Bryan, the founder of “Honest Bryan’s Java Shoppe” had a problem. He had the best coffee shop in the world, especially his signature mocha blend, and wanted everyone to know it. But they didn’t. It seemed like they would have some new local customers, but he would rarely see them again after their initial visit. How could he get them to come back to his coffee shop?
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Then it struck him. “Honest Bryan’s Java Shoppe’s” customers typically work nearby and pass the coffee shop sometimes during their day. How could he get them to stop in more? Or drop in when they were walking by?
A friend had told him about using mobile applications (apps) to reach his coffee swilling customers on the go. According to him, he could send out real-time coupons and notifications from his coffee shop to customers’ phones and reach them directly. These apps could be created for free! Bryan was always looking for the next innovative thing (especially those that would cut his costs, as coffee prices continued to rise). He was intrigued and created an “Honest Bryan’s Java Shoppe” app and downloaded it to his smart phone before he headed to work.
When he arrived at work, he had three work orders waiting for his signature on his desk. The first was for the marketing ad (with coupons) he was thinking about running. The second was for his website redesign. The last was for new business cards. “Easy come, easy go,” he sighed.
Before he settled in for the work day, he pulled out his smart phone to check how his beloved Yankees did the night before. He saw a notification from his Group-On app had popped up- “50% off La Vida Mexican Grill”. “Not a bad idea,” he thought as he pulled up his ESPN app and saw the 3-1 Yankees score. As he closed the app out, he saw his “Honest Bryan’s Java Shoppe” app’s logo. “I’m a big-time tech guy now!” he laughed to himself.
As he put his device down and picked up his pen to sign the work orders, he stopped suddenly. “Do I have the money for this stuff?” No, not really. “But it has to be done, right?”
He then remembered the ApWords website, especially the part about an app and mobile website being the only digital marketing a small company would ever really need in today’s modern world. He quickly grabbed his laptop and surfed to the ApWords website. He logged in and clicked on “Market Your App”. “Give me something good, baby!”
He quickly scanned over the material and followed the step-by-step plan. First he went to “Share Using Social Networking” and sent his new app and a “Download Honest Bryan’s Java Shoppe App for 50% Coffee Today” message to his Facebook friends. Then he sent it out on Twitter. Then on Linked-In.
Next he went to the “Don’t Forget E-mail, It Still Works” and sent out the message to all his e-mail contacts. “Man, those ApWords guys are funny!” he astutely noted before clicking the “Send” button. “And good looking too.”
Then he went to the “Add a ‘Download Our App’ Button to Your Site” and copied and pasted the HTML code for his download button into an e-mail. He then sent the e-mail to his web designer so it could be added to his website’s home page.
Finally, Bryan added the message and app download page link to his e-mail auto-signature. Marketing is done! “I wonder what type of response I’ll get from all of this?” he mused expectantly.
As Bryan finished sending his app out, he started thinking about the costs of his website redesign. “I’m about to spend a few thousand dollars on redesigning my website and I have no idea why,” he thought. There was truth to this statement. The monthly website visit report he got from his hosting company was confusing and Bryan admittedly had never been an overly analytical guy. It was always his common sense and innate ability to put himself in his customer’s shoes that keyed his success. “Why are people coming to my website anyway? We’re a coffee shop!”
As he pondered the question, he realized people might need to know the business’s phone number or need its address. They might want to e-mail feedback to him. They might be searching for a coffee shop on Google in their zip code. If he didn’t have a website, they’d never know “Honest Bryan’s” existed.
Then he remembered that ApWords gave him a free mobile website as well that included all the information he thought customers wanted to see. And it was already optimized for Google search traffic! It was automatically created at no extra cost when he created his app. “This is great! I just saved $2,500!” He then went to Godaddy.com and bought www.HonestBryansJavaMobile.com for $12 and forwarded it to his ApWords website.
Feeling good about himself, Bryan walked out of his office for a coffee break. He still loved the rich blend of his signature mocha coffee that he enjoyed (at least) 4 cups of everyday for the past 3 years. As he worked himself behind the counter, he saw Julie, one of his trusted baristas, scrubbing down a table. “What’s it take to get a cup of Joe around here?” he joked. Julie smiled and retorted, “Poor morale is hurting service. Blame ownership!” Chip, a regular sitting at the bar, cracked, “Julie, is this guy bothering you? I know people, you know!” Julie laughed as Bryan jokingly ran out of the room with his mocha.
Bryan knew his great employees, like Julie, were the key to his business. He wanted customers to interact with them. He had thought about giving them business cards to hand out, but the cost and the fact that most of them would wind up in the trash can didn’t seem like a good use of money. “What about if I just gave them our business app to give out as a business card?” he said to himself aloud. It would cost nothing, there were no replication costs, they could send them to customers from their cell phones via text (or tell them to get it directly from the Android and iTunes stores), and the coupons on the apps could be changed on the fly. He also really liked the idea of having Honest Bryan’s app sitting right on their phones (and next to their wallets!)”
At that moment, Bryan sent a text message from his app to every one of his employees phones that included their app’s download page link and read, “Download your new ‘business cards’ now. This is mandatory! We’ll discuss at our Friday meeting.” He then picked up his three work orders, crumpled them up in his hand, and tossed them in the trash. “It’s never a bad day to save money,” he mused as he took a large gulp of his mocha.
A few months later at Honest Bryan’s Java Shoppe, Bryan saw that the number of people who had downloaded his app was up to 729. Now he wanted to try an experiment. He had upgraded his ApWords account so he could send unlimited notifications to his customers. It was a Tuesday afternoon around 2 PM and customer traffic was light. He went to his laptop and went to “Send A Notification”. He quickly typed, “Need a jolt to make it through the afternoon? $2.00 Mammoth Mochas until 3 PM!” Upon his mouse click, this message immediately went out to all 729 phones that had the “Honest Bryan’s” app installed on them. He then sat back to see what would soon transpire.
As the applause faded at the “Independent Coffee Shop Owners (ICSO)” annual gala, the host quickly jumped up on the stage with Bryan behind the podium and put his arm around his back. “That’s one heck of a story,” the host proclaimed. “I’m not sure what was more impressive- your 300% net revenue increase this year or the fact that you told the entire story in third person!” As the crowd filled with laughter, Bryan beamed. “Well, as you know, at Honest Bryan’s Java Shoppe, we never do things the traditional way!”
As the laughter faded, the host struck a serious tone. “Tell us, how did you accomplish the numbers you accomplished this year? They’re truly amazing.” Bryan started to respond, “Well, we got a new accountant…” As the audience began to laugh again, the host didn’t wait for them to calm down. “Come on, Bryan. We’re all in the same boat here, fighting the Starbuckses of the world. What’s your secret?”
Bryan cleared his throat and began. “It was only five things. First, I saw the best way of marketing to mobile customers (which pretty much all of them are) was to their devices. I got something that would stick on them, our custom app, which gave us instant mindshare whenever these customers looked at their phones (which is all the time!). The second was that my staff and I tried to convince as many people as we could to install our app. The third was that we changed our app coupons almost every day; customers needed to open our app to see what they were! We went as far as to make one of the coupons a free large coffee one day- that created excitement! The fourth thing was that I used the marketing plans from the experts on ApWords website to help get our app out to the public and effectively use it to bring in customers. I set a little time for this each day.”
“And the last thing? That’s only four,” the host reminded Bryan. “Of course,” Bryan replied. “But you’d have to get that one by downloading our app.”