee shops on Google or Google Maps. By building out your profile, you can meet them where they are.
Here are a few tips for managing your Google Business Profile:
- Add your business address, contact information, and an Order Online option.
- Keep business hours up to date, including on holidays.
- Upload photos of your menu, drinks, and the store environment.
- Share offers and events.
- Ask happy customers to leave a 5-star review.
- Respond to each review with a thank you message.
Check out a few examples below of Google Business listings from Coffeepreneurs®!
Step 3: Get Social
Social media marketing has become commonplace—and customers are looking for you online. But the trends change rapidly! The Digital Marketing Institute offers a few valuable tips for brands aiming to improve their presence online in 2023:
- Valuable, organic content is favored over advertising and traffic generation. The best way to show up on followers’ feeds is to keep content down-to-earth, relatable, helpful, and even humbling. Customers want to know that behind your profile, there’s real people.
- TikTok and video in general are still on the rise. There are a number of templates for Instagram Reels available. And why not try your hand at the app that Gen Z’s wild about?
- Collaborate with influencers to get user-generated content. For a coffee shop, it might look like connecting with a few local coffee experts or city guides to visit your shop and share their feedback with their followers. If they love your drinks, their fans will too! This kind of content could also come from your own customers and employees sharing about the shop on their own social media platforms.
These two Coffeepreneur®-owned cafes, Galindo’s Coffee Co and Dwell House Coffee and Tap, are great examples of how to use social media as a coffee shop. Galindo’s uses Reels and user-generated content to engage with their audience. Dwell House successfully shares behind-the-scenes and promotions—plus, they also get some user-generated content from folks in the community.
Step 4: Host Events, Promotions, and Seasonal Specials
The last step in your 2023 coffee shop marketing plan is to show your community some love. Your cafe could host events like book fairs, open mic nights, or coffee tastings to get people through your doors.
You could offer promotions like a punch card, buy-one-get-one-free, or a special day where you donate a portion of the proceeds to a local nonprofit.
You could develop seasonal specialty drinks and promote them on social media to excite customers.
And you could partner with local businesses, neighborhoods, and schools to connect with a new demographic and share your support.
Once you start brainstorming the possibilities, you’ll be itching to make some phone calls and bring the ideas to life!
Learn More at Texas Coffee School
While the information above will get you well on your way to a successful year of owning a coffee shop, you’ll learn so much more in our 3-Day Coffee Business Master Class. Students rave about the breadth of information and new ideas they leave with. (Just check out our Google reviews!) You can pick a weekend in 2023 to come to Texas Coffee School and achieve more capability in less time than any other coffee business course! View class dates and register here.
And if you’re still in research mode, check out how to write your 2023 coffee shop business plan and 5 business tips for coffee shop owners in 2023.