There’s a common belief that in order to be a successful roaster, you also need a coffee shop where customers can taste and enjoy your products. We’re sorry to spoil the fun, but this just isn’t true!
Sure, not having a café means that getting the word out about your coffee is a little tougher, but it’s not impossible. Growing your roastery without a café requires a mix of online, offline, and wholesale promotional efforts to reach new audiences and drive consistent sales.
We won’t tell you there’s a quick and easy marketing solution that will instantly triple your sales. We will tell you, however, that it’s entirely possible to promote your roastery without having a physical café when you have a clear plan of action.
It’s all about finding the right tactics to reach the right audience at the right time. Today, we’ll show you a few online, offline, and wholesale marketing tactics you can use to promote your roastery. By the end of this article, you’ll know:
With everything else on your plate, you might be thinking, “I don’t have time to promote my roastery. If I roast it, they will come.”
You can’t expect customers to stumble upon your roastery randomly. Most roasting facilities aren’t located in areas with high foot traffic or visibility! Instead, it is your responsibility to create and execute a promotional plan that accomplishes these four goals:
Promoting your roastery goes beyond saying, “We’re open for business. Come buy coffee.” It’s about building online and in-person relationships with potential and existing customers who will become champions of your brand, no matter if you have a café.
We live in a digital world where online promotion reigns supreme. Engaging in digital marketing tactics extends your brand and products beyond the four walls of your roastery. Thanks to the power of the Internet, customers from all over the world can discover your brand, follow your content, and purchase your coffee. The global nature of online promotional strategies means roasters no longer need a café to succeed.
Online marketing tactics empower roasters to:
There are so many ways to promote your roastery online. So many, in fact, that we recommend not trying to do them all! Remember, you have a roastery to run.
Instead, pick a few channels that make the most sense for your company and do them well. Choose from channels such as:
A café often serves as the central location for customers to learn more about a coffee business. However, without this physical space, roasters must rely on their website to communicate brand messaging, drive ecommerce sales, and organize marketing campaigns.
Your website should be user-friendly, aligned with your brand identity, and contain all the information a potential retail or wholesale customer would need.
Social media is a fantastic way to share various types of coffee content, develop relationships with fans, and attract the attention of local and non-local customers. Instagram, TikTok, LinkedIn, YouTube, Facebook—the list of possible social media channels goes on and on.
However, with the ever-changing nature of social media, it’s all too easy to become overwhelmed with your options. Instead of spreading yourself thin and trying to perform well on every type of social media platform, choose a handful and focus your efforts on these channels. Social media channels also offer paid advertising opportunities that work to get your brand in front of a targeted audience.
Email marketing is one of the most direct ways to reach your target customers online. Those who opt-in to your email list via your website or a sign-up sheet at an in-person event have interacted with your brand previously and are eager to continue the relationship.
Roasters can use email marketing to send targeted messages about:
Where’s the first place you go online for information? Google.
Guess what? So do your customers. Meaning your roastery’s website and relevant information needs to organically rank for a multitude of keywords and phrases.
Search engine optimization (SEO) is the process of increasing and improving the amount and quality of unpaid traffic to a website from search engines. Like many online marketing channels, SEO isn’t a “one and done” approach. It requires constant tactics and monitoring to ensure your roastery is appearing properly on search engines like Google, DuckDuckGo, and Bing.
Alternatively to SEO, you can execute a pay per click (PPC) advertising strategy to appear at the top of search engine results. Other types of PPC advertising are available on various social media networks such as Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, and more.
Paid advertising tactics offer roasters the ability to target and get in front of specific audience segments—for a price!
On the surface, online marketing looks easy. A few clicks, some media, a bit of written copy, and a handful of links will do the trick, right?
Because of the ever-growing competitive landscape online (across all industries), succeeding at online marketing requires thorough knowledge of each channel, strategy, and individual platform.
Since your goal is to reach new audiences without the aid of a physical coffee shop, you need to invest in a strong online presence. Now, you don’t need to break the bank to have a strong online identity, but you do need to be consistent.
This means regularly sending emails to your subscriber list, posting content on social media platforms, and optimizing your website content to rank well on search engines—all in addition to running a coffee roasting facility.
Ask yourself, can you dedicate the time and effort necessary to execute an online promotional strategy yourself? Or, you may choose to outsource these skills to a contractor or marketing agency so you can focus on what you’re passionate about: coffee.
Let’s break down the pros and cons of each:
DIY Online Promotion:
At the end of the day, engaging in online promotional activities is a necessity for those without a physical café presence. The key is to decide if you can manage it yourself, or if hiring a team of marketing experts is worth the investment.
But the decision to invest in marketing services isn’t binary. There are many ways to hand over marketing responsibilities without breaking the bank. Perhaps you have an employee who is a social media savant and is interested in running your social media accounts. Or, a freelance marketer may be interested in trading their professional services for coffee. Get creative!
While online marketing is a core need, nothing replaces the value of fostering relationships with customers one-on-one. However, when a café is not in the picture, you’ll need to find opportunities to meet customers face-to-face and generate buzz about your brand.
A few ways to engage in offline marketing opportunities include:
Offline promotional activities give roasters an added benefit that online marketing fails to provide: the opportunity to chat with customers face-to-face. During these interactions, roasters can explain their brand story, answer questions, and demonstrate how passionate they are about coffee. While online content can come close, it doesn’t beat the opportunity to interact with customers one-on-one.
Promoting your roastery requires a healthy mix of online and offline marketing tactics to ensure that your brand comes to mind whenever a customer thinks about coffee.
Your wholesale partners are among the best advertising tools in your possession. They believe in your brand, love your coffee, and serve as ambassadors of your roastery when they serve and sell your products each day.
Executing on wholesale relationships is a win-win for roasting companies without a café. On top of driving significant order volume, you’ve got built-in advertising that will attract future customers! Every time a customer sips your coffee at a wholesale partner’s coffee shop, that’s an opportunity to gain a new customer.
Some easy and quick ways to promote your business through wholesale customers include:
As a bonus, the more customers know about your wholesale program, the more other businesses will as well! Use your wholesale relationships to your advantage to gain new customers and new wholesale partners along the way.
You can be a very successful and profitable roaster without having a coffee shop. You don’t need to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars to build out a café. However, it’s your responsibility to devise a mix of online, offline, and wholesale promotional tactics to reach new audiences and drive sales.
Promoting your roastery requires time and dedication, but you can do it! You don’t have to tackle every type of marketing tactic at once, but small steps every day can make a big difference in the long run.
Looking for more ways to grow your roastery (with or without a café?) Download our latest eBook!