How I Sold More Coffee by Putting My Website First

Across the street from my coffee shop sat a large coffee chain that attracted more customers than I could count. I was desperate to get more customers in the door of my coffee shop and had tried a number of marketing methods.

At this point, exhausted physically, mentally ― and financially ― I was at my breaking point. What else could I do? Move to another location? Offer more inexpensive prices? Spend even more on social media ads?

I knew I had to do something, and fast. My mind swirled with ideas, but I didn’t know what to do.

Then suddenly, it hit me.

It was so simple. It wasn’t expensive. And I was optimistic it would work.

The Most Helpful Tip

One of the most helpful things I started asking my customers was simply, “How did you find my business?”

Easy, I know. But do you know how your customers found you?

“Word of mouth” was the most frequent answer.

The reason customers came to my café was because they had already received a word-of-mouth first impression of having high-quality coffee, a hip atmosphere, and good customer service.

First impressions really do matter. But referrals and word of mouth aren’t scalable. So, how do you get more sales?

When you’re looking to try a new restaurant nearby, what do you do? You go online.

So, ask yourself: “What kind of first impression does my website make?”

Turning Your Website Into a Sales Driver

Let’s start at the very beginning. Look at your website and ask yourself these questions:

  • What’s my website’s goal? To get more walk-ins? New wholesale inquiries? More e-commerce sales?
  • If you have a café, will your customers feel as if they have experienced your café by the time they get directions?
  • If you have an e-commerce site, do your customers have an expectation as to what kinds of flavors you offer in your coffees and teas?
  • If you offer wholesale, do your customers understand your process, and have you answered the FAQs?
  • Are you tracking how many people come to your website with the number of orders you receive?

E-commerce websites can be more in-depth, but the principles are the same. Use descriptions to show the flavors and tasting notes of your coffee. Pictures of the product and the product packaging are important.

If you’re offering wholesale coffee, you should describe the differentiators and frequently asked questions. How is your wholesale delivered? Do you white-label your products? Give potential customers the information they need to feel comfortable filling out an inquiry form—then let your coffee itself finalize the sale.

Creating a New Scalable Funnel

To kickstart your online business, put yourself in your customers’ shoes: What would a new visitor to your site like to see?

Some key elements to include on your homepage include:

  • Several pictures (and maybe even a video), which pulls the user into the page.
  • Two to three sentences describing what sets your coffee and coffee shop apart.
  • The different ways someone can get coffee from you (café, wholesale business, e-commerce, coffee subscription, etc.).
  • The location of your business and the hours of operation.
  • Links to sub-pages for the different ways customers can access your coffee (in-store, subscription, wholesale, etc.).

Next, from those the sub-pages, you can focus on what they want―such as wholesale, e-commerce, or the like―and list these items:

  • How the business is unique.
  • Frequently Asked Questions
  • First-time customers may want to try your coffee first. Offer options like a free trial subscription, in-store cuppings, etc.

After I implemented these methods in my café’s website, I was generating four to five more new wholesale inquiries per week, some of which were worth more than $1,000 per month. I received countless café walk-ins from customers who had found us online, and also saw the coffee subscription club grow rapidly.

The Challenge

If you are having difficulties bringing in new business, then I have a challenge for you: Create a website that properly communicates who you are to your customers.

Your website is the first impression―the face―of your business.

Peter Ruchi is the founder of CoffeeMarketer.com.