Using Marketing to Grow Your Cafe’s Profits

marketing-1Now that we are in the New Year (the Fiscal Cliff has been averted and consumer spending still seems to be on the rise), it is a great time to plan for the rest of the year, if you haven’t already begun to do so.  Marketing your business in the coming months will be a key to maximizing your business potential in 2013.

We fully embrace the idea that the only sure way to grow your business is to increase the top line (sales).  If everything else with your business is in check, your bottom line will grow too.  All too often, we hear customers ask how to cut costs, and that is usually a red flag that all is not well.  If you are only seeking to cut your costs, you may enjoy short-term gains, but often there are consequences like, lower quality that can lead to lower sales.  Instead, if you seek out ways to grow the top line, many of the woes that come with a small or negative bottom line will disappear.

We have found that most store marketing and promotions goals are ultimately designed to:  convince your customers to visit more often, sell them more stuff and get new customers in the door.  We refer to these as “Frequency,” “Ticket Average” or “Average” and “Trial.”  Just remember “F.A.T.” for a FAT bottom line. We believe these goals are important to any specialty coffee shop regardless of their size, location or years in business and are a central part of building a successful and sustainable specialty coffee operation.

Nearly every business ever invented has needed to market itself in one way or another, and in our industry, the best type of marketing is done locally, in person and by the owner/operator.  We call this Local Store Marketing or Neighborhood Marketing.  LSM quite simply means you market to nearby businesses, neighborhoods, schools, offices etc.  It also includes marketing within your own store. As with all business tactics, good marketing begins with strategy… the marketing plan.

Before you can begin to develop a marketing plan, it helps to know who your target audience is.  We have developed a guide to help you, called the Marketing Area Profile or MAP.  This is the first big step in working to increase your sales, average ticket and profitability.  The premise behind the MAP is to help you build upon your core strengths using the area surrounding your store, which offers the greatest opportunities for building and sustaining your business.  While it might seem detailed, we believe it’s critical to help document your current situation, competition and areas for growth. You may also discover that these questions will help you think about marketing opportunities you may have underutilized in the past. Understanding your specific circumstances and customers should help you to position them as strengths. Once you know your strengths, you can leverage them as effective marketing messages to build sales!

Having operated coffee shops ourselves, we understand that sometimes the thought process of building these programs can seem overwhelming. Remember that no successful excursion starts without a great MAP. We start there and then we can help you to break the process down into smaller, more attainable goals and targets that can be sustained over a long period of time. To request your Marketing Area Profile, please call your Customer Care Associate at (800) 835-5943 and let them know you want the road MAP to success!

Read more with Using Marketing to Grow Your Cafe’s Profits in 2013 Part 2 and Part 3!

Written by: Thom Swain – Business Development Representative