If you want to communicate with potential and existing customers, you need to do so on their preferred channels – and that, clearly, is the online world. Whether you’re a coffee producer targeting direct trade roasters, an equipment manufacturer selling to cafés and roasteries, or a coffee shop trying to build relationships with your customers, you need a digital presence.
Because if people do not know that your brand exists, they cannot find you to purchase your products. If they forget that your brand exists, they will not choose you above the competition. And if their complaints go unanswered, they will not choose you again.
Let’s look at three digital marketing channels and two tools that all coffee professionals should be aware of – and how you can effectively use them.
You might also like 3 Rules to Effective Digital Marketing for Coffee Professionals
Visually attractive photos help you to stand out on Instagram. Credit: James Ting
Digital Marketing Channel #1: Social Media
And social media isn’t just for socialising: it plays an important role in the professional world. (In 2014, a LinkedIn-sponsored study by market intelligence firm IDC found that 84% of C-suite/VP executives used social media to make purchasing decisions.)
Coffee-lovers check out a café’s opening hours and monthly specials. Baristas and café owners watch videos about the latest grinders and share their reviews. Roasters and importers follow specialty producers to learn more about the coffee they’re buying.
Sure, your website has all the information customers might need. But a Texas Tech University report found that brands with active social media profiles, the ones who took the time to respond to people, had more positively engaged customers.
Relationship marketing works. You should be using social media to let your customers know you exist, to tell them about how your products can support their goals, and to build a loyal network of customers who will return again and again.
Use Instagram for visually striking, inspirational posts that will display your personality and attract new followers. Facebook is good for building a deeper relationship with your customers, via comments, reviews, groups, and more. Twitter is where you announce news and join in discussions with the wider coffee community.
All three are important for a successful marketing campaign. All three can lead to new clients, increased customer loyalty, and sales.
Learn more about Perfect Daily Grind’s social media management services.
Match your content to your brand: if you’re fun, keep your photos fun, too. Credit: VoxFeed
Digital Marketing Channel #2: Blogs, Sponsored Articles, & Advertorial
People buy from companies they trust, and blog posts, sponsored articles, and advertorial are an excellent way to create that relationship. Let’s quickly break down the differences between these:
- Blog posts: These will go on your company website. They can be short and promotional but should also be reader-orientated.
- Advertorial/native content: These are paid-for articles that you write, or pay someone else to write, that a media company publishes. You have editorial control over the final content.
- Sponsored articles: These are paid-for articles but, unlike advertorial/native content, you don’t have editorial control. You decide on the angle with the publisher, who will then be responsible for creating and publishing the content. You may be given a copy of the article ahead of publication but you cannot request amendments (with the exception of factual errors).
Ideally, you would be publishing both blogs and sponsored/native content. Blogs allow you to speak to your existing customers while sponsored/native content exposes you to a far broader audience and allows you to benefit from the other publication’s brand as well.
However, be wary of a common mistake brands make with sponsored/native content: forgetting that they’re writing an article in a publication rather than a product description on their website.
All content should be reader-orientated. And by that, I mean orientated towards the readers of that particular publication, who expect a certain tone and focus.
The content should answer a reader’s need rather than merely describing your products and services (because if you do the latter, the reader will click off the article and onto something else).
Whatever you do, don’t just deliver a sales pitch. Because readers don’t have to continue with your article, but they will remember it. And if they feel that the article wasn’t helpful, that could do more harm than good to your brand.
If you want to build strong relationships with potential customers, use sponsored content to demonstrate that you are an expert they can trust in, whether that area of trust relates to the quality of your products or the sustainability of your business relationships. Use it to increase awareness of your brand. And use it to improve your brand image by aligning yourself with other well-respected voices in the coffee industry.
Choose your media partners carefully. Credit: Ana Valencia
Digital Marketing Channel #3: Banner Ads
In the world of ad-blockers and social media marketing, the importance of banner ads can be overlooked. However, they’re still an important part of a digital marketing campaign, supporting and reinforcing the rest of your projects.
When making a purchasing decision, people will choose the brand they recognise over the best-priced or best-quality product. That means you need brand exposure. Customers should be seeing your brand on a regular basis.
Ultimately, you want to achieve something even more valuable than brand recognition: brand recall. This is when customers can think of your brand without being prompted. Or, to put it another way, coffee shop owners realise that they need a new espresso machine and think of your brand first. Producers want to invest in new processing equipment and think of your name first. Roasters want to expand their menu and offer new origins, and think of your importing business first.
Banner ads will help with this. They are a low-investment channel that increases brand exposure, helping potential customers to recognise and remember your name when they want to invest in your products. They work with your social media projects, blog posts, and sponsored content to make your entire marketing campaign more effective.
Discover more ways that banner ads help marketing campaigns here.
Digital Marketing Tool #1: Analytics
There’s a lot of data online about which marketing methods work best. You can find out information about photo content, video length, article title structure, and more.
But there’s one thing you should remember about this data: it’s not about your company or your customers.
That’s why it’s important to also track your own data – or, if publishing sponsored content, work with a data-driven media company.
Marketing is an investment. It requires time, money, training, software, and more. And so you want to get the best possible return on that. Key to doing so is analytics.
Tracking data will let you know what interests your followers, what results in the most social media engagement, and what causes people to click through to your website and make a purchase. In this way, it will better direct your future marketing efforts.
Know whether customers are viewing your content via mobile or desktop. Credit: Kyle Sheppard
Digital Marketing Tool #2: SEO
Every single day, there are over 3.5 billion searches on Google. We’re talking more than 50,000 searches every single second.
The top Google result for a search query will receive over 30% of clicks. The top five, almost 70%. Results six to ten receive just 4% – and results on the next few pages, even less.
Search engine optimisation (SEO), the act of building websites, articles, and content in a way that is designed to rank well on Google, is crucial for success. But it’s also a complex field, with large companies often hiring one person to focus solely on it (or outsourcing the task to qualified agencies).
Many factors affect your SEO, both positively and negatively. And if Google thinks you’re trying to game the system, putting out bad content solely so that you rank well, they will penalise you – something that can take months to recover from.
Fortunately, Google’s algorithm is designed with one goal in mind: ensure that the best, most useful content ranks first.
Does this mean you can just ignore SEO? No. Understanding SEO will help you to produce better, more useful content for your customers and improve your brand visibility. But what it does mean is that producing great content and attracting more customers can go hand-in-hand.
A search engine optimised website is important for gaining new customers. Credit: Floozy Coffee Roasters
Digital marketing isn’t easy, but it’s key to success in today’s business world. You can’t wait for your customers to contact you; you have to approach them via they channels they use – which, in 2018, means going online.
Using the three marketing channels above, along with the two tools of SEO and analytics, will ensure that your brand is being exposed to both existing customers and prospective ones.
In turn, this will help you to build stronger relationships with clients and ultimately sell more products, whether that’s green coffee, coffee bags and packaging, roasters and espresso machines, roasted beans, or something else altogether.
Found this useful? Discover some of Perfect Daily Grind’s Social Media Management Services and Digital Marketing Services (pages 7 & 8).
Written by Tanya Newton.
Perfect Daily Grind
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