How To Find Unlimited Content Ideas For Your Restaurant’s Social Media Marketing Strategy

How do you come up with social media ideas to shoot, and the types of content to post?

That was something that was super difficult and frustrating for me when I first began.

We would spend hours ripping our hair out trying to figure out what we should be posting and a witty caption to write.

I also battled with whether the pictures we took were polished enough and whether people would like them.

Sometimes, when we post up the content, the engagement is phenomenal. The likes and comments pile up.

Other times, we take a gorgeous shot and have the wittiest caption – a definite hit, but it ends up a complete dud.

We didn’t know what worked and what didn’t’. We thought we did…

Eventually, we figured it out by doing these things:

1.) Find Out What Is Working

Study Your Content

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Number one thing when it comes to content creation is to figure out what people are looking to see. This means going into your Instagram feed right now and see what types of posts people are actually engaging with.

We’re talking about finding posts where people leave genuine comments that they are enjoying what you posted.

People are like, “Oh, my god. This is amazing. Oh, this is really cool. How do you do that?”

Check out the type of content that have the most engagement, the ones with the most likes and comments.

You’ll be able to find a pattern from there onwards.

It may be behind the scenes pictures that are killing it. Or it’s long-form messages that really get people immersed.

Find that common thread among your content. Jot down what people are really enjoying.

Snoop On Competitors

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Go on your competitor’s feed and check out their most engaged posts.

What type of content is it?

Long-form post? How-to video? Memes?

Now that you know the types of content that engages the most, that gets the most likes, that’s the cue of the types of content that you need to start creating more of.

Whether it be a long-form post, or whether it be a behind the scenes, this is your customers telling you what they want.

In the future, it should influence the type of content that you’re creating.

2.) See The Most Asked Questions On The Net

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The second way of finding content ideas is using a tool called AnswerThePublic.

Basically, it congregates the most common questions asked online about a topic.

For instance, if you plug in the keyword “ice cream”, it’ll spew out all the burning questions people have about the frozen dessert.

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Such as: “How do you make ice cream? “What types of ice cream is the best?” or “Which type of ice cream is the fattest?”

Because the results show the most popular questions people search for on a given topic, it means a lot of people are interested in knowing the answer to them.

This makes for an easy list of ideas to slot into your content plan.

Punch in a few keywords that are relevant to your business and you’ll have over 80 content ideas to play with, right away.

Pair this up with your findings from #1 and that will help you determine the what format (ie. video, long-form, etc) would be the most optimal for your target audience to enjoy.

3.) Dive Into Events & Holidays

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Another source for content ideas is to look at events.

I’m talking about those random but fun events like National Hot Dog Day, National Ice Cream Day, or National Bestfriend Day. They make for great excuses to delight your audience with something fun and unique.

There’s literally a themed event for each day. Find the ones that are most relevant to your business.

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Be creative with it as it gives you the opportunity to show up on your follower’s feeds. If you do something outstanding, it’ll get people talking about you.

For example, a local taco shop called Tacofino leveraged National Taco Day to send out their fleet of brightly coloured food trucks to hand out 50 free tacos around the city. They also paired up this special occasion with a charitable element by giving part of their day’s brick & mortar proceeds to aid the 2017 Mexico Earthquake relief.

This got the attention of Vancouverites and the media.

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Aside from funky events, there are better-known holidays that give you ammunition for your content brainstorm. Such as Mother’s Day, Valentine’s Day, Father’s Day, Halloween, and Christmas.

Those are 3 ways you can easily get a ton of content ideas for your business’ Instagram.

Using those 3 methods should ensure you never run out of ideas.

How To Choose The Perfect Location For Your Restaurant: High-Traffic vs. Destination

Location location location!

I bet you’ve heard of this tune before. 

It’s basically the song that experienced brick & mortar owners sing when someone asks them tip on how to be successful.

Each day I get people asking me questions about restaurant locations:

How do you choose the perfect location for the food and beverage shop?

How much should I be paying in rent, should I be paying $10,000, or should we be paying $2,000?

Because of how many people ask me these type of questions, I’m going to be answering that here in detail.

I’m also going to be covering the common pitfalls to avoid when choosing your restaurant’s location.

Let’s get into it!

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Location Hunting Cheat Sheet

The cheat sheet to help you find your perfect restaurant location.

In A Fantasy World…

Where pricing isn’t an issue…we’d choose to have our restaurant in the heart of downtown, right?

Why?

Because it has the most traffic. Which gives more opportunities to convert the traffic into customers (revenue).

But in reality, pricing is a major issue and deciding factor.

It’s the reason why we’re going to be talking about the difference between a destination location, and a high traffic location.

What is a High Traffic Location?

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A high traffic location means that there’s going to be a lot of foot traffic. That means a lot of people are walking by that area.

An example of a place that has high foot traffic would be malls, downtown, and financial district.

Since there are so many people walking by, it’s a lot more potential for you to convert these walk by traffic into your customers.

However, “potential” does not equate to revenue if you don’t do a good job converting the foot traffic into your customers.

Most high traffic locations are dominated by big box brands (like Starbucks and McDonald’s) because rent for these spots is extremely expensive. Landlords know these are hot spots and could bring high potential revenue.

What is a Destination Location?

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Destination location are polar opposites of High Traffic Locations. They have minimal to no foot traffic at all.

These would be your mom and pop shops tucked in an inner street or residential area. They are out of the way and need to be driven to.

The advantage of Destination Locations is that the rent is a lot more affordable compared to high traffic locations.

But of course the major disadvantage is lack of foot traffic. You need to be able to drive your own traffic. People need to know about you, and people need to drive intentionally to your location, and to consume at your location.

That requires a lot more friction.

To give you an example, 720 Sweets is a destination location because we didn’t want to take the risk of paying five, six thousand dollars for rent just to sell ice cream.

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We chose a destination location, a little bit tucked in from the main street, where the rent was a lot more affordable. So even if it takes a while to gain traction we were okay with that, because our risk tolerance was a little bit lower. That’s why we chose a destination location.

Depending on your resources, and the confidence level of your offering, you would be able to choose either a destination location or a high traffic location.

Franchises, and big box shops, and chains don’t just choose downtown locations because they can afford it, it’s also because they have a proven formula.

They know they can convert that foot traffic.

It isn’t so Black & White

In many cases, locations are not as clear cut as either being a destination or a high traffic. There are a lot of different elements that come into play that tips one way or the other.

4 Location Elements

1.) Visibility

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How visible is your shop?

How visible is that location?

When people drive by, can they see your location?

Or, is your shop completely tucked in and out of sight, and there’s no way anyone can ever see your shop?

If it’s completely tucked in, that means that it is a Destination Location to the extreme.

Sometimes there are locations where people do drive-by, and people do see it, although not a lot of foot traffic. Other times the location will be situated at the financial district, which is only busy during work hours. But, then after work hours no one goes there.

There are these elements that you would consider, and you would bring these elements to actually go and negotiate with your landlord.

2.) Crime Rate

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How safe would you feel if everyone around that area of your shop is taking drugs, and having multiple break ins, so on and so forth?

You wouldn’t feel that safe, and in turn that rental space would cost a lot less because of the crime rate around that area.

Even though it has a lot of high traffic, it is not the traffic that you’re looking for. And in turn, you can negotiate for a better rate with your landlord.

3.) Accessibility

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Is there accessible parking for your location?

If there’s no parking spot dedicated for your restaurant, then that means that is not as accessible as a place in a lot that has a lot of parking space. That itself will take away a lot of different customers.

For example, if you’re catering to a more higher end demographic without parking spots, then you would probably offer valet, which is another additional cost.

Having said that, is your location accessible by bus, or public transit?

If it is, then that means that the prices would go a little bit higher as well because once again, higher traffic.

4.) Community

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This is something that no one talks about.

Yet, it is one of the crucial things to consider when deciding a location.

What I mean by that is, you need to be in a place where you feel that it serves your customers. You need to be in a community where you feel belonged.

A lot of times when I choose locations, I would actually be in that location, and be at the competitor’s spot. I would observe how the community is coming together.

When people come in, do the waitress and waiters address each other by their first name? Because if they do, then we know that these are regulars, that they come back again and again.

When I’m there I’m also observing whether people feel like they belong there. Whether they sit there for a long time, or they just grab and go.

Regardless of the fact, you need to be within the community where you feel comfortable, because you’re going to be spending years in this community.

If you do not spend the time to consider this really crucial factor, then you’re going to be stuck in a place where you don’t find any joy and passion in, and that really defeats the purpose of running a food and beverage shop.

For example, when we were choosing location for our dessert shop 720 Sweets, we were driving around the area, and driving across different communities to see which one is most fitting for our demographic.

In turn we were able to find a community which we really, really like. Our shop is very accessible, right in front of the bus station. We were 10 minutes away from the university, and when I was choosing that location I was just at McDonald’s, and I was able to see a lot of university kids just walking and strolling by the streets, even though the traffic is not very dense. But, a lot of university kids are just walking around the area.

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This community proves to me that it is catered towards my demographic, and which is the reason why we chose our first shop 720, in that location.

Now that we’ve talked about the different elements to consider when choosing your perfect location, we’re going to be talking about the two deadliest pitfalls that I always see people make.

2 Deadly Pitfalls When Choosing A Restaurant Location

1.) Confirmation Bias

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Confirmation bias is basically falling in love with a place that you’ve been to, and you’re finding all these reasons to back up and validate why this should be the place of your choice.

Why this is the place that’s going to make it super successful.

And, you’re finding all these clues just to confirm and validate your emotions, which is you falling in love with the location.

And, you fail to see there’s no visibility, it’s tucked into a corner out of nowhere, there’s not accessible at all, no parking spots, no public transit, yet you’re catering to university kids.

How are they going to be able to get to the shop?

They’re not going to be able to get to the shop.

And thirdly, you fail to see the three other ice cream shops around the area, and they’re all suffering.

These are what I call confirmation bias, and a lot of people fall into this trap because they’re making judgment based upon their emotions, not rationally.

When it comes down to it, choosing a perfect location, always, always be aware of this number one deadliest pitfall, which is confirmation bias.

2.) Not Negotiating

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Now, the second deadliest pitfall that I always see is that people don’t negotiate for their rent.

It’s not that they don’t want to, it is because they’re afraid.

Why are they afraid?

Because they’re not well equipped with the education that I’m just sharing with you.

They’re not aware of how much of the surroundings they’re charging per square foot. They’re not aware of the different elements that come into play.

Is the place accessible? Is the place highly visible?

These are the things that you would want to bring up to your landlord after you’ve done your research, to tell them, and negotiate with them, and to rationalize with them.

“Hey, you know what, landlord? Your place is charging the same as something that is comparable, but you’re lacking parking spots. Why can you charge the same? Can’t you lower the rent because you don’t provide parking spots for my guests? And in turn, that would lower our customer satisfaction.”

A lot of times, they know about these things.

I’ve been on the other side before. I’ve been a landlord.

I know my shortcomings, and I know when people pick on them, I would be much more willing to negotiate because they know their stuff.

A few things that you can negotiate:

  • build-out cost
  • free rent
  • not increasing the rent
  • lowering the rent.

These are things to consider, and to negotiate for when negotiating with your landlord.

Make sure you guys always, always negotiate with your landlord when choosing a location. Because, at the end of the day there really is nothing to lose.

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Location Hunting Cheat Sheet

The cheat sheet to help you find your perfect restaurant location.

4 Common Types of Restaurant Concepts and How To Choose One That Fits You

Setting up your restaurant business for success starts by understanding what type of business model you’re looking to create.

We’re going to dive into the four F&B business models so you can properly choose which one would fit your specific lifestyle.

Whether you want to build an ice cream shop, bubble tea, banh mi, burger joint, or you have an amazing recipe that you want to bring to the world, you need to understand the nuance of each model. Each model has its pros, its cons, and the amount of money that it’s going to be able to make.

When I first started out my ice cream business, I never thought about the amount of work and money that is needed. This was a big mistake.

You do not want to make that mistake and then realize the model you chose is not what you expected. But by that time you’ve already spent the money and time.

Let’s dive right in.

1.) Fast Concept

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The first type of restaurant concept that we’re going to be talking about is the fast concept type.

We’re talking about something like an ice cream shop, a dessert shop, or something that’s more of a specialty, a coffee shop. These are the fast concept types, which have an average order value of roughly $6.

A typical space, we’re looking around 300 to 500 square foot place. Not too big, but just enough for you to be able to operate a tiny shop. You need to situate these locations at high-traffic places because of the volume that you need to be able to generate the profit that you’re looking for.

The amount of servers and talent that you need at the space is quite limited. You might even choose to have no server and stick with one or two baristas.

Now, in terms of projection of how much you’re going to be able to make at a location like this, given the fact of a $6 average for an item, you’re looking at around and aiming at 300 orders per day. That would net you around $50,000 per month, which itself is an amazing business if you’re looking a business that is relatively low in stress, low in investment, and low in workload.

For example, our ice cream shop, 720 Sweets, is a fast concept business. We serve ice cream, we serve bubble tea, and these are really high-generating items. It only took us three months to be able to open up the shop.

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Photo Credit: Domoiscraving

The major equipment that we needed was the ice cream machine and fridges.

The investment to open up this place was only $100,000.

I talk about in this video, how we made more than $36,000 in our first month, and this itself is an amazing location for something simple. Staffing wise, we only have five employees per location, and that’s on a rotating basis. On really busy days, we may have 2 – 3 staff in the store at one time, but most of the time we have one.

The shop is completely hands-off for me, which is the reason why I love this model because it’s profitable when you can make it profitable when you look at all the different numbers, and when you can actually control them and know what to do with them.

Pros

  • Low investment
  • Easier set up
  • Low amount of labour required
  • Do not need skilled labour

We’re talking about a low-investment model. Because you have such a small place, the amount of equipment that you can purchase is completely minimal. You’re not looking at a full-on scale kitchen.

The set up is a lot simpler, which means city permits and licenses is going to be a lot easier for you to get.

The amount of labour you need is also substantially lower than a full-service restaurant, which is why this type of concept is so popular because it’s so hard to be able to find talent out there. These are the pros.

Cons

  • Limited offering for customers
  • Lower revenue

Now, the cons of running a business like that it has a limited amount of offering that you have for your customers. You only have so much space and so much equipment that restricts your menu.

This also affects your revenue because you’re only able to offer certain types of food and drinks. Your average ticket price will be limited.

2.) Fast Food

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The second type of food concept that you’re going to be looking at is the fast-food type. I’m talking about something like a donair shop, a burger joint, or a banh mi shop. These are food items that are quick grab-and-go.

Average prices we’re looking at is around 8 to 15 bucks, so we’re going to put it at $11, our average pricing for projections.

For a place like this, we’re looking at around 500 to 900 square feet. You don’t need that big of a space and don’t need front of the house staffing since it’s more of a grab-and-go or cafeteria-style. People are not expecting full service, which is beneficial for you because it keeps the cost much lower.

For a projection we’re looking at $11 average pricing. That nets around $2,750 at 250 servings per day. In a month, you’re going to be able to generate around $77,000 for a concept like this. Not too shabby. Once again, this is a little bit better than the fast concept places.

Pros

  • Lower investment required
  • Do not need skilled labour
  • Low amount of labour required
  • Higher revenue potential than fast concept

Now, some of the pros of a fast concept place is that the investment is also relatively lower than comparing to a full-service diner because the equipment you need is a little bit less.

The skill level to produce these items is, once again, a lot lower than a full-service diner. As mentioned, the amount of staff needed is quite low since you don’t need servers.

The revenue that it can actually potentially bring in is a little bit higher than a fast concept place.

Cons

  • Higher investment needed than fast concept
  • Lower revenue

Now, the cons of running a fast-food joint is that the equipment costs more, meaning that your investment will be higher for this concept compared to a fast concept.

You’re going to be able to cap your revenue based on you’re offerings. At 11 bucks, you can’t really offer too much, right? For example, if you look at a donair shop, they can only offer so much. People only come in to grab-and-go for lunch or for a quick dinner.

That itself is limiting the different revenue streams that you can generate.

3.) Casual Dining

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The third type of restaurant that you can build is casual dining business. For casual dining, you do need front of the house staffing because there is an expectation of some service at these establishments.

Average pricing we’re looking at around $16. You can expect average tickets to go up with drinks and desserts being added to the mix. That’s the type of places that people actually go in, and it’s like a hole-in-the-wall shop that is offering grandma’s a recipe.

For a place like this, you’re looking at roughly around a thousand square feet. That gives people enough space to actually soak in the ambiance and actually enjoy the food. The location of a casual dining shop could be at a high-traffic or even a destination location because people don’t mind driving to a specific place just so then they can have like the best spaghetti in town.

For projection, we’re looking at roughly $3,200 per day, given an average value of $16 per meal. You’re looking at roughly $90,000 per month. This is your million dollar business if you’re looking to create a business. A casual dining experience would be able to help you get there.

Pros

  • Fulfilling to run
  • Higher revenue potential

First of all, it is super fulfilling because now you can actually create your grandma’s recipe and you can actually bring it to the world and for everyone to enjoy this recipe. It also gives you a lot more room for creativity and provide different offerings.

Also, the revenue that you’re able to generate is much more. This is your seven-figure business.

Cons

  • Higher investment required
  • Skill of labour is higher

The cons of running a casual dining experience is the investment is much higher than a fast-concept and fast-food business. From more expensive equipment, to a bigger space, to more expensive ingredients, to city permits and extra labour, they all are required for a casual dining spot.

Not only that, the staff you hire need to be more skilled as well. This is because they need to actually prepare a dish, which has much more variables that can go wrong.

If you don’t manage all the moving parts in a casual dining business properly, even though you’re making a million dollars, you could still be making way less than someone that’s running a fast-concept shop. That’s because you don’t control your costs of goods sold or staffing effectively.

4.) Full Service

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Last but not least, a full-service dining experience.

We’re talking about this as like full-on front of the house staffing. You have food service. You have wine. You have dessert. Everything. People are coming to greet you by your first name.

Average item cost is around $50. For a location like this, you need it to be a bigger place. We’re talking about 1,500 square foot to 3,000 square foot.

Now, the average ticket, we’re looking around $50 because there’s wine, there’s a full meal, appetizer, dessert, everything. We’re looking around $6,500 per day and $180,000 each month in revenue.

But, just because the revenue is there, it does not mean the stress, the risk, and the work level is worth it. It is the reason why I always, always stay away from concepts like this.

Pros

  • Fulfilling and allows for creativity
  • High revenue potential

One of the pros of running fine dining experience is that you have your creation out there for the world to experience. You’re basically creating art for your customers, and that fulfillment is definitely irreplaceable.

If you can manage your restaurant properly, this fine dining experience properly, and you have line up out the door all the time, the financial reward that is going to give you, it’s much, much higher. We were talking about millions of dollars in revenue.

Cons

  • High investment required
  • Skilled and specialized labour required
  • Higher expectations involved

The investment to create a fine dining experience is well over a million dollars. We’re talking about a full-on ambiance with a full-on makeover of a unit. We’re talking about alcohol license. We’re talking about full-on kitchen with all the state of the art equipment and accessories.

The labour that is involved to run a fine dining experience needs to be well-trained and experienced. The expectation is much higher for both the service and the food. This means your front-of-house and back-of-house staff needs to be top-notch.

A lot of people have trouble finding talent to create good food for them and controlling your food costs to make sure that you have a business that is profitable.

There you go.

The food money-making models for your food and beverage shop.

Just because someone else is running a bubble tea joint that is super successful, it doesn’t mean it’s suitable for you.

If you have dreams of bringing your grandma’s recipe and showing it to the world, then that’s not the place for you. That’s not the model you want to choose. You want to choose a casual dining experience that you can provide your customers.

Now, I’m going to be covering the three different elements to consider when choosing the different models that you would be best suitable for your needs.

3 Elements To Consider When Choosing Your Business Model

1.) Stress Level

Man on sofa feeling burnt out

The number one thing that you want to consider is the stress level. Are you signing up for being super stressed out every single day for years to come, or do you want to just have a coffee shop that you would want to go to?

You don’t mind it not making that much money to begin with, and you have time to spend with it, and you meet all the customers there, and you just have this really homey place?

It’s really coming down to the stress level that you want to take on.

For some people, they like that chaotic environment. They like being in that stressful environment because that’s how they thrive.

With different types of business models, they have different types of stress levels, so know what you’re signing up for before you choose that type of vehicle.

2.) Risk Level

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The second element to consider is the risk level. We’re talking about if you’re wanting to open a fine dining experience full-on with alcohol license, you’re talking about over millions of dollars in investment.

Are you up for that type of risk?

Are you going to put your house on refinancing just so then that way, you can create this fine dining experience with no experience, or do you have a hundred thousand dollars saved, and you just want something that is your own?

You want to escape your nine-to-five and you just want to have a coffee shop that you feel good about and that you can actually just be there, and you’re completely fine with it.

Well, the risk level of a hundred-thousand-dollar investment and a million-dollar investment, that’s completely different.

So at the end of the day, consider the risk level for your needs because everyone’s needs are different.

3.) Work Level

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The third type of element to consider is the work level. In the food and beverage industry, the work is always going to be crazy.

For those first six months, you’re going to be working in the business all day long until you have a process in place, until you figured out how to hire people that can help you out.

So after the fact that you are working there for six months, everything is already on automation. Do you want to continue to be working in there, your business? Do you want to be in the kitchen cooking up your grandma’s recipe and showing the world how great it is?

That’s a casual dining experience, or just like, “Hey, I want this as an investment. I have a bubble tea shop. i hired people to build, run it from me on automation, and I’m just going to go there once a week just to check it up.”

That, for me, is the work level that I chose, which is the reason why I chose a fast concept because it’s very easy for me to be able to monitor the type of work and the type of quality that people are churning out.

It really comes back down to your work level that you’re choosing to meet your needs.

So there you go.

At the end of the day, just because someone is successful with a taco shop, it doesn’t mean it suits your needs.

Choose the one vehicle that brings you to your destination.

Choose the one that is the most fitting for you (risk level, the work level, and stress level).

Do not be tempted to follow what other people are doing. Choose one that is the most fitting for you.

Top 5 Most Profitable Food & Beverage Business Ideas

Recently, I interviewed 100+ food and beverage restaurant owners to see which types of food businesses are actually making money and what isn’t.

It gave me a lot of insight into how people invest and the type of service that is being offered.

From the interviews, I was able to nail down the top five most profitable food businesses.

A typical food and beverage shop’s margins range from 5% to 10%. That is very, very slim margins.

The five food businesses that are most profitable all range from 20% to 35% margins. We’re talking about 20% to 35% margins take-home – which is incredible.

All right, let’s dive right in.

1.) Bubble Tea Shop

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The number one most profitable food and beverage business is a bubble tea shop.

It’s the most profitable because the cost of goods sold (COGS) is relatively low. It ranges from 10% to 15%.

The items are also super easy to make and it is relatively simple to keep the quality consistent. All you have to do is just follow the formula and recipe.

Once you have all the powders and the syrup, you’re good to go.

Lastly, training staff is super easy because bubble tea doesn’t require any special skills (unlike cooking) to make and only require minimal service talent.

Pros

Some of the pros of operating a bubble tea shop is that it has high demand. Nowadays, everyone is drinking bubble tea and if you do not know what bubble tea is you definitely are missing out.

The second thing is the high turnover rate. You don’t need a big space to do a lot of volume. People tend to grab their bubble tea and go. That why it is such an attractive business model.

It doesn’t require a lot of investment. All the equipment is actually very affordable.

The fourth thing is quality control. It doesn’t require a very high skill to be able to make the product good because it’s all in the formula. That’s what makes this product and this business model so attractive.

For 720 Sweets, we actually started selling bubble tea two years ago because we saw how profitable it is and the demand it has.

Cons

Now, the con of running this business is that the average ticket price relatively low. This means you need a lot of volume for you to be profitable.

It is also very competitive. I’m not sure about you, but in Vancouver there are more bubble tea shops than 7-Eleven’s and Starbucks. Going down a block you’re going to see at least five of them. It is because it is such a profitable business idea out there.

I have a few friends who own bubble tea shops, and a lot of them actually surpass seven figures selling bubble tea.

We’re talking about peak times – more than $200,000 per month. That crazy amount of volume and demand was the reason why 720 Sweets began selling bubble tea too. Our franchisees love us providing this as well.

2.) Ice Cream Shop

Top 5 Most Profitable Food & Beverage Business Ideas 28

The second most profitable food and beverage business out there is an ice cream shop.

Luckily enough, our 720 Sweets, our dessert chain, is in the forefront of this as well. This is the reason why we’ve expanded so rapidly.

Pros

The cost of goods sold (COGS), once again, is relatively low in comparison to a full-service restaurant.We’re talking about around 20% to 25% in cost of goods sold (COGS).

The quality control is definitely a pro because when you make these things in batches, it becomes a formula. Basically, you just need to follow the recipe and create mix A, mix B, mix C, and out comes a product. This means it doesn’t require highly skilled labor and talent to create the product.

And who doesn’t like ice cream? Everyone loves ice cream and the volume you potentially go through is crazy during the summertime.

Cons

Now, some of the cons of running an ice cream shop is that the equipment is a little bit higher in cost, seasonality is a problem and the low average ticket cost. So just like bubble tea shops, you’ll need a lot of volume.

The reason why 720 Sweets was able to do moderately well is because, knowing the fact that seasonality would be a problem, we introduced bubble tea and taiyaki in our menu. This allowed us to lift our average ticket cost.

People don’t only come in for dessert. They can also can come in for a light lunch or a light dinner. We created taiyaki sandwiches, which is a croissant sandwich that people love, which helped us increase our average ticket cost and tackled the seasonality problem.

3.) Ramen Shop

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The third most profitable food and beverage business idea is having a ramen joint.

Pros

Ramen is amazing when it comes to profitability. The cost of goods sold range from 15% to 20% and there is a high demand for it – people love ramen.

The average ticket cost is a lot higher compared to a bubble tea or ice cream. It can be lifted even more if you have alcohol available and set menus like a bowl of ramen and a plate of gyoza.

Although ramen isn’t as simple to make as bubble tea or scooping icecream, it only requires medium-skilled labor. A full-on trained chef isn’t required since a lot of the processes are actually preset.

Best part about a ramen business? The super-quick turnover.

Not only is ramen quite fast to make, but it is also fast to eat. In Japan, ramen is meant to be a quick meal, where you’re supposed to eat and slurp the noodles right away.

I have a friend who is in the ramen joint business. His place is only a thousand square feet and he makes more than $2 million dollars in revenue. It is mind-blowing.

It is crazy how much volume they do because of how high the turnover is.

Cons

On the flip side, the investment is a lot higher compared to a bubble tea or ice cream shop. You’ll need to consider more expensive equipment, ingredients, and number of staff.

For a bubble tea and ice cream shop, there are cases where you only need 1 or 2 staff on site. A ramen shop needs more on a regular basis for it to run.

And because of how popular ramen is, the competition is quite fierce. You’ll see many of the big names from Japan set up shop overseas. You’ll have to consider how you’re going to be able to compete with them.

4.) Pasta Shop

Top 5 Most Profitable Food & Beverage Business Ideas 30

The fourth type of super-profitable food and beverage ideas is having a pasta joint.

Pros

After interviewing more than hundreds of food and beverage owners, F&B shops that specialize in pasta always sits near the top in terms of profitability because of how a staple this item is. Just like ramen, people love pasta, and the COGS is incredibly low because they’re just mixing flour and water.

We are talking around 15% to 20% cost of goods sold, high demand, average ticket cost is definitely a lot higher than bubble tea and ice cream.

Cons

The amount of investment needed to open a pasta joint is higher when it comes down to it. You’ll need a full-on kitchen and higher-skilled labour to open up a pasta place.

5.) Pizza Shop

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The final most profitable business idea in 2019 is having a pizza shop.

Pros

This has always been super profitable because you’re basically mixing dough and water. You’re talking about maybe 10% to 15% in cost of goods sold (COGS).

Now, we’re not talking about those $1 pizza spots. But your COGS will be higher depending on what type of pizza you serve. Some people might have arugula and have different types of really upscale meat so, for those joints, their cost of goods sold is definitely higher.

When it comes to pizza, the skill required to make pizza is lower than a full-on restaurant as well. If your shop is more grab n’ go and cafeteria-style, you can also avoid having to hire extra staff.

Cons

On the con side, the investment for having a pizza shop is definitely a lot higher as well.

So there you go, the top five most profitable food and beverage businesses in 2019. I know I’ve focused a lot on the cost of goods sold but because of the fact that when it comes to running a food and beverage business, the margins are really determined by the COGS, by your labour, and rent.

So if you can control any of these to a minimum, that’s where upside comes from.

Starting a F&B shop or already own one?

Join the Restaurant Success Facebook Group and be part of a community of other like-minded individuals in the food space. Join here.

How to Be a Restaurant Partner for UberEATS and MISTAKES to Avoid (Get MORE Profit!)

Before you even consider partnering up and becoming a restaurant partner for a delivery app like UberEats or Foodora, you need to understand why you’d like to do that, and the benefits that it brings to your restaurant.

You need to be super clear in this.

This is because there is a lot of negative talk among the food industry about joining these delivery platforms. Like how many restaurant owners feel like they are forced to join or how it is a black hole that sucks all your remaining margins.

These claims may be true for certain individuals in certain situations and if you don’t utilize them properly. But these platforms are beneficial and can help certain restaurant owners expand their brand immensely.

It depends on the context and the mindset you go into the partnership – which is why you need to clear on your intentions first.

Now let’s get into it!

1.) Get More Exposure To Your Restaurant or F&B Shop

The first reason why you’d want to become a partner with a delivery app is because it brings you a lot more eyeballs and exposure to your brand.

These delivery apps have raised millions of dollars, and they spend a ton in marketing budget to get people to use their platform. The more people who use their service, the more money they make. So for them, they are much more incentivized to spend a whack load of advertising money to get people to use their apps.

If your restaurant is on their app, you would get exposed to people who may never heard of you before. So leveraging off their database is very important and one of the main key features of why you’d want to partner up with these delivery apps.

2.) Avoid Headache Of Hiring & Staffing

The food industry is notorious for high turnover rates.

For many restaurant owners, dealing with their own in-house staffing is already such a big headache.

So why would you want to deal with having your own delivery team when you can have someone else take care of that for you?

Yes. there’s going to be a fee involved using these delivery apps, but you don’t need to worry about employee benefits or insurance. You don’t even need to worry about their wellbeing, the culture – none of that. That’s for UberEats or Foodora to take care of. 

You just need to make sure you give them their fee and they’ll take care of all the delivery. That saves you a lot of time and headache of dealing with your own driver.

3.) Offset Your Sunk Cost

Regardless of how busy your shop is, you’re already paying for rent and your staff to be there. This means the slow times as well.

So why wouldn’t you want to utilize these apps and fulfill orders during those periods?

Although you might not be profiting as much or make as much margins from your dining customers, it’s still a good way to offset your sunk cost.

Imagine this: A customer that never heard of you before and found you on the delivery app, while frantically looking for a restaurant to serve their late afternoon meeting. The meeting was a success and everyone enjoyed their meal. Attendees ask where the food came from so they can order from you again.

This means that you not only got to cover a bit of your sunk cost by fulfilling a late afternoon order, but you may also get new customers to either order from you again through a delivery app or to dine in.

It is when you think of how UberEats or Foodora can be part of your bigger overarching business strategy, it is when you see where these delivery apps have a place for your restaurant.

Yes, they have their pros and cons (like most things). But if you are aware of their advantages and disadvantages – of each delivery app – you can intentionally strategize how you can benefit from them and maximize your restaurant’s potential.

What Do These Delivery Apps Charge?

How to Be a Restaurant Partner for UberEATS and MISTAKES to Avoid (Get MORE Profit!) 32

They charge a percentage of your order, so anywhere from 15% to 35%, depending on the structure and the relationship that you have with these apps.

For example, UberEats charge around 30%. A lot of times you can actually negotiate down a few percentage points depending on the location that you’re at.

For other delivery apps, they go down as low as around 15%. Some of those services they just drive you the customers, not necessarily deliver for you.

So anywhere from 25% and to 35% is a very common percentage that I see a lot of restaurants being charged.

What Does That Mean?

That means that if a delivery app brings in around $10,000 in revenue for you, they’re going to pocket around $2,000 – $2,500 as their fee.

Now, in my previous video, I did talk about the margins that restaurant owners typically have. That floats around 5% – 10%. If you’re good at managing your cost and everything, it goes up to 15% – 20%, but that’s really rare. You’ve got to be like a super operator and super good with your numbers.

So what does that mean? You should not view these delivery app services as a strategy to increase your profits.

Instead, you should look at these delivery apps as a means to bring you new customers and get exposure. You calculate this as part of your marketing cost.

When you have these eyeballs and these customers, it’s your job and your duty to convert them into regulars that will come consume at your café or restaurant.

Now that we know why you’d want to partner up with these delivery apps and what are the percentages that they charge, here are five common pitfalls that you should avoid during your partnership

Pitfalls of Partnering With Delivery Apps

1.) Having Poor Logistics

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So many businesses that I work with, their staff completely hates working with these delivery services because it just seems like adding a wrench in their whole system, in their engine.

They’re already busy as hell and all of a sudden they need to care about this online order and they don’t want to be able to prioritize them. But, the driver’s already here to pick up the order.

This is a nightmare for the staff.

So it is crucial to have proper logistics and proper training to implement the online orders into your system. Iron out your operations, so your staff has less headache and actually wants to serve these online orders.

When you do sign up for a delivery app, you need to have the proper systems and processes in place to really take advantage of the service.

Failing to do so will only put extra strain on your staff and affect your brand.

2.) Neglecting What The Fees

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When you sign up for a delivery app, there is 0 or very little upfront cost. The charge is in each order. So if you fail to understand the fees involved, your numbers won’t work out and may be in the reds.

What that means is, every order that you receive, you’re going to end up losing money if you do not understand how do to manage them properly.

It is crucial for you to have a separate exclusive menu just for delivery.

You need to work out menu items that are high in margin and easy to produce. That gives you the flexibility and the room to play with, and for you to be able to bring in new customers.

For example, if you’re a dessert place, you’d possibly want to sell brownies that would cost you $0.40 to make and sell them at $5 a pop. That is super easy, you just need to grab, pack it, boom. It’s good to go, and the margins are there for you.

3.) Choosing The Cheapest Service

The third common pitfall is that people choose the app that gives them the lowest percentage. Understand that these apps are a big representation for your brand. If these apps don’t have a good customer service or a poor interface, that is a reflection on your brand.

At the end of the day, if the customer enjoys using the app and has a great experience – and you deliver on amazing delicious food – they will order from you again and may even come to your restaurant. This give you the potential for you to gain a loyal customer.

So choose an app that has a good interface, that has good customer feedback and good customer support.

It is worth a slightly higher percentage fee.

4.) Not Caring About Food Quality

How to Be a Restaurant Partner for UberEATS and MISTAKES to Avoid (Get MORE Profit!) 35

So many restaurant owners have this oversight.

They just think, “Hey, you just want something with high margins, something that is quick to make.” It’s a good start to have a specific menu for delivery apps, but a lot of times they need to also really study, “Is this item good for delivery? Is it going to be good by the time that it goes onto my customer’s hands?”

For example, if I’m selling french fries, it’s probably not a really great idea to have this as part of the menu because by the time it arrives in your customer’s hands, it’s going to be soggy it’s going to be gross, it’s going to be stale, and your customer’s not going to have a good experience at all.

It becomes a lose-lose situation.

You’re gonna be losing in terms of margins, and your customers are not going to come back for you (who likes soggy fries?).

You just lost completely because of this oversight.

So make sure whatever item that you decide to put on the menu, put yourself in the customer’s shoes and think whether it is good and it would retain its quality after delivery.

5.) Treating Them Like Regular Customers

Pitfall number five is treating your delivery app clients, the customers, like your regular customers. You do not want to do that.

Earlier, we talked about the importance of utilizing this strategy to pull in long-term customers. You’re not treating the delivery app customers like any other customers. You need to pull them and convert them into your loyal base. because if you don’t that, you’re going to lose on your margins.

Partnering with delivery apps long-term is not really a feasible strategy. You have no margins at all if they stick with a ~30% fee.

So it’s super important for you to understand that you don’t treat these customers like any other customers. You need to treat them like, “Hey, this is a new set of eyes. How can I convert them? How can I bring them into the store?”

For example, when you’re working with these customers, you’d want to maybe slip them a coupon for every delivery. Possibly a coupon for a free drink when you dine in. That acts as a really good motivation for these people that try your product and gives them a reason to come to your restaurant.

It also becomes a win-win situation.

You’ve just gained a long-term customer.

Be creative. Focus on converting them from being a delivery app customer to a long-term loyal fan.

Using delivery apps like UberEats, Foodora, Deliveroo is an amazing strategy and tool for you to bring in new customers to your store.

But you have it needs to be done right.

If you do not utilize this tool properly, for every order that you sell, you’re going to be losing money, and it’s going to run you to bankruptcy. So it is super important for you to be aware of the 5 pitfalls and do your best to leverage these tools for your benefit.

Amazon Competitor Analysis: How to See Who You are Competing Against & Win

With how savage the competition on Amazon has become, it will be no stretch to describe the internet’s biggest marketplace as a warzone. Thousands of online sellers are constantly fighting for the attention of consumers. When it comes to eCommerce warfare, as with all warfare, one rule rings true – know your enemies.

So, in this digital age, how exactly do eCommerce sellers get to know their enemy?

The most effective way to do it is through an in-depth competitor analysis.

By analyzing what your competitors are doing, you’ll know how to stand out and outperform them.

There’s A Lot To Learn From The Competition

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“You should learn from your competitor, but never copy. Copy and you die.”

~ Jack Ma, Executive Chairman of Alibaba

To learn from the competition, you need to break down their online presence and thoroughly understand their overall approach.

You can then leverage this knowledge to develop a strong competitive advantage and sustain that advantage by always being one step ahead.

What You Can Gain From Tracking Your Amazon Competitors

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Amazon FBA sellers have much to gain from performing an Amazon competitor analysis. The value of the insight that can be gained from your competitors’ successes and failures cannot be understated. Having a thorough understanding of the competition allows one to:

  • Improve the precision of portfolio scouting and sourcing decisions
  • Optimize advertising campaigns and maximize the efficiency of ad spending
  • Improve performance and profitability tracking

How to Conduct Your Competitive Analysis

Identify the competition.

You can’t analyze the competition if you don’t know who your competitors are. Knowing the competition will let you:

  • Use their strengths and weakness as a guide on what you should and shouldn’t do.
  • Better understand the Amazon FBA landscape and how to position your business above the competition.
  • Keep track of the competition so you are never caught off guard and can stay one step ahead.

Find Your Competitors

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Making full use of Google and Amazon search engines is one of the fundamentals of how to do competitive analysis as an Amazon FBA seller.

Here’s an example of how to leverage the immense power of these two search engines to cast and wide net and get an accurate view of the current competitive landscape of your chosen industry:

  1. Go to Amazon and search for your planned business name, product ideas, and overarching business ideas.
  2. Take note of the top results as they will most likely be ones you’ll have to compete with.
  3. Go to Google and search for the different social media channels, organizations and online communities of each of the competitors you’ve listed in the previous step.
  4. Utilize a combination of free and paid tools to find more information on your competitors. Such tools may include:
  • SpyFu – a competitor analysis tool that helps you research and download your competitors’ most profitable keywords.
  • SEMrush – a tool that helps you to conduct competitive research on any domain name and to use the data to optimize your campaigns.
  • SimilarWeb – a competitive analysis tool for digging into a site, app or platform.
  • Alexa – a tool that provides deep analytical insights to compare and optimize businesses on the web.
  • Keyword Competitor – an all-in-one competitive analysis tool that shows you keyword opportunities that your competitors have been ignoring.
  • Social Mention – a tool that provides real-time search on brand mentions.
  • Rank Signals – a backlink checker tool that helps you uncover SEO backlinks & traffic sources of your competitors.
  • Buzzsumo – a social networks tracking tool that helps you find the most shared content for a given topic.

Categorize Your Competitors

After finding the competitors you believe will be a threat to your Amazon FBA business, it’s time to segregate them. You can divide them into three main groups based on their threat level:

1.) Primary Competition

  • Targets the same audience as you or;
  • Sells a similar product to yours

Example: A Nike retailer is a primary competitor of an Adidas retailer.

2.) Secondary Competition

  • Offers a high-end or low-end version of your product or;
  • Sells a similar product to yours but to a completely different audience

Example: A Rolex seller is a secondary competitor to a Timex seller.

3.) Tertiary Competition

  • Sells products tangentially related to yours

Example: A seller of gems and precious stones is a tertiary competitor of a jewelry seller.

Find and compile the following information for each competitor:

  • Name of store
  • Mission statement (if available)
  • Product offering
  • Strengths and weaknesses of their business
  • Category of competition

Examine your competitor’s website & customer experience.

Now that you know the basic information about the competition, it’s time to dig a little deeper.

Take a closer look and put yourself in their customer’s shoes. You can do this by finding the answer to relevant and important questions such as:

  • How good are their product images? How do they communicate the details of their product?
  • How detailed are their product descriptions? What information can be added and what information can be omitted?
  • How are their calls to action presented throughout the online shopping experience? Do they feel organic? Are they easy to notice?
  • Do they have an email capture strategy such as a newsletter subscription opt-in? If yes, how prominent is it?
  • Where are their social media buttons positioned?
  • Do they maintain a blog? How often do they post? What type of content do they publish?
  • Is their website optimized for mobile users?
  • What are the available ways of contacting them? Do they offer 24/7 customer support?
  • What is their average response time to emails, live chats, and contact form submissions?
  • Do they have reengagement strategies such as an ‘Abandoned Cart’ feature? If yes, how do they tell their customers about it?
  • What information do they include in their marketing banners and callouts?
  • How often do they run promotions such as discounts and freebies?

Knowing the answers to these questions will help you identify what competitive advantage you have over your competitors.

Identify your competitor’s market positioning

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Understanding the positioning strategy of your competitors will give you valuable insights into the prevailing demands and expectations of your target market. Knowing how your competitors position themselves will give you an idea on how to position yourself against them.

To do this, you need to look at their website and messaging and answer these three simple questions:

  • What is the main reason customers buy from them? Is it the price? Is it the experience? Or is it something else entirely?
  • How do they differentiate their product from that of their competitors? What feature/s and benefit/s do they highlight the most?
  • What, according to them, makes their product unique?

Here are a few tips to help you gather as much relevant information as possible:

  1. Sign up for their newsletter and check out the messaging of their newsletter campaigns.
  2. Subscribe to and follow their blog. Look at what type of content they publish and what tone they use.
  3. Follow their official social media pages and analyze how they communicate with their followers.
  4. Put an item into your shopping cart but do not complete the checkout process. Wait and see whether or not they will try to convince you to complete the purchase. Study the language and structure of each email in their ‘Abandoned Cart’ email series.
  5. Purchase a product and analyze it. Determine how it compares with your own product.

Take a peek at pricing.

Your pricing strategy can make or break your Amazon FBA business.

There are numerous factors to consider when setting the price of your products. You can use the way your competitors priced their products as a reference.

Doing so will give you an idea on how much your target consumers are willing to pay. Check their prices on both Google and Amazon.

Keep in mind that your prices don’t necessarily have to be less than your competitors as long as you offer something they don’t. That extra value can come in the form of peace of mind, expedited shipping, better buying experience, etc.

Don’t forget to factor your startup and operating costs when setting your prices. It is essential that you earn enough to profit to make your time as an Amazon FBA seller worthwhile.

Take a temperature check with reviews.

Find out what consumers are saying about your competitors’ products and the overall customer experience they provide.

You can gauge the health of an ecommerce business by how good or bad the online word of mouth about it is. The number of available reviews also indicates how much interest consumers have on a particular product.

Knowing this information is essential to identifying the best items to sell on Amazon FBA.

Check the reviews on the competitor’s Amazon product pages, on their website, on review sites, and on social media.

Read the comments left on their blog posts too, if you can.

Customer reviews might show you something you can capitalize on or give you hints on something you have that you can turn into a competitive advantage. Identify the things consumers complain about.

Find ways to ensure they won’t make the same complaints about your product.

Review their social media.

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Taking a closer look at a competitor’s social media accounts can tell you a lot of things.

The number of followers along with how much they talk about the product tells you how viable that product is.

You’ll also learn the general consensus consumers have about that competitor’s business. You’ll see which attempts at engagement fail and which succeed.

Check out as many social media accounts you can find for each competitor. Use the following questions to gauge how strong or weak their social media presence is:

  • How would you define their overall social media presence?
  • What social media channels do they use the most?
  • What tone do they use when speaking with their followers?
  • What are they posting and how often?
  • How often do they post something new?
  • What relevant social media channels do they ignore?
  • What percentage of posts talks about their business?
  • What percentage of posts is aimed at increasing engagement or attracting new followers?

Amazon is the largest online marketplace on the World Wide Web. It is also the most competitive.

Fortunately, you don’t necessarily have to start from scratch.

You can use the trials, failures, and success of your potential competitors as stepping stones for your own Amazon FBA business.

Your competitors are goldmines of valuable information. They can give you an idea of what the best items to sell on Amazon FBA are. They can tell you what you should and should not do. They can give you ideas on how you can differentiate your brand.

Understand your competition and Amazon FBA success will be well within reach.

How to Find Your Target Market for Your Ecommerce Businesses

Knowing the intricate nuances of your target market plays a crucial role in the performance of any eCommerce business.

Because there are so many competitors out there selling a similar product as you, you need to make your products stand out and speak to your potential customers and current customers. That way, they buy from you over the guy down the street (web). 

Failing to put the work in doing the research and doing the testing may mean pushing the wrong messaging and wrong visuals to your intended buyers. Which means a lot of wasted time and money.

Know Who You’re Marketing To

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It is incredibly hard to succeed as a business if your target audience is not clearly defined.

A big mistake beginner business owners make is trying to market to everyone. That is, using the same messaging and visuals towards each demographic cluster. 

The problem is that a universal marketing strategy does not exist in today’s age.

Why bother marketing to consumers who are unlikely to buy your product? You’ll end up spreading your budget too thin.

Aim for consumers who are most likely to connect with your brand. This is the best way to use your marketing dollars and your best chance of succeeding in such a vicious industry. 

What is “Target Market”?

You can find several variations of the target market definition on the internet.

I find Shopify’s definition is one of the most accurate:

“A target market is a group of consumers or organizations most likely to buy a company’s products or services. Because those buyers are likely to want or need a company’s offerings, it makes the most sense for the company to focus its marketing efforts on reaching them. Marketing to these buyers is the most effective and efficient approach. The alternative – marketing to everyone – is inefficient and expensive.”

-Shopify

Why Do I Need To Know My Target Market?

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How can you sell to consumers if you have no idea what they want or need?

Each person has different demographic qualities, interests, and pain points.

Selling without a target market is like traveling without a specific destination. You’ll likely get lost and never achieve the goals of your journey.

On the other hand, if you target the right audience, success will be well within reach.

If you find an untapped market, you can even disrupt the market.

Let’s take a look at this recent success story.

Do it like the Dollar Shave Club

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The Dollar Shave Club took the shaving industry by storm. It completely disrupted the personal grooming market.

How did it do this?

First, it found an untapped market. And which market is that, you ask?

It’s the men who don’t like the hassles of going out to buy razors and grooming products.

During that time, all sellers of razors and male grooming products required their customers to come to their stores.

Disruption is the Key to Rapid Growth

The Dollar Shave Club’s business model changed the face of the male grooming industry forever.

The company sends its subscribers razors and grooming products delivered to their house. Subscribers only have to pay a small monthly fee in return.

The Dollar Shave Club then topped this off with its memorable and catchy tag line, “our blades are f***ing great!”

How to Find Your Target Market for Your Ecommerce Businesses 44

The Dollar Shave Club became a well-known brand in the US within a few months.

How to Find Your Target Market for Your Ecommerce Businesses 45

It owed half of its success to its business model. The other half was thanks to it choosing the right target market.

How Do I Find My Target Market For My eCommerce Business?

The process of identifying your target market can be broken down into the four steps listed below:

Step 1: Define Your Target Market

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This first step is all about identifying the problem you solve or the desire you fulfill.

You need to know the pain points you want your marketing to aim for.

Consider these tools and areas during your research:

  • Amazon Reviews – look at the negative review and positive reviews of a similar product a competitor is selling. See what works and what doesn’t.
  • Quora – a Q&A board where you can see what people are struggling with or curious about in the topic your product is in.
  • Answer the Public – displays all the questions people ask online about any term or topic.
  • Facebook Insights – input a Facebook page of a global company that caters to a similar target audience and see the interests and demographic information about them.

Write down all the key information you find in these platforms, specifically:

  • what are the biggest pain points people are having?
  • what is the goal people are looking to achieve?
  • how does the product make them feel?
  • what brands, books, known individuals are mentioned?
  • what demographic and psychographic patterns to do you see?

Let’s say your service delivers razors and other male grooming products to subscribers.

Who would be your ideal target audience?

You can target working adult males who are too busy to go to the department store only to buy a razor.

You can then use this to create your buyer persona. Buyer personas make it easier to make your marketing, product, and packaging have the same target. 

Let’s say that our buyer persona is John, a 31-year-old working father of two.

Step 2: Refine Your Target Market

Now that you have a buyer persona, it’s time to refine it.

You need to factor in the demographics and psychographics of your potential customers so you can get into their heads. 

Demographics can include gender, age, income level, education level, marital status, and the like.

Psychographics can include behaviors, attitudes, and the like.

Here are some examples of how to refine the buyer persona we’ve created above:

  • John, a 31-year-old working father of two who is separated and takes care of the kids on his own
  • John, a 31-year-old working father of two with a stay-at-home wife who does the shopping for him
  • John, a 31-year-old working father of two who is rich and has a housekeeper who buys groceries for the family

Step 3: Validate Your Target Market

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Now that you have refined your buyer persona, it’s time to check its validity.

How? You do some old-fashioned research.

Proper market research is needed to ensure that there are no major flaws in your chosen target market.

So far, you’ve built your buyer persona based on assumptions. It’s time to put those assumptions to the test.

Here are some of the questions you should answer to ensure the eligibility of your target audience:

  • Are there enough people in your target market segment?
  • Can they afford your price tag?
  • Are there existing competitors?
  • Can you deal with them?

Step 4: Evaluate Your Target Market

Let’s say the research supports the validity of your target market.

Don’t jump the gun just yet. Don’t forget to test the waters.

Create a test launch were you try to sell only a few products here and there.

Or you can test it by talking to individuals who fit your target market. This means actually going out there to find multiple “Johns”.

If the results are positive, then you’re good to go.

If they’re disappointing, use the findings to refine and adjust your strategies.

The bottom line is that you have products you want to sell, but you can’t market to everyone.

No business has the budget for that.

To spend your marketing budget efficiently, you need to find the right target audience.

You need to find the segment of consumers who need and/or want your product. This will allow you to maximize the conversion rate of your marketing efforts.

Don’t make the novice mistake of ignoring this crucial step. Put in the work and figure out your target audience. It will be well worth it down the road.

Why Storytelling is Crucial for Ecommerce Businesses

People love stories.

It’s why some stories originally told over a thousand years ago endure up to this day.

We’ve loved stories from an early age, back when we barely understood them.

Stories entertain. Stories inspire. Stories fuel the imagination.

Storytelling in Marketing

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It’s no surprise that storytelling has become one of the most effective tools used in marketing.

Its ability to establish a deeper connection with consumers is unparalleled. Storytelling can humanize a brand and make it more relatable.

When done right, eCommerce storytelling can reach out of the computer screen and “touch” consumers.

It can also be the catalyst to mobilizing a legion of loyal fans. 

What Is Storytelling For eCommerce?

Marketing is a necessity if you want to succeed in eCommerce.

There are countless competitors selling products identical to yours.

It becomes a race of who can capture their audience’s attention first. When it comes to engaging your audience, few can be as potent a tool as storytelling.

Capture the Imagination of Your Audience

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Online stores can make consumers experience their stores physically.

So you need something else to reel them in. Engage them. Make them understand what your brand is about. Let them know what you stand for.

Tell a story that makes your audience imagine themselves enjoying your products.

Take Consumer on an Emotional Journey

A powerful story can do a variety of things for your brand.

It can compel your audience to trust you.

It can evoke an emotion that leads to a desire to buy your product.

A good story can make consumers feel like they’ve known your brand all their life.

Why do I need to care about storytelling?

Stories make your brand feel more authentic.

Stories can make your audience feel like they are talking to a trusted friend.

Stories allow you to converse with your audience on a more emotional level. Stories add depth.

They can make your brand seem more than just a product or service.

Stories can make your brand an entity that consumers want to be friends with.

Information overload

Let’s face it. Consumers today find most conventional advertising methods boring.

You can’t expect a consumer to read a boring wall of text. We’re in the digital age.

Consumers are overloaded with information:

  • Google receives over 63,000 searches per second
  • The average consumer processes around 100,000 digital words each day
  • A person encounters an average of 5,000 marketing messages per day
  • 3 trillion online ads are sold each year

Most consumers don’t bother with marketing messages. Almost 80% of people scan content and only read the parts that interest them.

Ecommerce storytelling can compel your audience to read every word of your message.

Develop stronger relationships

Communication is a two-way street.

Consumers aren’t content with just listening to you.

They want you to listen to what they have to say too.

Tell a story your audience can relate to. This will make them feel that you understand them.

The more relatable stories you tell, the stronger your bond with them will be.

Make Your Audience Feel They’re a Part of Something Greater

Define your brand with a core set of beliefs. Make sure these core beliefs resonate with your audience.

This will build goodwill between you and your audience. It will add perceived value to your products and services.

This perceived value will allow you to charge higher than your competitors without losing your customers.

Consumers who feel strongly about your brand will also become your brand ambassadors.

For instance, Warby Parker has the mission to solve the problem with access to glasses. Their Buy A Pair, Give A Pair program encourages customers to be part of their initiative and help solve this crisis. This adds to the alure of buying a pair of glasses from Warby Parker.

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Warby Parker Buy A Pair, Give A Pair Program

Similarly, LUSH is an active participant in donating and discovering ways to help solve various environmental and animal crisis. Their strong activist brand attracts those who share similar values and adds to the “feel good” state of customers when they see that portions of sales goes to LUSH’s many ethical campaigns.

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Some of LUSH’s initiatives

Stories are motivational

Stories can move people. A good story can motivate consumers to do what you want them to do. Build a story around these motivations. To do this, there are three factors you need to consider:

  • What you want your audience to feel
  • What action you want your audience to take
  • What call-to-action (CTA) will be the most compelling

How Do I Start Telling A Story About My Business?

1.) Focus on emotions

Most consumers make buying decisions based on emotion instead of logic.

Paint a clear picture of how much they’ll love your product or service. Focus on positive emotions.

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Casper focusing on how they help people get better sleep

Make consumers see themselves being satisfied with what you offer.

2.) Talk about how your product makes the customer’s life better

Focus on the benefits instead of the product or service.

Emphasize why your product or service is superior. Highlight why it is unique.

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Casper’s Mattresses

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Bellroy showcasing how their wallets can handle wear and tear through time

Last, clearly define what consumers can achieve by getting it.

3.) Explain how your company solves customer problems

Attack the pain points of your target audience. Describe the problem in detail. Include its causes and its impact.

This will tell them you understand what they’re going through. Then describe how you’ve developed a solution for the problem.

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Bellroy visually showing the difference from regular wallets and theirs – the pain most people have with their wallets.

4.) Make the story shareable

Build a story around the core values of your brand. Present the story in a way that makes readers want to share it.

Create a short hashtag that summarizes your core message or the story.

Encourage your audience to share their own stories using the hashtag.

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Warby Parker’s story that makes you want to root for them

5.) Be more transparent

Consumers tend to assume the worst when there’s something they don’t know. So say tell it to them right off the bat.

Tell them about your company culture and how it’s like for the people working for you.

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Zappos’ perspective on company culture

 

Describe your manufacturing process.

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Warby Parker shows the full process from prototype to completion

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Everlane sharing their factory details for their products

Talk about where you came from and how you got to where you are today.

6.) Be socially conscious

Give back and pay it forward.

Get involved in local community events. Donate to charity. Sponsor a local project. Fund a few scholars.

Any good thing you do can be incorporated into the story of your brand.

Sharing this story will further endear you to your audience.

But make sure to be authentic with this. If you don’t believe in the event or charity, do not force yourself to be part of it. People can sense it.

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Everlane’s ethical approach

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Patagonia’s Denim

7.) Highlight your brand’s origins

People love success stories. It inspires them.

Share a story about the evolution of your brand.

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Highlight the challenges and setbacks you’ve had to overcome.

Talk about the mistakes you’ve made and the lessons you’ve learned.

8.) Humanize your brand

Don’t only talk about your company or your products.

Tell stories about your employees.

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LUSH has video features of their employees that share their work and life

Highlight what they bring to the table.

Showcase the various ways they contribute to your company.

Talk about people who founded your company.

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The story behind Huckberry

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Story of Yeti

9.) Enhance product descriptions

Many Amazon FBA sellers have trouble finding ways to tell their stories on the Amazon.

Ecommerce storytelling is harder to do on online marketplaces. So what should you do?

Use what’s already there. Use visuals and stories to describe what your product is and what it’s like to use them. 

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Why Storytelling is Crucial for Ecommerce Businesses 67

10.) Use real-life stories from customers

Encourage your customers to share their stories involving your company. Offer them a prize to encourage their participation.

This will give you a chance to collect user-generated contact. It will also add authenticity to your storytelling.

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LUSH user-generated content

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Daniel Wellington user-generated content

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Tweets and Instagram posts from Casper customers

Storytelling is vital to eCommerce success. It’s vital for a business’s longevity. 

A good story will not only make someone want to read every word of it, but it will also connect with them on a much deeper level. It transcends what the product is about. 

The beauty of a well-established brand is creating that connection where what you sell matters less than what you stand for.

And when you stand for something and mean something more than just a product to them, you build a tribe that will root for you in the long run.

Amazon FBA Sellers – Why You Need to Build a Brand Before It is too Late

There’s a surprising number of Amazon FBA sellers who don’t think that branding is important.

They believe that it’s okay to sell the same product as everybody else as long as they offer a better price.

This strategy can be viable in the short term but it is rarely sustainable for the long term.

You do not want to settle for being the cheapest in the market. You don’t want to compete with other Amazon sellers that also think the same.

It will become a competition of who can set their prices the lowest. This will hurt your profit margin.

What you want is to be able to compete with other sellers even if your prices are not the lowest. And you can do that through branding.

Reasons to Start Brand Building Today

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You need to get started on your Amazon FBA brand development strategy as soon as possible.

And here is why:

Stand Out from the Sea of “Me Too” Products

95 million Americans have Amazon Prime memberships.

Consumers purchased over 100 million products on Prime Day 2018. These two Amazon 2018 stats are proof that Amazon is a lucrative marketplace.

Amazon gives its FBA sellers the chance to make it big quick.

The benefits being so great is also a disadvantage. Everyone wants in on the action. Thousands and thousands of new sellers join Amazon each month.

This creates a sea of “me too” products, where everyone is selling the same white-labelled products and using the same strategies. Many of the listings end up becoming indistinguishable.

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A sea of “me too” products

 

Escape the Saturation Plague

A significant part of Amazon sellers offers generic products.

This causes the marketplace to suffer from a high level of saturation.

Market saturation is one of the most glaring Amazon issues. This makes it a lot harder for a new seller to enter his desired niche.

After all, it’s hard to stand out when a thousand other sellers offer the same product as you do.

You can change this with branding and actually stand out. 

This doesn’t mean just slapping on a logo. It means taking the deliberate path of creating a brand that means something, that has values, that has a story, and goes beyond just the logo.

Charge a Premium Instead of Being a Commodity

Selling is all about perception.

Make consumers think that what you’re selling is different.  

This will allow you to make them buy even if your prices are higher.

There can be no better example of this than Yeti’s $300 cooler. People were shell-shocked.  

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It was surprising that consumers were actually willing to shell out 300 bucks for a cooler.

It was so baffling that it became a popular meme. 

But even if it became a meme and was considered outlandish by many…Yeti is getting the last laugh.

Because while other people sell coolers for $80, they are able to sell their’s for triple the price. And it works.

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Build a Brand That Demands a Premium

So what gave Yeti the audacity to charge so much for a cooler?

Yeti believed in its brand.

While most Amazon sellers focus on being the cheapest, Yeti did a 180 and decided to be the most expensive.

This was possible because Yeti was able to establish itself as a premium brand.

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Yeti makes their products look premium and advanced

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When consumers buy a Yeti product, they don’t pay only for that product. They also have to pay for the brand.

Develop Customer Loyalty & Build a Loyal Fan Base

When was the last time you bought a generic product online and remembered the seller?

It’s hard to build customer loyalty when your customers can’t even remember your name.

And what can’t they remember your name? You’re selling the same unbranded product as everybody else so why would they bother?

In the minds of consumers, there’s no reason to remember you.

They believe that they can get the same product from another seller. It won’t matter if they can’t find you again so there is no point in remembering you.

But if you spend the time and effort to build a brand that focuses on them, they will remember you and think of you.

Build a Brand That Inspires Confidence

The first step to building a loyal fan base is creating a brand that commands trust and respect.

Let’s look back at Yeti. Imagine a lesser-known brand selling a $300 cooler. Consumers would most likely dismiss it as nonsense. Some will even outright laugh at the foolishness of it.

The $300 cooler only worked because Yeti did it.

What did Yeti’s loyal customers do after they heard about the $300 cooler?

They rationalized that the cooler must be far superior to other coolers. They didn’t feel skeptical. They believe that Yeti always gives them the right value for their money.

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Build a Superior Customer Experience

By having your own brand, you can offer your customers a unique experience.

You can engage your fan base on social media. You can convince them that you care for them. Show them you respect their feedback.

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Yeti showcasing customer’s photos of their product

Consumers love the feeling that the seller actually cares.

Publish useful and/or interesting content on a regular basis. This will make consumers want to follow you. Make them look forward to new products you are planning to sell.

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Yeti Youtube Channel

Become a Trusted Resource of Your Niche

Build a thriving community around your brand.

Become that dependable friend.

Be the first thing consumers think of when they need to buy something.

Think of ways to offer a customer experience consumers can’t find anywhere else.

For example, you can offer to send articles on how someone can make the most out of a product they bought. All they have to do is provide you with their email. You can then use the collected email as leads for your next marketing strategy.

Enjoy Creative Freedom Through Brand Longevity

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It’s easier for an Amazon FBA seller to be creative when they know that they have a fan base that will give them a shot.

Knowing your loyal customers are there for you will give you peace of mind.

You’ll have more confidence to launch a contest or event. All you need is one viral campaign to make your popularity explode.

And each surge in popularity helps ensure the longevity of your brand and your business.

Don’t be Afraid to Defy Conventional Marketing Wisdom

Remember KFC’s 11 Herbs and Spices Twitter campaign of 2017?

All KFC did was follow only 11 people on Twitter: the five original Spice Girls and six guys named herb. Then KFC waited for someone to notice.

Remember what happened when someone finally did and twitted about it?

That original tweet had been favorited more than 700,000 times. It also received more than 300,000 comments.

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Why did KFC come up with that campaign? It knew it had enough Twitter followers to make it work.

Branding is essential if you want to be a successful Amazon FBA seller.

You will be another generic seller in a wide sea of generic sellers if you don’t.

Building your brand should be one of your top priorities. A strong brand will give you the competitive advantage you need.

Your brand will ensure your business will remain sustainable for the foreseeable future.