No Marketing without a market or why it is important to know your customer
Remember my last article about the need of a WHY for your cafe and how finding that WHY is so crucial for your cafe business?
Because if you have a WHY for your cafe, every other step along the way to open your cafe will be easier and will help you work on a Marketing/Communication strategy from the very beginning. You don’t want everything you’re doing just be a compromise, do you?
OK, now I’m going to tell you, that at the same time with finding that WHY you should be thinking about your customers, too! Because without a market, without knowing who you want to serve your coffee to, your Marketing messages will be shots in the dark, so to say.
Every message about a new coffee arrival, new coffee drinks, new items on your menu… What ever you can think about when promoting your cafe, will be just messages sent out without pointing to a certain receiver.
If you don’t know who you’re sending these messages to - and I’m almost sorry to say this - don’t be surprised if you’re not getting any feedback. Don’t be surprised, if you’re not attracting customers to your cafe.
But, if you’ve been working on a WHY for your cafe, if you’ve found the reason why you want to open a cafe, you will definitely come up with some ideas who your ideal customer, your dream customer, is going to be.
This article takes you by the hand to find that ideal customer and even gives you a checklist to work out this customer for your own cafe.
No matter, if you’ve already opened your cafe or you’re just about to starting out, you can work on your ideal customer.
Most important fact: Put yourself in your customer’s shoes!
Ask yourself? What kind of people do you WANT to attract? You gotta know everything you can about your customer and why they would be coming to your cafe!
Too often, cafe owners fall in love with their coffee and the coffee preparation and all sorts of brewing methods. Don’t get me wrong! You gotta do what you love, to be a great host, too!
But, some of us forget that it's the customer’s needs, not their own, that they must satisfy. Step back from your daily operations, and carefully scrutinize what your customers really want.
Never assume that you understand your customer’s needs and desires. In most cases, there will be a major disparity between your level of knowledge and theirs.
Sure, customers come into your cafe for coffee. But is coffee all they want? What could make them come back again and again and ignore your competition? The answer might be quality, convenience, reliability, friendliness, cleanliness, courtesy or customer service.
Speaking of competition, are there any other cafes in the neighborhood you want to open your cafe in? What kind of people go there? Can you tell why?
As for the area, where you’re going to open your shop, is it a residential area, business, are there many tourists? This can help you figure out, who you want to have in your cafe, too.
Finding out about your potential customer helps you to figure out about what products he or she might want and, most important, how you’re able to talk to them and offer your products to them. Narrowing your audience hones your message and speaks directly to those people most likely to get a kick out of your service.
Some of you already are cafe owners and are finding yourself in the situation, where you’re struggling with attracting (the right) customers. So, how are you going to find out more about your ideal customer, if you’re already in the business?
Well, do a little research:
You easily can tell if they’re male or female!
As for the age: Make certain age groups. Under 20 years, 20-30 years, etc. Or even more vague: children, teenagers, young adults, etc.
Can you tell something about their occupational/job status? Do students come to your cafe? Mostly business people because you’re cafe is located in a downtown business district? What about the families? Are these mostly the mothers and their children or everyone in the family? What about tourists?
Start researching those people! What do they order? Just coffee? Do they have lunch? Your homemade cake maybe?
How long do they stay? Do they even stay or do they take their coffee and food with them?
When are they heading to your cafe? In the mornings for their daily caffeine fix before heading to the office?
What’s the WHY of their visit to your cafe?
If the little research we just did, doesn’t really help, yet, try asking them! This is also a good way to find out, how they would explain why you’re great to others. If you’re really ambitious, ask them, why they like your coffee over others, plus ask them to rate the importance of the features you offer, such as taste, size, ingredients, atmosphere and service. You'll be surprised how honest people are when you ask how you can improve your service.
You could even involve your customers and run a little survey among your customers and offer a free coffee drink or a discount in return. That’s a great way to engage your customers and connect with them.
Do you know your customer? Who are you serving your coffee to? Let me know in the comments!