As the owner of a café, you must determine the best ways to market your business on a small budget. It’s essential to strike the correct balance between expanding your customer base and making a profit.
With that in mind, here are six ideas from BiYP to help you market your café for less than $100 a month.
#1: Set Up a Referral Program
Getting referrals from existing customers and other business owners is one of the least expensive ways to market your café. Referrals are one of the top ways to grow your business. The trick is knowing how to ask for them.
One simple idea is to write a script and distribute it to your workers. This technique is particularly effective if you cater events from your café. You might consider offering an incentive, such as a coupon for a future event.
#2: Set Up a Facebook Page
Facebook is free to use. If you don’t already have a page for your café, now is the time to set one up. You can include:
- A link to your website
- Your menu
- Photos of the café
- Customer reviews
These things can all help attract new business at no cost. And, if you decide you want to spend a bit of money, you can easily create an ad for less than $100 per month, too.
#3: Encourage Customer Reviews
Some customers will leave reviews of your café without being asked. However, some won’t think to do so. There are several ways you can encourage reviews:
- Include the URL of your Facebook page or a review site like Yelp on customer receipts
- Ask contacts on your mailing list to write a review
- Print review cards and give them to patrons with their cheque
You may want to provide some guidelines. For example, written reviews on Facebook make a bigger impact than star reviews without a written accompaniment. Customers may not realise this, but if you tell them, they’ll be more likely to leave a written review.
#4: Show Off Your Food on Instagram
Like Facebook, Instagram is free to use. Originally designed as an app for sharing mobile photography, it’s now used by brands for marketing.
Taking beautiful, drool-worthy shots of your menu items is an inexpensive way to get the word out about your café. You can also encourage patrons to share their own photos and tag your café when they post them.
#5: Connect with Food Bloggers
Food bloggers earn a living by writing about food. It’s not ethical to ask them for a good review. But, there’s nothing wrong with offering a free meal or drink in return for an honest review.
You can find a list of some of Australia’s top food bloggers here. And if you don’t see any local writers there, simply use Google to search for someone to give you the exposure you need.
#6: Send Coupons to Your Email List
Anytime you send out a coupon, you’re bound to draw some new customers to your café. Why not create a coupon for a free or reduced-price item and include it in an email?
And, if you don’t already have an email list, now is the perfect time to build one. Adding an opt-in form to your website is easy and inexpensive, and email marketing is one of the most effective ways to promote your business online.
Marketing your café doesn’t need to be an expensive proposition. The six ideas we’ve outlined here can all be carried out for less than $100 a month.
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