Marketing Coffee and Connect

The last few months have seen record attendances at Coffee and Connect – 48 people last month! Although Coffee and Connect is not a “Business” as such, in reality I run it as if it were so I thought it might be helpful to look at the marketing activities I undertake to ensure we keep getting new visitors through the door, as I am sure there will be many similarities with running our “proper” businesses.

The Product vs The Brand
For me there is clear distinction between the “product / service”, which in this context I view as the structure of the meeting and the brand i.e. the feel of a meeting.

Initially I experimented with the meeting format but once I had a format / structure that worked I have stuck with it – consistency is really important.

Equally critical however is the “feel” of Coffee and Connect i.e. the brand. I have always had a very strong vision of the Coffee and Connect brand and work hard to ensure it is maintained. Coffee and Connect’s brand can be summarized as:

“Coffee and Connect is a friendly, genuine group and everyone is welcoming towards new visitors. We are all serious about and have a professional approach to, our businesses, but we like to do business with a smile!”

In business, you need to get both right – a great product and a brand that people love.

Marketing Fundamentals

I believe there are three fundamental issues in relation to marketing:

1. Marketing is a necessity not a luxury – potential customers won’t know about your business unless you tell them

2. The most effective form of marketing is regular and repetitive

3. You need to undertake a range of different marketing activities so you can tell people about your business in different ways

Marketing Tactics

So, what marketing activities do I undertake for Coffee and Connect?

Magazine Advertising
I continually run adverts in all four of my magazines… and it works! Every month new visitors attend because they saw my advert. It always makes me happy when people tell me they have seen my advert in their local Connection magazine… without them realising that the magazines are actually my business!

Magazine Articles
I have recently also started writing a networking column in my magazines and that too has brought people along who tell me they have read it.

Mailing List
I actively manage my mailing list ensuring I am always adding new names – with permission of course.

Email Reminders
We are all busy so I send reminders about meetings.

Blog
Every month I write a piece (like this) for my e-mail reminder which I also post on this blog – I always seem to have lots to say! People often comment on it so I know they are reading it.

Social Media
I have a Facebook Business Page and Twitter account for Coffee and Connect and a personal LinkedIn page where I post about Coffee and Connect – my blogs and meeting reminders.

Website
I often get calls from people who have found me on “Google” but I make sure I update my website regularly.

Postcards
I always have Coffee and Connect postcards with me to give out to people I mention Coffee and Connect to.

Word Of Mouth
People who attend Coffee and Connect are always very generous with their recommendations.

Regular and Repetitive – Time and Patience

Above all however the key to successfully marketing Coffee and Connect is that I really do “practice what I preach” and I ensure that all these activities happen on a regular and repetitive basis. (To help me remember to do this I have automatic reminders set up on my CRM system).

… and then it is down to time and patience… because with marketing, regular and repetitive works.

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