Making Websites Is Just Like Making Coffee

November 19, 2008

Here at Digett, I'm the guy who gleefully drains the coffee pot every morning. While the debate rages on regarding the wisdom of coffee consumption, I pour my third cup and say a silent thank-you to the Ethiopian goatherder legend tells us first discovered the power of Coffea arabica. When questioned about this practice, I always have a good response.

You see, coffee has been more than a drink to me. For three-and-a-half years, I was an owner/operator of a little coffeehouse and café up in the Dallas area (It was called Main Street Perks. It was on Main Street. Get it?). I still have the apron and the emotional scars to prove it. And, yes, I'm still well-versed in the minute details of the beverage and the business. Below is a snapshot of my old shop. The first beauty behind the counter is my wife; the second one is my two-group Rio espresso machine.

Obviously, my career has evolved, and I now work as Digett's Marketing Strategist. I market a marketing company (I love saying that). Interestingly, what I've learned since joining this team is there are a number of similarities between my efforts to inform and educate markets about great coffee and the same efforts regarding digital marketing. Skeptical? Bear with me.

Quality means the same thing across industries

The difficulty lies primarily in awareness. Everyone wants a quality product or service; not everyone knows how to identify one. While in the coffee business, I spent much of my time educating customers on the unique attributes of single-estate coffees, proper purchasing and brewing techniques, and why a true coffee connoisseur never, ever adds cream and sugar to the cup. That opened a lot of eyes.

Likewise, not everyone can tell you what makes a quality web marketing solution, and there are only a handful of agencies like ours that go the extra distance to define it. That was one of the many reasons we recently redesigned our own website—and we'd appreciate your opinion on whether or not we've met our goal.

Relationships are as satisfying as revenues

Early on, I became convinced that coffeehouses were the twenty-first century equivalents of the friendly, neighborhood pub—the type where everyone knows your name. Indeed, I became quite close to some of my loyal customers and, frankly, I had some tell me things they should only tell their therapists.

That trust, however, was often my best marketing tool. For all the money I could have spent on advertising, one or two satisfied customers often could bring in more business for me. The same applies to relationships we have with our clients at Digett; while we foster trust and collaboration for other, more altruistic reasons, there are often marketing benefits.

Passion for your profession is of the utmost importance

I started my coffeehouse near the tail end of the first speciality coffee explosion in the U.S. A certain, well-known coffee chain was opening stores on every corner, and budding entrepreneurs were hanging out espresso-colored shingles in attempts to capture a piece of the pie. Indeed, a number of people suggested I was simply trying to exploit what they were sure was a fad.

Truth is, I love coffee culture, and I derived a great deal of personal satisfaction from sharing that love with others. I am equally yoked to what we do here at Digett. We have always described ourselves as storytellers, even if our chosen tools are more complicated than pencil and paper.

Assisting an organization in promoting a worthy cause, product, or service is exciting. We do our best to translate that excitement into proven, effective marketing techniques for our clients. It kind of makes me wish I had known about Digett when I was slinging coffee for a living. Then again, I might still be wearing the apron.