Decaf coffee marketing is pretty archaic. For all the developments the coffee industry makes technologically and culturally, this niche might as well be in the stone age!
Coffee marketing in general aims to provide several critical values in a single package. On average, a coffee bag will boast its environmental sustainability, ethical sourcing commitment, and/or specialty bean cultivation. Where decaf coffee marketing often stumbles is its missed opportunities. When today’s approaches are not spouting tired catchphrases, they’re failing to stress the physical or mental health benefits.
Falling back on clichés may be easier, but they won’t make your business stand out from the competition (and may even turn buyers off entirely).
How can you improve your decaf coffee marketing to raise awareness or clinch more buyers? I’m going to share a few tips on how to promote your coffee business, from my perspective as both a coffee marketer and a passionate decaf drinker.
The Omnipresent Flaws of Decaf Coffee Marketing
Western coffee culture is really going to have to let go of the superiority complex around caffeine. When the industry is currently caught between a farmer exodus and the effects of climate change, this attitude is even more useless than usual.
It also doesn’t help that some forms of marketing actively target the negativity around decaf.
When there are an average of 7.5 million blog posts published every day, marketing strategies sometimes get desperate for attention. Shock value, clickbait, or cringey attempts at going viral are just a few examples of this phenomenon. For decaf marketing, this approach often takes the flavor of being bland, backhanded, or snooty.
Marketing toes the razor thin edge of blunt and subtle. Just one hair in the wrong direction could cost you a sale. Let’s look at some alternatives for marketing your decaf coffee effectively.
Tip #1: Avoid Tired Catchphrases in Your Coffee Marketing
“Death before decaf.”
“I can’t believe it doesn’t taste like decaf!”
“I know decaf isn’t the best option, but ours is-”
Let’s sit back and take a second. Do any of these remarks actually make you want to buy a bag of decaf? Swap these catchphrases out with any other product in your life and you’ll notice the problem quickly.
“Death before polyester blends.”
“I can’t believe it doesn’t taste like mustard!”
“I know sugar free candy isn’t the best option, but ours is-”
Not only does this approach sound pretty passive-aggressive, it’s also out-of-touch. Decaffeination processes have made incredible strides in the past few years, now able to retain complex flavor notes, aroma, and mouthfeel with no funny aftertaste. Instead of ironically rolling your eyes at your potential buyers, talk instead about where your decaf coffee shines.
Coffee Marketing Tips
“Our decaf coffee gives you the ability to wind down after working hard.”
“We love how the Swiss Water process keeps our decaf tasting delectable.”
“Our decaf coffee is a labor of love from our small Nariño farm and we’re thrilled to finally be able to share it with you.”
These lines are a few ideas to target lifestyle, brand voice, and/or positive industry developments. A better option than a brief shorthand, right? Consider other ways you can speak directly to a decaf drinker perusing your site or blog.
Tip #2: Show Off How Healthy Decaf Coffee Is
Strong marketing emphasizes the why aspect of the buying equation. When a customer has dozens of similar options to choose from, target the personal reasons behind the purchase.
Decaf coffee is slowly, but surely being more understood as a healthier alternative to caffeinated coffee. Caffeine is a highly addictive stimulant known for ruining teeth enamel, interfering with REM sleep, and causing withdrawals (also known as ‘the crash’).
Why do people drink decaf? While decaf coffee still has a tiny fraction of caffeine leftover, this amount is much more tolerable for several demographics:
- Elderly drinkers
- Millennial drinkers
- People with high blood pressure
- People with caffeine sensitivities
- People with anxiety disorders
- People who drink caffeine and want to wean themselves off it
According to Sprout Social, nearly 65% of buyers today actively want brands to connect with them. Speaking to your buyers’ daily needs, frustrations, or hopes is much more relatable than a cheap dig at decaf.
Coffee Marketing Tips
There’s only so much information you can put into a product description or the back of a coffee bag. Your email newsletter or blog, however, are fantastic places to show off all the healthy aspects of decaf.
I’ll dive more into specific approaches you can try with tip #3.
Tip #3: Emphasize How Decaf Offers Improvements to Lifestyle
Following close on the heels of tip #2, some roasters have already peeped the benefits of showing off decaf’s unique power. You see it in lines such as, “You can still fall asleep at night!”.
What makes a coffee brand successful? Speaking directly to an audience’s needs and frustrations. Better sleep is often where the positive benefits end in modern decaf coffee marketing, though, and this benefit is just the tip of the iceberg.
Coffee Marketing Tips
I’ve got a few ideas you can try in a content marketing campaign, social media marketing campaign, or your email newsletter.
Use Decaf Coffee for Baking
Unlike alcohol, caffeine doesn’t evaporate much in the cooking process.
Decaf is better for baking than caffeinated coffee, especially if you want to make treats for caffeine-sensitive friends or children.
Avoid Heart Palpitations, Nausea, and Dizziness
Health issues are a perfectly valid concern to keep caffeine to a minimum. What can I say, I don’t enjoy an upset stomach and racing heart when sipping a café au lait.
It’s safe to say some of your future buyers will feel the same!
Gentle on the Stomach
Coffee is a varied bean, able to show different sides depending on bean variety, cultivation methods, and roasting. However, caffeinated coffee is a little rough on the stomach.
High amounts of caffeine irritate the stomach lining and stimulate digestion, which can be irritating for drinkers with IBS or ulcers.
A Healthy Option for Coffee Fans With Anxiety Disorders
Anxiety disorders run the gamut of Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD) to Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD). While each diagnosis has unique symptoms, a common thread between all of them is an intolerance for caffeine.
For those with anxiety disorders, caffeine consumption has a high chance of triggering panic attacks or the fight-or-flight response. The extremely low percentage of caffeine in decaf is much more tolerable.
Being Able to Drink More Coffee
I can technically have caffeinated coffee. Because of my sensitivity, I can only have a tiny bit before I start feeling jittery and twitchy.
Decaf coffee allows the drinker to toss back a few cups a day before they’ll notice anything. When coffee tastes so good, buyers will be thrilled to know they can have more than usual.
I’m a B2B copywriter, content writer, and marketer in the coffee niche, looking to help coffee businesses connect more efficiently with customers.
Tip #4: Talk About How Decaffeination Technology Has Improved
This is actually one of the few areas specialty decaf coffee marketing sails with flying colors, but it doesn’t hurt to reiterate the basics.
Decaffeination technology is still a sticking point in some coffee marketing (not at all helped by the less-than-stellar methylene chloride method). In fact, the downsides of methylene chloride are so infamous there is still a stubborn misconception that decaf coffee is doomed to tasting artificial or bland.
Coffee Marketing Tips
Methylene chloride is common in commodity coffee, particularly instant, but it’s pretty rare in the specialty coffee space.
The Swiss Water decaffeination process uses a clean water recycling method to sift caffeine chemicals out of the coffee bean. The sugarcane process crafts a natural alcohol using fermented molasses. Raise awareness among your customers so they’re not left wondering what’s in their cup.
Tip #5: Market Your Decaf Coffee as More Than a Token Bag
If you don’t take your decaf coffee seriously, why should your customers? I wish I could say this was a no-brainer, but marketing trends don’t always inspire confidence.
A single decaf bag is the most common sight in roaster and roaster-café portfolios, due to the simple fact decaf is still a niche compared to caffeinated bags. That said? You still have plenty of reasons to show it off! Shoving your decaf bag to the side with hardly a descriptor or selling point to its name beyond being decaf is the very definition of an afterthought.
Coffee Marketing Tips
Wrapping up the list is more a gentle reminder to slot your token decaf or half-caf bags seamlessly with the rest of the portfolio. Not to pretend they have no differences, no, but to embrace said differences.
Consider supplementing your content or social media marketing campaign with specialized posts on your decaf or half-caf bag. I already mentioned the health and decaffeination process, but you can also just talk about how much you love it.
Effective decaf coffee marketing is a necessary slice of the coffee industry. With more drinkers than ever turning to decaf to improve their lifestyle, there are many opportunities to connect with buyers on a deeper level.
My tips for improving your decaf coffee marketing campaigns are:
- Avoid generic catchphrases that come off as bland, out-of-touch, or passive-aggressive
- Emphasize the physical and mental health benefits of less caffeine
- Speak directly to several demographics and why they choose decaf
- Stress how much decaffeination technology has improved
- Treat decaf with the same gravity and interest as any coffee bag
These suggestions are only the tip of the iceberg, of course! As long as you speak to the heart of what today’s decaf drinkers want, you’re on the right track.
Make your next coffee marketing campaign more effective. Hit me up for availability and rates on specialized coffee copywriting, content writing, and marketing services.
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