Cafe openings are often frenetic. The to-do list is endless and when things go wrong it is all too easy for important tasks to be skipped over. In many cases, it is the launch marketing that gets neglected, which is always a mistake.
The most successful cafes are the ones that do well in their first few weeks. They build a loyal customer base from week one, create community buzz, and become a much-loved fixture of the local area. So if marketing is not already on your café opening checklist, make sure that you add it and make it a priority. Below we look at marketing for your launch as well as ways to promote your café during its first few months.
It is always wise to start early. As soon as you have decided on a name for your café, set up the website, social media accounts, and Google Business Profile. Take advantage of other places to list your business, such as Bing, and directories like Find Open and HotFrog. Many of them are free.
Once you have your logo and other branding in place, add those. Initially, aim to post once a week. You can announce your plans, share progress, tell people your story, and about the type of food and drink you are planning to serve. Once you are open, aim to post twice a week.
Doing it early, means you are not left juggling all this with shop fitting and contacting suppliers. Setting your online presence up early is also good for your rankings. That is especially the case for your website.
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Plan to open with a bang and shout about it
Have a soft opening and advertise it widely using online and more traditional methods such as flyers and local paper ads. For cafes, word of mouth is powerful. So, aim to impress with your soft opening. To do this, focus on serving the best quality food and drink and presenting it beautifully.
For your actual opening bring the big guns out. Decorate the café for a celebration, try to offer some form of entertainment, serve some specials, and provide some tempting opening promotions.
Marketing inside your café
Once you have someone inside your café enjoying your food and drinks, keep them coming back. Look after them and tell them more about what you offer. It is the perfect time to tempt them to pop in more often and spend more with you. Here are a few ways you can do that using digital advertising screens:
- Tell them about upcoming events
- Share details of promotions and your loyalty scheme
- Share the details of meals you serve later in the day – someone who is shopping in town might come back for lunch if they see something they fancy
- Tempt people to take something home with them
Digital signage is an excellent way to do this. Once you have got the screen, it costs practically nothing to run and you can change what you are promoting with just a few clicks of a button.
Marketing does not have to cost much
That is quite a long list of ways to market a new café, which may look expensive to set up but actually isn’t. If you use digital signage and social media and host a few social events, it is possible to do it all for between $100 and $150 a month. When Handground.com and The Barista magazine asked hundreds of successful coffee shop owners how much they said they were spending on marketing.