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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I was thinking about doing something "out of the box" along the lines of Silvertree's coffee beans. My idea was to have coffee cups/ sleeves/ lids printed with our logo. From there it expanded to offering the coffee shops in the area who use plain ole white cups use of these cups. I could either ask them to use my cups or have a special "Free coffee day" where I would purchase the coffee as long as they used my cups.

option 1 just use my cups- It would cost me less then $.50 each to have the cups made, quantity depending, and it would save the retailer from using his cups.

option 2 free coffee- would cost me the cups and make a deal with the coffee shop for whatever quantity that day, around here a cup of joe will run you $1-1.50. I would think I could work some type of deal for a better rate.

I really want just the lid printed and use the coffee shops cups, with every sip my logo is right in the drinkers face.

Has anyone done this and had any luck?

At about $2 each I know it could get costly fast but that cup of coffee will be in their hands or within reach for the better part of 20 minutes at least
 

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I was thinking about doing something "out of the box" along the lines of Silvertree's coffee beans. My idea was to have coffee cups/ sleeves/ lids printed with our logo. From there it expanded to offering the coffee shops in the area who use plain ole white cups use of these cups. I could either ask them to use my cups or have a special "Free coffee day" where I would purchase the coffee as long as they used my cups.

option 1 just use my cups- It would cost me less then $.50 each to have the cups made, quantity depending, and it would save the retailer from using his cups.

option 2 free coffee- would cost me the cups and make a deal with the coffee shop for whatever quantity that day, around here a cup of joe will run you $1-1.50. I would think I could work some type of deal for a better rate.

I really want just the lid printed and use the coffee shops cups, with every sip my logo is right in the drinkers face.

Has anyone done this and had any luck?

At about $2 each I know it could get costly fast but that cup of coffee will be in their hands or within reach for the better part of 20 minutes at least
This idea has great potential. People who will spend $1.50 up for their morning drink either have money or an addiction. You can easily imagine the secret to success is matching your target market to the customer base of the right coffee shop(s).

About 9 years ago, I bought an existing store and converted it to a coffee shop with an espresso machine, high end coffee, etc. Our customers are 90% the same people every day. Thus, you might not want to keep your cups/sleeves/lids in a store like ours on a continual basis over an extended period of time. Instead, your idea of having a free coffee day seems like a good idea, perhaps the option of a free cup of coffee or $1. off a more expensive latte or specialty drink.

Thinking about it from a coffee shop owner point of view, the loss of revenue would have to be offset by something. Maybe you pay a flat fee of $200.-500 (depending on projected turnout) to cover announcements in local media outlets and supply 500-1000 of your logo cups (which could last for a few weeks, depending on the size of the shop). That way your image is associated with the free coffee day and then reinforced for the life of the cups. You might want to include an incentive to act in a certain length of time. (Wonder if someone would make a peel-off coupon of some sort?) Work that coffee shop for a period of time, then move to a different neighborhood.

Coffee shops tend to pull from a small radius around their shop, with lots of repeat customers. You could target shops in a neighborhood where your typical customer lives or works and just rotate among 6-10 stores and sponsor the free day once per quarter in each store. Printing logo cups is rather expensive, so a commitment of a large volume will help you get your cost down to a manageable level. It is a great idea that can be very unique and targeted. Thanks for bringing it up!
 

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This stuff goes on all the time and has been going on forever.

When was the last time you saw a restaurant sign without Coca Cola or Pepsi on the sign? When was the last time you saw a bar's sign without a beer companies name on the sign? These companies have a program where they supply the sign for the place and get their name on it.

Does anybody remember the barns down south that were all painted for free for the farmers as long as the company that did it got to paint their logo on the side?

Down in Honduras the local cell phone company paints a businesses building bule for them and puts their logo on it. There are a million newly painted blue buildings down there.

Your idea is good, but you need to get it down to pennys on the dollar for it to be benificial to you. If it's going to cost you anything more than 5 cents a cup it won't return for you.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
I would definitely buy the coffee so the shop has no loss, however I would like to cut a deal for a reduced cost perhaps. The repeat customer is my target customer, the first time would fall under "wow, free coffee today" and repeated would be more of a "who are these guys, lets check them out."

I looked into cups and jackets it turns out that they are about the same cost.

I am still working out the details like what time in the morning the promotion starts. If it begins at 6AM it would most likely be the blue collar workers on their way to work. If I wait until 7AM there is more chance of getting the white collar clientèle. The last thing I would want to see is my cups in my completions trucks.

The lid has in my eyes the most potential and could be the most cost effective. If I had stickers or decals made they could be placed on the lids and the lids could be kept as coupons. Stickers would be far less expensive than cups but the labor to place them would be the trade off.

still a work in progress but something I would like to try.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
This stuff goes on all the time and has been going on forever.

When was the last time you saw a restaurant sign without Coca Cola or Pepsi on the sign? When was the last time you saw a bar's sign without a beer companies name on the sign? These companies have a program where they supply the sign for the place and get their name on it.

Does anybody remember the barns down south that were all painted for free for the farmers as long as the company that did it got to paint their logo on the side?

Down in Honduras the local cell phone company paints a businesses building bule for them and puts their logo on it. There are a million newly painted blue buildings down there.

Your idea is good, but you need to get it down to pennys on the dollar for it to be benificial to you. If it's going to cost you anything more than 5 cents a cup it won't return for you.

I could do just cups for far less and on more of a massive scale but the intent was for the wow factor of free coffee. It may not seem like a big deal but when the customer reaches for their daily coffee and then finds out that I have paid for it, I have their attention.
 

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I could do just cups for far less and on more of a massive scale but the intent was for the wow factor of free coffee. It may not seem like a big deal but when the customer reaches for their daily coffee and then finds out that I have paid for it, I have their attention.
I'm positive you will be sorely disappointed in your return. A promotion at $2.00 a head that isn't microscopically targetted is going to be extremely expensive. Those rates are what companies like IBM or Apple will spend, but they are on branding types of marketing, not us small contractors who need a parity return on every dollar spent on advertising.

Imagine sending out a mailing to unknown, untargetted homeowners at $2.00 apiece. You'd never do it.

Now if you were a booth in a home show where everybody walking in the door is paying to be there to look at home improvements spending $2.00 a head would have a somewhat better chance. That's $2.00 a head on a targetted audience.

But at a coffee shop, you're going to have to give away a crap load of expensive promotion to people with no need for your services before you put a free cup in somebodies hand that might actually be thinking about a home improvement. The rest of those people you are hoping on a wing and a prayer that your free cup of coffee is going to remind them 8 years from now to call you when they are in need.

I'd look into getting 100,000 cups made up and being the free coffee cup guy to coffee shops before I would do what you are considering with paying for their coffee. If you can get it down to around 5 cents a cup you will probably have something that might work out.

-- also what kind of coffee shops sell $2.00 coffee? Isn't the stuff like $5.00 a cup now?

-- keep in mind Paul is giving coffee to a potential customer, someone who has shown interest in his service, much different then giving it away to anybody who walks by.

-- as a side note. I had a realtor friend of mine who a few years ago put up a little stand next to the commuter light rail station where about 9000 people a morning would pass him by on the way to work to get on the train. He had coffee cups printed up with his face, logo and phone number and gave them away to people as they passed by him on the way to the train. Seemed like a great idea, cold winter morning, here have a hot cup of coffee on me.

He did this once a week for 8 weeks and in the end got a couple of phone calls which never turned into anything. But he did get a ton of money thrown away and got to pick up all the cups with his face and phone number on them that people threw away on the ground after they drank the coffee and the light rail athority got tired of picking up.
 

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I like your idea! Bill Z and Mike had good points.

I'm the idiot who stops every morning for my cup off coffe and a snack for break.....Every store I stop, has an option to buy a refillable plastic mug(generally with the store logo). I see them all over the place. I own half a dozen myself.

These would kick around longer than throw away cups. Just my $.02
 

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The rep for a local building supply company plays the "free coffee" angle differently, to a truly targeted audience.

He shows up at construction trailers early a.m., sees the project super, and either hands over coffee or (more practically) $10 gift cards for Tim Hortons (folks in Canada know what that means, the US has Burger King at the troop base in Afghanistan, for the Canadian soldiers, it is a Tim Hortons stand).

He gets invitations to write up orders on the spot for emergency supplies, and positive references to the main office for larger purchases.

(Since his company does good business with us, I bought a stack of gift cards for him to give to his clients. What goes round, comes around.)

On the coffee shop idea, I think Mike Finlay has raised the key and important point -- if marketing isn't highly targeted and focused,your per unit/impression cost has to be extremely low. You need to "wow" the right people, not everyone.
 

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Why don't you give away something cheaper and longer lasting, - - like say, free refrigerator magnets with your plug on them??

When they need some work done, their fridge is lot closer than the local dump.
 

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And they see the fridge everyday. I order fridge magnets and business cards together. Everybody gets one of each.

On the coffee cup idea-you wouldn't necessarily have to give to the cups away to the coffee shops. If they're a small shop they may buy locally sucjh as at costco. Find out whta they pay for their cups, offer the cups 15-25% cheaper. They would likely be happy to save some money, and you offset the cost of tour advertising a bit.

Refillable coffee cups/travel mugs might be good too, but then you're getting up there in cost again. Advantage to the coffee shop-they charge the same for a coffee, but save the expense of a cup.

Something elst to consider-frequent buyer cards.

http://www.nebs.com/nebsEcat/products/subcategory.jsp?key1=MAJ-MKTPRO&key2=MRKTPROMO&key3=FREQBUYER

Maybe you could do a deal with a coffee shop where you have joint advertising on a punch card. Buy ten cups, get one free.

The above link: nebs.com, has outstanding customer service, and a wide variety of products for business operations and marketing.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Why don't you give away something cheaper and longer lasting, - - like say, free refrigerator magnets with your plug on them??

When they need some work done, their fridge is lot closer than the local dump.


Tom,
I have had some made in the past but the problem was I needed to put that magnet in their hands to be cost effective. What type of distribution are you suggesting? With postage, lists and envelopes it seems it to can become expensive fast.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·

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IN a tight community of the right clientele... I'd pay to have my name on their coffee cup!
Maybe follow-up with a raffle/promo there...

Average Dunken Donuts or Horton's- no way! But a higher-class coffee shop? It could work. I know of 2 local locations that could do something like this. I go there in part because I want MY FACE AND LOGO to be familiar... so that when they call, they remember me.

~Matt
 

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I've been thinking about it...this coffee cup thing could work quite well for me and and the lawn maintenance side of things. It's year round here, and folks that pay 5 bucks for a cup of coffee can afford lawn service. And that's the foot in the door to sell landscape projects.
 

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Tom,
I have had some made in the past but the problem was I needed to put that magnet in their hands to be cost effective. What type of distribution are you suggesting? With postage, lists and envelopes it seems it to can become expensive fast.

I don't know, be creative, - - one way might be to go to the schools and offer them up for the teachers to give out for free to the kids on their first day of school for their 'fridge-reminders', - - you could have 'for your homework' printed on there . . .
 

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The creativity is nice, but meeting your objective is wrong. Well, wrong for the budget/outcome ROI.
If it is local branding you want and have the time (Sink in factor, on average people have to view your name 7 times before they move from market to prospect) and money (Cash flow to keep the marketing program running{see time} to make branding really work.

With any of my marketing plans, I use the following process to see if it will work in my business plan (time, money and objective)

1) Who are target customers?
2) How many marketing prospects do I have to reach to break even?
3) How much money and time am I going to invest to break even?
4) What is my ROI (return on investment)

Example:

It take 1000 postcards (in your case coffee cup lids)
to get 10 replies (calls, e-mails)
out of 10 replies (1% return) I make two sales or 20% percent sale conversion.
My product/service grosses my X (let's say $100)
Out of that gross sale (sales are not gross by the way)
20 percent is left or $20 per sale times two sales = $40
Divide $40 by 1000 post cards cost in money only $600 (printing and mailing)
The loss in money only $540. Not counting time to write, plan and execute the plan.
Your cost per sale is $270 per customer. In this example, not profitable.

This example in percentages is pretty accurate with service business ratios. It is shotgun branding at best. If the 1000 postcards are more targeted, then the ratios go up and the cost per sale goes down.

If investment funds (your marketing dollar) is on the low side, a finer target market is critical to a positive return on your investment. More bang for your buck.

If you do decide to go with the plan (coffee cup lids), I would tap into your marketing network (business you use, contractor friends/associate) to differ the cost. Note: choose your network carefully, their public image is now yours.

Hope this helps.
 

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Give away the coffee cups

A few months ago, I mentioned we purchased 50,000 cups from China for 21 cents each. The cups cost 30 cents each when including shipping and other fees.

We have been hand-delivering the cups to our target neighborhoods. The customer may keep the cups for the rest of their lives and their heirs will inherit the cups. We intend to purchase a total of 300,000 cups and make sure every home has at least one.

We leave the cups on doorsteps with two flyers below the cups. We deliver about 1000 to 1500 cups per day and no less than two people call us every day to tell us the cups are a terrific gift, idea, etc.

When you give a free cup of coffee away, at $1 per cup, many people will not be able to remember who paid for the coffee after 5 minutes. We've done jobs over $30,000 for customers and many could not remember the name of our company.

Every year we purchase 250,000 to 300,000 5 x 7 magnet calendars and ink pens. Almost every home in our target areas get a calendar every year and very good quality ink pens with comfortable rubber grips.

Give your customer things that are useful and things they will keep for a long time. Set a budget where you spend a good size chunk of money for items that will brand your company. Unless you give away a $billion dollars worth of coffee you are not going to get any branding. Customers are not going to call because they got a free cup of coffee.

The coffee idea will work with the block party we are going to put on in two weeks. We are going to give away free hot dogs, drinks, coffee cups, pens, arcade rides, etc.
 
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