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The Challenge

We’re big believers in showing some love for all things local here in the studio. Therefore, combined with the need to supply hard-working designers and developers with plentiful supplies of coffee, it seemed only natural that we began working with a wonderful speciality coffee shop in the centre of Southsea town.

A bit of background

Established in 2013 by Tara and Martyn Knight, Southsea Coffee grew from a desire to combine their passions for delicious coffee and simple, nourishing food, with the wish to create a relaxed and friendly community space. As such, the shop has grown and transformed over the last three years, with an extended and ever-changing menu, weekly speciality coffees, tasting sessions, workshops and a myriad of beautiful artwork splashed across the walls, created by local artists.

man pouring coffee

Capturing the daily activity of the team at Southsea Coffee allows the audience to feel engaged and included.

The challenge

It was clear that this coffee shop was a real labour of love for Tara and Martyn. The levels of footfall had been steadily increasing as word spread, and they had lots of plans for future expansion. This, combined with the day to day demands of running the shop meant that at times their digital marketing could not be top priority. In an age where almost all of us seek out reviews and recommendations online, it is essential that all business websites are up to date, relevant and engaging, in addition to any social media accounts clearly and consistently communicating the business as a whole. It was this desire that lead Tara and Martyn to begin working with us as a way to not only create a digital marketing plan for the shop going forward, but also to lift the responsibility of maintaining this area of the business from their shoulders, allowing them to focus on other areas of the shop.


The food images with targeted hashtags have encouraged large levels of engagement.

The process

Our work with Tara and Martyn began with an initial chat to get a good overall picture of their journey so far, and to understand what they would like to achieve from their digital marketing. We took all this information away and put together a detailed proposal of where we felt we could add value to their business.

We took the time to investigate the digital activity of other coffee shops in the area that could be considered competition to Southsea Coffee. This involved reviewing their social media accounts and websites, in addition to analysing their Search Engine Optimisation techniques. The proposal we put forward went into detail about the areas we felt we could support Southsea Coffee, including writing blog posts and sending email shots, as well as creating and posting social media content. Due to the busy nature of the shop, with new food and coffee regularly coming on the menu, we felt it would be beneficial to sit down with them for a quick meeting each week to give a brief review of activity over the last few days, and to be sure we were up to date with any news for the week ahead.

coffee cup

We built a bank of images that could be used around time-sensitive content such as menu specials and events.

Our recommendations focused on the areas we felt we could be of real benefit, add value and play a part in growing both the online and real life community. It was incredibly important to us all that customers would not be aware of any transition in the handling of the social media accounts and blog posts when it came to tone, language used and image quality. We studied the tone and language used in previous posts and content, and were mindful that we should continue to be friendly, informal and helpful, as well as clearly communicate a deep passion and love for the shop and its products (not too difficult as we were already big fans!).

vegetable illustration

Our design team were able to create bespoke illustrations to accompany blog posts, in keeping with the style of drawings of the shop that had been used in the past.

Designing a content schedule

Tara and Martyn were fully supportive from the beginning, supplying lots of ideas for what they would like to see on social media and in their blog posts. In addition to the suggestions we had put forward this meant that we were able to build a great schedule full of diverse and varying content, designed to keep customers engaged and entertained.

During our research stage we considered the customers that are likely to be followers of the social media accounts, or that may visit the blog. We realised this could vary greatly due to the nature of the shop, from speciality coffee drinkers, to those with specific dietary requirements, locals at lunchtime, holiday visitors etc... Therefore we make sure that all schedules we create have a good level of variety to ensure that we appeal to all individual interests, as well as looking to show customers something new that may expand their interaction with Southsea Coffee, both digitally or when they pop in for their next visit.

lemon cake

Putting the plan into action

As we began to post content we monitored the levels of engagement, and the times of day that encouraged the most interaction, in order to reach as large an audience as possible (as is the case with the Facebook algorithms). As we offer photography as part of our digital marketing service we capture lots of vibrant, distinctive images of the food, drink and location at each meeting, allowing us to build a bank of content for the future. Our design team were able to offer support in creating email templates, so we could begin shouting about the events and activities going on at Southsea Coffee to increase attendance, in a visually coherent way, in keeping with their brand. They were also able to get involved with the blog posts we put together on the agreed schedule, creating unique images and illustrations to increase the visual appeal of each post.

email template

We created templates within the existing mail system to regularly update subscribers with news and events, creating an inclusive, community atmosphere.

Our service to Southsea Coffee includes full handling of comments, queries and questions on social media, as well as dealing with any complaints that should arise. We established upfront the quickest and easiest way to communicate with Tara and Martyn, so if a query is raised that we do not have the answer to, we can get the information from them and respond to the customer accordingly. This means that they can get on with the day to day running of the shop and growing the business without having to worry that enquiries are left unanswered. It also goes some way to extending the community feel they wanted to create with Southsea Coffee by building an online community that feel involved, cared about and listened too.

In addition to the weekly catch-ups, we produce a standard monthly report that looks in more detail at the metrics related to the digital activity. This includes movement in follower numbers, which posts encouraged the most interaction and engagement, as well as using the site analytics to monitor customer behaviour when we post a link to the site or new content to the blog.

twitter posts instagram post

To maximise engagement all Twitter and Facebook posts include images, and captions are carefully crafted, in-keeping with the tone of the business.

southsea coffee social stats

In 6 months our digital marketing campaign has lead to a considerable growth in all social media audiences.

In Summary

The content we have generated so far on behalf of Southsea Coffee has seen fantastic interaction levels and increases in followers across the board on social media. Their blog posts are now regularly updated, and those that join the email subscriber list receive regular news and communications. We have handled lots of direct messages, comments and queries quickly and efficiently, leading to a satisfied and engaged online community. Our weekly meetings have ensured that we all feel connected to both the online and shop floor activity, and our photography service has developed a great visual representation of the coffee shop. Tara and Martyn have also been able to get a clear understanding of the impact of the digital marketing plan, as we supply a report into all the activity at the end of each month.