7 Simple Marketing Ideas To Promote Your Coffee, Smoothie, Juice or Dessert Shop | Cups To Gallons
7 Simple Marketing Ideas To Promote Your Coffee, Smoothie, Juice or Dessert Shop

7 Simple Marketing Ideas To Promote Your Coffee, Smoothie, Juice or Dessert Shop

A giraffe walked into a bar…in South Africa. He was fine. [Picture: DailyMail.com]

Have you heard this one? A giraffe walks into a coffee and smoothie bar. Ouch. That giraffe, hurt and embarrassed, then walks into an actual bar, orders a drink, feels underwhelmed and leaves, dissatisfied.

OK, the joke really isn’t funny (although it has literally happened; see picture above), but it touches on issues that coffee, smoothie, juice and/or dessert shop owners face on a regular basis, whether they’ve just opened a new establishment or been in the business for decades.


If you want more people – not giraffes – to visit your location, you need effective marketing strategies to get them to know about you, spend more, and come back again and again with open wallets. The good news is, I’m going to give you 7 creative advertising, promotional and marketing ideas to help promote your coffee, smoothie, juice or dessert shop right.

Here are some of the best marketing strategies you can try:

Define Your Marketing Goals

As Ben Franklin said, “If you fail to plan, you plan to fail.”

Every smart business owner has a marketing plan and uses that to drive higher revenue, knowing what’s working and what’s not. Ultimately, your goals are increased sales and bigger profits, but hazy, generic goals are difficult to monitor and achieve. You goals in marketing your business might be to increase frozen drink sales, create social buzz for your business, attract key demographic segments–such as millennials–or get people to stay longer and spend more money. You might want to introduce a new menu or a signature line of beverages. You might want to transform your location into an entertainment venue. Setting some trackable and measurable goals is a sound policy for any marketing or business plan.

Regardless of your goals and strategy, you need to research any local alcohol-related regulations so that you don’t get into legal trouble. Remember that not all promotional ideas are appropriate for every type of bar. For example, organizing a vintage wine tasting event might be inappropriate for a neighborhood bar and grill. You should always tailor any bar promotion to your targeted customer, available space and pricing profile, but the following suggestions should trigger some creative marketing ideas:

Nail the Shop Promotion Basics

If you don’t have the funds to pay for professional marketing services, just do the basics well.

In terms of décor and ambiance, make sure your shop looks the part inside and out. People judge what type of venue you are before entering the door, so ensure your image sells who you are and sets expectations.

If you’re aiming to grab people as they’re walking by, have a chalkboard type sign showing your specialties and what makes you unique.

 [Picture: SIPS + MAKER]

Your sign doesn’t have to be funny or controversial like the one pictured here:

It is a good example of creativity being used to bring customers in. It’s amazing how these little details can make all the difference.

Other basics include being family-friendly, wheelchair accessible, vegetarian-friendly and having a smoking area. But perhaps the most important basic feature these days is offering free Wi-Fi.

Offer Discounts Strategically

Your pricing strategy is crucial to your success – and profitability. Ideally, it should help you exceed your product sales targets, leave you with a good reputation and be representing the value you provide against competitors. But in reality, this is easier said than done.

If your venue is well-suited to offering discounts, consider how these will be managed short-term and long-term. What’s your strategy? Discount a popular item as a draw-card that will boost sales of other items? Discount on a quiet day to generate traffic? Discount for larger groups of people? Discount new menu items?

The options are endless, but consider what you are trying to achieve, and what discount will help you to get there sustainably.

Be wary of discounting too much or you might fall into the trap of being perceived as low quality or of hemorrhaging money.

Also, don’t forget that people won’t know you’ve got an awesome deal to offer if you don’t tell them! Advertising your specials or discounts on social media is a great way of spreading the word, if these platforms suit your customer base.

When you offer catering, which is extremely profitable, it’s easy to incorporate a discount and/or promotion while still netting more than you would in your shop. Remember “Gross is for vanity, net is for sanity.”

Not catering yet? Contact me! Whether you do it yourself, with the help of a guide, or have me and my team do it for you, you will find catering will transform your business. It did for me — from $500K in debt to a 7-figure profitable business. Let me show you how you can do the same.

Be Easily Found Online

I can’t stress enough how important it is to focus your attention on online visibility and social media marketing.

Your coffee, smoothie, juice or dessert shop needs an online presence, so you can be found in Google results as well as on popular hospitality sites like Zomato. It can be hard to survive if people can’t find you on Google Maps or work out what drink offerings you have on your menu on their phones.

As for social media, this is your forum for establishing your image, advertising your promotions and keeping your customers updated. To keep things manageable, try investing your time in one channel like Instagram and posting quality images and captions.

Ratings and reviews are also key to gaining a positive image, so you should incentivize your regulars to leave positive feedback. Holding a competition, in which a requirement is a Facebook like or share, is a great way to generate these.

Make Every Day Special

We know, we know, the heading sounds like love advice, doesn’t it? And pretty sound love advice if you ask us. Which makes sense. Any shop manager should treat their establishment like a lover.

The start of the week is traditionally low volume so entice customers in through tactics that appeal to smaller groups, like creating a ‘Pick-me-up Espresso Monday’ or food specials. Also consider business lunch and after work specials geared at business workers or promoting a special ‘drink of the week’.

For busier periods, your aim should be to beat the competition so think about unique opportunities. Comedy, live music and speed dating are just the tip of the iceberg.

Reward Repeat Customers

It’s “cheaper to keep ‘er” – that’s why you want to focus your business marketing on repeat business. Way over half of your sales should be from repeat patrons. Why do you think so many big-brand hospitality outlets have loyalty apps and incentives to keep you coming back?

It’s not difficult to generate promotions aimed at getting more repeat business. A coffee and chocolate pairing and/or tasting offer is one good method. These tastings not only show off your expertise and product range, but you can pair each beverage with some food for extra value. What’s more, they’re great at bringing in locals (hint: see next tip).

Never take your regulars for granted in the competitive world of hospitality. Listen to them. If a regular proposes a new drink, look into it. What harm can there be in adding it? If you do, they’ll likely tell their extended network about it.

Another way is to get your crowd involved. You could have a competition to name a new drink, have a charity support option like Grill’d, or simply share your customers’ best snaps on social media. They will get a buzz from being recognized and you will grow trust, goodwill and great word-of-mouth advertising.

Share the Love Locally

Another promotion tip is to sponsor, fundraise and get involved in interesting events in your community. Businesses involved in their local community are best situated to succeed because they gain trust and empathy from locals.

Go to local meetings and reach out to other small business owners in the community. Offer up your venue to accommodate groups: a book club, sewing club, new mom’s club. It really doesn’t matter, just do it for the right reasons.

By expressing genuine interest and enthusiasm, you’ll help support community issues and provide a home for events, entertainment, refreshments, socialization and more. That’s what we call a sustainable marketing ideas strategy.

About the Author Stacey and Dave Riska

Stacey and Dave Riska, aka "The Cups To Gallons Champions" are on a mission to help independent coffee, smoothie, juice bar, ice cream, dessert and snack shop owners learn how to get into lucrative catering. They transformed their coffee/smoothie business from $500K in debt to a 7-figure profitable business (yes you read that right!) by doing catering. They're the author of "Cups To Gallons where they share the 5-step CATER system that can give you $800 a day (or more!) in profits. Join Stacey, Dave and your fellow small business owners in the FREE Facebook Cups To Gallons Group

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