Chris Lawton, sales & marketing manager for of Temple, N.H.-based Ben’s Sugar Shack, emphasized that investing in a digital marketing campaign is a necessity for sales. Lawton explained how maple coffee, as part of an array of maple-themed products can contribute to increased overall sales.
He explained that if consumers wonder if maple coffee exists, and by having additional maple products, such as the maple coffee, there’s more opportunity to include search terms or keywords to increase search engine optimization rankings (SEO). With increased SEO rankings, consumers are more likely to find a website through non-traditional maple products, such as the maple coffee. This illustrates how selling ancillary products can lead to increased sales of more traditional maple products.
“We do use a lot of targeted advertising and retargeting marketing, but at the same time, we also do have different blog stuff that we do personally,” Lawton said. “[We also] try to associate with other blog sites to be able to get the name out there and to get those things out there. So it’s a multifaceted process.”
One example of digital marketing Lawton focuses includes blogging, specifically guest posting. He advises guest posts focus on websites and blogs that are complementary to the product, in this case of maple syrup and coffee. For example, Lawton said to not associate your digital marketing efforts with a toy-themed website. However, associating with a coffee community or a fall festival blog, for a guest post, has more potential to attract more like-minded customers.
Understanding how a coffee is produced and what ingredients go into the final product may make a difference in labeling and the ingredient list. One route is to use liquid flavoring to give coffee a maple flavor. After Sam Brest’s coffee roasts and cools, he explained how he uses a liquid extract to imparts maple flavor into coffee beans.
“If you could picture a small cement mixer with a food grade drum, and you put the roasted coffee in there,” Brest said. “Then you pour in a measured amount of flavor the beans tumble and get coated, and the flavor absorbs into the beans. It’s very low tech. That’s how it’s done.”
In the case of Thomas and the New York State Maple Producers Association, Thomas noted that “it was our position as a trade association that we are maple producers, so we won’t sell a product that doesn’t have real maple in it.”
While Thomas explained the roaster’s process is propriety, by using real maple syrup to make the coffee, she can say her association’s coffee is made with real maple syrup. This is an important consideration when it comes to labeling and ingredient listing requirements by the U. S. Food & Drug Administration.