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7 Christmas promotion ideas your cafe customers will love

Posted by Tanya Timmers on Nov 24, 2015 10:00:00 AM

Did you know that people spend 123% of their income in December? That's twice as much as any other month of the year. 

Areas where spending increases include groceries, drinks at pubs and bars, and cinema tickets. Surprisingly, eating out is an area where spending stays steady. All the more reason for cafes to run some extra promotions to boost foot traffic and sales during the holiday season! 

Christmas presents a perfect opportunity to delight regulars and bring in new customers with creative specials. Here are 7 promotion ideas you can use in your coffee shop. 

Create a seasonal product

Christmas and hot drinks pretty much go hand in hand (at least if you're in the Northern Hemisphere). Starbucks has fully capitalized on this with their Pumpkin Spice Lattes and other hyped holiday drinks. The Pumpkin Spice Latte even has its own brilliant Twitter account with 120,000 followers. Yep...

Creating a special hot beverage to enhance those fuzzy feelings on dark, cold days works a treat. Popular ingredients for Christmas drinks are cinnamon, ginger, caramel, orange, fudge or toffee, and of course, heaps and heaps of sugar.

Put something delicious and indulgent on the menu! Experimenting with baked goods could also be a winner during the holiday season. How about replacing your regular fruit toast with fresh German Christmas stollen? Or replacing your banana bread with pumpkin bread? 

Organize a holiday event 

Here's a chance to connect with your customers in a different light. Why not organize a festive event in your cafe? 

Retail businesses often use Christmas as a reason to reward their loyal customers with an exclusive sales event, ladies' night or Christmas market. As a cafe, you can play into the fact that the holidays are also centered around luscious food and drink. Maybe host a Christmas dinner cooking workshop, or better yet; a pie-baking contest. 

Having a Christmas party can be an excellent way to reach out to other people you want to work with in the future, like other local businesses or social influencers. If you create a memorable event, they might spread the word about your venue afterwards. 

Reward loyal customers

The holidays are spent with those we cherish and appreciate. As a coffee shop owner, that includes your most loyal customers. 

Now's a good time to show your customers you value them. Give them an extra incentive to keep coming back and tell their friends about your cafe. You could do this with something as simple as a digital Christmas card you send to your customer database.

You could offer your devoted Instagram followers a special coupon. Or an invite to your exclusive holiday event. What would delight you as a loyal customer? Maybe it's a free gingerbread cookie you give customers coming in on Christmas Eve. A small gesture can still make a big difference, especially when people share their positive experiences on social media. 

Create a 12 Days of Christmas special menu

Businesses often use the '12 Days of Christmas' as an opportunity to run a quick campaign. For a lot of shops this could be a sale where a different item is discounted each day. 

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If you want to go all out with this idea, you could create a 12 Days Of Christmas lunch special - a Christmas-inspired lunch item that changes daily. Day 1 could be a virgin eggnog smoothie, day 2 could be a roast turkey slider, day 3 could be sliced ham and carrot fritters, and so on. 

Create your delicious menu in advance and advertise it. The awesome thing about this campaign is that it will inspire people to come in for those meals that appeal to them and try something new. At the same time, having something for a limited time only seriously appeals to people's FOMO, which further increases the chance this will work.

Run competitions

Another Christmas promotion idea is to run a competition for your cafe. This will also allow you to grow your social media following at the same time. 

It's not so much about the prize as it is about a way to engage people in your local area. But of course, your prize should be compelling. Make the prize something relevant that will actually get your winners into the venue, like a high-tea for two. 

You can run your competition on one of your social media channels, promote it through email and inside your coffee shop. Inform your staff so they can share it with customers: "Hey, I saw you're taking a picture of your delish lunch there. We're running a competition right now, so if you post it on Instagram with the hashtag #lexcoffeexmas you can win some awesome treats!"

Sell Christmas gifts

Everyone has that one friend or family member for whom it's impossible to come up with a good gift. You've already done the bottle of wine and book vouchers the previous years, so now it's time for something more original. Enter your cafe: because you sell some cool gifts! 

Some gift ideas you could offer in your cafe include:

  • Mason jars with homemade cookie/brownie/cake mix
  • DIY (hot) drink ingredients and a recipe (with a cool mug)
  • Christmas-y chocolate gift boxes
  • A rich luxurious coffee scrub
  • Christmas pastries, cookies, loafs, etc
  • Cool totes and merchandise with coffee slogans (like this cool tea towel)

Team up with a charity

People are more generous around Christmas. In fact, 34% of people who've previously donated to a charity say they're more likely to donate during the holiday season. Let's avoid going into a cynical dad-rant about selective benevolence here, because being charitable is an awesome thing. 

Doing a special charity promotion can put your cafe in a good light too. Giving away a percentage of all coffee sales is a very simple idea you can run with. Or you can have a huge Christmas baked goods sale to raise money and awareness for your charity. 

Be sure to broadcast your charitability. Put it in capital letters on your outdoor sign. Tell your social media followers why your chosen charity deserves help. At the end of the campaign, let people know how much money you raised, so they can feel good about contributing while your venue gets some positive exposure. 

Whatever you choose to run with, be creative! Themed campaigns are always a lot of fun and an easy way to get a little inspired with marketing. I hope these tips will help you get started. Happy holidays! 


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Topics: Tips for marketers, General marketing