Copywriting,  Copywriting Audit

Copywriting Audit: Alpha Coffee

I was in Salt Lake City this past week meeting with a client. I flew in on a Sunday and set up a meeting with a fellow business owner who also happens to be a mom (she has a fascinating business planning outdoor retreats for women of color).

As we were chatting about where to meet, I suggested Black Rifle Coffee because of my love affair with their delicious roasts and marketing approach. Unfortunately, they were closed, but the woman I was meeting with found another gem – Alpha Coffee. Of course, when she suggested this coffee shop, I looked them up immediately and when I saw their homepage, my copywriting brain went into motion.

Presenting: The Copywriting Audit of Alpha Coffee

Last week I talked about a veteran-owned business, Bottle Breacher. This week I’m talking about Alpha Coffee, which is another veteran-owned (or co-owned) business started by a husband and wife duo. Their story is equally exciting.

The mission of the business is:

  • Awesome coffee
  • Get your warrior on
  • Have fun
  • Give back

Alpha Coffee has certainly lived this mission to the fullest. The company started off as an online-only shop called Lock-n-Load Java. They sold exclusively online from 2010 to 2016 when they decided to start branching out. It wasn’t until 2017 that they opened up their first coffee shop – the one where I had my business date.

An adorable sign in their coffee shop.

Although the shop is new, the business’s digital presence is not, so I had high hopes for what was on their home page. Unfortunately, it’s lacking a little oomph. Here’s what I’d love to see from it from a consumer and copywriter perspective.

A Hidden Message

If you look at the very top of the page in the tiny bar along the top, you’ll see it – the “giving back” portion of their mission statement.

Alpha Coffee generously sends a cup of coffee to deployed troops every time you purchase a bag (I bought Dawn Patrol).

This initiative is one that I, as well as many, many other consumers, can get behind. It’s an extra little push to make me want to get their coffee over Starbucks (and I do love my Starbucks) or any other coffee shop. It’s part of their DNA, so I wish the area was more prominent. That little bar at the top? It’s too easy to gloss over.

Headlines

Last week, when I talked about Bottle Breacher’s website, I told you that I cringed when I saw the headline, “Welcome to Bottle Breacher.” This week, I’m not cringing. That’s because Alpha Coffee uses their imagery and copy really well together.

They highlight the fun designs of their products while also speaking the language of their target audience. You can tell it’s veteran owned and warrior focused because of the verbiage they use. For example:

  • Are You an Alpha?
  • Zero Dark 30 Wake Up Call
  • Ready to Rock and Roll?

These headlines speak to the coffee they’re promoting and to their backstory. If there’s anything I’d improve here, it’d be bringing them out more in the design. The headlines are in thin, small font, so they certainly don’t jump off the page. But, the bag of coffee does, and that’s probably impactful enough. Still worth testing.

Wasted Real Estate

Keep scrolling and you’ll see all of their bags of coffee featured. Then, directly below that, you’ll see what I call wasted real estate.

There’s a beautiful area with a nice background image and bold, white text jumping off the screen. This is a fantastic area to include a compelling headline to tell the Alpha Coffee story or position the customer as a hero. Instead, they’ve chosen to use it simply to regurgitate their brand name.

At this point on the page, people know the Alpha Coffee name. They don’t need to see it again. What they DO need to see is something compelling to get them to keep reading. Something like:

  • A Bag for You, A Cup for the Troops
  • One Cup Brings You to Warrior Status

Those could use some refining, of course, but you get the idea. A one-liner here could be powerful and keep people scrolling further.

More Story, Please

Not to be mistaken with, more cowbell, please.

The next section on the homepage has a beautiful image of a book opened up to the definition of Alpha.

I love this image because it’s the start of their story. It’s why they changed their name from Lock-n-Load Java to Alpha Coffee. There’s something here but… I’m left hanging because of a lack of context with copy.

In this section, I’d love to see a quick 2-3 sentence intro to the company’s story with a link to learn more. They have a detailed link on their website with their story, so why not send more people there (and lower the bounce rate, which would simultaneously also help with SEO) to get emotionally invested in the brand? It’s another opportunity worth testing.

Street Cred

Now we’re at the bottom of the page. Here, you’ll see a few logos of associations they’re a part of and icons telling their story. This is the good stuff. These images give me what I’ve been craving on their homepage. They tell their story quickly, succinctly, and powerfully.

I like using imagery like this – especially on a homepage – because it gives you instant credibility. This brand is able to showcase that they’re not going to serve you some watered down version of coffee. They do good work, are owned by good people, and belong to an association that supports their brewing practices. That’s a pretty strong message to get pulled out of only three icons, wouldn’t you say? I’m glad they’re here.

Final CTA

The page is heavy on the buy-now CTAs at the top, but they drop all mentions of that as you scroll. The final CTA on the page is to sign up for their newsletter. This CTA is found in the footer, so you have to look for it. I’d like to see that option a little higher up, especially because they are offering discounts and sales (and who doesn’t love a good deal?).

The good part about how they position this CTA is the headline they use. It’s clear what you’re going to get when you sign up and hand over your email address. That clarity makes it easier to want to sign up. There’s no guesswork. You know what’s coming your way.

Takeaways

The Alpha Coffee homepage is pretty decent if you ask me, but there are a few missed opportunities here. Specifically, I’d love to see more copy and more of the Alpha Coffee story come through from this page. They’ve done an excellent job of writing it on other pages, but they could do even better by telling a stronger story on their homepage.

I’ll be going live on Facebook to chat about this copywriting audit on March 16 at 8:30 a.m. PST. Join me there if you’re interested in hearing more about this or asking a question. 

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