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Coffee roasters are increasingly turning to direct marketing as a way to sell their beans.

Which is understandable, it gives you incredible control over how your product is sold, a stronger connection with your customers, higher profit margins and to get started, all you need is the cost of website hosting and a domain name.

I had two options with this guide, the first is to do a short guide like everyone else does that glosses over everything which is fine but you often leave not really knowing what to do, the second is to be as comprehensive as possible but that would mean creating a rather long guide.

I decided to go with the second.

I really hope I give you everything you need to get started creating your online store to sell your coffee from.

What you’ll need

You’ll need a couple of things to get started.

  • Domain name
  • Hosting
  • Content management system
  • E-commerce plugin
  • Theme

Domain Name

The domain name is the URL that your customers will put into their browsers to see your website.

For example, my domain name is okryan.blog.

There are two choices you’ll have to make, the name of your store and the TLD.

Name

The name should be something simple and easy to remember, try to avoid “-” in your domain name as it tends to look a little unprofessional, for example, if my domain was to be ok-ryan.blog.

Also unless it’s apart of your brand, avoid numbers, because what can happen is if you tell your domain to someone which might contain the number 1 in it, people might not know if they should type “1” or “one”, my advice is if you decide on using numbers, is to buy both domains and redirect the one you don’t want to use to the domain you do want to use.

TLD

A TLD is the end part of a domain, for example, .com, .com.au, .co.uk or in my case .blog.

Most people want the .com as it is very well known.

If you decide on only trading to a specific country, it’s a good idea to buy that country specifics TLD, for example, in Australia we have com.au, the benefit is that you can show your customers that you’re local and what you’ll find is that most good .com domain names are already taken, however, to buy a .com.au domain you’ll need an ABN which means you have an Australian registered business to buy one so there are more available domain names.

Whois privacy

Most people who buy a domain name for the first time, won’t buy domain privacy, which is fine.

However, be prepared for a couple of weeks of spam phone calls and emails.

There are databases that collect the contact information of peoples domain names, so what some agencies do is try to contact and offer web design to people who have just purchased a domain name.

Hosting

Your website host is where all your sites data is stored and is made available on the internet.

You’ll need a host if you want people to find your website.

I recommend Bluehost to people building their websites for the first time, their user interface is really simple to use and they are a great value.

As your store gets bigger, however, I would recommend transferring your website to a more premium host.

I have an affiliate link for Bluehost available at here at okryan.blog/hosting, for everyone who purchases their hosting through my affiliate link I have some bonus free tutorials and training that will show you how to optimise your store and get the most out of your Woocommerce experience.

WordPress

WordPress is the most popular content management system out there, best of all it’s free!

What WordPress does is provides structure to the website and prevents us from having to code anything.

Woocommerce

WordPress alone does not have e-commerce functionality, so what we need to do is add a plugin to our website that will create the shopping cart feature.

Woocommerce, just like WordPress is open source and free which helps us to save money to reinvest into our marketing.

Theme

The theme structures the appearance of our website.

Some themes provide more customizable options than other, however if this is your first time building a website I wouldn’t recommend using a highly customisable theme.

My reason is, is that I’ll often see beginners with these themes that are highly customizable but will make terrible looking websites because they don’t know the elements of what makes websites look good.

It takes time to practice making a great looking website, so I would rather you use a theme that will hold your hand and reinvest all that saved time into providing the best customer experience, then when you have some money to invest, pay a web designer to make you that perfect online store that looks exactly the way you want it.

Putting it together

If you want to learn how to build an online store by yourself from scratch in a single afternoon, I have a free article that you show you everything you need to know in as much detail as possible.

I highly recommend checking it out.

Direct Marketing

Now we’re going to get into the nitty gritty of exactly how to sell coffee online.

One of the biggest problems I see when coffee roasters try to market directly to the consumer is that they completely forget about consumer behavious.

There are two main types of customers that you need to be concerned with, new customers and existing customers, what you need to understand is both these customer groups will completely different purchasing patterns.

New customers

New customers are people who haven’t purchased your coffee just yet, what you need to understand about new customers is that it is almost impossible to get them to buy bulk coffee beans.

They want to sample your product first before making a commitment and will typically be willing to pay for a smaller package to see if they like it first and then purchase the bigger package that is better value.

So what that means for us is that we need to structure our marketing plan with this in mind.

If you can master the art of marketing to new customers, you’ll never have a problem growing your business.

So to bring in new customers, we need to create a couple of products that are specifically designed to appeal to new customers, I refer to these products as front end products.

Front end products can be sample packs, mix packs or starter packs.

They’re built for new customers and the best front end products introduce them to you and your brand and help lay the foundation for your relationship with your consumers.

Existing Customers

Existing customers who have had a great experience with your brand can bring in the bulk of the revenue.

There is a great essay by Kevin Kelly called the 1,000 true fans where he discusses that all you need to run a successful business is 1,000 true fans that are passionate about your product.

If you can build an audience of 1,000 people and have a direct line of communication such as a mailing list that you can promote offers to, you have a successful business.

There is a significant difference between the buying patterns of new customers and existing customers, new customers are more likely to products with less financial risk, so if they don’t like it there is no big loss, however, existing customers who know they like your coffee, are more likely to buy bigger and more bulk products that have a higher per serve value.

Transitioning customer types

The ultimate strategy is to create an extremely enticing front end offers that compel new customers to buy, provide an amazing experience and then upsell back end offers to build the lifetime value of each person who purchases your product.

The best way to transition a new customer who has purchased your coffee for the first time to someone who only drinks your coffee and is a raving fan is providing a fantastic experience.

You should be putting the customer first providing the best possible product everytime.

The best thing about direct to consumer marketing is that you have the ability to create a direct communication channel with your customers.

Direct marketing for coffee

Now that we’ve created our front end and back end products, we can now look at generating traffic, I highly recommend Facebook ads and email marketing for people just getting started.

While free organic methods are great, most social platforms are really clamping down on organic reach.

To get the most out of our Facebook ads and Email marketing, there are a couple of things we need to do first.

Facebook Pixel

The Facebook pixel is a small snippet of code that can help give us feedback on how our ads a performing and lets us create retargeting ads so that we can send targeted Facebook ads to people who have taken specific actions on your website.

The pixel is very easy to install, all you have to do is head the Facebook business manager at business.facebook.com.

  • Click Business Manager
  • Hover over All tools and click Pixels
  • Click Add new data source than Facebook Pixel
  • Click Set up and then Install Pixel
  • Facebook will then guide you on how to install your pixel

Now that you’re Facebook pixel is installed, you can target people who have taken specific actions on your website such as:

  • People who have visited your website but haven’t purchased
  • People who have added to their shopping cart but haven’t purchased
  • People who have purchased.

You can now create ads to recapture lost sales and upsell customers on back end offers.

Email

This one’s a bit tricky as there are a ton of email autoresponders out there that each have their own plugins that will integrate with Facebook.

The best thing to do is get in contact with their support team and they will help you out.

But once you’ve set this up, you’ll be able to add people who have purchased from your website to your email list which means you can send them emails about your back end offers.

Combining the two

For best results, we want to use Facebook ads and email to maximise our returns.

Use Facebook ads to driving traffic to our front end offers, then use remarketing ads and your email list to bring those customers back to our store and promote our back end products.

We want to create Facebook ads that target:

  • People who have visited your website but haven’t purchased
  • People who have added products to the cart but haven’t purchased

We’re going to be sending these customers to our front end offer.

This will help drive customers who have visited our website but haven’t made a purchase just yet back to the store.

Next, create a Facebook ad retargeting purchases and drive them towards back end products that they would be interested in.

Simultaneously sending emails to people who have purchased from our website about our back end offers.

Shipping

One of the most common questions I get when people want to start marketing directly to the consumer is about shipping, which is understandable because as any who has ever purchased anything online before will tell you, paying for shipping is the worst.

There are a few options you can go with to help minimise this.

Split the cost

Because of the lower overheads and higher profitability of direct to consumer, you can afford to eat some of the cost of shipping into your profits.

This does take some calculation on your part to make sure that with the cost to acquire a customer that you will still make money.

But having a lower shipping cost is going to be less off putting to your customers.

Free shipping when you spend $X

People hate paying for shipping so much that they would rather buy more to avoid paying for shipping.

This is something that you can utilise in your business.

Because of the increased revenue from the higher cart value, you could offer free shipping and would still make more profits.

Free local pick up

People like to support local businesses, offering options like free local pickup can be a great way for people who live near your location who don’t really want to pay for shipping to get your products.

Conclusion

What I’ve outlined here is a blueprint that you can wrap your own individual unique business around.

It’s a framework that can help you grow and scale your business.

The benefit of a blueprint that I’ve outlined here is that most people think that they need hundreds of thousands of customers to make it work, but actually, if you can have a direct line of communication with your customers and build a strong and loyal following, you can have a successful business with only 1,000 true fans.

The front end product is designed to bring those 1,000 true fans in and the back end product is designed to serve those 1,000 true fans.

What that means for you, is that in order to grow or scale, all you have to do is add more fans, serve those fans at a higher level or both.