How specialty coffee brands in India can create deep relationships with their customers and enable upselling with the power of Email and stories.

Image credits: Eugene Kim

The rumors are true.

Instant coffee is not your only coffee option anymore.

Personally, this brings a lot of warmth to me (no pun intended).

Specialty coffee brands are here. These specialty coffee brands are changing the way Indians consume their coffee. They are showing us a way; they are leading us to a better coffee experience.

While all of this is good news, as the number increases, so will the competition amongst these coffee brands.

Amidst this, how can the specialty coffee brands actually get market share, make an impact and also revenue? 

Well, one way to go about this would be to acquire new customers.

By making more noise…

By doing more Facebook ads…

By getting more traffic on the website…

And so on.

Most of the Marketers and Entrepreneurs that I know, consciously or subconsciously, look to maximize the awareness. I am not interested in any of those tactics.

Of course, Facebook paid ads have a place. Of course, having an Instagram page would help. But it will merely help the specialty coffee brands to get attention

But what about the hard part of earning trust? What about the part where we turn this attention into an actual transaction?

While some may argue that social media is still a good platform to nurture relationships, I don’t buy it. I do believe that “Email” is a much better tool to nurture a relationship – with existing customers as well as new customers. Email is different from social media in many ways. The likelihood of an email being opened is much higher than the likelihood of a Facebook post reaching my audience. I do not want us to indulge in the whims and fancies of the algorithms of these platforms. Additionally, the conversations that happen on email are one-to-one and hence more personal & intimate.

I am amazed at how very few brands actually take Email as a serious Marketing tool. There are numerous researches that show that the ROI driven by email marketing is much higher than social media.

Yes, email might not be as sexy as social media. But, no-one can challenge its effectiveness. 

Typically, the specialty coffee business typically has 2 arms – Cafes and E-commerce. As you read this guide, please be mindful that although I will use the terminologies interchangeably, what I am saying holds true for both the arms of this business.

Getting new customers or retaining old ones?

Well, social media marketing might help brands in getting new customers. But for the specialty coffee brands, it goes without saying that retaining customers and maximizing recurring revenue from them, is the key. 

According to a source, there are varying stats and case studies that show acquisition to be 7-13% costlier than customer retention. For businesses in the e-commerce category, retention is 5X cheaper than acquisition.

The specialty coffee brands are missing out by not creating deep relationships with their existing customers and thus failing to leverage upselling opportunities!


Here is how a typical funnel looks like – 


Today, I want to focus only on the ‘Advocacy’ part of the funnel. In other words, the focus is on how coffee brands can tell beautiful stories through email.

How can we retain the existing customers? How can we upsell? Or even better, how can we make them our fans, so that they tell their friends about it and actually become brand advocates?

Here you go. Enter your email here and you will have this guide delivered to your inbox!