I have an espresso bar catering service. I'm always looking for inexpensive ways to advertise.  Has anyone ever had any luck with Facebook advertising?  Any other inexpensive advertising suggestions?

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I would say Facebook advertising beats google ads hands down. Price-wise and target-wise. At least that was my experience. But you have to have a good Page—not private profile (so fans can join it) on facebook.
Oh yes... my wife heavily advertises us on Facebook by having a page for our mobile espresso van. Also does the Twitter thing. Those 2 are great free tools to let our friends and fans know what we do day-to-day, specials/promotions we're having, where we will be, changes due to weather, events, etc... Later!
I already have a facebook page. I was talking about the paid advertising facebook offers to try and gain more "fans".

Shadow said:
Oh yes... my wife heavily advertises us on Facebook by having a page for our mobile espresso van. Also does the Twitter thing. Those 2 are great free tools to let our friends and fans know what we do day-to-day, specials/promotions we're having, where we will be, changes due to weather, events, etc... Later!
Cindy,
I haven't tried any serious advertising i.e. the paid option on facebook. I do have a link on our web site to a facebook page so I guess you could say I'm advertising and it has been mentioned back to me by customers. Check my site to see what I'm talking about. It is important to have a company facebook link/page. Any exposure is way more than none. Look into maximizing the free before you spend $'s. Unless you have advertising capital set aside. If that is the case, go for it and get back to us on it. All of us here on BX with a brick and mortar shop would be more than interested in your input here.
I'm about to dive into Craigs list. I think it could be a very good source if used right.
Best Regards on this,
Joseph

--
Ambassador for Specialty Coffee and palate reform.
Thanks for your input Joseph, I will definately let everyone know how it works, if I decide to do it. I did use Craigslist for awhile, but took my ad off because of the amount of scams on Craiglist. It really is unbelieveable! Just be careful with Craigslist!!
Your Welcome Cindy,
When you used Craigs list did you use your company contact info or personal phone or email?
Your experience is golden.
Thank you,
Joseph


--
Ambassador for Specialty Coffee and palate reform.
Cindy Shane said:
Thanks for your input Joseph, I will definately let everyone know how it works, if I decide to do it. I did use Craigslist for awhile, but took my ad off because of the amount of scams on Craiglist. It really is unbelieveable! Just be careful with Craigslist!!
Joseph,
I used my company info. No personal info. was given in the ad.
Someone actually sent me an e-mail (my company e-mail) trying to gain personal information, and signed their name with my company name and logo. Who knows how many people received this e-mail, thinking it was from my company. This was only one of the many scam isuues I've had with craigslist. It just wasn't worth it, so I took my ad down. (I never got any legitimate leads from craigslist.)
Cindy,
My friend that has had great success with Craigs list suggested that I offer to help out new coffee start ups or shops unhappy with their current supplier. The post would have no company information what so ever only a contact email for more information. This way I can screen them before they screen me. We have to find a way to bet the scammers at there own game. Thanks for taking time to share your experience on our list here.
Have a fun sunny day and may your bean hopper always remain full.
Joseph
--
Ambassador for Specialty Coffee and palate reform.
Cindy Shane said:
Joseph,
I used my company info. No personal info. was given in the ad.
Someone actually sent me an e-mail (my company e-mail) trying to gain personal information, and signed their name with my company name and logo. Who knows how many people received this e-mail, thinking it was from my company. This was only one of the many scam isuues I've had with craigslist. It just wasn't worth it, so I took my ad down. (I never got any legitimate leads from craigslist.)
FB and other social media sites are not really that effective however they are free. For every 100 people that visit or fan your page you will get 1-3 customers. Not really worth too much time or effort if you dont already use those applications.

When people ask about additional ways to advertise I always ask why are you looking do that? The answer should be simple like "im just starting out" or "there has been a decrease in business" or "I would like to grow and expand". Something like that, with the root answer it would be much easier to find out what kind of advertising would benefit your business the most.
Jarred,
To answer your question, I'm just starting out. I've been in business only about 3 months now. I've been very busy just trying to get get my name out there. So far I've had an article and picture on the front page of the business section of my local paper. I have set-up and served (for free) at several large charity events. (there was a lot of publicity for these events) I used Craigslist, but was not happy with the results. I'm just looking for new and creative (and inexpensive) ways to advertise.

Jarred Hoffpauir said:
FB and other social media sites are not really that effective however they are free. For every 100 people that visit or fan your page you will get 1-3 customers. Not really worth too much time or effort if you dont already use those applications.

When people ask about additional ways to advertise I always ask why are you looking do that? The answer should be simple like "im just starting out" or "there has been a decrease in business" or "I would like to grow and expand". Something like that, with the root answer it would be much easier to find out what kind of advertising would benefit your business the most.
Cindy,
If you have the spare time to develop a facebook page and post updates at least every few days then I would say there is no downside.

As for other advertising, since you are just getting started things will be slow. Keep doing the things you are doing, continue to look for other interesting things to do along those lines. However do not be afraid to charge for at least your expenses when doing work for charity events, they will almost always understand that you can give away your time but you just cant afford to give away any product.

I would also look into joining a local chamber of commerce, if you have some cash to spend a good marketing firm which specializes in your local area might be a good investment.

Good luck and have fun!
Cindy,
In other marketing words, get your name and services out there any way you can. There are no secrets here. People will pay for a quality coffee product/service especially when they see up front and personal how much passion you put into what you love. Don't be afraid to charge enough to float your boat. Times are tough right now. I'm sure I don't need to bring that up on this list. We are all in the same boat here.
Hang in there. I'm hanging right next to ya.
Joseph
www.jolindas.com
--
Ambassador for Specialty Coffee and palate reform.

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