Promotional Products Can Drive Business Growth

Every year we go out on the road for about three months and hit as many tradeshows as we can.  It is the perfect opportunity for us to promote our company in real-world locations across the country.  We have been able to successfully get new customers and orders at every single tradeshow we attend, and it is second only to our website in driving our sales.

Tradeshows have been instrumental in driving our business growth.

But the real secret of these tradeshows is that it gives us the opportunity to reach customers that don’t even attend these events.

I bet you are wondering how we do it: the secret is handing out promotional products.

We tried this out a couple of years ago when we ordered promotional products in Australia to help promote our brand there.  It was the first time that we went to any tradeshows in the country, so we wanted to make a big splash and reach as many potential customers as possible.  At the time we handed out printed drink bottles to everyone that stopped at our booth and the response at the show was very positive.  Our sales numbers from the tradeshow itself were good, but we were surprised to see another spinoff from the tradeshow:

Our sales actually increased during the weeks following the tradeshows.

It seemed a little irregular at the time, so we dug a little deeper and discovered that the promotional products that we had handed out from our booths were driving sales to our business.  You see, these people that stopped and took one of our water bottles were going on with their daily lives with one big change – they were carrying their free water bottle around with our logo and advertising on it.

They were helping advertise our business and products.  Inadvertently, it was one of the best ways that we could have ever marketed our business and is a practice that we continue today.  For us, handing out promotional products whenever we can is just smart business.

Using Analytics Data to Improve our Marketing Campaigns

For years we have been marketing our site blindly.  We made assumptions as to what people were doing on our site, what keywords they were using to find us, and how we should be promoting ourselves.  While our marketing campaigns did get some results, they were far from our expectations.  I knew we were not going about things properly and we were leaving too much money on the table.

It all came down to one thing: I just didn’t understand what our analytics data from Google Analytics was telling us.  With all of the information we had at our fingertips including traffic referrals, what search engines were used to find our site and where our visitors spent their most time with us, I knew that we should be able to improve our marketing campaigns.

I just didn’t know how to do it.

Instead of giving up at this point, I took some Google Analytics training from Clickthrough, an online marketing and training firm.  The six hour course was done in-person right in our office, and covered just about everything you would want to know about Google Analytics.  The instructor made sure that ours was setup properly, and by the end of the course I really had a better understanding of how we could use all of this data to really drive business to our site.

It was worth every penny.

We have been implementing what we learned from our training session, and our marketing campaigns are more focused and we have been getting better results.  Now that I understand how to apply the information found in our analytics, I feel that we will have one of our best years for online sales in our organization.

Finding the Perfect Birthday Gift for a Man

While most people would tell you that shopping for any kind of gift for a woman is a real mystery, I would argue that buying men’s gifts is actually a lot harder.  As men, we have different interests and needs just like women do.  It isn’t as easy as buying us a piece of clothing or a nice box of cigars – in fact, finding a gift for any kind of guy in your life can be one of the hardest things that you will ever do.

Even as a man myself, I struggle to find birthday gifts for my buddies, brother-in-laws and even my father.  I think the real problem lies with the fact that we don’t really have “those” kinds of conversations where we talk about things we want with each other.  I can’t think of one time where I went up to my best friend Bruce and told him about the new Ryobi product line and the hammer drill I wanted for my birthday.

We are just not wired that way.

But one of the ways that I have overcome this problem is by finding inspiration online.  When I need to find a gift for another guy I know, I head on over to CoolMaterial.com and browse through their men’s gift selections.  It makes shopping for gifts easy and I don’t have to have any kind of awkward conversation with them to ask what they want – which is just the way I like it.

Replacing Windows after a Storm

We have come a long way since the cavemen.  Instead of trying to stay safe from the elements and the world around us in caves, we find refuge in our homes.  They provide us with a safe and comfortable environment for us to live in, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.  While they certainly are safer than caves, they can have troubles from time to time.  A great example would be the broken windows on my mother’s house after a storm damaged her home.

Okay, it wasn’t the storm that was the culprit, it was an old tree in her front yard.  The high winds blew a big branch off of the tree and it flew right through her bedroom window.

The window broke upon contact.  Thankfully, no one was hurt.

But the window needed to be fixed.

Replacement Windows Pasadena

She called around to see if she could find a company that offered replacement windows Pasadena and that could come out on short notice.  It wasn’t until she made her third call that she was able to get some help to replace her windows.

The folks from Intex Windows were out the very next day.  It didn’t take them very long to replace the broken window and her home is as good as new.

Hopefully she doesn’t have any more storms in her area any time soon.

Time for an Oil Change

It is hard to believe that it has only been a couple of months since my last oil change, but it is time for another one already.  I always go by what the readout says on my Chevrolet Equinox, and it tells me I have less than 5% life left in my oil.

So, I better get it done.

Since it is really expensive to get an oil change with the semi-synthetic oil that I need for my SUV, I try to save myself a little money if possible.  Sometimes this means waiting for a sale to come on at any of he oil change shops in town, but in most cases I just use some oil change coupons that I found online.  I have saved money this way countless times, and it sure beats clipping coupons like they used to do in the olden days.

Hopefully the line won’t be too long so that I have time to get a car wash for the car too while I am out.  I would really like to get all of the car related items off my “to-do” list so that I can focus my time on the other things that need to get done – I still have quite a lot of things to do before my trip on the weekend.

Painting in Milgard

For as long as I can remember, I have loved to paint.  Now, I am no artist by any means – the painting that I love to do is walls inside of a house.  It is one of those things that helps me to calm my nerves and re-energize my batteries.  It is very therapeutic for me, and I try to paint as much as I can.

Last week, my uncle Carl was talking about renovating his home in Milgard and that I should come out and help him.  I was busy just like I am every day with the business, but I really wanted to help him with his project.  Really, it would help me have a much needed break from work, and it would get his home renovations done.

I decided to make time to help him out.

Milgard Windows

The first thing that I noticed when I walked up to his home was the new windows that were installed on his home.  He had hired a company that specialized in Milgard windows and they were half-done the job.  They were coming out the following day to finish up, and he could say nothing but good things about Intex Windows, the company that came out to do the work.  I know that the new windows looked really good, and I couldn’t wait to see the inside of the home.

The inside wasn’t as pretty as the outside, but I knew that would all change after a coat of paint.  It will take a couple of days and the inside will be transformed.

I can’t wait to see what the entire home looks like when all the work is done.  It is going to be a lovely place to call home.

Taking Care of Employee Health at McCarran International Airport

ZEROlevel Fitness and Wellness at McCarran International Airport When I think about a company that takes care of their employees, I think that they help with saving for retirement, provide them with health benefits (including prescription drug coverage and dental coverage), and maybe even daycare on-site.  That is what most employees would ever hope to receive from their employer, but the management over at the McCarran International Airport have taken things one step further  – they have partnered up with ZEROlevel Fitness and Wellness to provide their staff with onsite fitness and wellness services.

These services include having access to a fulltime dietician, exercise classes, access to exercise equipment and nutrition products.  Instead of being reactive to employee health issues like just about every other employer, McCarran International Airport is being proactive with respect to their employees health.  Not only does this result in healthier employees, but happier ones as well.

And the feedback from the airport employees has been very positive.

There have been employees that have become more flexible, lost weight and even put on a few pounds of muscle.  The addition of the health facilities to the airport has resulted in very positive feedback from the employees and has helped with reduced absences due to illness, improved customer service and improved job satisfaction from the staff.

Let’s hope that the focus on the health and wellness of employees shown at the McCarran International Airport will serve as inspiration for companies across the world.

Taking our Rankings to the Next Level

Just like everyone out there with a website for their business, I have wanted to get our site to the first page of the search engines since day one.  My marketing plan required a lot of work from me on a day-to-day basis, and while we were able to rank for some pretty good terms on our own, the truth of the matter was that we were not search engine marketing experts.  It was certainly a field that I would pursue if I had spare time in my day, but it was apparent early on that I didn’t have the skills we needed to rank on the first page for all of the terms we wanted to rank for.

Since I am an entrepreneur, I thought this was a great opportunity to outsource our marketing campaigns to experts in the field.  We searched for cost effective and affordable search engine ranking experts in Canada that would be willing to work with us to help us achieve as many page-one rankings as possible.

After our initial consultation with a number of firms, we chose to work with xsodev.com, one of the most reputable search engine marketing firms in Canada.  The plan that they laid out for our site met the milestones that we had set for ourselves, and it looks like working with them is going to be very beneficial for our business.

Getting Some Birthday Gifts for my Friends

With May being right around the corner, I decided that I would be proactive and start shopping for birthday gifts early.  I have quite a few friends on my list with May birthdays, so I wanted to make sure to find something unique for each one of them.

It was going to take a bit of work.

I had a short list of ideas for presents for each person on my list, and they were all inspired by as-seen-on-TV type products.  Honestly, watching television late at night was the only opportunity I had to see any new products that happened to be coming to the market since I am so busy during the day with my business.

Since I was looking for such products as Caboki hair fiber, hot shapers and the Six Pack Ab Machine (that was of course perfect for my brother), I wanted to shop on a site that focused solely on these types of items that are shown late night on the television.

After doing a bit of digging around, I came across Telebrands, a site that featured all of the made for TV products that I had seen over the last couple of months all in one convenient place.  It made it easy for me to pick out gifts for everyone on my list, and I loved the fact that I could shop when it was convenient for me – it didn’t matter what time of day I was sitting at the computer shopping for birthday presents.

Who knew that shopping for birthday presents could be so easy…

Helping a Friend with Cancer

When you hear news about someone that you know that has cancer, it is never good news.  For most of my life, I have been able to somehow avoid these types of situations, but a few weeks ago, I learned that my high school best friend, Melissa, has bone Cancer.

It is something that I wouldn’t wish upon anybody.

I flew out to her home in Prince George, BC to see if there was anything that I could do to help her out.  A visit was overdue anyway, but with her terminal diagnosis, it felt like I needed to drop everything in my life and be there for her.

While I helped her with her chores and tidying up her home, I couldn’t help but notice that she was in a lot of pain.  She tried to hide it, but you could see it on her face – her pain medication wasn’t helping.

I decided to help her find a better solution for her pain.

We went online to see if we could find her some medical marijuana.  After looking for a reliable supplier in British Columbia, we ordered some from 420 Express – Canada’s #1 Supplier of Medical Marijuana.  Their prices were better than the other sites that we looked at, and it was important that they deliver it by Canada Post as she lived in a rural area not serviced by most couriers.

I knew we made the right choice.

She received her shipment in just a few days and gave her shipment a try.

It helped cut her pain immediately.

While I know that her chances of survival are very low, I am happy that Melissa won’t suffer during the last years of her life.