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5. How to market your cafe without spending a dime!

‘Sometimes, having coffee with your friend, is all the therapy you need.’ – Unknown


Are you spending money marketing your cafe? And if you are, do you know how many return customers you are getting for your money? Print and digital media are notoriously expensive and hard to track insofar as ROI (return on investment) goes, so is there a better option? 

Traditionally, cafes have relied on securing a premises with a high foot count to guarantee customers but have had to pay a King’s ransom in rent in order to secure this type of position.

Being reliant on adjacent office buildings and other businesses for lunch time trade seems to be a fading practice as more businesses allow their employees to work from home.

Bricks ’n mortar type businesses may find themselves having to rely more and more on technology as a way of attracting customers as the advantages for businesses and employees to work from home saves money all-ways-round. But when is  a cafe a cafe?

Sure, you can have live in managers on a premises but you can’t actually turn your home into a cafe if it is zoned otherwise, so what is a viable solution?

As people self isolate and social distance more and more, the need for cafes grows and grows and is probably needed now more than ever as an affordable, sociable outing. 

So how can you attract more customers to your cafe without investing in huge advertising costs but also market your cafe to customers directly so that you are not wasting your own time as well as making it as easy and as cost efficient as possible?

Social Media 

So your food photos look great on facebook and instagram but how do you know that your social media account(s) are working for you and actually increasing your customer numbers?

Most cafes these days, tend to have a facebook page if they don’t have a website, but how often are you updating your facebook page? Most businesses agree that facebook and other social networking platforms act more to validate your business rather than to actually help increase numbers. And we all know that the ‘hard sell’ on social media can turn the customer smile upside down. 

But one of the things that is so necessary in any cafe or restaurant is the hard sell. How many times have you been asked in McDonalds whether you’d ‘like fries with that?’ Selling is what it’s all about.

In fact, many of us don’t really think we’ve had any service in these places until we’ve been sold to. So how does facebook and instagram help cafes with the hard sell? Well, it doesn’t.

Community

Helping out in your community or holding an event at your cafe is a good way to attract more customers. Managing the catering for an event but posting pictures of food on offer at your cafe without a price tag seems to leave out part of the equation, perhaps this is the difference between fast food and slow food?

Fast food offers price certainty and consistency and gets bad press because we can afford more of it whereas cafe food is less about price and more about quality.

But whichever way you promote your business it’s all going to be extra work at the end of the day and running a cafe seems hard work enough without having to pay someone to run social media campaigns simply because ‘that’s what you do.’ Is the ‘nag’ of social media really the answer to your business success or just more of a time waster? Or is there an easier way?

Letting Technology Help

It would seem that we are still learning how technology can help us in everyday life. So how should we be using technology in a way that helps with getting more customers in cafes?

One way technology helps food businesses is by making it possible to order online and then collect your order or have your order delivered. This is one way of using technology to help increase sales.

Although there is nothing particularly new about this, it must leave a lot of seats empty in your cafe and of course it costs to have empty seats. And if everything is delivered or take-out what is happening to cafe culture and the art of socialisation?

Don’t say it’s over pluh-ease. Because if it is the beginning of the end, how will people ever meet? And where will they go?

A New Way To Attract Customers

If you’re a cafe/coffee shop owner/operator and you’d like more customers coming back to your cafe then you should consider listing your cafe (for free) with 5050 Cafe Friends and displaying, giving away or sharing Clever Cookies. 

When you list your cafe, you will also be able to print, share or display Clever Cookies to give to your customers. Clever Cookies let your customers know about the free trial on offer at 5050 Cafe Friends.

When your customers join 5050 Cafe Friends as a cafe friend, they are able to take up the free trial on offer. This will give them the ability to be able to select your cafe as a place to meet up with their friends.

All you have to do is promote the free offer to your customers by giving out business card sized Clever Cookies (available for download when you list your cafe) or display an A5 Clever Cookie (available for download when you list your cafe) in the window of your cafe or on your counter top. Or you can also share CCs (electronically) to social media or with friends.

This is how you can increase repeat customers to your cafe and it’s all completely free! 


Some of the benefits of listing your cafe are:

  1. It’s free.
  2. It’s within your control and your listing can be easily managed and updated by you.
  3. It combines technology with real world interaction which means you’re using technology (and so are your customers) to increase in-person socialisation at your cafe.
  4. It supports local cafes.
  5. It supports faraway cafes by making an invite possible to a cafe in another country, state or territory.
  6. It offers an exchange of links (on the cafe listing form) to boost website Google rankings.
  7. It offers the ability to display a food photo and a description of your cafe
  8. You can set the duration of your ‘Deal of the Day’ to promote what you’re offering at your cafe and update it at any time. Your Deal of the Day might be something like this:

      ‘Try a free cronut with every coffee bought this week (we bake them fresh every morning!)’

10. It asks all cafes to agree to the covid requirements for their country.

11. You can add WOO (What’s On Offer) icons to your listing like ‘Free Wi-fi’ or ‘Outdoor Pet Friendly Area’ or ‘Organic Coffee’ there are over 13 to choose from.

12. You don’t need to be a tech wiz to create a listing and it can be easily managed by staff.

What Makes A Great Cafe?

Whether it’s good coffee, great ambience, a great deal, great decor or simply the people that go there – a great cafe is one that you spend time in, oh, and one with secure, reliable, fast and free wifi. Make sure you’re accomodating your customers with free wifi so they have the ability to go to 5050 Cafe Friends, ‘Join as a Cafe Friend’ and send an invite to meet up with a friend/s at your cafe for coffee.

The process on the website makes everyone choose ‘A Cafe Near You’ before they can send out an invite for 5050 Coffee. The choice you want your customers to make is of course to choose YOUR CAFE. And if your cafe is the cafe in which they received a Clever Cookie in, in the first place and has an updated listing, then it’s quite likely that your cafe will be the cafe in which they will choose to invite a friend to.

This is how to get your customers returning to your cafe, by giving them the opportunity to select it on the website.


Keep Customers Coming Back

As a cafe owner/operator you can follow the easy guideline below to keep customers coming back to your cafe. 

1. Free Wifi

In order to get customers coming back to your cafe, you’ll need to offer good, fast, secure and reliable wifi. Add the WOO icon ‘Free Wifi’ to your cafe listing. Look around, everyone who’s on their own these days (or briefly left on their own) in a cafe, flips out their phone, laptop or tablet to either catch up on work, read, flip through their social media accounts or look for stuff on the internet. 

For Cafes/Coffee Shops

Secure wifi for your cafe is a must nowadays and most customers look for cafes where they can surf the internet securely while sipping a coffee. Ensure your cafe keeps your public network secure so your customers access the internet safely.

For Customers

If you’re someone that likes to surf the net while sipping on your favourite beverage at your favourite cafe then choose a cafe with safe, reliable, fast and free wifi.

One of the most important things to look for is end to end encryption. Look for https (the ’s’ stands for secure) on every page you visit.

2. List Your Cafe For Free

5050 Cafe Friends is about turning online friends into cafe friends. People who join successfully are able to find friends they share something in common in with or find friends that they’re just ‘interested in’ and send an invite out to that person or (multiple) people for 5050 Coffee to a cafe of their choosing. 

The first thing you can do as a cafe/coffee shop is to go to 5050cafefriends.com and ‘Join as a Cafe’ which means beginning the process of listing your cafe on the website. This is completely free and when you do this, your cafe becomes a 5050 listing and will stand out in your area. Each time you update your listing it will jump to the top of the search results for your area. Cafe friends can then choose your cafe to invite friends to. All people who join as Cafe Friends must choose a cafe before they can send an invite out for 5050 Coffee. 

To start the process of listing your cafe:

a/ ‘Join as a Cafe’.

b/ Add the name of your cafe

c/ The email of your cafe

d/  A password

You’ll then be asked to agree to the t’s & c’s for cafes and also have to tick a box to do with complying with your country’s covid requirements as stipulated by your government. This is necessary to keep customers and staff safe.

A verification link will then be sent to your cafe’s email.

Add Details Of Your Cafe

a/ Add the address of your cafe 

b/ Upload a food photo

c/ Add a description of your cafe like: ‘Creative ambience with good vibes and good food.’

d/ Add your Deal of the Day

About Deal of the Day

Everyone loves a good deal. Adding your Deal of the Day (D of D) at your cafe is one way of letting Cafe Friends know what’s special at your cafe. You can set the duration of your D of D by selecting the start and end date.

A typical D of D might say something like this: ‘A free cronut with every coffee sold today.’

e/ Add WOO

Woo short for ‘What’s On Offer’ icons can also be added to your listing. There are 16 WOO icons to choose from including:

  • Free Wifi
  • Pet Friendly Outdoor Area
  • No Plastic Straws
  • Water Refill
  • Organic Coffee
  • Free Delivery
  • Staff Wear Facemasks
  • Hand Sanitizer
  • Used Coffee Grinds For Gardens
  • Water Refill
  • Sells Reusable Cups
  • Gluten Free Options
  • Plant Based Options
  • No Plastic Cups
  • Keto
  • Takeout Only
  • Clever Cookies (on display/giveaway)

The WOO icons you select for your cafe will appear on your listing. Cafe friends are able to see them when they send out a coffee invite and may choose a listing that displays the icons which offers what they require.

For instance, if someone requires a Pet Friendly Outdoor Area they would be able to see that your cafe would accommodate them if this icon has been added to your listing.

3. Giveaway, Display or Share Clever Cookies For Free

Clever Cookies are free to giveaway, display or share but also offer a free trial at 5050 Cafe Friends. You can print out and giveaway a business sized Clever Cookie with every coffee in your cafe or display a Clever Cookie with a QR code for your customers to scan.

If you scan the QR code on the Clever Cookie it will take your straight to the 5050 Cafe Friends website where you can take up the free trial. An A5 sized Clever Cookie can be printed out to display in your cafe window or on your counter top. The free trial enables your customers the ability to turn online friends into cafe friends by sending an invite for 5050 Coffee to your cafe.

Yes, Cafe Friends are able to select your cafe to send an invite out for 5050 Coffee to whomever they choose to meet-up with at your cafe.

This is how you can return customers to your cafe, simply by giving away, sharing or displaying Clever Cookies.

4. Be A Partner Cafe

You can be a partner cafe of 5050 Cafe Friends simply by adding your cafe’s URL to the listing form. When you become a partner cafe by adding your cafe’s url on the listing form (optional) which can help improve visibility on the net.

More importantly, if your cafe’s linked logo shows on the cafe’s carousel of partners it will tell potential customers that your cafe shares similar values to 5050 Cafe Friends and supports equality. 

5. Link Exchange

When you create a free customised listing with 5050 Cafe Friends it will standout in your area and feature in the top 10 of search results for your area and so will easily be seen by cafe friends (people who join the website) when they go to select a cafe. 

When you update your listing it will go to the top of search results for your area, so updating your Deal of the Day frequently is a good idea. 

If you exchange links by copying and pasting the code provided by the 5050 Cafe Friends website onto an appropriate page of your website, it will provide a valuable link back to the 5050 Cafe Friends website which in turn will result in more people viewing your listing.  

The Marketing Cycle

Is there a cycle around marketing your cafe to increase your customers? Yes, but does it begin with the cafe listing or the Clever Cookie?

It starts with the cafe listing which will also enable you to share, display or giveaway Clever Cookies. By starting this process, your cafe is bringing people together which is what cafe society is all about.

A Word About Equality

Equality needn’t be a difficult concept to grasp if you understand the principal of 50/50 or ‘going Dutch’ which at 5050 Cafe Friends is simply about paying for yourself which in turn creates a level playing field or state in which you can ‘be equal.’

This does not mean that everyone has to be the same, but that rights, responsibilities and opportunities should not be based on being born male or female.

Everyone who joins must agree with the 5050 Protocol which brings an awareness to all members around the importance of equal decision-making and gender equity.

Gender equity (going 50/50) paves the way to gender equality which is about fairness and changing traditional behaviours and attitudes around gender role play. When everyone pays for their own cup of coffee (5050 Coffee) it makes meeting friend/s affordable and creates a sociable environment in which people feel more options are open to them.

This is in turn sets any friendship off to a great start and sets the tone for a meeting based on mutual respect, fairness and safety. 

A Word About 5050 Coffee 

The term 5050 Coffee probably won’t be found anywhere, however going 50/50 (fifty-fifty or Dutch) is a common way of expressing the desire to meet up and split costs among friends or parties known to each other.

As the term 50/50 is used and understood universally and often when referring to custody arrangements or purchases made between known parties, it is also recognised as a universally fair way in which assets, custody and payments can be divided, arranged or allocated.

It is the desire to seek the most equitable and equal arrangement in order to bring about the best outcome for all parties wishing to meet that forms the basis of 5050 Cafe Friends.

In this way, meeting new friends is made affordable (no bill shock), easy and stressless. If you’re interested in making new friends who share the same interests or just meeting people who you are interested in, send them a Clever Cookie, let them join as a cafe friend or as a cafe, send them an invite for 5050 Coffee courtesy of 5050 Cafe Friends and meet up with them at your local cafe! 

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