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5 Ways Local Coffee Shops Can Advertise In Their Local Community

February 26, 2020
Written by Nextdoor Editorial Team
February 26, 2020 | Written by Nextdoor Editorial Team

If you’re like most local coffee shops or cafes, you don’t have a huge local marketing budget at your disposal. This lack of funds might make it seem impossible to stand out from both local competitors and national chains. But don’t fret. Fortunately, you don’t need tens of thousands of dollars to stand out from the crowd. In fact, there are a variety of coffee shop marketing strategies you can employ for less than $100 per month. 

Curious what you can do to drive customers to your coffee shop business? Keep reading to find out more!

5 Ways Local Coffee Shops Can Advertise in Their Local Community

Because margins are small, the success of a local coffee shop business relies heavily upon establishing a solid reputation within the community and creating a growing group of daily patrons. As a result, even if you had the budget, large marketing campaigns typically produce low ROI. 

With this in mind, as you go about creating your coffee shop marketing plan, it’s crucial that coffee shop owners remember this—although the quality of the coffee and food matter, the atmosphere you create is just as important, if not more so. It’s what will spark that customer loyalty and keep customers coming back for more or will keep them in the shop for longer periods of time. 

That said, the following are coffee shop marketing ideas you should consider.  

List Your Shop on Nextdoor

One of the most powerful local tools for coffee shop marketing is Nextdoor. The neighborhood hub helps connect locals in the area they live, whether they want to hire a babysitter, share local news, or find the neighborhood favorite coffee shop near them. It creates a private space where locals can recommend and review your shop and it provides you the opportunity to interact with both people and businesses nearby. Because it’s a network of verified neighbors that live where they say, you ensure that the recommendations you receive are legitimate.

In addition, Nextdoor gives you a free platform from which you can tastefully advertise your coffee shop. 

Once your free Business Page is created, you can begin promoting Local Deals. Local Deals can target neighborhoods up to a 10 mile radius or get laser pointed to a neighborhood within a city. Targeting can be as low as $1, so it’s affordable and can be a great tactic for businesses with a limited budget. Perhaps your coffee shop is planning a grand opening and offering free samples. With Local Deals, you can promote this deal by targeting customers that live closest to your business.

Encourage Word-of-Mouth Positivity by Making the Shop Hangout Friendly

The goal of any coffee shop business should be attracting loyal customers by creating a space where people want to spend extended periods of time or to return to frequently. Coffee shops are commonly used for a host of reasons, including:

  • Business meetings or coworking spaces 
  • For students to study or do homework 
  • To conduct work
  • For artists to engage in their craft

This means that you need to cater your shop to long-duration visits and think about what the potential customers need. Examples include:

  • Free Wi-Fi – Although it used to be a perk, these days, having a solid Wi-Fi signal in your local coffee shop is a must-have. All of the activities mentioned above require Wi-Fi. And if you don’t have it, they’ll likely go elsewhere. Without Wi-Fi, you hamstring your business and limit it to short-stay customers who want to be in and out. It prevents customers who may want to come to your spot daily to just get out of the house and hang out. 
  • Plenty of tables and seating – If you have the space, utilize it. Your goal should be to fit as many tables as possible both inside and outside, so people have space to chat, work, meet, or simply enjoy their coffee.
  • Electrical outlets for each table – Similarly, each table should have access to the plugs they need to charge their devices. This prevents jostling or frustration when only certain tables have such amenities, which would once more limit how many patrons could stay at your shop. 
  • Fun coffee shop events – Remember that your space can be used for more than simply serving coffee. It can be a social gathering spot that brings the community together in addition to the perk of having a refreshing coffee. Examples of this might include:   
    • Booking live entertainment
    • Have workshops
    • Promoting local artists with open mic evenings 
    • Hosting mixers or date nights 
    • Having poetry readings or spoken word engagements

By creating a coffee shop that’s accommodating and fun to be at, you stimulate word of mouth advertising. People will be more likely to recommend you to their friends or suggest your establishment as the meetup spot. In addition, such perks are things that you can advertise on your digital marketing channels. 

Loyalty Programs 

One of the easiest free advertising campaigns you can do is to offer a loyalty program for regular patrons. As Small Business Chronicle writes:

Loyalty programs are a must for coffee shops. Loyalty programs can be as simple as punch cards with the promise of receiving every 10th cup of coffee free, which can be attractive to daily coffee drinkers. Consider taking your incentive programs to the next level to beat your competitors. Institute a more in-depth system that tracks the total dollar amount of purchases for each customer, for example, providing free products when customers spend certain amounts – possibly increasing the value of freebies over time.

By incentivizing customers to keep coming back, you demonstrate to them that you value their patronage and loyalty. It costs you practically nothing but gives your customers a reason to come back or tell others about your shop, particularly if the incentive deal is better than others. For example, consider shortening the deal to one free cup of coffee for every five drinks they buy, which is half of what most places would do. Because coffee is a high frequency and low cost purchase, customer loyalty is everything. Having marketing tactics that increase loyalty and helps build relationships, like a loyalty program, is essential to your local coffee shop business. 

In addition, it may be wise to ditch the punch cards (which everyone loses or forgets) and keep customers logged in to your system, should they wish. This makes their life easier and provides you with improved data and customer visibility. You could also create tiered programs where customers who bought 25, 50, or 100 drinks receive even better loyalty program rewards.

Use Social Media

Social media platforms like Instagram or Facebook are some of the most powerful coffee shop marketing tools at your disposal. And best of all, they’re free! Instagram especially provides you an opportunity to humanize your business and staff and share your story with your followers. You can use it to attract new followers and customers while demonstrating your creativity. It also encourages patrons to create user-generated content. Tips for building a great social media profile include:

  • Post consistentlyAccording to Handground, “Just as customers expect excellent drinks every time they enter a shop, they expect a consistent flow of content from coffee shops online as well. Consistency is the most important thing. Consistently posting content on social media, being open consistent hours, and consistently having great coffee and great staff is really important.” So, whether it be once a day or a few times per week, be sure to be regularly promoting your coffee shop via fun and engaging content. 
  • Use hashtagsBloom Intelligence writes, “Hashtags are king on Instagram! If you're not already using them, be sure to include popular and industry-related hashtags in your content. You can use tools like to find relevant ones and drive new followers to your page.” By posting in accordance with popular hashtags, you can reach new customers that might not otherwise hear about your shop. Also, specialty coffee shops with great creative teams or who have a shtick like making cappuccino art have the chance to go viral and reach tens of thousands of potential customers. 
  • Share useful content – Your social media should be a diverse mix of posts. That way, users don’t know what to expect when they see your feed. This can include:
    • How-to videos
    • Pictures of the shop, food, and coffee
    • Motivational posts
    • Quotes 
    • Memes 
    • Staff videos and highlights
  • Promote your shop – If you have a fun event coming up or a raging deal on food or drinks, what better way is there to let customers know? 
  • Engage with customers – In addition to posting consistently, it’s important that you are active and responsive when customers either comment, message, or tag your shop. Reposting, commenting, and driving engagement humanizes your shop and staff. 

Neighborhood Outreach 

The coffee shop industry is heavily dependent upon establishing relationships with the community. Simply being online won’t cut it. Instead, your shop needs to get involved and participate in local events, whether they be charities, social gatherings, or celebrations. Consider taking products to events and giving them samples. It gives you a chance to contribute to a good cause, put a face to your business, and build community with locals

Advertising Your Local Coffee Shop

As you’ve seen, there are several affordable ways to advertise your coffee shop to the local neighborhood. Whether it be signing up on Nextdoor, Facebook ads, or hosting events, you don’t have to break the bank in order to expand your marketing efforts. At the heart of each one of these ideas is the notion that your shop should be more than the coffee it serves; it’s really about building relationships and community.

Claim your free Business Page to get started on Nextdoor. For resources on how to use Nextdoor to stay connected with your local customers, pertinent news affecting business, and more, follow us at @nextdoorbusiness on Facebook

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