How to Run a SWOT Analysis for Your Business [Template Included]

A SWOT analysis is a useful technique to evaluate a new project or objective your business faces, or your business as a whole.

Essentially, a SWOT analysis is a roadmap for how you should move forward with your business, which opportunities you’re missing out on, and which challenges you should tackle.

It’s an effective method to maximize opportunities while minimizing negative factors associated with a given project or objective. Plus, it lets you unbiasedly evaluate your business’s strengths and weaknesses, which is key to avoiding unnecessary errors down the road from lack of insight.

Here, we’ll provide a SWOT analysis template, and conduct SWOT analyses on major brands Apple and Starbucks. When you’re done reading, you’ll have all the inspiration and tactical advice you need to tackle a SWOT analysis for yourself.

You know a SWOT analysis is important, but, how do you conduct one?

There are four steps you’ll want to take when evaluating your business as a whole, or your product in particular. Before you start, you’ll need to figure out what you’re evaluating with your SWOT analysis. Creating a social media program, launching a new product, or considering a brand re-design are all good reasons to conduct a SWOT analysis.

Use this SWOT Analysis Template.

To visualize your SWOT analysis, it's helpful to make a table. Here, I’ve created a sample using a simple Google Doc table -- feel free to use the model yourself, or create your own as it suits your needs.

Make a SWOT Analysis Table

swotanalysistemplate

Use the four staps below as a references when filling in your table.

1. Identify your strengths.

Let’s say you want to use a SWOT analysis to evaluate your new social media strategy.

If you’re looking at a new social media program, perhaps you want to evaluate how your brand is perceived by the public -- is it easily recognizable and well-known? Even if it’s not popular with a widespread group, is it well-received by a specific audience in particular?

Next, think about your process: is it effective, or innovative? Is there good communication between your marketing and sales to ensure both departments use similar vocabulary when discussing your product?

Finally, evaluate your social media message, and in particular, how it differs from the rest of the industry. I’m willing to bet you can make a lengthy list of some major strengths of your social media strategy over your competitors, so try to dive into your strengths from there.

2. Identify your weaknesses.

If you’re examining a new social media strategy, it’s critical to foresee any potential negative factors that could mitigate your success.

Start by asking yourself these questions: First, if I were a consumer, what would prevent me from buying this product, or engaging with this business? What would make me click away from the screen?

Second, what do I foresee as the biggest hinderance to my employees’ productivity, or their ability to get the job done efficiently? What derails their social media efforts?

When identifying weaknesses, consider what areas of your business are the least profitable, where you lack certain resources, or what costs you the most time and money. Take input from employees in different departments, as they’ll likely see weaknesses you hadn’t considered.

3. Consider your opportunities.

This is your chance to dream big. What are some opportunities for your social media strategy you hope, but don’t necessarily expect, to reach?

For instance, maybe you’re hoping your Facebook ads will attract a new, larger demographic. Maybe you’re hoping your YouTube video gets 10,000 views, and increases sales by 10%.

Whatever the case, it’s important to include potential opportunities in your SWOT analysis. Ask yourself these questions: What technologies do I want my business to use to make it more effective? What new target audience do I want to reach? How can the business stand out more in the current industry? Is there something our customers complain about that we could fix with our social media strategy?

The opportunities category goes hand-in-hand with the weaknesses category. Once you’ve made a list of weaknesses, it should be easy to create a list of potential opportunities that could arise if you eliminate your weaknesses.

4. Contemplate your threats.

It’s likely, especially if you’re prone to worrying, you already have a good list of threats in your head.

If not, gather your employees and brainstorm: what obstacles might prevent us from reaching our social media goals? What’s going on in the industry, or with our competitors, that might mitigate our success? Is there new technology out there that could conflict with our product?

Writing down your threats helps you evaluate them objectively. For instance, maybe you list your threats in terms of least and most likely to occur, and divide and conquer each. If one of your biggest threats is your competitor’s popular Instagram account, you could work with your marketing department to create content that showcases your product’s unique features.

SWOT Analysis Examples

The template above helps get you started on your own SWOT analysis.

But, if you’re anything like me, it’s not enough to see a template. To fully understand a concept, you need to see how it plays out in the real world.

Here are two examples of SWOT analyses on major corporations, Apple and Starbucks. The list of strengths and weaknesses is not exhaustive, and I’m sure you could add some yourself, but hopefully, it’s enough to inspire your own SWOT analysis.

Apple’s SWOT analysis

Here’s how we’d conduct a SWOT analysis on Apple.

SWOT analysis showing Apple's Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and ThreatsFirst off, strengths. While Apple has many strengths, let’s identify the top three:

  1. Brand recognition
  2. High prices
  3. Innovative products

Apple’s brand is undeniably valuable, and was named the world’s most valuable brand by Forbes. Since it’s easily recognized, Apple can produce new products and almost ensure a certain degree of success by virtue of the brand name itself.

This degree of recognition lends itself to Apple’s ability to sell products at extremely high prices. For instance, in 2016, Apple sold 78 million iPhones, the average cost of which was $695. In comparison, Samsung sold their smartphones for $500 less. And yet, 92% of the profits in the smartphone category for 2016 went to Apple. Often, people don’t care about price as much as they care about brand recognition.

Lastly, their innovative products: Apple didn’t earn its reputation for nothing. They create highly innovative products, which are often at the forefront of the industry.

Next, let’s look at three of Apple’s weaknesses.

  1. High prices
  2. Closed ecosystem
  3. Lack of experimentation

While the high prices don’t deter Apple’s middle and high class customer-base, they do hinder Apple’s ability to reach a lower-class demographic.

Apple also suffers from its own exclusivity. Apple controls all its services and products in-house, and while many customers become loyal brand advocates for this reason, it means all burdens fall on Apple employees.

Ultimately, Apple’s tight control over who distributes their products limit their market reach.

Lastly, Apple is held to a high standard when it comes to creating and distributing products. Apple’s brand carries a high level of prestige, but that level of recognition inhibits Apple from taking risks and experimenting freely with new products that could fail.

Now, let’s take a look at opportunities for Apple.

It’s easy to recognize opportunities for improvement, once you consider Apple’s weaknesses. Here’s a list of three we came up with:

  1. Expand distribution options
  2. Create new product lines
  3. Technological advancement

One of Apple’s biggest weaknesses is its distribution network, which, in the name of exclusivity, remains relatively small. If Apple expanded its network and enabled third-party businesses to sell its products, it could reach more people globally, while alleviating some of the stress currently put on in-house employees.

There are also plenty of opportunities for Apple to create new products. Apple could consider creating more affordable products to reach a larger demographic, or spreading out into new industries -- Apple self-driving cars, perhaps?

Finally, Apple could continue advancing its products’ technology. Apple can take existing products and refine them, ensuring each product offers as many unique features as possible.

Finally, let’s look at threats to Apple.

Believe it or not, they do exist.

Here are three of Apple’s biggest threats:

  1. Tough competition
  2. Lawsuits
  3. International issues

Apple isn’t the only innovative tech company out there, and it continues to face tough competition from Samsung, Google, and other major forces. Many of Apple’s weaknesses hinder Apple’s ability to compete with the tech corporations that have more freedom to experiment, or that don’t operate in a closed ecosystem.

A second threat to Apple is lawsuits. Over the last few years, Apple has faced a bunch of lawsuits, particularly between Apple and Samsung, and so far it has only won one case. These lawsuits interfere with Apple’s reputable image, and could steer some customers to purchasing elsewhere.

Finally, Apple needs to improve its reach internationally. It isn’t number one in China, and doesn’t have a very positive relationship with the Chinese government. Then, in India, which has one of the largest consumer markets in the world, Apple’s market share is low, and the company has trouble bringing stores to India’s market.

If Apple can’t compete globally the way Samsung or Google can, it risks falling behind in the industry.

Starbucks SWOT Analysis

Now that we’ve explored the nuances involved with a SWOT analysis, let’s fill out a SWOT template using Starbucks as an example.

Here’s how we’d fill out a SWOT template, if we were Starbucks:

Starbucks SWOT Analysis example

Dine-In Thai Restaurant SWOT Analysis

Some small-business marketers may have difficulty relating to the SWOT's of big brands like Apple and Starbucks, so here's an example of how a restaurant might visualize each element:

Dine-in Thai Restaurant SWOT analysis exampleWhile a Thai or any other restaurant might not be as worried about high-level lawsuits like Apple, the small business might be more worried about competitors or disruptors that might enter the playing field. 

Local Boutique SWOT Analysis

In another small-business example, a local boutique might be well known in its neighborhood, but it also might take time to build an online presence or get its products in an online store. Because of this, some of its strengths and opportunities might relate to physical factors while weaknesses and threats might relate to online situations.

Local boutique SWOT analysis example

When to Use a SWOT Analysis

Ultimately, a SWOT analysis can measure and tackle both big and small challenges, and opportunities, and both big and little strengths and weaknesses.

While the examples above focus on businesses in general, you can also use a SWOT analysis to evaluate and predict how a singular product will play out in the market.

Hopefully, our SWOT template will supplement your market research and business analysis, and provide fair insights into how to optimize your products for bigger payoffs, and less hurdles.



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SEO Analytics for Free - Combining Google Search with the Moz API

Posted by Purple-Toolz

I’m a self-funded start-up business owner. As such, I want to get as much as I can for free before convincing our finance director to spend our hard-earned bootstrapping funds. I’m also an analyst with a background in data and computer science, so a bit of a geek by any definition.

What I try to do, with my SEO analyst hat on, is hunt down great sources of free data and wrangle it into something insightful. Why? Because there’s no value in basing client advice on conjecture. It’s far better to combine quality data with good analysis and help our clients better understand what’s important for them to focus on.

In this article, I will tell you how to get started using a few free resources and illustrate how to pull together unique analytics that provide useful insights for your blog articles if you’re a writer, your agency if you’re an SEO, or your website if you’re a client or owner doing SEO yourself.

The scenario I’m going to use is that I want analyze some SEO attributes (e.g. backlinks, Page Authority etc.) and look at their effect on Google ranking. I want to answer questions like “Do backlinks really matter in getting to Page 1 of SERPs?” and “What kind of Page Authority score do I really need to be in the top 10 results?” To do this, I will need to combine data from a number of Google searches with data on each result that has the SEO attributes in that I want to measure.

Let’s get started and work through how to combine the following tasks to achieve this, which can all be setup for free:

  • Querying with Google Custom Search Engine
  • Using the free Moz API account
  • Harvesting data with PHP and MySQL
  • Analyzing data with SQL and R

Querying with Google Custom Search Engine

We first need to query Google and get some results stored. To stay on the right side of Google’s terms of service, we’ll not be scraping Google.com directly but will instead use Google’s Custom Search feature. Google’s Custom Search is designed mainly to let website owners provide a Google like search widget on their website. However, there is also a REST based Google Search API that is free and lets you query Google and retrieve results in the popular JSON format. There are quota limits but these can be configured and extended to provide a good sample of data to work with.

When configured correctly to search the entire web, you can send queries to your Custom Search Engine, in our case using PHP, and treat them like Google responses, albeit with some caveats. The main limitations of using a Custom Search Engine are: (i) it doesn’t use some Google Web Search features such as personalized results and; (ii) it may have a subset of results from the Google index if you include more than ten sites.

Notwithstanding these limitations, there are many search options that can be passed to the Custom Search Engine to proxy what you might expect Google.com to return. In our scenario, we passed the following when making a call:

https://www.googleapis.com/customsearch/v1?key=<google_api_id>&userIp=
<ip_address>&cx<custom_search_engine_id>&q=iPhone+X&cr=countryUS&start=
1</custom_search_engine_id></ip_address></google_api_id>

Where:

  • https://www.googleapis.com/customsearch/v1 – is the URL for the Google Custom Search API
  • key=<GOOGLE_API_ID> – Your Google Developer API Key
  • userIp=<IP_ADDRESS> – The IP address of the local machine making the call
  • cx=<CUSTOM_SEARCH_ENGINE_ID> – Your Google Custom Search Engine ID
  • q=iPhone+X – The Google query string (‘+’ replaces ‘ ‘)
  • cr=countryUS – Country restriction (from Goolge’s Country Collection Name list)
  • start=1 – The index of the first result to return – e.g. SERP page 1. Successive calls would increment this to get pages 2–5.

Google has said that the Google Custom Search engine differs from Google .com, but in my limited prod testing comparing results between the two, I was encouraged by the similarities and so continued with the analysis. That said, keep in mind that the data and results below come from Google Custom Search (using ‘whole web’ queries), not Google.com.

Using the free Moz API account

Moz provide an Application Programming Interface (API). To use it you will need to register for a Mozscape API key, which is free but limited to 2,500 rows per month and one query every ten seconds. Current paid plans give you increased quotas and start at $250/month. Having a free account and API key, you can then query the Links API and analyze the following metrics:

Moz data field

Moz API code

Description

ueid

32

The number of external equity links to the URL

uid

2048

The number of links (external, equity or nonequity or not,) to the URL

umrp**

16384

The MozRank of the URL, as a normalized 10-point score

umrr**

16384

The MozRank of the URL, as a raw score

fmrp**

32768

The MozRank of the URL's subdomain, as a normalized 10-point score

fmrr**

32768

The MozRank of the URL's subdomain, as a raw score

us

536870912

The HTTP status code recorded for this URL, if available

upa

34359738368

A normalized 100-point score representing the likelihood of a page to rank well in search engine results

pda

68719476736

A normalized 100-point score representing the likelihood of a domain to rank well in search engine results

NOTE: Since this analysis was captured, Moz documented that they have deprecated these fields. However, in testing this (15-06-2019), the fields were still present.

Moz API Codes are added together before calling the Links API with something that looks like the following:

www.apple.com%2F?Cols=103616137253&AccessID=MOZ_ACCESS_ID&
Expires=1560586149&Signature=<MOZ_SECRET_KEY>

Where:

  • https://ift.tt/1bbWaai" class="redactor-autoparser-object">https://ift.tt/2oVcks4... – Is the URL for the Moz API
  • http%3A%2F%2Fwww.apple.com%2F – An encoded URL that we want to get data on
  • Cols=103616137253 – The sum of the Moz API codes from the table above
  • AccessID=MOZ_ACCESS_ID – An encoded version of the Moz Access ID (found in your API account)
  • Expires=1560586149 – A timeout for the query - set a few minutes into the future
  • Signature=<MOZ_SECRET_KEY> – An encoded version of the Moz Access ID (found in your API account)

Moz will return with something like the following JSON:

Array
(
    [ut] => Apple
    [uu] => <a href="http://www.apple.com/" class="redactor-autoparser-object">www.apple.com/</a>
    [ueid] => 13078035
    [uid] => 14632963
    [uu] => www.apple.com/
    [ueid] => 13078035
    [uid] => 14632963
    [umrp] => 9
    [umrr] => 0.8999999762
    [fmrp] => 2.602215052
    [fmrr] => 0.2602215111
    [us] => 200
    [upa] => 90
    [pda] => 100
)

For a great starting point on querying Moz with PHP, Perl, Python, Ruby and Javascript, see this repository on Github. I chose to use PHP.

Harvesting data with PHP and MySQL

Now we have a Google Custom Search Engine and our Moz API, we’re almost ready to capture data. Google and Moz respond to requests via the JSON format and so can be queried by many popular programming languages. In addition to my chosen language, PHP, I wrote the results of both Google and Moz to a database and chose MySQL Community Edition for this. Other databases could be also used, e.g. Postgres, Oracle, Microsoft SQL Server etc. Doing so enables persistence of the data and ad-hoc analysis using SQL (Structured Query Language) as well as other languages (like R, which I will go over later). After creating database tables to hold the Google search results (with fields for rank, URL etc.) and a table to hold Moz data fields (ueid, upa, uda etc.), we’re ready to design our data harvesting plan.

Google provide a generous quota with the Custom Search Engine (up to 100M queries per day with the same Google developer console key) but the Moz free API is limited to 2,500. Though for Moz, paid for options provide between 120k and 40M rows per month depending on plans and range in cost from $250–$10,000/month. Therefore, as I’m just exploring the free option, I designed my code to harvest 125 Google queries over 2 pages of SERPs (10 results per page) allowing me to stay within the Moz 2,500 row quota. As for which searches to fire at Google, there are numerous resources to use from. I chose to use Mondovo as they provide numerous lists by category and up to 500 words per list which is ample for the experiment.

I also rolled in a few PHP helper classes alongside my own code for database I/O and HTTP.

In summary, the main PHP building blocks and sources used were:

One factor to be aware of is the 10 second interval between Moz API calls. This is to prevent Moz being overloaded by free API users. To handle this in software, I wrote a "query throttler" which blocked access to the Moz API between successive calls within a timeframe. However, whilst working perfectly it meant that calling Moz 2,500 times in succession took just under 7 hours to complete.

Analyzing data with SQL and R

Data harvested. Now the fun begins!

It’s time to have a look at what we’ve got. This is sometimes called data wrangling. I use a free statistical programming language called R along with a development environment (editor) called R Studio. There are other languages such as Stata and more graphical data science tools like Tableau, but these cost and the finance director at Purple Toolz isn’t someone to cross!

I have been using R for a number of years because it’s open source and it has many third-party libraries, making it extremely versatile and appropriate for this kind of work.

Let’s roll up our sleeves.

I now have a couple of database tables with the results of my 125 search term queries across 2 pages of SERPS (i.e. 20 ranked URLs per search term). Two database tables hold the Google results and another table holds the Moz data results. To access these, we’ll need to do a database INNER JOIN which we can easily accomplish by using the RMySQL package with R. This is loaded by typing "install.packages('RMySQL')" into R’s console and including the line "library(RMySQL)" at the top of our R script.

We can then do the following to connect and get the data into an R data frame variable called "theResults."

library(RMySQL)
# INNER JOIN the two tables
theQuery <- "
    SELECT A.*, B.*, C.*
    FROM
    (
        SELECT 
            cseq_search_id
        FROM cse_query
    ) A -- Custom Search Query
    INNER JOIN
    (
        SELECT 
            cser_cseq_id,
            cser_rank,
            cser_url
        FROM cse_results
    ) B -- Custom Search Results
    ON A.cseq_search_id = B.cser_cseq_id
    INNER JOIN
    (
        SELECT *
        FROM moz
    ) C -- Moz Data Fields
    ON B.cser_url = C.moz_url
    ;
"
# [1] Connect to the database
# Replace USER_NAME with your database username
# Replace PASSWORD with your database password
# Replace MY_DB with your database name
theConn <- dbConnect(dbDriver("MySQL"), user = "USER_NAME", password = "PASSWORD", dbname = "MY_DB")
# [2] Query the database and hold the results
theResults <- dbGetQuery(theConn, theQuery)
# [3] Disconnect from the database
dbDisconnect(theConn)

NOTE: I have two tables to hold the Google Custom Search Engine data. One holds data on the Google query (cse_query) and one holds results (cse_results).

We can now use R’s full range of statistical functions to begin wrangling.

Let’s start with some summaries to get a feel for the data. The process I go through is basically the same for each of the fields, so let’s illustrate and use Moz’s ‘UEID’ field (the number of external equity links to a URL). By typing the following into R I get the this:

> summary(theResults$moz_ueid)
   Min. 1st Qu.  Median    Mean 3rd Qu.    Max. 
      0       1      20   14709     182 2755274 
> quantile(theResults$moz_ueid,  probs = c(1, 5, 10, 25, 50, 75, 80, 90, 95, 99, 100)/100)
       1%        5%       10%       25%       50%       75%       80%       90%       95%       99%      100% 
      0.0       0.0       0.0       1.0      20.0     182.0     337.2    1715.2    7873.4  412283.4 2755274.0 

Looking at this, you can see that the data is skewed (a lot) by the relationship of the median to the mean, which is being pulled by values in the upper quartile range (values beyond 75% of the observations). We can however, plot this as a box and whisker plot in R where each X value is the distribution of UEIDs by rank from Google Custom Search position 1-20.

Note we are using a log scale on the y-axis so that we can display the full range of values as they vary a lot!

A box and whisker plot in R of Moz’s UEID by Google rank (note: log scale)

Box and whisker plots are great as they show a lot of information in them (see the geom_boxplot function in R). The purple boxed area represents the Inter-Quartile Range (IQR) which are the values between 25% and 75% of observations. The horizontal line in each ‘box’ represents the median value (the one in the middle when ordered), whilst the lines extending from the box (called the ‘whiskers’) represent 1.5x IQR. Dots outside the whiskers are called ‘outliers’ and show where the extents of each rank’s set of observations are. Despite the log scale, we can see a noticeable pull-up from rank #10 to rank #1 in median values, indicating that the number of equity links might be a Google ranking factor. Let’s explore this further with density plots.

Density plots are a lot like distributions (histograms) but show smooth lines rather than bars for the data. Much like a histogram, a density plot’s peak shows where the data values are concentrated and can help when comparing two distributions. In the density plot below, I have split the data into two categories: (i) results that appeared on Page 1 of SERPs ranked 1-10 are in pink and; (ii) results that appeared on SERP Page 2 are in blue. I have also plotted the medians of both distributions to help illustrate the difference in results between Page 1 and Page 2.

The inference from these two density plots is that Page 1 SERP results had more external equity backlinks (UEIDs) on than Page 2 results. You can also see the median values for these two categories below which clearly shows how the value for Page 1 (38) is far greater than Page 2 (11). So we now have some numbers to base our SEO strategy for backlinks on.

# Create a factor in R according to which SERP page a result (cser_rank) is on
> theResults$rankBin <- paste("Page", ceiling(theResults$cser_rank / 10))
> theResults$rankBin <- factor(theResults$rankBin)
# Now report the medians by SERP page by calling ‘tapply’
> tapply(theResults$moz_ueid, theResults$rankBin, median) 
Page 1 Page 2 
    38     11 

From this, we can deduce that equity backlinks (UEID) matter and if I were advising a client based on this data, I would say they should be looking to get over 38 equity-based backlinks to help them get to Page 1 of SERPs. Of course, this is a limited sample and more research, a bigger sample and other ranking factors would need to be considered, but you get the idea.

Now let’s investigate another metric that has less of a range on it than UEID and look at Moz’s UPA measure, which is the likelihood that a page will rank well in search engine results.

> summary(theResults$moz_upa)
   Min. 1st Qu.  Median    Mean 3rd Qu.    Max. 
   1.00   33.00   41.00   41.22   50.00   81.00 
> quantile(theResults$moz_upa,  probs = c(1, 5, 10, 25, 50, 75, 80, 90, 95, 99, 100)/100)
  1%   5%  10%  25%  50%  75%  80%  90%  95%  99% 100% 
  12   20   25   33   41   50   53   58   62   75   81 

UPA is a number given to a URL and ranges between 0–100. The data is better behaved than the previous UEID unbounded variable having its mean and median close together making for a more ‘normal’ distribution as we can see below by plotting a histogram in R.

A histogram of Moz’s UPA score

We’ll do the same Page 1 : Page 2 split and density plot that we did before and look at the UPA score distributions when we divide the UPA data into two groups.

# Report the medians by SERP page by calling ‘tapply’
> tapply(theResults$moz_upa, theResults$rankBin, median) 
Page 1 Page 2 
    43     39 

In summary, two very different distributions from two Moz API variables. But both showed differences in their scores between SERP pages and provide you with tangible values (medians) to work with and ultimately advise clients on or apply to your own SEO.

Of course, this is just a small sample and shouldn’t be taken literally. But with free resources from both Google and Moz, you can now see how you can begin to develop analytical capabilities of your own to base your assumptions on rather than accepting the norm. SEO ranking factors change all the time and having your own analytical tools to conduct your own tests and experiments on will help give you credibility and perhaps even a unique insight on something hitherto unknown.

Google provide you with a healthy free quota to obtain search results from. If you need more than the 2,500 rows/month Moz provide for free there are numerous paid-for plans you can purchase. MySQL is a free download and R is also a free package for statistical analysis (and much more).

Go explore!


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How to Explain Banner Ads to Anyone

click-banner-ad

Sometimes, when it comes to advertising, we feel as talented as Don Draper in Mad Men — one of the best (fictional) advertisers in the game. However, advertising has evolved since the 60s, and that's partly thanks to how expansive the internet has gotten with commerce.

Banner ads, for example, weren't around until recently. But for prime ad placement, banner ads are the way to go and have cemented their importance in revenue gain for marketers.

So what exactly are banner ads and how do they work? We've got a simplified version you can use to explain them to anyone.

Banner ads fall into the category of digital advertising, one of the most lucrative ways to generate revenue. In fact, in 2019's first quarter, revenue from digital ads reached a landmark high of over $28 billion.

A great banner ad grabs the reader's attention and invites them to learn more about what's being advertised. They're bright, welcoming, and don't have much text, instead using images or multimedia to convey a message. Check out this banner ad as an example:

Banner ad for LinkedIn

Image Source

LinkedIn's banner ad was found in the sidebar of a webpage I was browsing. It was large enough to catch my eye and inviting enough to make me linger on the ad.

This is a great banner ad because the description is a quote from a C-suite professional, making LinkedIn look reputable to business owners searching for new talent. The high-quality visual proves that the service cares about seeming professional. Lastly, the CTA has text that leads you to act instead of saying "Click here to find out more!".

Banner ads are lucrative because of programmatic advertising, a term that describes how advertisers place ads. The software of these programs matches ads with the interests of website browsers.

To illustrate, let's say LinkedIn's ad team wanted to use Google Ads as their programmatic advertiser. Google Ads would then sell LinkedIn a sidebar space on websites professionals are more likely to visit, such as Investopedia. This ensures more potential for overall revenue earned for LinkedIn.

Let's look at how much LinkedIn likely paid for their ad, and how much banner ads are going to cost you in cost per impressions (CPM) and cost per action (CPA) for popular advertisers. Recall that impressions are how many browsers saw an ad, and actions are those who clicked.

As websites gain popularity, their prices for ads are going to rise. While these are the most popular advertisers, this list isn't exhaustive. Check out our ultimate guide on advertising to find out more options for the cost of banner ads.

Now that you have an idea of average banner ad price tags, let's get into how to make them stand out, and get into examples of excellent ones.

Standard Banner Ads Sizes

Because banner ads are flexible with their display, there's corresponding sizes that come with it. Most importantly, there are five sizes to keep in mind when formatting your banner ad; the ones that are top-performing with click rates.

  • 336 x 280: This will give you a large rectangle
  • 300 x 600: This is half of a webpage
  • 300 x 200: This will display a medium-sized rectangle
  • 320 x 50: This is a mobile header banner
  • 728 x 90: This will give you an optimized header

The ad templates for Google AdWords and Bannersnack will automatically format your banner ads to the correct sizes, so you won't need to worry about cropping and optimizing.

Having the correct sizes for your banner ads help you format the visual aids of your ad. For instance, a GIF will probably not be the best choice for a 320 x 50 ad on mobile, especially if the file is a little larger than usual.

Best Banner Ads

It’s crucial to know the necessary sizes for your banner ads — but it’s not your only consideration. In order to make sure your banner ad is effective to target audiences, we have some tricks to keep in mind while you're designing yours.

Let's say you have all the tools for creating your banner ad in place. While the actual execution of the design is up to you, it's important to incorporate these elements in your ad to make sure it's effective, and not just something that crowds up a webpage.

Banner ad for Mailchimp

Image Source

To illustrate steps, let's use this 300 x 200 banner ad from Mailchimp on Entrepreneur's website.

1. Incorporate a CTA.

A call-to-action (CTA) is what invites prospective buyers into discovering more about your product or service. This is what gets them to click on the ad and interested in learning more. Mailchimp's CTA is the blue "Get Started" button at the bottom of their ad.

A bright, eye-catching CTA points your target audience in the right direction, and linking to your product page is a good way to get clicks on your website.

2. Add your brand.

If your logo isn't visible, how will people know what your business is? Mailchimp's logo is at the bottom of the ad in a clear spot. The logo doesn't have to take up the entire ad or interrupt the flow of the rest, it just has to be recognizable among the rest of the ad's imagery.

3. Make sure to use keywords.

Using keywords and action items will not only optimize your ad for search engines but has a better chance of browsers interacting with your ad because your service sounds right for them. Mailchimp uses words like "award-winning," "support," and "get started."

If I were looking for marketing tools to make my life easier, award-winning software that offers support sounds right up my alley. If getting started is as easy as clicking a button, there's no reason not to at least check it out.

4. Use high-quality visuals

To keep your ad professional, any visual elements, such as images or GIFs, should be high quality. While moving images are a way to keep ads interesting, static images are just as effective.

Mailchimp's imagery is fun and gets the point across. Their logo is also a way to convey imagery, making sure their brand stays in their audience's memory.

5. Keep things simple

A crowded ad is nothing but a nuisance to web browsers. An effective ad has minimal text, one or two images, and a CTA. Mailchimp's ad is one sentence and includes large text.

Some banner ads don't even have text or images at all, just a logo and a CTA. Though your ad doesn't need to be that minimalist, it doesn't need to have as much information as you may think. If your ad has more than one short sentence, it may be too much.

Let's look at some excellent uses of banner ads and why they're effective.

Banner Ads Examples

1. Pottery Barn

This desk ad from Pottery Barn is a good example of how a little goes a long way. Using a showroom photo to highlight the practicality of desks, it gives way to how easily their furniture could fit into a space.

Banner ad for Pottery Barn

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With the logo, an engaging call to action, and a simple design, all five points of an incredible banner ad are covered, and it's effective. For students browsing Amazon or professionals building their home office, this ad would be an excellent cater to them.

2. Blue Bloods

CBS's banner ad for one of their shows has an awesome CTA. "Try 1 Week Free" entices the audience to check out their new streaming service, CBS All Access.

Banner ad for Blue Bloods

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Using a show that's already popular, and having all episodes streaming, pulls in binge watchers. This ad also incorporates the show's logo and star. It also gives viewers all the information they need without appearing too crowded.

3. SEMrush

Popular SEO extension SEMrush used the small rectangular banner ad choice, which is not only pocket friendly, but useful for ads that don't require a lot of information to get the point across.

Banner ad for SEMRrush

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In this ad, SEMrush lets you know exactly what their service provides in less than 20 words. Keywords "UX," "SEO," "Time," and "Page Speed" are all golden here. They're effective in grabbing the attention of companies looking to heighten their analytics.

4. Chevy

Providing all the specs of a car on a banner ad isn't possible without the ad looking too busy. Chevy chose to play with text in order to keep the information there without being overwhelming. Moreover, they chose essential information and wording to make sure the impact would be as great as it can be.

Banner ad for Chevy

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Chevy also made it a point to incorporate color into the most important words. The discount on this car and the CTA are both in yellow, bringing the attention straight to those two elements of the ad.

5. The New Yorker

Minimalism goes a very long way, and The New Yorker knows this.

Banner ad for The New Yorker

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The magazine has a promotion going on that includes a free tote bag with a subscription. Imagery of both products a new subscriber will receive is a good way to use imagery, and the price here is bolded, meaning it's of importance.

You've probably interacted with a ton of banner ads with minimal knowledge of them. The truth is that they're a great asset to boosting visits to your site and expanding your audience. Not that complicated, right?

For more resources on how to advertise for your business, check out our post about how to run Facebook ads.



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The Ultimate Guide to Amazon Advertising

I'm willing to bet, whenever you have marketing strategy discussions with your team, you typically discuss the same three or four social platforms -- Facebook? Check. Instagram? Check. Pinterest? Check.

But -- what about Amazon?

In 2018, Amazon launched "Amazon Advertising", (formerly Amazon Marketing Services, or AMS), as a search advertising solution for Amazon vendors.

Similar to pay-per-click ads on Google, sellers only pay when shoppers click on ads.

If you're already not utilizing AMS, your team should consider it. According to Amazon, "76% of Amazon shoppers use the search bar to find an item, and search advertising is a way for brands to stand out among the competition."

While Amazon owns significantly less market share than Google and Facebook, Amazon's advertising revenue skyrocketed by 250% in the third quarter of 2018 compared to the third quarter of 2017.

Additionally, some industry experts predict that the long-standing advertising duopoly of Google and Facebook will turn into a triopoly as soon as next year, with Amazon charging right behind these established incumbents.

As Allie Decker, a content creator on the HubSpot pillar team, writes, "Today's consumers don't just use Amazon to buy stuff. They also use it to check prices (90% of consumers use Amazon to price check a product), discover new products (72% of consumers visit Amazon for product ideas), and start product searches (56% of consumers visit Amazon before any other site)."

To help you get started advertising on Amazon, we've created this simple guide that fleshes out each type of ad you can run on Amazon and some of their best practices. Read on to learn how to advertise on the ecommerce platform in 2020.

Amazon Advertising Strategy

Even though we'll be describing five unique types of Amazon advertisements that all have different best practices, here are three general tips for shaping a successful Amazon advertising strategy:

1. Determine your goals.

Whether you want to drive more sales or boost brand awareness, Amazon allows you to align your targets with your goals. For instance, you can deem your Advertising Cost of Sales (ACoS) as your metric of success if you're focusing on driving more sales. Alternatively, you can deem impressions as your metric of success if you're focusing on boosting brand awareness.

2. Choose the right products to advertise.

Advertising your most popular products gives you the best chance to convert clicks into purchases. You should also make sure these products are in stock and priced competitively.

3. Craft clear, concise, and compelling product detail pages.

Amazon ads can entice shoppers to visit your product detail pages, but the product detail page is what will ultimately turn those shoppers into customers. To craft a persuasive product detail page, consider including accurate and descriptive titles, high-quality images, and relevant and useful product information.

Amazon Sponsored Ads

Amazon sponsored ads showcased below a product detail page.

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Amazon Sponsored Product Ads are pay-per-click, keyword-targeted display ads for individual products that appear on the search results and product detail pages. With Sponsored Product Ads, there are three types of keywords you can bid on if you decide to leverage manual targeting -- broad, phrase, and exact.

Broad keywords can include words before and after the target keyword, like "white hand mixers", if you sell hand mixers. Targeting these keywords will expose your ads to the greatest amount of traffic.

Phrase keywords focus on how the sequence of the words you use changes the context of a query. For example, "stainless steel hand mixer" indicates you sell hand mixers. But "hand stainless steel mixer" indicates you sell stainless steel mixers, but not necessarily stainless steel hand mixers.

Exact keywords are the most constraining type of targeted keyword — a shopper's search query must contain the exact keyword for your ad to show up and no words can come before or after the keyword. For example, if you choose to target exact keywords, you can target an ad for "hand mixer", but it won't show up for the query "electric hand mixer".

Using Sponsored Product Ads, you can also use automatic keyword targeting, which leverages an algorithm to target the most relevant keywords for your product ads.

To gauge the performance of your ads, Sponsored Product Ads offers a reporting tool that displays your ads' clicks, spend, sales, and advertising cost of sales (ACoS).

Amazon Sponsored Ads Best Practices

Targeting

With Amazon Sponsored Product Ads, you can find keywords that have low conversion rates and flag them as negative. This way, Amazon will stop showing your ad to shoppers who search for those queries. Ensuring you flag certain keywords as negative is critical — even if these keywords have a high click-through-rate, their low conversion rate means they're probably not reaching the right type of shoppers.

Bidding

Available in Manual Targeting ad campaigns, you can leverage Bid+ to boost the odds of your ad appearing at the top of search results. You can only use Bid+ on ads that are eligible to appear at the top of search results, but when you do, you can increase your default bid by up to 50%, keeping your top performing campaigns competitive, without having to constantly adjust your bids manually.

Amazon Headline Search Ads (a.k.a. Sponsored Brand Campaigns)

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Currently known as Sponsored Brand Campaigns, this type of Amazon advertising allows you to promote keyword-targeted ads of multiple products above, below, and alongside search results.

Using Sponsored Brand Campaigns, you can target three types of keywords -- branded product keywords, complementary product keywords, and sponsored products automatic targeting keywords.

Branded product keywords are a combination of your brand name and a product you sell.

Complimentary product keywords are a bundle of two individual products that influence the demand for each other and can be sold together (like ketchup and mustard).

Sponsored products automatic targeting keywords are search queries that you've already experienced success with while running automatic targeted sponsored product campaigns.

Sponsored Brand Campaigns also lets you feature up to three unique products in your ads, customize your ads' image, headline, and landing page, and even tests these elements.

Below is an image from Amazon that details the keywords that you can use for your sponsored brand campaigns:

Amazon details the various types of keywords.

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To determine how much you pay for Sponsored Brand Campaigns, Amazon uses a pay-per-click, auction-based pricing model, so you'll never pay more than you bid per click. In addition to manual bidding, you can choose automated bidding, which will optimize your ads for conversion.

If you want to know how well your advertisements are performing, Sponsored Brand Campaigns offers a reporting feature that displays your ads' clicks, spend, sales, estimated win rate for keywords, and ACoS (Advertising Cost of Sales).

Below, Shirt Invaders promotes three of their T-shirts. Clicking on each of the shirts goes specifically to the product page. However, clicking on the "Shop Now" button below the copy takes you to its Amazon Store:

Shirt Invaders Amazon headline search ads above the search results.Image Source

Sponsored Brand Campaigns Best Practices

Ad Creative

It's a good idea to feature three top-performing products in your Sponsored Brands Campaign to increase the amount of clicks and sales your ads generate.

Amazon also recommends including your product's top benefit in your ad's headline because mobile shoppers can only see the ad's main image and headline.

Additionally, when describing your product, try not to claim your product is "#1" or a "Best Seller" -- your ad won't get approved.

Testing

To run the most accurate and fruitful tests, consider only changing one variable at a time, run them for at least two weeks, and anchor the success of your tests to business goals.

Landing Page Design

With Sponsored Brands, you can direct shoppers to your Amazon store or a customized product page. Consider testing how different product pages convert visitors into customers, as well as the order in which your products appear.

Amazon Product Display Ads

amazon-Product-Display-Ads

Amazon product display ads below the product detail page.

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Product display ads are pay-per-click ads that appear on product detail pages, customer review pages, on top of the offer listing page, and below search results. 

You can also place these ads on abandoned cart emails, follow-up emails, and recommendations emails. Their main objective is to cross-sell or upsell your customers.

Using product display ads, you can use two types of campaign targeting: product and interest. Product targeting is a contextual form of targeting, so you can target specific products and related categories. Interest targeting is a behavioral form of targeting, so you can target shopper interest and reach a larger audience.

Product display ads also let you choose which in-category detail pages you want to advertise on, customize your creative, and offers a reporting tool that displays your campaigns' clicks, spend, sales, advertising cost of sales (ACoS), detail page views, spend, units sold, total sales, and average cost-per-click (ACPC).

Amazon Product Display Ads Best Practices

Targeting

Use product targeting on competitor pages, complementary product detail pages, and your own product detail pages to cross-sell and upsell similar products. Using product targeting on related categories also extends your reach to sections of Amazon's catalogue that are related to your products.

Ad Creative

When crafting your headlines, Amazon allows you to include phrases like "Exclusive", "New", "Buy Now", and "Save Now", but making claims like "#1" or "Beat Seller" will get your ad rejected.

Amazon Native Ads

Amazon Native Ads are ads that you can place on your brand's own website. There are three types of native ads: recommendation ads, search ads, and custom ads.

Recommendation ads are ads you can place in product article pages on your website. These ads are dynamic, so Amazon will populate your most relevant product recommendation based on your web page's content and visitors.

Native ads on Amazon.

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Search ads are ads that populate on your website based off keywords that your customers search for on Amazon or on your website.

Search ads on Amazon.

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Custom ads allow you to select your own assortment of products you'd like to promote and place them on your product article posts.

Custom ads on Amazon feature men's running shoes.

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Amazon Native Ads Best Practice

Just like a call-to-action on a blog post, make sure your native shopping ads are extremely relevant to the pages you place them on. This way, when your website visitors finish reading your post, the ads are a natural next step and can lead to more conversions.

Amazon Video Ads

Amazon Video Ads are ads that you can place on Amazon-owned sites like Amazon.com and IMDb, Amazon devices like Fire TV, and various properties across the web. You can buy Amazon video ads regardless of whether you sell products on Amazon or not, and you can set your ad's landing page as an Amazon product page, your own website, or any other web page on the internet.

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If you want to work with Amazon's video ad consultants, you can sign up for their managed-service option, but to be eligible, you usually need to spend a minimum of $35,000 on video ads.

Amazon Stores

Users can promote their brand or product on your own multi-page Amazon Store. Using Amazon's templates or drag-and-drop tiles, you can showcase your brand's products or portfolio of work.

With Amazon Stores, brands get an Amazon URL and can view traffic analytics, which enables them to keep track of sales, traffic sources, and ad campaigns.

Additionally, creating an Amazon Store is free.

Amazon Stores Best Practices

Once you create an Amazon Store, you can use the analytics tool to find the top performing keywords which have converted to sales. Additionally, the analytics tool will let you know which products sell.

This lets you know which products you might want to consider for a paid ad campaign. Plus, it also shows what potential buyers are interested in.

Below is an example of an Amazon Store:

Kitchen Smart Amazon Store featuring their best products.

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When you create an Amazon Store, the best practices are similar to best practices of any landing page — use clear photos, easy-to-read captions, and clear pricing. Additionally, make sure you showcase your highest performing products. Or you could opt to introduce new products on your Store as well.

Before you craft your Store, come up with the products you want to feature on your navigation. Then, list all your products that you will showcase on those pages. Lastly, gather the clear, professional photos of your product, write your captions, and list your prices.

Ultimately, selling on Amazon can be an impactful marketing strategy for ecommerce brands. As consumers continue to lean into online shopping, Amazon advertising can play a large role in your online sales.

Editor's note: This post was originally published in February 2019 and has been updated for comprehensiveness.



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71% of Instagram Influencers Don’t Call Themselves That

Are You am Instagram Creator or Influencer?

If you’re struggling to spot Instagram influencers for your influencer marketing campaigns, then it’s time to change your approach. This is because most influencers have had it with the term ‘influencers’.

Creator or Influencer?

According to The 2019 Influencer Survey, 71% of Instagram influencers don’t actually call themselves influencers. Only 29% of Instagram celebrities give themselves the title of ‘influencer’.

Small Business owners with a limited budget often collaborate with micro Instagram influencers. And it goes with saying that the success of any influencer marketing campaign largely depends on finding the right Instagram influencers.

If you know what Instagram influencers call themselves, it will be easier for you to spot them. So, the next time, you should look beyond the ‘influencer’ title.

What do Instagram Influencers Call Themselves?

The survey states that the maximum number (34%) of influencers (with more than 25,000 followers) refer themselves as a ‘creator’. And 17% of Instagram influencers call themselves a ‘content creator’, while 11% of influencers label themselves as a ‘brand ambassador’.

Only 29% of influencers add the title influencers in their Instagram bios.

Are You am Instagram Creator or Influencer?
Image Source: Influencer-Agency

The finding of the survey implies that you should first search for Instagram creators if you want to reach a large pool of influencers. Then, you can look for the title ‘influencer’ to find influencers for your influencer marketing campaign.

Why Are There More Creators Than Influencers?

Modern Marketing Guru, Seth Godin, once said, “Content Marketing is the Only Marketing Left.” His words ring absolutely true.

Now, when more and more companies are putting ‘content’ in the center of their marketing strategies, Instagram influencers cannot attract brands if they don’t create quality content consistently.

Dave Leusink, the co-founder of Influencer Agency, says, “The creators that we represent are selected for the quality of their creativity. Someone from a reality show can quickly get 100,000 followers and call themselves an influencer, but the quality of their content often falls short of what we’re looking for.”

“The best paying brands only want to be presented with high-quality content. Creating relevant and engaging content costs blood, sweat and tears, and is a far cry from the content of short-lived reality stars who only post selfies. It’s not surprising that major influencers prefer to call themselves (content) creators,” He adds.

How to Find Instagram Influencers

Instagram is one of the most popular influencer marketing platforms. To leverage the true power of Instagram influencer marketing, you will have to find the right Instagram influencers for your campaigns.

Here are some proven ways:

  • Use tools like NInjaOutreach, Upfluence, HYPR, etc.
  • Search influencer directory like Izea
  • Scan general hashtags relevant to your industry
  • Search Google for relevant keyword(s) along with “site:instagram.com”

When you are making a list of Instagram influencers, you should always include those who have engagement on their posts and create quality, unique content consistently.

The Survey

The survey included 1,700 influencers on Instagram with 25,000 followers or more. All influencers who participated in the survey were 18 years or older. The influencer survey was conducted in September 2019. If you want to access the full survey, you can click here.

Image: Depositphotos.com

This article, "71% of Instagram Influencers Don’t Call Themselves That" was first published on Small Business Trends



via Small Business Trends Business Feeds

71% of Instagram Influencers Don’t Call Themselves That

Are You am Instagram Creator or Influencer?

If you’re struggling to spot Instagram influencers for your influencer marketing campaigns, then it’s time to change your approach. This is because most influencers have had it with the term ‘influencers’.

Creator or Influencer?

According to The 2019 Influencer Survey, 71% of Instagram influencers don’t actually call themselves influencers. Only 29% of Instagram celebrities give themselves the title of ‘influencer’.

Small Business owners with a limited budget often collaborate with micro Instagram influencers. And it goes with saying that the success of any influencer marketing campaign largely depends on finding the right Instagram influencers.

If you know what Instagram influencers call themselves, it will be easier for you to spot them. So, the next time, you should look beyond the ‘influencer’ title.

What do Instagram Influencers Call Themselves?

The survey states that the maximum number (34%) of influencers (with more than 25,000 followers) refer themselves as a ‘creator’. And 17% of Instagram influencers call themselves a ‘content creator’, while 11% of influencers label themselves as a ‘brand ambassador’.

Only 29% of influencers add the title influencers in their Instagram bios.

Are You am Instagram Creator or Influencer?
Image Source: Influencer-Agency

The finding of the survey implies that you should first search for Instagram creators if you want to reach a large pool of influencers. Then, you can look for the title ‘influencer’ to find influencers for your influencer marketing campaign.

Why Are There More Creators Than Influencers?

Modern Marketing Guru, Seth Godin, once said, “Content Marketing is the Only Marketing Left.” His words ring absolutely true.

Now, when more and more companies are putting ‘content’ in the center of their marketing strategies, Instagram influencers cannot attract brands if they don’t create quality content consistently.

Dave Leusink, the co-founder of Influencer Agency, says, “The creators that we represent are selected for the quality of their creativity. Someone from a reality show can quickly get 100,000 followers and call themselves an influencer, but the quality of their content often falls short of what we’re looking for.”

“The best paying brands only want to be presented with high-quality content. Creating relevant and engaging content costs blood, sweat and tears, and is a far cry from the content of short-lived reality stars who only post selfies. It’s not surprising that major influencers prefer to call themselves (content) creators,” He adds.

How to Find Instagram Influencers

Instagram is one of the most popular influencer marketing platforms. To leverage the true power of Instagram influencer marketing, you will have to find the right Instagram influencers for your campaigns.

Here are some proven ways:

  • Use tools like NInjaOutreach, Upfluence, HYPR, etc.
  • Search influencer directory like Izea
  • Scan general hashtags relevant to your industry
  • Search Google for relevant keyword(s) along with “site:instagram.com”

When you are making a list of Instagram influencers, you should always include those who have engagement on their posts and create quality, unique content consistently.

The Survey

The survey included 1,700 influencers on Instagram with 25,000 followers or more. All influencers who participated in the survey were 18 years or older. The influencer survey was conducted in September 2019. If you want to access the full survey, you can click here.

Image: Depositphotos.com

This article, "71% of Instagram Influencers Don’t Call Themselves That" was first published on Small Business Trends



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30 Fun Shop Ideas

30 Fun Shop Ideas

Thinking of opening your first brick and mortar store? You’ll first need to decide on a niche. There are plenty of different shop ideas you can turn into reality. But not all of them offer the notoriety you might want as a new business. The right shop ideas grab people’s attention and offer products that people really want.

Fun Shop Ideas

If you want to attract tons of customers to your store, going the fun route might work best. Here are 30 of the most fun shop ideas to consider.

Candy Shop

Candy is the ultimate fun item. You can carry a variety of items in your shop or just focus on a specific niche like nostalgic candy.

Vintage Toy Shop

You can also specialize in selling toys that might offer some nostalgia for people, like collectible Barbie dolls or popular action figures from the 80’s.

Sports Collectible Shop

Sports collectibles, from trading cards to signed memorabilia, can bring in big profits. Your store can specialize in a particular team, sport or city, or you can offer a variety.

Board Game Shop

Video and mobile games may be more prevalent in today’s society. But there are still plenty of people who enjoy good old fashioned board games. In addition to selling them, you might even host game nights or events for people to try out various options.

Vinyl Record Shop

Vinyl records are still popular after all these years. Give music lovers a place to buy all of their favorite old (and new) albums in a unique setting.

30 Fun Shop Ideas

Art Print Shop

Art galleries are often sterile and full of expensive items that are out of reach for the everyday consumer. Flip that idea on its head with a gallery style store that sells mainly prints at affordable prices. You can even host artist showcases and events.

Sci Fi Shop

Appeal to the science fiction aficionados in your area with a shop that carries a variety of memorabilia in this niche. You can either source licensed products from current distributors or collect vintage items to sell.

Music Shop

If you love music, bring that passion to your customers with a shop full of musical instruments and accessories. Up the fun factor by hosting small concerts or open mic nights for musicians.

Balloon Shop

Everyone needs balloons for parties and special occasions. You may not be able to get by on only selling balloons, but you could bring people in the door with this unique niche and then offer a variety of other party supplies as well. Or you could offer intricate balloon installations at weddings or corporate events to supplement your income.

Balloon

Man Cave Shop

Lots of men are looking to creat their own “man cave” in their garage or basement. Provide everything they need in one spot by carrying bar accessories, billiards tables, darts, games, and decor.

Rubber Duck Shop

Opening a shop full of rubber ducks will certainly get people’s attention. You can also sell a variety of bath and beauty products.

Costume Shop

Pop-up costume shops are fairly popular around Halloween. However, you might opt to open one year round that also offers options for Santa and Easter Bunny costumes or favorite characters for kids’ birthday parties.

Exotic Pet Supply Shop

People can purchase dog and cat food just about anywhere. But it’s often a little harder to find supplies for snakes or chinchillas. Open a pet supply shop that offers those unique and hard-to-find items.

30 Fun Shop Ideas

Crystal Shop

Crystals have gotten a lot more attention in recent years. Open a shop full of them that also provides information about their properties and abilities.

Prop Shop

People are always interested in relics from their favorite movies, shows or pop culture events. If you can acquire any original props, you may be able to sell them for a decent sum. You could also consider selling replicas or items that people can use for their own shoots.

Upcycled Furniture Shop

There are plenty of furniture shops where people can buy new pieces or antiques that are in disrepair. But some people may prefer to buy one-of-a-kind pieces that are ready to display.

Antique Oddities Shop

If you’re interested in selling antiques, set your shop apart by only selling items that might be considered strange or even macabre.

Antique Oddities

Home Brewing Supply Shop

Home brewing has become an increasingly popular hobby. Your shop could offer all the supplies that people need to get started or take their brewing to the next level. You might even host periodic classes or workshops to help.

Artisan Cooking Shop

For those who are interested in cooking, open a shop that includes unique cookware and accessories. You can also host cooking workshops or classes to bring in potential new customers.

Scrapbooking Shop

Scrapbooking is a popular hobby for families and individuals who want to keep their memories organized. Offer all the supplies they need along with workshops to help people make use of your items.

Pool Toys Shop

Nothing screams summer fun like a pool party. Offer all the floating accessories that people need to have a great time, along with some practical pool supplies and outdoor items.

30 Fun Shop Ideas

Holiday Decor Shop

There’s always an upcoming holiday to look forward to. This type of shop could carry a variety of items for popular holidays like Christmas and Halloween, along with items for occasions like Independence Day or Sweetest Day.

Kids Book Shop

Most bookstores sell children’s books. But a kids’ book shop can focus exclusively on them. You can also offer toys or art supplies, or even bring in children’s book authors for storytime readings.

Zero Waste Shop

People are constantly looking for ways to become more sustainable. Help them cut down on waste by offering products like composting bins and reusable straws and cups.

Nostalgia Shop

Nostalgia is a powerful marketing tool. But it can also be the basis for an entire shop full of iconic items from the past. You can offer a wide array of vintage items or recreations, or just focus on a specific decade or era.

Nostalgia

Smart Home Shop

More and more people are looking for ways to make their homes smarter. You can find these products online or in general tech stores. But a smart home shop could offer more thorough demonstrations and potentially even recreate home spaces so people can see products in action.

Specialty Chocolate Shop

Who doesn’t love chocolate? This type of shop could offer flavors and varieties that people can’t find anywhere else.

Baking Supply Shop

Appeal to home bakers with a baking supply shop full of tools and accessories they can use to take their desserts to the next level, from fun cupcake toppers to molds for chocolates.

Plant Shop

You can find plenty of flowers and outdoor plants at nurseries and florist shops. However, more and more people are looking for simple houseplants they can use to update their indoor spaces. Offer a wider variety than people can find in home stores and supplement with unique planters and accessories.

30 Fun Shop Ideas

Lighting Shop

You can also find lamps, shades, chandeliers and sconces at most home improvement stores. But for people who are looking for really unique options, you can open a shop that focuses specifically on lighting.

Images: Depositphotos.com

This article, "30 Fun Shop Ideas" was first published on Small Business Trends



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