Marketing is pivotal for raising awareness of your hospitality business. It is indispensable for the success of any establishment, whether it’s a kiosk, café, or renowned restaurant. A comprehensive marketing strategy extends beyond social media presence; it encompasses customer interactions, community engagement, and both digital and physical outreach. An effective marketing strategy is vital for generating awareness, attracting customers, and fostering customer loyalty.

In a recent podcast, Mark McCulloch shared his marketing model, offering advice with five easy and practical steps to ensure your marketing strategy gets up and running. Each step targets a different aspect of marketing concerning proximity, ranging from the wider audience to the immediate local area:

1. Make an impact on all digital and social platforms and ensure PR about the space. (Wide audience)

This can be achieved by joining local Facebook groups and sharing your business. For instance, introduce yourself with a personal touch: “Hi, I am the owner of [insert name]. I wanted to introduce myself. Please pop along if you are in the area; I would love to get to know you all.” Strive to create a buzz on social media for better traction. The main idea of step one is: how easily can people find your business when they search online?

2. Make Friends. (Local Area)

The success of your business depends partially on the persona you convey. People prefer being served by friendly individuals and are likely to share their positive experiences. Making friends in the local area can be as simple as visiting other shops, introducing yourself, creating shareable offers, or leaving flyers. Utilise unconventional methods like engaging with taxi drivers for word-of-mouth promotion. Also, make an effort to befriend influencers and significant local groups, such as little league football clubs, aiming to become their preferred hangout.

3. Create Demand (Immediate Area)

Identify advertising opportunities, target potential customers in immediate areas, and tailor promotions to specific groups, like offering special discounts for a mother and baby group in a local church. It’s crucial to embed your brand psychologically and get people thinking about your business.

4. Is it obvious what you do? (Outside the Venue)

Consider the perspective of someone who doesn’t use social media, like an elderly person passing by your shop. Is it clear what your business offers? Ensure effective signage, including pavement signs, to make your shop stand out. Remember, it’s about communicating, not decorating. Every element on the shop front should serve a clear and concise purpose.

5. What are you doing to ensure customers return? (On the Inside)

Don’t let a customer leave without ensuring they have a reason to return. Whether it’s a promise to have something special waiting for them on their next visit or an invitation to sign up for exclusive offers through your mailing list. Creating a habitual hangout involves getting a person to return three times in quick succession. Consider providing new customers with a red napkin to remind you to give them special attention or a loyalty card. Find a method that aligns with your business and ensures new customers are treated with the utmost care. You might even start by offering something free, like free cake with coffee on their next visit, to make your customers eager to return.

Mark McCulloch suggests working through these steps in reverse order (5-1) for existing businesses and in sequential order (1-5) for new establishments. Regularly re-evaluate smaller details before addressing larger marketing initiatives.

Effective marketing strategies can differentiate your cafe, showcase your offerings, and establish a positive reputation, ultimately driving foot traffic and enhancing the overall success of your business.

If you want to learn more on this topic, be sure to check out Mark McCullochs featured episode on the hospitality playbook –

Posted by: Lauren Algar

Posted by: Lauren Algar