Recently, I was looking for a place to take care of some quick design tweaks for a side project that I am working on and I only had a short while between meetings. Needed Wi-Fi, needed coffee, needed space on my way from point A to point B. Obvious choice, coffee shop. I stopped at the first place that I saw, and loved it. They had great space, good light, advertised Wi-Fi, and sold the coffee that I prefer to drink. (I try to keep my coffee habits to fair trade coffee for reasons that I feel are erroneous in regards to this post.) This place even had posters up for live local music that I recognized and enjoy. What a find!
Before leaving, I asked the barista/manager to tell me their web address so I could bookmark it or hopefully even RSS menu specials and upcoming shows. Let’s be honest, really just to remind me that the place exists. Her response was that although it was funny because a lot of people ask about it, they had no intention of setting anything like that up. It was too expensive and too time consuming.
How many people have to directly ask for something before it becomes a need? Keep in mind the amount of people who didn’t take the time to ask. The creation of mailing lists and a website or a blog is not just to drive new business in it is to enhance the experience for existing business.
I wonder how long it will be before small businesses realize the importance of the web. Most of the needs for this coffee shop would be fulfilled by even just a blog to help remain in people’s thoughts. Updates on the specials for the week, alerts as to what music will be playing on the weekend, an interesting story about how you are helping the community you do business in perhaps? Hey manager, you can make this blog yourself! Maybe even use it to have people sign up for a mailing list (email or direct) so that you can reach your customers that way. You are not being intrusive if you ask for people to sign up. If it is something that people don’t want they don’t sign up. The important thing is to keep them off the unsubscribe list.
Business is not always about making the best cup of coffee.