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There are a billion agencies out there to serve e-commerce brands, but very few that cater to local small businesses beyond basic SEO & website stuff. We’re sure you already had to figure out how to set up Yelp & Google for your business, but what if you employed the same strategies for getting new customers employed by the big companies like Disney and CocaCola who spend billions on ads every year?

Fortunately those tools are available to everyone, and they don’t cost as much as you think.

We wanted to know: “What if we applied the world-class display ad strategies like ad-retargeting, lookalike audiences, and dynamic creatives to the local guys” so when I friend of mine bought a coffee shop, we turned his coffee shop’s instagram into our enterprise-scale advertising test kitchen.

Except we had a budget of $4/day, $120 a month. Could we generate a return?

<aside> ✅ In the end we got 250 new customers from this 4-month campaign, and we estimate probably 10% of them (~25 total) turned into new regulars. We know historically that coffee shop regulars here spend about $600 a year with us, $200 of which is profit margin for the business. So on $350 of ads, we generated about $5000 in net profit this year alone and $15,000 in new revenue, give or take 20%. Not to mention we sold ~$300 in gift cards from this offer, and that’s not counting the other 225 customers we likely got that we didn’t track. Assuming those other 225 bought twice, and counting the gift-cards, that’s another $3000 in revenue. So $8k profit on $350 of spend.

Basically, for $4/day we added an entire extra 13th month to the year from a revenue standpoint, and an entire new source of customers from just a simple ad setup. The revenue from new regulars alone represents a 14x return on ad spend (ROAS), and including the rest we’re at 22x. We could have spent more and made even more!

Actually, without even spending more, we could have just made email/text followup discounts and probably tripled that profit number to $24-25k total.

There are ways we could have tracked this campaign much more closely, so those are ballpark figures, but regardless even if we only got 1 new regular customer a month we made money on this offer, so not a bad return on investment for a few hours of our time.


Now, before we get into it: The main reason people don’t do this is because we all assume it would be too expensive — but what we discovered with this project is that by making it clear we were just down the street and we were a local business, we could impact our level of foot traffic through the store for less than the price of a single coffee a day.

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I’d say we made quite the return! But the key to capitalizing on it, is following-through with your new customers with a great offer & a great product to turn them into regulars.

We targeted a small radius of just a few miles around the main highway leading to Canyon Coffee, which is LITERALLY in a canyon between two small colorado towns. Not exactly a great place for foot traffic.

We ended up hitting our VERY small target market of about ~5,000 people who live in this area with about 1 new ad a week for 4 months, for a total of 32,000 ad impressions and $350 spent.

In that time 250 people (5% of our total market!) ended up visiting our website several times, buying a gift card, coming into the shop, or asking directly to learn more.

Our 4 month long campaign broken down by unique click throughs, unique CTR, and unique CPC.

Our 4 month long campaign broken down by unique click throughs, unique CTR, and unique CPC.

In the end, this all only cost us about ~$2 per new customer, or $20 per new regular customer.

How we set up our local-first online ads strategy.


Once we had the offer figured out & our social media meta pages set up, the entire ad setup itself only took us about half an hour from start to finish, and we did it entirely on zoom. You’ll want to make sure you Meta Business Manager (business.facebook.com) is set up correctly. Instructions for this are easy to find on YouTube, but make sure you look for recent videos. The layout of the platform changes every 3-6 months or so.


Our setup was very simple, just two campaigns, one traffic campaign and one conversions campaign, Facebook / Meta will explain what each of those means as you set them up.