A newsletter is a positive, non-threatening way to promote your coffee shop. Use it as a tool to cement your relationship with existing customers and as an attractive drawing card for new ones. Whether you distribute them in your shop, mail them to people’s homes or put them out via email, you can create a newsletter that customers look forward to receiving.
The bulk of your newsletter is filled with content, and this is where you position yourself as a coffee expert. Include articles about different types of coffee, facts about coffee growing regions and product reviews. If you run out of ideas, use excerpts from articles of interest in coffee trade magazines – with the magazine's permission. Include a column for upcoming events. If you have live entertainment on weekends, or special tasting events, highlight them here. Consider including an “Ask the Barista” column where customers pose questions for you to answer.
Your coffee newsletter is an advertisement for your shop. All of its content is a reflection of your business. Allow up to 25% of the newsletter to focus specifically on advertising. Advertise merchandise such as travel mugs, bulk coffee and other products that you sell. Run promotions such as sale pricing and discount nights. If there are other shops near your location, inquire if they would like to advertise with you. If they have comparable newsletters, then offer to swap ads. You probably won’t make much money directly, but the object is to draw more customers.
Look at the newsletter as an extension of your shop. As such, its style should reflect the atmosphere that you worked to cultivate. If you are proficient with graphical layout, design the newsletter yourself with desktop publishing software like Microsoft Publisher. Alternatively, you could use a graphics designer to make a template for you to plug in content yourself on an ongoing basis. Design the newsletter for an 8 ½ by 11 inch page. It makes printing easier and less costly. With a fold placed in the middle, your newsletter is a convenient size to mail.
There are three channels in which to distribute your newsletter. Create a paper version available in your shop for customers to read and carry out. Not only will this keep customers coming back, but also draws new ones if your customers share them with other people. Develop a mailing list to send out copies by snail mail. The USPS provides bulk mail discounts. Finally, you will need an email version. Whether you maintain an email list for distribution, or have the newsletter downloadable on your website, this version will be your most cost-effective.
Thomas Metcalf has worked as an economist, stockbroker and technology salesman. A writer since 1997, he has written a monthly column for "Life Association News," authored several books and contributed to national publications such as the History Channel's "HISTORY Magazine." Metcalf holds a master's degree in economics from Tufts University.