Coffee is one of the most beloved beverages throughout the globe. Because of it’s almost unmatched popularity, there is plenty of competition when it comes to coffee shops and cafes. A great way to set your coffee shop apart from the competition is to create and distribute quality, attention-grabbing advertisements, that give your customers a reason to come to you instead of the competition.
To create an advertisement that will leave an impact on your reader, and entice them to visit your coffee shop, you should include these key elements:
- Compelling headline
- High-quality, interesting images
- Clean design
- Brand elements
- Strong call-to-action
- Effective distribution
1. Compelling headline
The first thing a typical reader is going to look at in your advertisement is the headline. Your headline is effectively the first hurdle you need to clear to get your customer to your advertisements finish line, without a quality headline, your customer will quit your advertisement and not even make it halfway through.
When readers are looking at a headline in an advertisement, they are wondering 3 things:
- Who/what is this business?
- What can they do for me?
- Is it worth my time to keep reading?
It is a straightforward formula, but typically these headlines are between 3-5 words, which makes every word immensely important. When brainstorming and creating your headline, keep these best practices in mind so you can answer all of your customer’s questions.
This one is kind of a no-brainer, this is the essence of what your headline is supposed to do, but how do you do it? One of the best ways is to use trigger words, sometimes referred to as power words. These words help elicit an emotional response from your reader. A couple of common trigger words that would be useful for coffee shops are:
The goal is to draw your reader in and convince them that the rest of the advertisement will be worth their while if they keep reading.
Easy to read
We’ve all seen the employee outside a restaurant or store waving around the sign to try and convince customers passing by to come into their shop. Sometimes these strategies work, sometimes they don’t, but the one way to make sure they don’t work, is to make the sign unreadable.
If a person can’t read a headline, or is confused by its content, the chances are slim to none that they will want to keep reading about your offer. Using big, bold font is a great first step, but also make sure you check with others to make sure the headline reads in an understandable way.
There are plenty of scams out there today that customers are hyper-aware and cautious about wasting their time or getting duped by one of these scammers. Avoid this by making your headline truthful and something that the potential customer can easily tell is not a scam.
Just like your advertisement should be easy to read, it needs to be brief. If your headline is 7+ words you run the risk of losing your customers attention by word 4 or 5. It seems silly that people give up that easily, but that’s the current world of advertising, you only have a couple seconds to grab your customer’s attention before your advertisement is forgotten along with the hundreds of other ads they see each day.
2. High quality, interesting images
As I just mentioned, we live in a world where there is a constant bombardment of advertisements, news stories, videos, and images thrown at us all day long. It can seem like a daunting task to get your advertisement to stand out amongst this sea of media, but it is possible when done right.
The best way to make your images stand out is to:
- Look professional
- Be personal
- Be relatable
Notice how I said look professional. With the technology in cameras today, even the ones in our smartphones, you don’t need a professional-grade camera to get exceptional results. You also don’t need to hire a professional photographer, you certainly can, but it’s not a requirement.
The best way to look professional is to search online for some professional photo’s of coffee shops, find some that you like, then do your best to impersonate those photo’s, but in your own shop with your own flair.
If you are wanting to hire a professional, you can usually find a student or beginner photographer for a very affordable rate and they typically will produce close to what you would get hiring a well-established photographer. You can use sites like Photographer.org, PhotoSesh, or AngiesList to compare and find trustworthy local photographers.
One thing that nearly always has a positive effect on advertising is a personal touch. People want to know about who you are, what your story is, and why you got into this business.
Customers love to do business with people they know and trust. Help them get to know you through your advertising. This is not an area to layout your life story, but add a little bit of your flavor to things to give your advertisements a nice boost.
Another thing customers look for is if they can see themselves in your advertisements. For example, if you have a small group of friends enjoying a cup of coffee and laughing, many people can relate to this and would want to be apart of that.
Another example would be a college student working on their laptop with their books around them in your coffee shop. Especially if you are in a college town, many people will see this advertisement and the next time they sit down to study, they will start thinking about your coffee shop.
To learn more about how to create your coffee shop’s Mission and Vision statements, click here!
3. Clean design
A common theme throughout most advertisements is to do more with less. We understand that as an owner of a coffee shop, you want to tell the world everything about how wonderful your business is, but an advertisement is not the place for this.
The design of your ad should be easy to read, pleasurable to look at, and not cluttered. Just like how the goal of your headline was to persuade the reader to continue through the rest of your ad, the design of your ad needs to move the reader through the critical points in your advertisement and eventually to your call to action.
It is best to convey your message with images, short sentences, and attention-grabbing headlines. This can be a strenuous process taking a wordy advertisement and cutting it down to less than half of your original content, but it is the best way to ensure readers will enjoy your ad enough to read all the way through.
4. Brand elements
Including key brand elements in your advertisement is a necessary step to tie your advertisement back into your coffee shop, your brand, and other pieces of marketing material.
There’s a number of advertisements that we see on a daily basis where we ask ourselves “What was that for?” or “What company is that?”. This is such a shame because the advertisement was good enough to hold our attention long enough to get to this point, but they couldn’t tie it back into their business.
Some brand elements you should include in your advertising:
- Jingle (If you have one)
For example, if you are creating a flyer, the layout could be something like this:
Headline: ½ Off Coffee For Students
Subheading: Come to Jane’s Cafe Saturday April 3rd
Slogan at the bottom: You love coffee, we love you!
Within this layout you already have your name mentioned and your slogan at the bottom. You could put your logo in one of the four corners, usually that is where it fits the best. Fill in some brand colors either with fonts, borders, or background colors.
When you include these elements it provides continuity across your marketing channels, as well as helps your customers recall your business.
5. Strong call to action
Another area where businesses often drop the ball is not putting a strong call to action in their advertisement. This is a crucial mistake because this is when you tell your customer what they need to do next.
A call to action can be anything from specials, coupons, one-time deals, and upcoming events. The goal of the call to action is to create urgency in your customers. Too often businesses will fall into the trap of thinking that since people like their business they will come to it. This might sometimes be the case, but many customers need a push or incentive for why they should come to your coffee shop.
Your call to action is a great place to incorporate your trigger words that we discussed earlier. For example:
- Free coffee sample!
- New flavors!
- More of what you want!
- Everyone will be there!
Your call to action can be anywhere on your advertisement. It could be in the body, at the end, or even in the heading. The main requirements are that it needs to be prominent and enticing enough for people to want to take action.
6. Proper distribution
You can create the best advertisement in the world, but if you distribute it to the wrong audience, it could be a complete waste of time. Distributing it to the right customers, through the right channels, at the right time is key to bringing your advertisement full circle.
We can take care of finding the right customers by identifying your ideal customer.
To develop your ideal customer, the basic information you need is:
- Family size
But it is highly recommended you go deeper and ask questions like:
- What are their pain points?
- What are their interests?
- What are they looking for in a coffee shop?
- What would they pay a premium price for?
It is best to write out all this information on 1 sheet of paper and keep it handy. You can also print out a sample picture of your ideal customer. This can seem strange to some, but the more precise your ideal customer, the easier the rest of your marketing tasks will be.
Finding the right channels and the right timing can take a little bit of trial and error. Some common distribution channels for coffee shop advertisements are:
- Social media
- Pay per click (PPC) advertising
- Print advertising
- Mobile banner ads
All these channels can be viable given the right situation and advertisement. The important part is to track your results. If you don’t have this information you have an extremely vague idea of what advertisements are working and what aren’t.
Most places that you advertise with will have this as an option for their service. It is highly recommended that you utilize this to be able to track where your customers are coming from.
Frequently Asked Questions
The answer to this will be different for each coffee shop, however, there are some key metrics you can look at to find the answer for yours. These are typically:
● Current sales
● Net profit/loss
● Competitive landscape
● Current marketing efforts
● Advertising budget
● Overall marketing budget
These factors will help you determine if you are advertising too much or too little. For example, if you are lagging behind in sales, but you haven’t spent 100% of your ad budget for the last 3 months, let’s definitely boost the advertising.
If you have customers waiting out the door and are having trouble keeping up with demand, it would be best to scale back your advertising and maybe allocate some money towards extra employees.
The good thing about advertising is it isn’t an essential part of every business. It definitely helps in some situations, but in some other situations, businesses actually lose money on their advertisements.
If your business doesn’t have money for advertisements, you can do 3 things to help you build up your business.
1: Provide excellent service
2: Have a well thought out marketing plan
3: Get creative
There are other things you can do but these are the most relevant for your situation. The defining factor in most businesses isn’t how much they spend on advertising, but how well they service their customers. Treat every customer like your business depends on it, because it does, and you should be alright.
On top of this, having a solid marketing plan helps you get your message out without breaking the bank. You can use things such as social media posts, the chamber of commerce, and in-store decorations and material. You will quickly learn how to get creative and what other free options are available to you and your coffee shop.
Please note: This blog post is for educational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. Please consult a legal expert to address your specific needs.
Hi! I’m Shawn Chun
My adventure in coffee began when I first launched my first coffee shop back in the early 2000s. I had to figure out so many things on my own and to make it worse within 2 years of opening two large corporate coffee chains moved in just blocks away from me!
As I saw smaller and even some larger coffee shops in the neighborhood slowly lose customers to these giant coffee chains and slowly close up shop, I knew that I had to start getting creative…or go out of business.
I (like you may be) knew the coffee industry well. I could make the best latte art around and the foam on my caps was the fluffiest you have ever seen. I even had the best state-of-the-art 2 group digital Nuova Simonelli machine money could buy. But I knew that these things alone would not be enough to lure customers away from the name brand established coffee shops.
Eventually, through lots of trial and error as well as perseverance and creativity I did find a way to not only survive but also thrive in the coffee/espresso industry even while those corporate coffee chains stayed put. During those years I learned to adapt and always faced new challenges. It was not always easy, however, in the end, I was the sole survivor independent coffee shop within a 10-mile radius of my location. Just two corporate coffee chains and I were left after that year. All told the corporate coffee chains took down over 15 small independent coffee shops and kiosks and I was the last one standing and thriving.
Along the years I meet others with the same passion for coffee and I quickly learned that it is not only “how good a barista is” that makes a coffee shop successful, but the business side of coffee as well.
Hence why I started this website you are on now. To provide the tools and resources for up and coming coffee shop owners to gain that vital insight and knowledge on how to start a coffee shop successfully.
Stick around, browse through my helpful blog and resources and enjoy your stay! With lots of LATTE LOVE!