5 Questions I wish coffee marketers would ask me.

August 8, 2013 by

old coffee shopSometimes I daydream.

Inspired by the print you see here, portraying a coffee shop back in 1674, I began daydreaming about sitting at a table and answering questions from some managers and founders of online coffee stores.

I know, a slightly weird daydream. But I think it speaks to my passion for sharing what I know about business online with the online coffee marketing community.

Here are the questions, and my answers.

We are active on social media, so isn’t having an e-newsletter redundant?

Social media is a great way to reach new prospects, keep in touch with your customers, drive engagement and build community. I have no argument with that. I think every online coffee business should be engaged through social media.

However, I think you should also publish your own e-newsletter. I know, it’s old-school in terms of technology. But when you build a list of subscribers you have the means to broadcast your messages to everyone on the list, as and when you want to. The better the quality of what you publish, the higher the open rates and clickthrough rates.

And consider this, when someone opens a social media page, your message is one of many that they see. On any social media page, you are competing for attention.

But when someone opens your e-newsletter, you have their full attention. Your e-newsletter fills the page. No competing eye candy.

Plus, your e-newsletter list is a hugely valuable asset. You own it. It has a dollar value.

You don’t own your social media pages. Facebook does. Twitter does. Google does. They can shut you down at any time they like. Don’t believe me? Posterous.com was shut down this April, casting millions of people’s blogs into the ether.

Every online business should build and own it’s own e-newsletter and mailing list.

Isn’t it enough to focus on the quality of our coffees?

You wish. I know a lot of roasters, who believe that if they roast it, new customers will come.

Not so.

As I have mentioned in previous posts, one problem you face is that a lot of your customers use coffee makers that will never do justice to the quality of your coffees. In addition, quality is not enough. This is true when selling wine, selling smartphones and selling coffee.

In addition to roasting great coffee, you HAVE to create powerful marketing and promotional platforms that will make people want to choose your coffee over anyone else’s. And the “quality” approach is not enough, because everyone makes the same claim (even Maxwell House!).

To sell coffee makers, why not just rely on what works with other small appliances?

It’s true that if you walk into BestBuy or log into Amazon.com, you’ll find coffee makers lumped together with microwaves, toasters and food mixers.

But that doesn’t mean you should view your coffee maker simply as another small appliance to be sold with a photo shot on a white background and a short list of features.

That might be all it takes to sell a toaster because, well, toasters are boring. There is rarely an interesting story or narrative that can be paired with a toaster.

But a coffee maker is different. Through the story of coffee itself, you can weave wonderful narratives around your coffee maker.

For example, a video of a toaster in use isn’t going to add value to a product page, but a good video of someone using a coffee maker will.

Long story short…most online product pages for coffee makers do a terrible job.

Doesn’t the “simpler is better” rule apply to our product sales pages?

This is a follow-up to the previous question. And it’s a good question.

A product page needs to be simple enough and clean enough that it doesn’t throw obstacles in the way of people who are ready to buy.

That said, the page needs to include enough information to make people feel comfortable and confident about making the purchase. If they don’t have enough information, they won’t buy. Nor will they buy if you fail to make them WANT to buy at an emotional level.

In other words, it’s a matter of balance. Don’t put too much on the page, but don’t put too little either. Most sales pages for coffee makers I see have far too little information. They are toaster ages.

Shouldn’t our content pages be focused primarily on search engine keywords?

Adding content to your site is a good thing because it gives both the search engines and your readers a reason to come back often.

And yes, it makes sense to optimize each new page for one or two keywords or phrases. But don’t obsess over the keyword thing. Your primary task is to create a body of content that serves a clear purpose and is aligned with your marketing plan and your business plan.

Be clear in your own mind about this. Keyword optimizing should not the driver behind content creation. There is very little to be gained from simply publishing dozens or hundreds of pages simply on the basis that “more content is good”.

The content you publish should be created according to a plan that is precisely aligned with your marketing plan. Content should become they top end of an online sales funnel that drives readers through to your product pages.

Get that right first, and then fell free to spend time on keywords and other aspects of search engine optimization.

End of the conversation…

That’s five questions answered. If you’re in the business of selling coffee or coffee makers online, and have other questions you would like answered, feel free to get in touch with me though my contact page.

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