Come one, microroasters and roaster-cafes, come all: now is the best time to improve your coffee marketing strategy. Your buyers have the pick of the litter, after all, and every little effort goes a long way in pushing back against the trust issues littering the coffee industry.
There are more than a few transparency problems in coffee, from inaccurate green packaging to frustrated farmers. Roasters have their work cut out for them managing single-source coffee, keeping up with certifications and appealing to their own unique slice of the market. That’s all well before we get into good, old-fashioned public relations. Customers want to know the bag of Arabica coffee they’re getting comes from somewhere they can see. Somewhere they can practically touch, albeit through the polished image of a persistent vlog and blog campaign.
When you don’t line up actions with words? It will plant a seed that will grow out of your control.
Content marketing is how you cultivate an ongoing image among all who look your way. Email marketing, in particular, is one of the most affordable and effective methods of building trust — it boasts an average of $38 for every $1 spent and is used by over 90% of B2B marketers today. Email is a constant reminder that your roasting technique isn’t like anyone else’s. It’s more one-on-one than social media, while not as noisy as banners or autoplay videos. The email newsletter reaches through the gleaming business veneer to engage prospects — and repeat buyers — on a personal level.
Here I’ll be taking a look at email marketing strategies that are designed to weave through the trust and transparency issues plaguing the coffee industry, as well as a few ideas you can try out immediately. With a few tweaks to your content marketing strategy you can create more consistent feedback with your prospects, retain long-term interest and figure out what’s working behind-the-scenes. Keywords will be bolded to keep things simple (the foundation of a strong newsletter, by the by).
Let’s get started.
What do your ideal buyers care most about?
This is a question you’ve already asked to kickstart your business model, but it’s one you’ll have to reengage with several times over with your email marketing newsletter. Knowing who you’re talking to — and why — creates the foundation for a strong email presence that keeps people engaged. These customers could be a couple that love specialty coffee roasted at home. They could also be cafes, restaurants and bars looking for their next great exclusive bragging rights. Figuring out who you’re trying to tailor your next roasting blend to will feed your email newsletter campaign.
That’s not where it ends, however…
Enhance the details of your business story with a vlog
People get snippets of your roasting story in everything you do. Your logo. Your website’s landing page. The copy on your recyclable paper coffee bag.
Step your roasting business up with a vlog that extends beyond your visual portfolio. Not unlike the cover letter to a resume, email marketing is how buyers today dive into their favorite product beyond the surface basics. Video content is slated to become even more popular over the next few years — accounting for almost 80% of Internet traffic — and now’s a great time to get accustomed to the process. That means choosing a video editing software, a good camera and a vlog outline.
Choosing the right video editing software can be daunting, what with so many options on the market muscling for your attention. Keep in mind it’s all about finding what works best for your roasting business, not what your competitor is using. Take your time sorting through video editing guides to get a feel for what your roastery needs to communicate the right image. If you don’t even want to turn on a camera, check out PlaceIt for a simple, yet effective video creation resource.
A good camera is easier to obtain than ever if you have an upgraded phone. Entire films have even been shot on the iPhone 5s. Your vlog outline is not too different from how you would structure a blog post, either, with the added caveat of needing a little sound editing or musical accompaniment. Add a video preview in the body of your email with a call-to-action to check out the full piece on your blog (or social media platform of choice). A content manager can help you write a compelling script that neatly sums up information into the video’s limited timeframe.
Has your roasting business had any interesting epiphanies lately about the process? Have you recently invested in new equipment you hope will better toast your single-origin beans to perfection? Are you getting involved in a local cupping event? Do you have a new logo you feel like sharing early? Popping up in a buyer’s inbox frequently is how you stay fresh in their mind. Not with fluff material, but the daily foundation that comes with managing a successful business.
Trust me…they’re curious.
Provide easy reading material with regular snippet posts
Video may be becoming more popular, but it’s not a cure-all for information-saturated prospects. How can you encourage as many people as possible to engage with your business while doing less work?
Become creative with how you divide and distribute your content. Getting the materials is easier than ever, as explored above, and you most certainly have a bevy of fresh content just in your day-to-day process. Now it’s all a matter of slicing it up strategically. A snippet post showcases several brief previews of longer posts, arranged conveniently in the body of your email newsletter. This helps busier customers stay up-to-date, while promising them more lengthy material when they finally have an extra twenty minutes in-between errands.
Not unlike episode recaps for your favorite show, they make sure your busy customers stay in the know. Pardon the rhyme.
Once you plan out your vlog outline and choose your email newsletter frequency you can create snippet posts in-between unique posts that summarize all the exciting, insightful details that have accumulated. This gives you the added benefit of additional emails that steer clear of fluff material, save you work and bring in more convenience for the distracted prospect.
A win-win for everyone involved.
Create consistency by choosing your email newsletter frequency
Nobody digests content the same way, even though you’re reaching out to prospects with the same roasting techniques and house blends.
I’ve subscribed to dozens of email newsletters over the course of my career. The ones that have stuck with me the most — besides good, old-fashioned quality content — is consistency. My current favorites update on a daily or weekly basis. On the other hand, there have been a few times where a newsletter would crop up in my inbox months after the fact and have me wondering, briefly, if I just got spam. While I’m fine double-checking to make sure, chances are you’ll have a few buyers-to-be who will send your efforts straight into the trash.
The unique approach of your roastery or email marketing platform you use doesn’t matter: the best email marketing strategies are updated on a regular basis.
The most popular frequency is daily or once a week. Roasters that feel they could run out of material too quickly for constant updates should consider a lengthy newsletter every two weeks. Quality over quantity is the name of the game here. This two-week frequency might not sound like much, but it will certainly brighten the day of an interested party when they get a hefty email in their inbox filled with interesting insight. Bonus points if you use snippet posts as a helpful nudge.
A little fluff here and there is fine for any diet. Go ahead and share a pretty photo you took at a farm conference or send out a periodic friendly greeting. Too much fluff, though, and you’re making a newsletter for the wrong reason.
Communicate the details of your email newsletter frequency and content clearly in the opt-in page, which should manifest as a pop-up on your website or an easily located box on your main page. This should be in the actual newsletter greeting itself, too. It’s also required by law to have a visible opt-out link in the email for indifferent parties to unsubscribe easily. Surprises are a wild card that need to be handled carefully.
Depending on how you approach surprises they can be a delight that keeps people engaged…or a nuisance that makes you appear shallow.
Give your unique insight on industry news
Building trust means being aware of what breaks it in the first place. Step things up a notch by demonstrating to your prospects how you plan to change things for the better.
I’ve taken a look at some of the biggest obstacles standing between a healthy business-customer relationship in the coffee industry. Your email marketing newsletter is designed with the express purpose of updating your prospects on a regular basis. This flexibility allows you to address new problems as they arise and catch what isn’t working before it grows out of control. Start building this good habit by shining your unique spotlight on industry news.
What are your growers doing to adapt to new climate change projections? How do past customers feel about your green packaging’s effectiveness in combating waste build-up, especially with recent news demonstrating more and more doubtful shoppers? How do you differentiate yourself from other roasting businesses, without engaging in unprofessional promotion tactics? Interested buyers aren’t only going to be turning to you for industry news…so they will notice if you remain suspiciously silent on issues that impact your roastery.
Ask questions in each of your newsletters for your prospects’ thoughts on a recent piece of industry news. Provide a few lines of commentary on an industry development with a link so they can go take a look themselves. Share a review or a post by a partner to spread a little of the love around. This shows you do the research and care about their thoughts, two elements that create a trust loop that only results in a better roasting business.
Transparency doesn’t mean letting spill all your trade secrets. It also doesn’t mean creating yet another layer for customers to poke through.
Encourage ongoing feedback from your customers with extra incentive
Let’s take this a step further. Study your buyers’ interest on a passive and active level to figure out what’s working. Yours is a frequently updated email newsletter, after all, and it’s flexible enough to have you tweaking on the fly.
You want to know your efforts are paying off. You also want to give your strategy time to sink in, because nothing worth having comes easy or quick. Ask your past buyers to comment on their most recent purchase beyond a star-based review. Schedule an interview with a long-time, loyal customer and ask to republish their comments or audio publicly. Give frequent buyers extra incentive with a half-off online coupon or bag of sample beans in their next newsletter. This is all active feedback, either offered openly or encouraged by your business.
Got a house blend that isn’t selling well anymore? Wondering what to do with some spare beans of lesser quality? There’s a lot of opportunity here to turn these apparent failures into yet another olive branch for your prospects, all starting with an email newsletter that keeps communication flowing.
You can gauge passive feedback yourself by keeping an eye out for commentary made about your roastery in social media, whether searching for specific keywords or keyword phrases. With the help of your email newsletter platform you can analyze your open and click rates, figuring out which emails are actually being read and which ones are deleted. Consider hiring on an email marketing expert that can dive into the numbers game for you and save you a little time.
Never be too proud to admit what isn’t working. The sooner you drop a weak strategy and make the switch is the sooner you can start getting ahead in today’s coffee industry.
That wraps up part one of the Coffee Marketing Compendium. For cafes and traders that want to start taking advantage of newsletters, swing on back for my upcoming email marketing posts.
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