How to Promote Your Roastery When You Don’t Have a Café

June 14, 2023

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:

  • The four goals of promoting your roastery (+ why sales shouldn’t be your sole marketing focus!)
  • Which online marketing channels are worth your time and effort
  • Why offline promotion is just as, if not more important, than online marketing

The Four Goals of Promotion

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:

  • Brand Awareness — People need to know about your business! With today’s hyper-competitive coffee market, you need to proudly tell people about your brand online and offline. All of your promotional efforts will work together to build your brand and make more people aware of your business. The greater awareness of your brand, the greater the opportunity for sales!
  • Product Differentiation Without a café where customers can taste your products on the spot, you need to communicate why your coffee is different from the competition. Perhaps it’s your sourcing methods or the certifications you seek out. Maybe you devise creative blends with surprising flavor profiles. Whatever your differentiator is, customers need to know about it and understand why they should choose your coffee over the competition.
  • Communication — Customers want to know more about your brand. So tell them! Promotional activities like social media and email marketing are great ways to communicate your brand story, values, and the latest company news to potential customers.
  • Sales — Of course, if people don’t know your business exists, you can’t drive sales (especially if you don’t have a coffee shop to generate recurring daily revenue.) Your promotional tactics will all work together to generate sales online, in-store, and from wholesale partners.

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. 

Promoting Your Roastery Online: Social Media, Email Marketing, & More

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:

  • Do more with less — Social media, paid advertising, email marketing, and more, give roasters the ability to create far-reaching campaigns with little upfront investment. Plus, with so many free online tools available for creating, managing, and executing online marketing content, it’s easier than ever to get started.
  • Target specific audiences — Cafés have one distinct problem: they’re stuck in a physical location. Sure, you could open more coffee shops to attract customers from other neighborhoods, but that’s a pretty hefty expense and commitment. Online marketing strategies enable roasters to target and advertise to hyper-specific audiences and extend their brand reach further.
  • Pay to play (or not!) — Online promotional channels offer roasters the option of paying for specific ad or feed placement or creating organic (unpaid) content. You can build a thriving online community of loyal customers all by posting organic content, or paying for advertisements on websites and social media platforms. It’s your choice! Many roasters opt for a mix of both to expand their brand awareness while simultaneously building a loyal audience. 

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:

Company Website

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

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

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:

  • New product launches
  • eCommerce store updates, sales, or promotions
  • Company announcements, events, and news
  • Branded blog posts and educational coffee content

Search Engine Optimization

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. 

Pay Per Click (PPC) Advertising

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!

DIY vs. Outsourcing Online Marketing

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:

Full control over every element of the promotional strategy Time-consuming work. It’s your responsibility to get it done!
Ability to engage in authentic interactions and relationships with customers online Requires specific knowledge of marketing tactics, channels, and skills
Has the potential to save your business money in the long run No guarantee of returns for paid advertising tactics


Work with a team of marketing experts dedicated to achieving results May or may not have experience working with coffee industry clients
You focus on the coffee, they’ll focus on the promotion Marketing becomes an additional expense by having a third-party manage it
A team of marketing professionals brings new ideas and customer perspectives to the table The lack of total control may be difficult for some business owners

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!

Developing Customer Relationships Offline

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:

  • Local Events — Sign up for a booth at a local farmers market. Participate in networking events. Host a pop-up café at your roastery. There are endless opportunities to engage with potential customers when you put yourself and your brand out there. And, if your roastery targets a specific demographic or interest group (cyclists, artists, musicians, emergency services personnel, etc.), find events that align with these customer groups—it’ll be a win-win!
  • Collaborations & Co-Branded Products — A great way to reach new customers is to tap into an existing audience. Find ways to collaborate with other local businesses, such as creating a co-branded blend with a local grocery store, brewery, or bakery. 
  • Add a Retail Section —  Your roastery doesn’t have to be an “employees only” area. Adding a retail section filled with your blends, single origin selections, brewing equipment, and other goods from local vendors invites customers to stop by and shop.
  • Networking — It may sound like cliche, outdated advice, but some of the best customers (both retail and wholesale) will be the result of networking. Find time to meet with other business owners, attend networking events, and expand your brand’s community.
  • Print Materials — Drop flyers off at local businesses. Send postcards through snail mail. Give your business card to potential wholesale customers. Print materials keep your brand top of mind with customers, even when you’re not around. 

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.

Don’t Forget About Wholesale Promotion

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:

  • In-Store Signage — Offer wholesale customers a “Proudly Serving [Your Coffee Company Name Here] sign to display on their bar. Or, for retail partners such as a grocery store, collaborate on signage or an end-cap display that showcases your products to shoppers.

  • Host Collaborative Events — Work with your partners to host events like a “Meet the Roaster” night, coffee sampling parties, cupping classes, and more! Customers are eager to learn more about the coffee they enjoy, and these events are a prime opportunity to put your coffee and brand front and center. 
  • Co-Branded Products — Create a co-branded blend or single origin coffee in partnership with your wholesale partners. These products give both parties the incentive to sell and offer access to the other’s target audiences, in turn expanding brand awareness for all.
  • Online Content — Showcase your wholesale partners as part of your online marketing strategy. Post about your partners on social media, mention new wholesale accounts in your newsletter, and introduce your existing audience to new businesses they can simultaneously support. Ideally, your wholesale clients will do the same! 

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 Don’t Need a Cafe to Succeed

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!

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