In this episode of “The Commerce Marketer Podcast,” we’re joined by Erin Hoffman, director of ecommerce for Door County Coffee, to discuss how the gourmet coffee roaster’s nimble marketing team has kept up with a rapidly growing industry by approaching each challenge with a fresh outlook.
Door County Coffee started as the local coffee shop in Sturgeon Bay, “the Cape Cod of the Midwest.” The rapid surge in gourmet coffee’s popularity helped Door County grow from a local family-owned coffee roaster to a national distributor for retailers, specialty stores, food services, and out-of-state enthusiasts.
With flavors such as Highlander Grog, Death’s Door, and Sinful Delight, one thing has remained unchanged throughout that growth.
“The one thing that has been true since the first day, and is true today, is the quality of the beans we use,” Hoffman said. “We use a specialty Grade 1 Arabica bean, the top 2% of beans produced.”
Door County focuses on coffee at the bean level — and its approach to ecommerce marketing is similarly granular. Hoffman describes how each decision is comes down to testing and analytics, instead of widely accepted best practices and “what’s always worked.”
Hoffman then describes how they measure the success of their social, display, and email marketing strategies. She goes on to explain how they use those channels to engage lapsed purchasers and encourage repeat purchases.
“We know how important it is to get that second order,” Hoffman said. “The first order is great, but the second order is a lot more likely to lead to repeat purchases.”
Door County recently launched a subscription service, and Hoffman shares how testing incentives and minimum order thresholds led to doubling their subscription enrollment and increasing average order value.
Hoffman attributes the success of those programs to knowing Door County’s key demographics and using relevant messaging that appeals to them.
“We could sell the same bag of coffee to ten people and they’re all going to do something a little different with it, from how they brew it to what they put in it,” Hoffman said. “We know that coffee consumption is a very personal thing.”
Hoffman shares insights into how brands can use segmentation to get to know their audiences, and finally closes with a description of how Door County uses customers reviews and user-generated content in emails — in the form of recipe contest entries.
“Recipes are just awesome, awesome, awesome content for us,” she said. “The recipes offer a way for our fans to get involved, and they entice prospects to the site from email, Google ads and organic search.”
To be fair, she may be a little biased: Door County employees creating and taste the recipe submissions to help them vote for the contests’ winners.