E-Commerce · Coffee

Promoting Your E-Commerce Business

Luis Berga Co-Founder at Music Meets Video

August 28th, 2013

Hi everyone, 

I'm in the process of starting an online business related to coffee. Was wondering what others have done in the past to get the word out to their target audience. If it helps, we are targeting hipsters who drink gourmet coffee. 

Thanks for any help!
Luis
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Anton

August 28th, 2013

I've done these in the past for various e-commerce projects. Most of my colleagues who sell online do the same:

SEO
Don't underestimate the potential of a well-optimized site and a good SEO campaign. Focusing on content and building links can simultaneously create buzz and bring more and more visitors to your site. Check out SEOMoz if you're new to this.

Inbound Marketing
Get the word out there in the form of blog posts, guest posts, articles, discussions, etc. This builds a gradual but consistent flow of traffic to your site and also helps with SEO. Use Google Keyword Tool to figure out what people are searching for, and write about it. Make sure your articles are interesting enough to read, though.

PPC
Pay-per-Click ads through Google and other networks can make you a lot of money if you have a conversion-optimized website and you keep your costs lower than your revenues. The key here is to constantly measure and optimize so that you're making, not losing, money. What's great about PPC is that if it's profitable, it's easy to scale up. Beward, though, as it's not appropriate for every business.

Affiliate Networks
When you sign up for these networks, you agree to pay a commission to anyone who gets you a sale. The network will let its advertisers know about your offer, and people will sign up to join your "Affiliate Program" (you can screen them individually, usually, if you like). For example, say you agree pay 50% of your profits for any sales brought in by your affiliates. They may run ads, create landing pages, and ultimately guide users to your website for you in exchange for the commission. This can be profitable, but also a shady business, so read up on it before you dive in.

Michael Brill Technology startup exec focused on AI-driven products

August 28th, 2013

A little off-topic, but I wonder why hipsters drink crap beer, wear vinyl jackets, listen to scratched vinyl records and yet pay $5 for a cup of coffee? Whatever you're doing, I hope it involves the cheapest beans you can buy and some dead 1950s coffee brand you've resurrected!

Derek Bugley

August 28th, 2013

To comment again and try to be a small voice of reason:  PR, selling your product on Ebay, or paying for PPC or developing an SEO strategy prior to actually talking to 10, 20 or 200 people about your product is completely the wrong way to go about it.  

Mr. Hipster - Try my product, what do you think, what do you think of when you try it, where do you buy related items and products, would you buy this one, why or why not and refine.  Have a big vision, but be humble in how you approach it right now.  "hipsters who drink gourmet coffee"  seems like a pretty small target market.  You may find expanding that to a broader base helpful as well.  Who knows I know very little about what the heck you're trying to sell anyways.  

Luis Avila Owner/Fullstack Architect at IdeaNerd LLC

August 28th, 2013

PBR became the hipster beer not by marketing to hipsters... since that would turn them off... but by promoting events that hipsters frequent. For example, PBR became the sponsor of various indy music events. The Wikipedia article on PBR. I thought it was interesting. It depends on your brand of course and how you want to bee seen by hipsters... if that is indeed your target market.


Patrick Colmenar Development Manager at LDProducts

August 28th, 2013

Anton's post is pretty well done.  I'd go right to social - setup Facebook page, buy FB ads on keywords like (esoteric coffee keyword).  You can also sell on Amazon or Ebay.  If you have unique products PR is huge.  There was an article on Tumblr's office - http://www.businessinsider.com/photos-tumblr-office-nyc-2012-01?op=1 - and they had a shot of Grady's Cold Brew.  I never heard of that product before but once I saw it, I was interested as a consumer.  

Derek Bugley

August 28th, 2013

Have you gone to local 'hipster' coffee shops to sit down and talk to them?  You're trying to determine a customer acquisition strategy that will appeal to them.  It's a question only you can answer knowing the industry you're in.  I would think determining if these so called hipsters want your online product related to coffee would be a good first step.  Then connect through linkedin or networking to people within the industry to share those ideas you're developing.  Start with the most likely one and go down the list.  

Russ Value creator and deal maker

August 28th, 2013

To help you, answering the following questions can yield you more powerful answers on a platform like Founder Dating.  What is special and/or unique about your product?   Brand?   Marketing?    What business is it (are you going to offer coffee or an app that locates coffee for hipsters or?   What is your launch budget and what specific goals do you wish to accomplish?    What relationships do you have with other companies offering products successfully to your target market?   What customer validation tests have you done and what were the results?

John Corry Software Engineer, Tools at Yik Yak, Inc.

August 28th, 2013

I guess it would depend on the nature of the business...a cafe wouldn't get the word out the same way a wholesale roaster or an ecommerce coffee store would.