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Getting more foot traffic

Updated: Mar 19

Who’s Walking By? Let’s Make Them Stop.

In the quest for more foot traffic, it's easy to fall into the trap of counting heads.

But here’s the twist: it's not about getting more people through the door; it's about getting the right people through the door.

Who are they?

The rushed morning commuter, the freelance writer looking for inspiration, the group seeking a cozy corner for their weekly catch-up?

Identify them. That’s your tribe.

In my cafe, close to the suburbs, it was the mom groups. They would come in groups of 3-5 and converse with each other for hours. Or plan a community event. Or host their book club.

I made this type of customer my Target Persona. From there, I created social content, store events, and promotional items that this customer would LOVE.

Keep in mind, your Target Persona may not be exactly your ideal persona. They might not be the hip, trendsetting, artistic twenty-somethings drinking single origin espresso, and that's okay.

The target persona is the (good) customers already coming in. Ask "how can I get more customers like this?"

A Beacon on the Street

Your storefront isn't just a façade. It's a story waiting to be told, a magnet waiting to attract.

It should whisper (or shout, if that’s your style) to your Target Persona, “This is where you belong. People like your come to places like this."

Make it more than just visible – make it memorable. A chalkboard that doesn't simply say the daily special but has jokes or quips written on it, windows painted with chalk marker that draw the eye, open doors and a free sample table with pastries for customers to try.

As far as you can reach, create an open loop that draws the customer one step closer, then again and again until they're right in front of the register.

It’s theater, and every element is part of the set design.

Community as an Attractor

Transform your coffee shop into a landmark, a hub in the community wheel.

It’s about hosting events that resonate with one of your Target Personas – maybe it’s a local artist showcase, a live podcast recording, or a tasting evening featuring new blends.

Collaborate with neighboring businesses to create a web of interconnected experiences – a book club that starts in the bookstore and ends with discussions over coffee in your shop.

Or a monthly cycling trip that starts and ends at your cafe.

Create events that don't try to establish new groups necessarily, because that's hard. Instead, try to offer something for groups that already exist. Like I mentioned, book clubs, cycling groups, mom groups, and more.

Even better if you can partner with a nearby business, since they likely already have any established customer base you can tap into. Start doing this as soon as you host your grand opening to really make your coffee shop an anchor in the community.

Don't Neglect Digital

In today's world, your digital footprint is as crucial as your physical one. It's the street that never sleeps.

Engage in digital – not with mere promotions but with stories that captivate. Every Instagram post, every TikTok, is a scene in your narrative. It's about making your online presence so engaging, so intrinsically ‘you’, that your tribe can’t help but stop by to experience the real deal.

Does that sound a bit exhausting? Yes, it can be, so plan and schedule your digital social media posts rather than try to rely on daily creative inspiration.

However, organic social media isn't the only path to digital success (and it's not the only one you should use!)

Collect contact info from customers, either through your Point-of-Sale system or a loyalty program and regularly email or send SMS messages.

Provide meaningful, engaging content crafted for your Target Personas – don't just spam your audience begging them to come into your shop for the latest seasonal drink.

It’s Connection, Not Just Location

Remember, increasing foot traffic is more art than science.

It’s about creating a place where people don't just come for the coffee; they come for the connection, the experience, the feeling of being part of something. That might be with their own friends or with you and your staff.

So, who’s your tribe, and how will you make your coffee shop their haven?


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