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Thread: Best Coupon Strategy?

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    Default Best Coupon Strategy?

    I'm opening a coffee shop and doing a lot of talking through it with an experienced friend who is coming on as a manager. Tonight we were discussing marketing strategies and coupons and the topic of digital coupons came up, as well as direct mail marketing.

    I'm all for sending out postcards that double as coupons, especially for something like my grand opening. My friend dismissed it as junk mail. I've seen a lot of support of direct mail, especially the kind that can be "lumpy." But can mine be effective without the ability to send along a cup of coffee?

    For a steady coupon strategy, I was debating between paper coupons that could be handed out or digital coupons for phone and web. I like the idea of digital coupons, especially as I'm attempting to be as environmentally friendly as possible (even though I'm sure the difference between the energy output for cell phones and making the paper is probably negligible). But I don't know if I'm interested in trying to tread that fine line between never sending out enough coupons and sending so many I'm annoying. A general coupon app or a Facebook coupon would work, but I'm not sure if those are as effective a marketing tool as the direct text messages or e-mails.

    And with the addition of the reward cards I plan to have, is this even something I should do? Am I risking doing too many coupons and undercutting my bottom line? My products are already in a reasonable price bracket for the industry, even on the low end.

    Any of it? All of it? Something I didn't think of?
    - Stephanie, Southern Velvet Cafe

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    Hey Stephanie,

    Yep, I'm a huge fan of direct mail and 3D/lumpy mail.

    You don't have to send a cup of coffee, but you could send a little pouch with coffee in it, in an envelope to make it lumpy. Though, I'm not sure I would send it out to everyone, since not everyone drinks coffee. If you could get a list of coffee drinkers then you're on to something!

    As far as coupons... I have mixed feelings. Yeah, they're a great lead generation strategy, because who doesn't like to get discounts? But, Look at Starbucks... their coffee is more expensive and they target more affluent folks. Do you ever see them send out coupons? I haven't. But, they to have their "rewards" cards where you can earn free drinks (and, they get their contact info so they can continue to market to them... Remember: It's cheaper to market to an existing customer than get a new one). So, I'm not sure if I'd go the coupon route, but definitely look into the rewards cards that you're talking about.

    If you do decide on coupons, maybe you want to make them product specific. Instead of just, get X off when you spend X, or buy 3 get one free, you may want to offer a special on certain products. And, change it every mailing. Be diverse. Get your customers to try all of your products.

    Anyone else here have thoughts they could share on coupons?
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    Quote Originally Posted by SouthernVelvetCafe View Post
    I'm opening a coffee shop and doing a lot of talking through it with an experienced friend who is coming on as a manager. Tonight we were discussing marketing strategies and coupons and the topic of digital coupons came up, as well as direct mail marketing.

    I'm all for sending out postcards that double as coupons, especially for something like my grand opening. My friend dismissed it as junk mail. I've seen a lot of support of direct mail, especially the kind that can be "lumpy." But can mine be effective without the ability to send along a cup of coffee?

    For a steady coupon strategy, I was debating between paper coupons that could be handed out or digital coupons for phone and web. I like the idea of digital coupons, especially as I'm attempting to be as environmentally friendly as possible (even though I'm sure the difference between the energy output for cell phones and making the paper is probably negligible). But I don't know if I'm interested in trying to tread that fine line between never sending out enough coupons and sending so many I'm annoying. A general coupon app or a Facebook coupon would work, but I'm not sure if those are as effective a marketing tool as the direct text messages or e-mails.

    And with the addition of the reward cards I plan to have, is this even something I should do? Am I risking doing too many coupons and undercutting my bottom line? My products are already in a reasonable price bracket for the industry, even on the low end.

    Any of it? All of it? Something I didn't think of?
    If you can afford it, send out coupons for one free coffee as a friendly introduction to your neighborhood (I wouldn't call it a Grand Opening). A free product with no strings attached has always struck me as a thoughtful way to get new customers. The most effective method imo would be to send them on postcards, which I know is expensive, but considerate and would get much more attention than lumped in with others companies coupons.
    Owner, small landscape/remodeling biz (1-3 employees)

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    Look at Starbucks... their coffee is more expensive and they target more affluent folks. Do you ever see them send out coupons?
    When they have a new store in an areas, yeah, they'll go the coupon route for a few weeks to increase awareness of their presence. But they have a brand, so they don't have to climb that hurdle that a one-off shop has to do.
    Interesting interview in Time with CEO of Starbucks... his business is being squeezed on the bottom by gas stations and on top by those who are offering a "coffee experience" that includes hand-selecting the beans and so on. So offering coupons is good for initial awareness, but differentiation is what will keep them coming back once you have their attention.
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    I've definitely put a lot of thought in ways I can be different--better, in my opinion--than Starbucks. Part of that is going to be my unique aesthetic. I'm going for a fun vintage-y feel, without going full roller skating waitress diner. Which is part of what I think could make a postcard--thoughtfully designed to represent my look--so successful. I have to agree that after sleeping on it, I'll probably focus more on a rewards program than on coupons, though I do agree that an initial coupon push to increase area awareness is probably in my future.
    One of my other differences is how much I'm focusing on homemade pastries at the cafe. Would offering a free cookie or some other pastry on the postcard be a good way to get them in the door thinking about using me for both their dessert and coffee needs, or is initiating the contact solely through coffee the better strategy?
    - Stephanie, Southern Velvet Cafe

    "If you're afraid of butter, use cream." - Julia Child

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    I'd do coffee and pastry for a silly low price as a promo. If your going 50's nostalgia promote it as 50's prices ..."check us out -just 50 cents for a coffee and donut!". That can be more memorable than just free coffee.

    Also, on local eateries keep your marketing dollars focused tightly on your trading area. Don't waste money too far out from your shop.

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    Southern Velvet Cafe,

    I always like the idea of a bit of secrecy with the ability to change the offer automatically.

    Here is how it works?

    Using a fridge magnet you add your brand graphics, a QR Code and for those that can't scan the QR Code add a message that invites the reader to come into your Cafe. Maybe something like. "Join us today for something special." Add to get the deal ask for: "I want today's deal" The "Ask For Statement" is important and is used to track your advertising. It can be anything you want.

    The QR Code changes the offer daily and is called a dynamic QR code. So what is a dynamic QR code? A dynamic QR code redirects the location of the QR code at regular times. So on Monday the QR code redirects to deal 1, on Tuesday it is deal 2...If scanned on Wednesday you get Deal 3...The dynamic QR Code can be changed at a moments noticed so you don't need to send a new postcard every time you have a new offer.

    How to get your fridge magnet to stay on the fridge?

    To find new clients, hook up with the local community center and have them do fundraiser. They sell your fridge magnet for $10.00 and keep the cash for their fundraiser. Your fridge magnet has a year's worth of offers with a new offer each day and can worth maybe $100.00 or $200.00. I am not a big fan of discounts I prefer packaging deals. Buy a medium coffee and get a muffin for 10 cents. The muffin "10 cent number" is the cost of the muffin materials.

    Another idea is to go over to an on demand tee-shirt printer. The local community center is all about the local football or baseball teams so have the graphic created Line 1: "I am the number one fan of X-Team" Line 2: Your QR-Code, Line 3: Name of your coffee shop with byline Join us for a coffee after the game. The community center is selling the number one fan tee shirts and you are supporting by offering deals to everyone that buys the tee shirt. Then everytime the #1 fan wears your tee shirt they have access to your deals...

    This is Relationship Marketing at it's best....

  8. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by JC View Post
    If you can afford it, send out coupons for one free coffee as a friendly introduction to your neighborhood (I wouldn't call it a Grand Opening). A free product with no strings attached has always struck me as a thoughtful way to get new customers. The most effective method imo would be to send them on postcards, which I know is expensive, but considerate and would get much more attention than lumped in with others companies coupons.
    +1 here. Get users inside your store and wow them. If they like it they will come back and not alone .

    Why not try both of your coupon ideas? See what works best. You just might be surprised .

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    Quote Originally Posted by Alex - Arvixe View Post
    Get users inside your store and wow them.
    Agreed! Do you think you'd be more likely to take someone up on a free coffee or a free pastry? I'm thinking the pastries are a good way to get people hooked. They're what I'm truly passionate about. I just want to feed people. ^_^
    - Stephanie, Southern Velvet Cafe

    "If you're afraid of butter, use cream." - Julia Child

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    My thought that if you're a coffee shop, people are coming for the coffee more than the pastries. If you're a pastry shop, people will be coming for that.

    So you need to excel with the one people expect you to excel at and then wow them by also being good with the other. I'd do the coupon for both, the coffee + pastry, give the person $1 off for getting both. Hopefully your margins are good enough that that discount is not considered a loss leader.
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