Save The Cozy Cup: Tips For Helping Your Favorite Business Succeed
In high school, there was this adorable little coffee shop located in Middle Of Nowhere, CA, on Nameless Street, in a vintage repurposed one-story house. You would never know it was there, except for a simple sign on the door with an image of a steaming cup of coffee beneath the words “The Cozy Cup”. Inside, it still looked much like a house, but with mismatched thrift store tables, chairs, and couches set up for a coffee shop atmosphere, bookshelves full of unrecognizable and outdated titles, and rows of fabric and yarn for sale along the walls. The shop was for hand-craft enthusiasts and coffee lovers alike, with a quaint, quiet vibe, and a cozy setting. It was usually pretty dead in there except on Saturday evenings, when customers would come by to enjoy relaxing live music, sip a cup of joe, and bravely give one of the dusty tomes a shot. I myself performed there many times, hung out and did homework while my mom taught a crochet class in the back room, and enjoyed many a cup of exquisite coffee.
It was such a charming little gem of a coffee shop, and something a little unique as well as being off the beaten path, in a way you just don’t get to see anymore with the plethora of Starbucks locations taking over the world. So when The Cozy Cup closed up shop, it was a sad day for a lot of us regulars, who now had to travel to the next city over to find a decent coffee shop. And by decent, I mean Starbucks.
I bring up The Cozy Cup because I’m sure everyone has experienced this with their own favorite spots, whether they close down after years of great service, or they open as a promising new hang out but don’t last the year. Let’s face reality here: you can’t single handedly keep your favorite spot in business. Unless you plan on paying their rent, employee wages, and electricity bills every time you buy a cup of joe. But in terms of digital marketing, if you want to save your Cozy Cup, here are a few practical things you can do to help your favorite joint succeed.
Write reviews the right way
Say what you will about Yelp, consumers rely on it to tell them where they should eat and shop, who they should hire for their home improvement projects, and who they should vote for to be the next PTA president. We are heavily influenced by reviews and star ratings, so use this to help your favorite businesses. It is actually a pretty good system, despite the unfortunate abuses of it. Your favorite businesses have to deal with competitors writing false reviews, irate employees with a bone to pick with the owner, unreasonable customers who think they can get free stuff if they just write a negative review . . . you name it. Your job is to be honest, and help your favorite spots become other people’s favorite spots with your helpful reviews. But don’t just write how much you love the place. There is a proper way to write reviews that will help the business in more ways than just improving their star rating.
- Write your review in both Yelp and Google. Google reviews help your favorite businesses rank locally in search engines.
- Include specific products, dishes, or services you experienced at the location.
- Include the city of the location. This will help your favorite business rank in Yelp and Google local listings in the area they serve. Also include what city you are from if you traveled from a city other than the business’s address.
- Take photos of the establishment and post them. I know I always check Yelp and Google images to see if restaurants and coffee shops have comfortable seating. That has decided me on where to spend my money on many occasions. Just remember your images may help potential customers choose your favorite spot over a competitor.
- If someone specific served you and was particularly awesome, mention their first name in your review. It will go a long way with their managers, and may encourage new customers to request them specifically.
Tell everyone who will listen about your favorite places
In terms of SEO, you’ll be helping your favorite joints greatly if you write about them on your blog or other online writing forum. Use keywords in your articles. As with reviews, mention the city that the business serves, talk about specific products, dishes, or services, and mention people who helped you by their first name. These are all not only ways to clue search engines about the authority of the business, but also will help your readers learn exactly what they can expect when they go. Most importantly, be sure to include a hyperlink to the business’s website too.
Hit social media . . . hard
This should go without saying these days, but if you have a favorite hang out that you want to help, like and follow as many of their social media profiles as you can, and invite others to do so. Like, comment on and share their business profiles, and engage with them whenever you can. This interaction signals the social media platforms that this business is interesting, maybe even trending, and can help your favorite business improve their brand awareness.
Sharing is caring, even with online promotions
Best to do this digitally. If you receive an email promo, forward it to people you think might be interested. If it’s a Facebook ad, share it on your feed. If it’s on their website, copy the link and spread it around. Your favorite local businesses rely heavily on word-of-mouth. We trust our friends more than business, so trust me when I say your favorite businesses will greatly appreciate this.
Don’t hold back the feedback
If you go on your favorite business’s website and see something not working, for heaven’s sake, tell the business. They likely have no idea it isn’t working. If you have any thoughts on how they can improve their website, branding, promotions, or even a thought on what you’d like to see in their establishment, share it with them. Don’t hold back.