I’m often asked by friends and other business owners how our coffee business is so ingrained in our community. I love getting that question, because it’s something we’re very proud of and showcases the core value of our business model: relationships.
But how can we seemingly have a presence at every community event, church service, and school? Intentionality.
We understood early on that the best way to get our name in front of folks was to reach out to them to see how we could be a part of whatever it was they were doing. Rather than letting the people come to us, we went to them with an offer they couldn’t refuse. We gave away a lot of free drinks to people we knew would spread the word, and we tested the limits of our budget with some pretty fun (but exhausting) promotions. It was worth every dollar and then some.
Here are some things we did to build our brand and increase customer visits within our community. Take a look and see what might work for you!
Sponsor a youth sport.
When my kids were playing t-ball in the 90s, their jerseys were stamped with the Java! Java! logo. When we weren’t the ones sponsoring, I always made an extended effort to support the small businesses that supported my kids. It was that simple. But it’s not always that obvious, so don’t be afraid to set some conditions in return for your donation. You should communicate to the coach or parent coordinator that it’s important they talk about your sponsorship at their parent’s meeting, as you should be able to expect reciprocal support from the families of the kids your business is contributing to.
Ask to provide coffee service at the next civic or town hall event.
If your town is anything like ours, there are a few times throughout the year where you might have a large group gathering to discuss an upcoming election, an annual celebration or any number of things. Your brand should absolutely be represented there. Find out who the “go-to” contact is and let them know you’d like to supply coffee for the event. Make a sign with “Coffee Provided By…..” and make sure a trusted employee is on hand to talk it up. Then, pass out some coupons or pre-loaded loyalty cards to encourage attendees to come by and support your business. Soon, they’ll be calling you whenever they need coffee service. Talk about direct advertising!
Join your Chamber of Commerce.
An active and engaged Chamber is a huge resource as you try to grow your brand. You’ll meet a lot of like-minded people and make some really valuable connections. Again, try to be the go-to source for coffee service for Chamber events.
Get involved in a local service organization.
Groups like Rotary, Lions Club and Kiwanis Club all offer great opportunities to be of service within your community. Again, you will notice the reciprocity here as your fellow service club members will want to support your business and help you spread the word. You’ll find who the “movers and shakers” are within your town in these groups, and people like that can be wonderful advocates for your business!
Support the good things happening in your community.
Growing a philanthropic atmosphere is good for your business! Serve as a drop-off center for food bank donations, support a local family going through a hard time, post flyers for a community fundraiser, or celebrate things like “National Teacher Appreciation Week.” Just don’t be afraid to step up and support good-deeds that fit your character and vision, and encourage your employees to get involved as well.