Business Website Essentials

Telling a small business owner to “assume the perspective of your customer” is one of those classic easier said than doneproblems. It’s not for lack of trying, but owning a small business isn’t just a job, it’s a lifestyle. And when you put that level of passion and commitment into something, your unique familiarity with it can be tough to shake.

Yet this is the simplest way to quickly optimize your website. By deeply considering your customer’s perspective and buying journey, we can make decisions that put everything in the right place for the customer to easily and quickly complete their interaction with your business and maybe even leave a nice review to boot.

While it’s absolutely essential to have each of these elements be part of your website, the specifics of their presentation need to be in consideration of your specific customer demographics. Most notably will be the difference between information on an online store, where the priority is to drive sales, versus a traditional brick and mortar business, where the priority is to get them to visit you.

The must haves

Contact information

Much of your web traffic will be coming from customers looking to use your website as a tool to communicate with you. Whether by email, phone or in person, the information that helps them accomplish this needs to be a top priority. Placing an easily found “contact us” link in the top right corner of your website is never a bad move. But if your customers aren’t web savvy, consider putting your address, phone number and hours of operation right on the home page. Additionally, if your business location is a little off the beaten path, consider using a map application on your website to help people better understand your location.

Product information

This is a growing priority for small businesses online, as a huge number of searches now happen on mobile with the intent of “in the moment” product research, sometimes even in-store. This means that the more specific information you can have online about what you sell, the better. This may even lead to customer conversions while they are in a competitor’s store.

Keeping an up-to-date and functional product catalog online can be a lot of work, but it is most certainly worthy of consideration given the potential value. This is particularly important if your demographic skews younger and more web savvy.

Business description

Give a quick, easy-to-find snapshot of your business and history available for people interested in learning a little more about you. Keep in mind, if people are looking at this part of your website, they are likely close to buying. Make sure you put in a little marketing effort here to help seal the deal. Make it concise but include things like business history, location, relevant achievements and philosophy. It’s also not a bad idea to include customer testimonials if you have them.

Quicklinks to social channels

Social platforms like Facebook, Instagram and Twitter are all great tools to help foster a direct line of communication between your business and its biggest fans. Your website should prioritize getting those follows and likes as easy as possible by installing a quick link widget into the footer or header of your website. That way, no matter where you customer goes on the site they are always one click away from connecting with you on Social.


It’s becoming more and more common to see small businesses feature active content strategies and it’s easy to see why:

  1. Content is authentic – No one likes being sold to, and content is a great way for a business to build a relationship while leaving the hard sell on the shelf.
  2. Content is made for local – A good content strategy can help a business establish itself as grounded in its local area through authentic stories that are for and about their community.
  3. Content is hyper-targeted – Based on how you answered the first three questions your website, at least a little, is likely targeting customers at a specific part of the sales funnel. Having a fully realized content strategy allows you to add balance to your site. For example, if your site is designed to drive new sales, perhaps the content can be targeted towards customer retention by adding value to those people already in the fold.

Easy content strategy win = how-to videos

These can be extremely effective and easy to produce. Plus, creating how-to videos gives you the platform to demonstrate your expertise. Double-win if it’s related to your business.

Putting it all together with design

When considering design and layout, it’s completely appropriate to look at it as an opportunity to infuse some of your business’s personality into your website’s look and feel. But heed this warning: design is where it’s most critical to consider the customer’s perspective. Too often small business owners create a website that works perfectly for themselves while failing to consider how it will work for their customers.

Here are two top level considerations when choosing a design.

Mobile functionality is king

This has to be top of mind at every stage of design. While most modern design templates are mobile functional, it’s worth taking second looks at the ones that do it best. And if you haven’t updated your website since the inception of the smartphone, you might want to think about a redesign.

Keep it simple

You may have noticed that this article really pushes the need for priorities. With that in mind, consider putting only the most crucial information on the home page. Your home page must include easy links to: contact info, product info and business description. After that, it becomes really dependent on your goals and objectives. But when considering the perspective of your customer, oftentimes less is more.

Build for speed

By keeping things simple and prioritizing mobile functionality you are likely also building for speed. But this point is critical enough that it bares repeating. Your site needs to be fast! According to a study from Forrester Consulting 40% of shoppers will wait no longer than 3 seconds of load time before abandoning a retail website. As well, Google uses load time as factor in determining your search rank so a slow site might even be keeping customers from finding you when they look online.

Final thoughts

All in all, it’s a pretty swell time to be building a website for your business. Hosting is cost effective and secure, design templates have never looked nicer, and there is plenty of great content out there to help guide you through the process. But if you are ever curious if your website is serving you well, just follow this tip from Kevin Lao at Google: take out your phone, pull up your site and ask yourself “do you like what you see?” Now go to your closest competitor’s site and ask yourself the same question. Your answer will tell you all you need to know.


Search Engine Optimization—or SEO—is a term that may sound scary at first, but is simple when you break it down. It’s the process of optimizing your online content (website, blog or otherwise) for search engine algorithms like Google’s. Search engine algorithms are what look at all the content on the web, and lay it out on the search engine results pages. This is where your business will get found, or be lost in the world of “second page and beyond.” Your firearms business’ SEO efforts are what determines your SERP (search engine results page) ranking, and consequently, determines how “findable” you are online to your customers.

Still confused? Basically, SEO is the process of tweaking your website, blog and other online content so that Google, Bing and other search engines will put you at the top of the search results page when customers start looking for you online.

Basic SEO terms


Stands for Search Engine Results Page. The list of results that search engines formulate and present to the user after a search is made. Your SERP rank is where your website/content appears on the list of results.


When one webpage hyperlinks to another website; very popular in blogging and creative writing. The more backlinks your website gets, the better your SERP rank!


A word or phrase that a consumer enters in search. Your website and content should be optimized to draw in the consumers who are searching for specific keywords. E.g “best hairdresser Texas”


Data that tells the search engines what your web page/content is about. This helps the search engine algorithms know if your content is relevant to what the consumer is looking for.

Why does SEO matter to my firearms business?

Firearms business are often blocked when advertising or promoting their business in other ways (Facebook, Google AdWords) so SEO becomes even MORE important! Optimizing your website and blog content with the right keywords, meta data and other SEO factors will be hugely beneficial to your business.

If you play your SEO cards right, it will get your business found when customers ask Google and Bing about things relevant to your business. If you’re a Texan hairdresser, SEO can help you be found whether local Texans are searching “ (you)” or “best hairdresser Texas,” or even “where should I get my hair cut?”!

Here are the four biggest reasons you should care about SEO, no matter what your business is.


If one person types in “best gun store in Toronto” into Google, and your business is at the top, then they’re likely going to click on your name. But there isn’t just one person Googling that term—there are thousands. Each person who clicks on your name from Google is another boost to your website traffic, and more potential business and sales for you! Hello SEO, hello more traffic, hello higher revenue!

Offering helpful solutions for customers

Optimizing your content for specific keywords like “reloading tips” or “best scope for my rifle” means that when a customer goes to Google to find answers to their questions, they’ll find you. Creating a name for yourself in your industry as a helpful, informative brand will improve your reputation, and get more customers flocking your way!

SEO makes marketing easier (and cheaper)

If a customer can find you at the top of Google by typing in “best gun store in Toronto” then why would you need to pay for ad space at the top of the page? SEO is what determines where your business appears on Google, so optimizing your content for the search engines just makes sense when it comes to where you spend your marketing bucks.

Don’t give business to your competitors

Still not sure why you should use SEO? Well here’s a big one—if you don’t implement SEO tactics for your business, then it’s your competitors who will be found when local customers go looking. Someone has to be at the top page of Google, right? If you’re not employing SEO tactics for your business, then it will be your competitors who show up when your potential customer turns to Google for advice and answers.

Search Engine Optimization is important to consider when creating and publishing any kind of online firearms content—whether it’s your business website, blog or otherwise. The better your business gets at optimizing your content for SEO, the more likely you are to be seen online, and the more business you’ll get to your storefront!


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My world is complete.

Yes you heard it right, SLAYER (Jees, their assistant Tour manager actually) saved a kitten from a show in  Indianapolis

More here:


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Top 10 Review Websites to Get More Customer Reviews On

In the table below, U.S. Ranking, % U.S. Traffic and Average Monthly U.S. Traffic (unique visitors) data are sourced from Alexa. Businesses should strive to get business reviews on business review websites that are going concerns, review sites that people know about (and go to) and that are relatively friction-less (sites consumers have log ins or can go in easy to leave a review).

Review Website U.S Alexa Ranking Reviews Best For Avg. Monthly U.S Traffic % U.S Traffic (Total)
Google My Business 1 any business 158.03 million 34.30%
Facebook 3 any business 85.57 million 29.10%
Amazon 4 e-commerce related 85.44 million 55.40%
Yelp 52 any business 40.47 million 89.10%
Trip Advisor 88 related to food, restaurant, travel 28.27 million 53.40%
Yellowpages 402 any business 10.5 million 85.30%
BBB (Better Business Bureau) 824 any business 6.15 million 88.90%
Manta 1,002 any business 6.48 million 70.50%
Angies List 1,150 service related business 5.44 million 88.90%
Foursquare 1,561 any business, mostly restaurants 3.67 million 23.10%

Getting to know the top 10 review sites

No 1 review site: Google

Average monthly US traffic (Alexa): 158.03 million
US ranking (Alexa): 1
Business reviews for: any business

Google My Business is a free tool for businesses to manage their online presence across Google, including Search and Maps. Google My Business puts business data on Search, Maps and Google+. Google customer reviews show up in search and are known to bolster SEO, so they are essential to the credibility of all businesses. Your business should aim to be on Google’s snack pack in order to be readily found when consumers perform a local search.

No 2 review site: Facebook

Average monthly US traffic (Alexa): 85.57 million
US ranking (Alexa): 3
Business reviews for: any business

Facebook is a social networking platform where users can create profiles, upload photos and videos, send messages and keep in touch with friends, family and follow their favorite businesses and brands. Since customers are connecting more with brands online, It is pertinent that your business is actively monitoring your social media mentions on social media platforms at all times. Facebook is gaining momentum towards being one of the most popular business review sites. Most users on the site already have a Facebook account, so the process to leave a business review is relatively friction-less.

No. 3 review site: Amazon

Average monthly US traffic (Alexa): 85.44 million
US ranking (Alexa): 4
Business reviews for: e-commerce related transactions

Amazon is a popular go-to business review site for e-commerce products. For companies who do any amount of e-commerce, Amazon is a key source of information. While Amazon as a review website is more targeted and fitting for Amazon marketplace partners, it is a worthy site to note, especially for retailers about what customers like about certain products and how the service aspect of transactions were handled.

No. 4 review site: Yelp

Average monthly US traffic (Alexa): 40.47 million
US ranking (Alexa): 52
Business reviews for: any business

Yelp is a review website where users can publish reviews about local businesses. Yelp has become a name synonymous with business reviews, as the site has over 102 million reviews and counting. As the world’s largest outlet for online customer reviews grows, it might be time for all small businesses to start caring about what consumers are saying online; and more specifically, about their Yelp reviews.

No. 5 review site: TripAdvisor

Average monthly US traffic (Alexa): 28.27 million
US ranking (Alexa): 88
Business reviews for: any business

TripAdvisor is an travel website company where users can leave business reviews of places they’ve visited. Users can also book rooms, find flights, discover to do and reserve tables at participating restaurants. TripAdvisor operates websites internationally in over 25 countries.

No. 6 review site: Yellowpages

Average monthly US traffic (Alexa): 10.5 million
US ranking (Alexa): 402
Business reviews for: any business

YellowPages is an online internet yellow pages directory owned by YP. YP is a local marketing solutions provider that focuses on helping local businesses (and the communities within) grow.
Companies can manage their reviews on the review site after claiming a free business listing on their page.

No. 7 review site: Better Business Bureau

Average monthly US traffic (Alexa): 6.15 million
US ranking (Alexa): 824
Business reviews for: any business
The Better Business Bureau aims to help people find and recommend businesses, brands and charities they can trust (

Based on a business rating review system, BBB educates consumers and assists people in finding trusted businesses. The Better Business Bureau tries to protect consumers from fraudulent business or scammers. Company profiles on BBB contain a short company bio and a history of complaints made about the business, as well as an A – F rating.

No. 8 review site: Manta

Average monthly US traffic (Alexa): 6.48 million
US ranking (Alexa): 1,002
Business reviews for: any business

Manta is an online small business service directory, search engine and review site that provides small businesses with the information to network. The site helps small businesses connect and grow through their community where users can buy from, partner with, and connect to companies.

No. 9 review site: Angie’s List

Average monthly US traffic (Alexa): 5.44 million
US ranking (Alexa): 1,150
Business reviews for: service related businesses

Angie’s List is a service listing and review website that offers user-based rankings and reviews of service professionals in local areas. Because Angie’s List is a paid review site, it is known to be less filled with rambling reviews from customers and spam. Members grade companies using a report card scale from A-F on price, quality, responsiveness, punctuality, and professionalism. Angie’s List is divided by categories such as house, auto, health, pets and services.

No. 10 review site: Foursquare

Average monthly US traffic (Alexa): 3.67 million
US ranking (Alexa): 1,561
Business reviews for: any business, mostly restaurants

Foursquare is a local search and discovery service mobile app. The app helps users discover new places/businesses through other Foursquare business reviews. Users can let friends know where they are and find out where their friends are. In any case, with 55 million monthly active users, Foursquare is a powerful force to monitor customer loyalty and feedback.


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3 SEO Tips to Improve Your Keyword Research

Have you heard that improving your SEO will help you get found online more easily? You’ve probably heard that implementing keywords into the content on your website, blog, and URL are key strategies for improving your SEO ranking. However, including the wrong keywords or too many keywords can be just as detrimental.

Although you may not always notice them, keywords play an integral role when it comes to helping a small business get found online. So let’s get to it by breaking down the long and short (tail) of it.

Do Your Own Keyword Research

Keyword research should never be a one-time commitment, but rather an ever-changing process that involves a strategy and a comprehensive understanding of your business and your industry. Including keywords that are specific to your business and industry will help to ensure that the right customers are being driven to your door rather than just any customer. Although we want to increase our customer base, we don’t want to target consumers that may not find the value in our business.

Using the Right Keywords

Short-tail keywords, or keywords composed of very generic keywords, might seem appealing because they’re searched more often than long-tail keywords, however, they’re also a lot more competitive. So, unless you’re writing content for a large organization, like Apple or Macy’s, and consumers are likely searching specifically for your product, you don’t want to enter into a sea of competitors with big brands that have even bigger pockets.

Long-tail keywords, on the other hand, may not be as frequently typed into a search engine—think, “Egg” vs. “Poached Egg with Avocado and Bechemel”. By including more long-tail keywords into the content on your page, you’ll attract a larger number of customers who are likely to search for any combination of those long-tail keywords.

Location-based keywords are keywords that directly relate to your business’s physical location. For example, if your business is a bakery in a popular neighborhood in Charlotte, NC, you’ll want to include not only Charlotte, but also the name of that specific neighborhood. By doing so, you’re more likely to target visitors in your area rather than across town who may or may not ever make it to your location.

Avoid Keyword Stuffing

Speaking of misleading customers that may not find value in your business, adding practically any keyword under the sun is referred to as keyword stuffing and is largely considered a taboo in the digital marketing world. Like with any other digital marketing rule of thumb, less is more and quality will always conquer quantity. Ideally, a website’s content should include keywords in a natural way. However, by inputting keywords into a few sentences and repeating them over and over, you’re stuffing your content with keywords. Even if they’re good keywords, it’s still too much.

Now that you’ve read through these tips, you’re ready to become an SEO expert too!


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Big Commerce – The Natural Choice for Firearms Business

We have only been a BigCommerce Certified Partner for a short period of time, but we have learned so much, and to be honest, Shopify pushing firearms companies off their platform was one of the better things to happen to us. Not to minimize the pain and financial loss of those businesses that are still struggling. But BigCommerce offers way more than Shopify ever could at comparable or slightly higher (at the Enterprise Level) pricing.

We have a few clients on Enterprise and several on the more generic Standard, Plus and Pro subscriptions. The full range of what BigCommerce hs to offer is miles beyond what Shopify can do for you. And some of the biggest feature are not even listed. Like Freedom.

Unlike Shopify, BigCommerce doesn’t make any money off merchant processing. Their revenue stream is based on their SaaS (software as a service) platform and vendor relationships. The biggest issue with Shopify was increase per transaction rates if you didn’t use Stripe. Yes they call it Shopify Payments but it’s actually Stripe. And Stripe is overtly anti-gun.

With BigCommerce you can show up with damn near any merchant processing scheme there is. The list they support is massive and growing daily. On at least one occasion we had them onboard a processor (though it took some time) specifically for that client. Granted that client was billing millions a year and were on the high-end of the Enterprise plan, but their willingness to do business of the usually cookie cutter service offerings was refreshing. 

The other marked difference with BigCommerce is the functionality that is built in and does NOT require apps. Both BigCommerce and Shopify offer extended functionality via third parry apps, like custom shipping rates and rules (ShipperHQ), postage printing and shipping management (Shipstation and Ordoro) and other options like mapping and return authorization.

But the list of base features, even on the BigCommerce Standard package, far outreaches Shopify. At the Plus level ($79 a month USD) you get things like Customer Groups, Abandoned Cart Saver and Stored Credit cards built right in, no need for an app. At Pro, you can tack on Google Reviews, Faceted Search, a super powerful way of letting your customers search your products lists, and a custom SSL that reflects your domain, not a shared one as on Standard and Plus.

The other MAJOR reason we guide our customers to BigCommerce is something almost no one understands outside the SaaS vertical. PCI Compliance. PCI is the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard. The group sets and maintains credit card security standards. Regardless of how your website is bolted together, you have to meet certain criteria in order maintain a relationship with your merchant processor. BigCommerce handles all the PCI compliance issues with their merchant plugins (free) and the entire yearly process of vetting and confirming your compliance is eliminated.


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Risk – What Flavor Do You Like?

We all accept that there is risk, certainly it’s something that those of us in the firearms sector understand as part of the business. Most times it revolves around what we do and sell, and less around how we operate.
Shopify recent policy update has left more than a few businesses in Canada and the US reeling. And for us here at Telos, it didn’t come as a surprise. We have been getting ambiguous answers from Shopify since day one and have recently been advising our clients to move off it ,both in term if risk and in terms of cost savings.


So you need an ecom store. Obviously there are thousands of choices out there for solving that problem. ALL of them involve some risk, but as we have seen recently, there are risks that are very different in practice.

So just what do SaaS (Software as a Service) vendors offer to a business?

TECHNICAL SERVICES – All the geek stuff get offloaded to the provider. SSL, Security patches (or lack thereof), bandwidth, scaling up in peak times, and overall form and function of the website all happen in the background. But it’s not all roses and candy. These folks are not 100% perfect at their jobs. Shopify has regular outages that impact stores of all subscriptions rates, and you PAY for this type of convenience. In addition, many providers are following the Apple model of “we build the base and let others sell apps to add functionality. At first blush that sounds great, until you have to pay %$50 a month for some basic functionality that should really be included i the base version.

BUSINESS OPERATIONS INTEGRATION – Many options to plug into shipping, POS and other brick and mortar system exist, IF you have their hardware and software. There are connections to accounting software (via paid third-party apps) and inventory control and tracking are available, but rudimentary compared to more robust (and more complex) systems like Magento (see below)

FLEXIBILITY – Fantastic integration, but only if their system meets your needs. Often there is not a ton of flexibility when it comes to customization, and when it does, its costs money. There are thousands of templates available to change the look and feel, but again, you must have some basic code knowledge to get them to work with your changes, or you have to hire a code geek to really make it perfect.

RISK – You are, as we have seen recently, at the whim of the corporation and its policy. You have no real contract, and even a the Shopify Plus level where you negotiate your platform fee, you never see a contract that outlines what rights you have and how you are protected. ProTip – You aren’t protected, the vendor is and you are risking your livelihood on its policy.

So what is the alternative?

Self hosted options range from shared server space on GoDaddy, to dedicated servers hosted in data centers in Canada, running licensed software where you have a contract and will not be bullied around.What does this look like?

TECHNICAL SERVICES – You need the proverbial “Guy”. A third-party company, and local geek you know and trust, or combination of the two ,you need someone who can set up a server and install software, patch it, understand backups, restores, versioning and be able to respond in a reasonable amount od time when something blows up. And it will.

BUSINESS OPERATIONS INTEGRATION –  Often these self hosted systems can have complex and very robust inventory systems, as well as POS integration and third-party credit card processing options. Once it’s all plugged in and working ,you are good to go with little to no monthly payments for the functionality

FLEXIBILITY –  Where you would pat monthly for an app to give some extended functionality over the base system in SaaS, in a self hosted system (Magento, WooCommerce ,PrestaShop etc) you buy the module once and get 1-2 years of support, new version upgrades (often automatic, particularly in WordPress based systems) for free, and very little in the way of issues. Major base system upgrades however might require paying to get to the latest supported version, but overall the cost is equal or less that SaaS apps.

RISK – The risk shift from strategic to technical. You are 100% in control of your software and systems. Assuming you have hired the right “guy” or company (shameless plug) you are in control of if, when and why you upgrade. No policy changes can impact you, and you service cannot be shut for anything less than non-payment in most cases. But if the site goes down, or if there is a security breach, it’s on you.


So why don’t more businesses choose to go self hosted? Because its technical, and scary, and it’s easier to roll the dice with SaaS.

Until they won’t take your money anymore.

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SHOTS FIRED! Shopify Rolls AntiGun Policies

Shopify is a platform we have been working with for a few years now. We have had many assurance from Shopify to our clients at all levels that they were not anti-firearms, and as long as you could source third-party credit card processing, you were good to go. FYI…Shopify’s internal processor is STRIPE, and they have always been anti-firearm anti-gun.

The recent policy change went from “No High Capacity Mags” to ,among other things:

a semi-automatic firearm that has the capacity to accept a detachable magazine, with one or more of the following items:

  • magazine capable of accepting more than 10 rounds
  • bump stock
  • rapid fire trigger activator or trigger crank
  • barrel shroud
  • thumbhole stock
  • threaded barrel capable of accepting a flash suppressor, sound suppressor or silencer
  • grenade or rocket launcher
  • flash suppressor, sound suppressor or silencer
  • pistol grip (or in the case of a pistol, a second pistol grip)
  • forward pistol grip

This makes it impossible to sell pretty much anything but shotguns, and alienates practically every firearms related store in Canada and the USA.

We try to guide our clients to the best solution, and from a strictly technical perspective, they are one of the most robust solutions out there. There ARE other solutions available. They can be more or less expensive that Shopify depending on your current Shopify subscriptions, but they put you and your business solidly in control of your web environment.

Telos Alpha has begun severing tis relationship with Shopify, and will no longer be a Shopify partner once we have migrated our current clients off the Platform.

More here from Bearing Arms


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SEO and Firearms – Part Two – Keywords are…key

Keywords. you probably hear about them every single day, multiple times and filter it out. Either because your just don’t understand what the hell the are, or don’t care.

But ignoring them will kill you.

SEO (Search Engine Optimization) as we discussed in Part One is about people finding you in search engines. The search engine has little programs that “crawl” your website an index everything, then that index is stored at the engine. When someone searches, it looks at that data with a very particular eye (the algorithm) and pulls relevant returns from the vast ocean of websites on the internet. What people type into Google etc are “keywords”.

So how are SEO and keywords connected?

At the most fundamental level, you need to have to words that people would use to search for you product or service, on your website.

Keywords 101

Yep, that’s it. SEO 101 is figuring out what your customers would type into a search engine to find the product or service you are selling, and putting those keywords in you website in product descriptions, about pages and blog pages. The term “keyword” can be misleading here, as they can be composed of several words.

For instance, lets say you sell grommets. If you made them you might have the word grommet on you page by default. So your keywords could be:

  • grommet
  • grommets Canada

But to really convince Google that you are an expert in the grommet field, you should have some more descriptive language in your product descriptions like:

  • custom grommets
  • Canadian custom grapple grommets
  • cerkoted grommets
  • painted grommets
  • super strong grommets

So you product description might look like:

“ZerpCo. grommets custom grommets are the state of the art in custom grommet technology. Cerkoted grommets are our speciality, with 48 hour turn around times and a 1 year guarantee. If you are looking for Canadian custom grapple grommets, these are the right grommets for you.”

This is a simplified example, but you get the idea. Make sure your language matches the language your customers are going to use to find your products in a search engine. This not only forces you to really study your product copy and get a real grasp of the product or services key advantages, but it makes your pitches stronger and more powerful on other mediums, like brochures and print advertising. Now there are more advanced keyword approaches, but this is 101 remember? Get this done FIRST. Before you start to worry about keyword generators and back linking.

And yes, it takes time. Unless you have a SME (subject matter expert) that you can outsource to….oh wait…insert shameless plug here…that’s what we do. Or we can guide you on how to do it yourself, which will always result in better results.


Because who knows your products better than you do?

Stay tuned for Part Three – Site Structure


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Grey Ghost – Dolling Out The Details

That day has come, after months (sometimes years) of prototyping, consulting, R&D, and in manny cases in the firearms industry, destroying several iterations of your shiny new product, its time to get the word out and get them into production and out the door in nice little boxes.

But unless your market, no ones know about it. And no matter how fantastic the product is, if no one knows about it, how can they purchase it?

These days we in the firearms sector can’t advertise on Facebook or pretty much any social media site. Most of us have decent number of social media followers, so what do we do to get attention and get the word out about our fantastic new firearms product? There are a couple of answers.


Video is my far the most engaging format for posts on social media, regardless of platform. Instagram has just opened up their video platform to 60 minute videos, jumping form 15 seconds. Very telling change don’t you think? You may have noticed several new SaaS (Software as a Service) offering on Facebook that will take you images, and create a video slideshow, just to get the post recognized as a video on Facebook and get it better distribution. I hate that personally.  A slideshow isn’t a video ,the two are drastically different. Perhaps thats the director in me getting bitchy, but, well, rant over. For now.

Video can tell a complex story in a very short time. If its engaging, it can do ore than just intro you new product, it can drag you page stats and follower number up drastically, and get you into new networks. They are reusable in many case (if well produced with some forethought) and can be shot in a single day to product several videos, maximizing the ROI of your marketing dollar.


A bit trickier than simple social media marketing, but very powerful, and often completely free (outside shipping your product to a reviewer and back) as its an “impartial” journalistic review. These relationships take time to build and develop, but believe me. These content producers need things to write about and will work with you to review your products. THe drawback is you dont control the narrative, so the review can be damaging. You need to initiate relationships with a mind to developing them long term ,and well ahead of product launch. In some cases the :buildit and they will come” thing actually works and you get folks calling you to review a product, but that pretty much only happens when you are running a planned and co-ordinated pre-release campaign with, you guessed it, lots of pictures and video WELL prior to your launch date.

The following are just two videos we did for S&J Hardware for their Grey Ghost Universal Shotgun. These had pretty much no other info with them other than the video and the campaign motto “Get ready to get Ghosted”, and got record breaking views and engagement numbers on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. It also resulted in a net gain of over 400 new likes on the page that had 4k followers, a 10% uptick. In 5 days.

Success is about strategy, and strategy is about planning. As a small firearms business ,you may not know how to do this. Thats where we come in.. Reach out. Have a quick chat with us, and we can quide you on both process and execution of a plan to get everyone to know about your fantastic new product.

Grey Ghost Teaser from S&J Hardware on Vimeo.

Grey Ghost Teaser Two – The Shoot from S&J Hardware on Vimeo.


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