Coffee shops of all sizes are stepping up their branding efforts and SEO game. In an effort to get noticed online, smaller coffee shops are redesigning their websites to include more content to improve their SEO ranking.
Meanwhile, major players like Dunkin Donuts are using smartphone technology to create an easier buying experience.
What should you do to improve your coffee shop branding and SEO?
In this article, we’ll discuss the current coffee shop online branding trends and how simple changes to your website today can help more people find your business online and win more customers.
Why Coffee Shops?
While we know many of you on the other side of the pond (a.k.a. near Canny Creative HQ) love their cups of tea, many of us around the world cannot live without coffee.
I happen to work amongst the best coffee shops around and I just couldn’t help notice that many of these new establishments are really pushing their branding, not just in their décor, logo, and menus but online as well.
This got me thinking – how are coffee shops getting noticed online?
Of course, these branding and Search Engine Optimisation methods can be used for local tea shops, restaurants, and many establishments that are looking to grow their street traffic and online traffic.
In fact, if you’re looking for some ideas for your website, then we have the perfect post for you. Check out our top tips for restaurant websites. But don’t worry, you can use them for your coffee shop too!
So, let’s make a start:
SEO and You – Local Businesses Pay Attention!
Before you learn how to improve your SEO, you must first understand what it is and why it matters. The term SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization and describes the process of optimizing the content on your website so it out-ranks your competition.
If you own a coffee shop in New Jersey, ideally you want your business listed first when someone searches online for coffee shops in your area.
There are many things a business can do to bring people into their brick and mortar location and it all starts with digital marketing and SEO. Of course, we’ve talked about this topic many times here at Canny, including an exhaustive list of tips to help Hotel Owners with their SEO.
Why Should You Care?
You might think to yourself; why should I care about improving my SEO? I make money when people walk into my coffee shop, not when they visit my website.
That is the mistake most coffee shop owners make!
They are so focused on the point of sale purchase they can’t see the larger picture of how their customers found them in the first place.
When I visit a new city the first thing I do is search online for nearby coffee shops to find out where I’m going first thing the next morning. One thing about catering to coffee lovers is we are a ritualistic bunch, and we need our daily dose of caffeine no matter where we are.
You want to be that shop for someone! You can’t sell them a cup of coffee if they don’t know where to find you in the first place.
How to Improve Your SEO Now and Get Your Business Noticed
Now that you know what SEO is and why it matters let’s talk about improving yours. Here are four ways to gain more online attention from potential customers.
Provide Outstanding Content
Original high-quality content will get your business noticed online. I am a huge fan of Stumptown Coffee Roasters, yet I have never visited their shop nor sipped their brew.
Because I write about coffee for a living and their website provides phenomenal information in the form of expertly crafted blog posts. They don’t stop there either; they produce engaging videos to further illustrate their point proving their love of coffee doesn’t stop with the written word.
How a Strategic Content Plan Can Help Your Business Today
To begin using content to improve the SEO of your website today, first, take inventory of the content you have created already. It helps to engage someone outside your business but familiar with the industry to help you gain a better perspective on the status of your content.
The point of this exercise is not to completely erase any existing content on your website, but to use the digital assets you have created already and build upon that framework to improve your overall site.
After gaining a better understanding of where you are regarding your content, it’s time to set some SEO goals.
If you are new content marketing, Content Marketing Institute provides information on how to create a content marketing plan that will help you form a strategy.
Some business owners want to “do” every kind of content right away, but it is wise to take the time to create fantastic pieces of content to help you get the kind of attention you desire. Go online and find out what other coffee shops are doing well, and create something better for your own coffee shop’s website.
Ff you don’t yet have a story about who you are and why you matter, check out Stumptown Coffee Roaster’s “Our Story” page. I’m willing to bet you’ll become a big fan too.
Give Customers a Better Buying Experience Online
But… “Buying a hot, delicious cup of coffee online makes no sense.”
That may have been true ten years ago, but not today.
Most coffee shop owners use their website to list their location, hours of operation, and menu but miss the opportunity to cash in online by offering online ordering opportunities. If you haven’t created the e-commerce part of your site, you could be missing out on a lot of sales.
I should know; I am spending a small fortune at Panera (a sandwich and coffee shop), and I don’t even like it very much.
It sounds ridiculous, right? The fact is, I’m a writer that needs caffeine and the occasional bite to eat during my work day to help fuel my creative fire and Panera makes getting both a breeze.
Using their website or smartphone app, I can peruse their menu, order, pay and designate a pick-up time. With a few clicks, I have a somewhat healthy meal and the almighty cup of Joe for a reasonable cost.
While Panera is not my first choice, they make it easy to fulfill my needs quickly, so they have earned my business.
Do you offer the same luxury to your customers? If you make it convenient enough for your customers, they will reward you with purchases.
How Online Ordering Can Help Your Business Today
If a lightbulb has gone off and you want to start providing online ordering today, it’s not that difficult! There are point-of-sale, or POS, solutions available that can create an online ordering system and app to help take and manage orders online.
Ask your POS provider what options are available for your coffee shop today, and start making online orders a reality!
Social Media Marketing and You
To increase the number of people visiting your website, you must promote it. The good news is, if you have outstanding content to share and convenient online ordering options, you have something to share with your target market on social media!
Social media marketing is the ideal way for small coffee shops to compete with their larger-than-life counterparts since it is free and relatively easy to use.
Consider establishing and most importantly, maintaining, profiles on the major social media platforms like Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Google+ as well as any other platform that makes sense for your business.
The key is to update these profiles on a regular basis with interesting content that your target market perceives as valuable.
Social media can also be a way for you to announce upcoming promotions, connect with your audience, or just show off beautiful images of that perfectly crafted latte that makes us drool.
When done correctly, social media marketing can be an incredibly powerful tool for your business. Before you start tweeting your heart out, consider doing these two things:
Assign a Social Media Manager
You want your social marketing campaign to be a well-oiled machine, so it’s best to have one captain steering your proverbial marketing ship. This person can decide which messages to promote, be responsible for the timing and schedule of each marketing initiative, and ultimately be held accountable for each post.
Have a Social Media Strategy
What will your coffee shop’s voice sound like on social media?
The tone of your posts and the language you use are important. Equally critical is how you present your image online, and your core marketing messages.
Do you know the answers to these questions? If not, develop a plan using online resources like this one from HubSpot. Guides like this one will help you effectively communicate your brand online in a consistent way your customers expect.
Making Online Community Connections
As I mentioned earlier, coffee drinkers are a ritualistic bunch. We also tend to be loyal customers if you give us a good enough reason to support your business.
A great way to gain a legion of fans is to support your local community through strategic partnerships.
Here are just a few examples of how you can do just that:
Be philanthropic: Customers love businesses that care, so find a local charity and support their work through a fundraiser or sponsorship. Let people know about your charity work via your website and social media with engaging posts that includes things like pictures and videos.
This will not only help promote your brand, but it will also help your customer get to know you on a more personal level.
Be accommodating: Groups are always looking for special places to gather, so offer your shop for special events and encourage them to “check in” while they are there. This may mean that sometimes you have to open earlier on a Saturday morning for your local running group, or you may push closing time out to invite students after the prom to come and enjoy hot cocoa and cookies.
Being accommodating to groups is easy to do, it brings in additional revenue, and it sometimes provides free marketing opportunities you can’t get (or sometimes afford) otherwise.
Be a member: Being an active member of your local business associations will help your business be seen, heard, and most importantly tasted, in your community.
Aside from providing the coffee at your next meeting to promote your new brew, these groups also give your business the association credentials or badges you want to include on your website. As a member, there are also online perks like membership directory inclusion and back link support that will help your website get noticed online.
SEO and Your Business
Now that you have seen some examples of how to improve your coffee shop SEO, it’s time for you to take some action!
Remember to start with an audit of where you are today, and use resources like planning templates and content calendars to make a plan for your future.
If you haven’t created that e-commerce section of your coffee shop website, we can help you with that. It’s time to step it up and cash in on the growing trend of coffee shop goodness. Good luck!