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BACKSTORY: About a month ago, I got an email from a friend of mine saying "the Icelandic Trade Council develop an event to help motivate the locals that ecommerce is a good thing and was looking for someone (not a big company) who has done ecommerce successfully so I immediately thought of you."

There is an event on the 1st of December (Iceland's independence day) held by the Trade Council of Iceland. This time we need to motivate a nation that just lost all of their banks and what is better than the Internet?

I wrote back:

Man, I can identify with folks in your situation. In 1979, I was 11, and my family lost everything we owned when the Pearl River put six feet of water in our house. We didn't have flood insurance. Earlier that year my parents had committed full-time to their dog supplies mail order business and most of their inventory was lost in the flood.

Fast forward to 1997. My parents had slowly rebuilt their business, and were finally making a good living selling dog supplies through their retail storefront when disaster struck again. Petsmart, a big box / category killer retailer opened a new store right down the street. Overnight their business was cut in half.

Long story, short, Mom said get us on the Internet. We found Viaweb, an online shopping cart builder (which is now Yahoo! Store) and relaunched their mail order catalog business.

Within the first six months, we realized that the WWW was the future for us, and within 4 years we sold the retail store to concentrate on e-commerce which is now 20x the volume their retail store was doing...

These days, I enjoy helping other small business folks more than selling dog supplies, so I spend half my time on family stuff and the other half writing, speaking and consulting on small business e-commerce.

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Man 1:  Rob, I have just briefly introduced you to the Icelandic audience.  Maybe the only word you understood was Yahoo! Stores.  But anyway, the floor is yours. 



Rob:  Howdy.  How ya'll doing?  My name is Rob Snell and I am from Starkville, Mississippi.  And I am going to talk today about how e-commerce saved our family business.   

How E-commerce Saved Our Family Business Rob Snell, Co-owner Gun Dog Supply [email_address]

I understand you guys have had a hard year, had a little trouble with some bankers or something like that.  I understand where you are coming from.  Today I am going to talk about how our company business has survived two catastrophes, two extinction level events that should have put us out of business, but it didn't.  And I am actually going to go through how we got online and how we grew our company, and I am going to tell you how you can take advantage of some of the opportunities that are available on the Internet.   


Gun Dog Supply is our family's company.  We sell training supplies for hunting dogs.  I grew up in the business, and' 

Rob, Steve, and their mullets 

Who is that good looking guy over there on the left?  It is me and my baby brother Steve, and we started our own company, Gun Dog Comics, or Snell Brothers as it is now known, back when we were college students at Mississippi State selling comic books and baseball cards doing anything trying to get out of the dog food business.   


In 1996, we opened up a copy shop.  I don't know if ya'll have Kinko's here or not, but the Kinko's in our town closed, and within two weeks we were able to open up a copy shop.   

Yahoo Store 

But then in 1997, I got into e-commerce and started doing e-commerce consulting once I launched our family's business online.  And I have a weird relationship with Yahoo.  I am an unofficial evangelist for Yahoo! Store, which is a very, very small part of Yahoo.  I have been building stores and talking to store owners.  There are about 45,000 Yahoo! Store owners and they are my best friends. 

Yahoo Store for Dummies  

In 2006, my book came out, which is 'Starting a Yahoo Business for Dummies', which should be called 'Starting a Yahoo! Store for Dummies.  I don't believe it has been translated yet, but Christian is working on it.  And hopefully, by the end of the week he will have it for me.   

Speaker: PUBCON / SES / SMX / IRCE / Y!Summit  

I speak a lot about e-commerce and small business at search marketing conferences and small business conferences.   

2008 Congress 

And last year, I had the honor of testifying in front of the United States Congress on behalf of small business folks.  I wasn't in the hot seat or anything like I was going to prison or anything.   

How E-commerce Saved Our Family Business 

But today, I am going to talk about our family business and how e-commerce literally saved the family farm.   


Gun Dog Supply is our online business.  We sell training supplies for hunting dogs. 

Steve & Roxie 

Here is my brother Steve with Roxie out in the field.  This is our typical customer.  Most of our customers are hunters.  They have a birddog or a retriever. 


This is Click, one of Steve's birddogs.  Steve has got 13 dogs.  And if you notice on his neck, there are two products.  There is a $5 collar at the bottom of his neck, and then there is a beeper collar at the top of his neck which is a $100 collar.  That is kind of like keeping up with your birddog.  

Warner & Anne Snell 

My parents started Gun Dog Supply back in 1972 on their kitchen table.  My dad is a hunter.  My brother got the hunting genes.  I got the marketing genes.  I don't understand all this hunting stuff.  But he ordered a bunch of dog supplies back in 1972 from a mail order company, and he got back a bunch of junk.  And he said, 'I can do better than this.'  He had been working for the government, and he wanted to own his own company, so he started making his own dog supplies. 


So he started making collars, and leads, and leashes to sell them.   

Classified Ads 

And instead of just selling them where he was, he actually started buying these tiny little bitty ads in specialty hunting dog publications.  And we still do today.  That is why the website is in there.   

Old Catalog 

And people would call over the phone, or they would order over the mail, or we would send them a catalogue.  Here is American Field.  This magazine has a circulation of 5,000 copies, so this is a pretty small niche, these types of places.  And then later on, we expanded our product line and sort of carried more stuff, and we had a mail order catalog.  I mean this is back in the '70s. 

1972 Family Business > Mail Order 

You can tell we were pretty high tech. 

We are hand addressing our labels here.  I don't know if ya'll do that in Iceland or not.  The funny thing is this is actually my brother's mother-in-law.  Little did he know that he would be marrying her daughter in about 20 years.  It is a small world in Mississippi, too.   

Dog on the Floor 

And back in 1979, my parents decided the business was growing, and they were selling some stuff, and they really liked being self-employed.  And they said, 'Well hey, let's quit our jobs and let's go full time.'  And I don't know how many people out here actually own there own business, but I mean it is a really scary thing to make that leap.  And they did and they started up. 

Friday the 13th, April 1979 

And then we had something happen; the first catastrophe.  On Friday the 13th, April 1979, the Pearl River flooded. 

Flood House Pic 

We had six feet of water in our house.  This is about six months after my parents decided to start their business. 

Outside of House 

We lost everything.  We didn't have flood insurance because we didn't know we lived in a flood zone.  We lost cars, we lost furniture, clothes.  We basically got out with the clothes on our back.  My uncle actually came up to my house in a boat at two o'clock in the morning to take me and my little brother to safety. 


The other thing is we lost our entire inventory.  We had all of our dog supplies inside the garage and it was all gone.  And you guys know.  It is hard enough to start a company when things are good.  But when things are bad, I mean we are starting in the hole. 


And here is my dad after the flood.  I do want to say, that dog saved his life.  Him spending time, training that dog, working with that dog, that shows how important that bond is that our customers have with their dogs.   

Another thing is that I understand when you say the economy is bad, because back then, this is 1979, 1980.  I was only 11 years old, but even then I knew that the economy was bad.  They had 20% interest rates.  I mean people weren't loaning money.  Money was tight.   

And then to add insult to injury, my dad's banker had a heart attack and died.  And the new hotshot young banker showed up and he looked at us and he said, 'You are a poor credit risk,' and he called the note.  And we literally lost our family farm. 

Dog Store 

So here we are starting our company out in the first year.  I mean it is difficult.  But we made it.  We worked hard.  This is Gun Dog Supply's retail location.  When we had the catalog business, we noticed that a lot of folks in Mississippi actually wanted to come and shop at a store and not order through the catalog.   

Dog Food

And so, we got a retail location and we started selling premium dog food in our retail store because all of our customers had dogs, right?  But you couldn't get this stuff anywhere.  I mean you could get it at a vet, but we were one of the only places that you could get it. 

Collars and Leads, and Leashes and Bells 

And we sold collars and leads and leashes and bells.  And we used to sell stuff to hunting dogs.  But now, more of our customers look like this dog.   

Look Like This Dog 

This is Marco.  Marco is not a hunting dog.  Marco is a foo-foo dog, is what my dad used to call him.  He hated talking to these little old ladies with their foo-foo dogs.   

Dog Store 

So we changed the name of our company to the Dog Store to reflect our current customer base.  And we still have that little bitty Gun Dog Supply at the top.   


And my parents had built a pretty good little business.  I mean look at this.  From 1989 to 1996, this graph shows the monthly sales.  And my parents worked hard for 15 years.  And here we are in 1996.  They sent us to college.  I mean, you know.  They weren't getting rich by any stretch of the imagination, but they were doing all right.  Uh-oh.  Here is another one of these date slides again.  That is not good. 

March 20th, 1996 

March 20th, 1996.  I don't know if you guys have the same problem over here in Iceland, but back in the United States we have this trend in retail that has been going on for the past 20 years.  In retail, these huge companies come into a town.  They open up these huge big box category killer stores, and they put little guys out of business.  And it is not just Wal-Mart.  I mean it is pretty much in every single category. 

And in the pet's category, it is Pet Smart. 

Pet Smart 

And Pet Smart announced that they were opening up literally across the street from the Dog Store.   


All right.  This is Jackson, Mississippi in the Southeastern United States for those of you who are geographically challenged.  Ya'll probably never heard of Jackson Mississippi. 

But this is where our customers were, in Jackson, Mississippi.  And so, our showroom used to be a warehouse and we moved up the street to, actually, a pretty decent location here, and we were doing fine.  But then Pet Smart comes in, and guess where they open up.  In a high traffic, more convenient, more visible location, and you can imagine what happened.

1989-March 1997: Dog Store

Here is a graph that shows our sales 12 months after Pet Smart opened.  And look, we didn't just roll over.  A lot of our competitors in the market just gave up.  They folded up their tents.  They went home.  They said, 'We cannot compete with this company.  They have too much money. 

They are going to kill us.'  So 50% of our competitors immediately disappeared.   

And we said, 'Look.  We are not going to just let them have it.  We are not going to give up the business.'  We got aggressive with our marketing.  We started a loyalty program.  We lowered our prices.  We extended our hours.  Anything we could do to fight these guys.  This was war to us.  

B&W Catalog: Plan B\ 

And at the same time, we wanted to have a plan B, because we knew that we were fighting a losing battle.  And plan B for us was to reboot the catalog; to go back to our roots, to focus on the niche that got us in business in the first place, which is selling dog supplies.  And man, we got into the catalog business way back in '72.  Things had changed.  We had desktop publishing.  It was a lot cheaper to make something.  It was a lot cheaper to print stuff.  Postage costs were still really high. 

Catalog 2 

But we spent hundreds of hours on this catalog.  I mean this catalog is a small little dinky catalog.  It is maybe 40 pages.  But one of the things that we did that our competitors didn't do is we actually wrote a ton of information about the products that we sell.  And we sold training supplies, tracking supplies for hunting dogs. 

So we send out 5,000 of these catalogs to the folks who are on our mailing list, and we are really excited, because we worked for three months knocking this thing out.  And what happened?  Nothing.   

So we are all sitting around the dinner table, and what the hell are we going to do now?  I guess we can all go get jobs.  My mom was watching TV and she kept seeing this commercial over and over and over again for AT&T's e-commerce platform. 


And this lady got obsessed with the Internet.  I mean this is 1996, 1997.  You wouldn't expect your mom who is 60 years old to be, 'We got to get on the Internet!'  I was like, 'Mom, the Internet is just about porn!'   


And she is like, 'Maybe we need to get into that.  But we gotta get on the Internet.' 


And I mean she would not let it go.  I was like, 'Come on woman.'  So just to get her to be leaving me alone'I mean I had my own company at this point.  We had five retail stores selling comic books.  I was working the mullet. 

Ya'll saw that a little while ago.  I was playing in a rock band.  I had a life.  It was a good life with a good mullet, you know?   

I didn't know anything about Internet marketing, about how to build HTML webpages, about secure servers, about shopping carts, about programming.  I mean I went to graphic design school so I could be a cartoonist and not have to think about this kind of stuff.  But mom was like, 'Look.  We are in trouble. 

The family needs it.  You are smart.  Figure it out.  Get online now!'  And if ya'll knew my momma, you would understand.  When she gets her mind made up, it is going to happen! 

April 1997: 

So we built a little bitty website.  I went and got a domain, April 1997.  I mean I am embarrassed.  We didn't even save the website.  I kinda had to rebuild it using some old images up in Photoshop.  Because you know, you don't archive every single thing you do, and I didn't realize anything was going to happen.   

But I mean it was like the typical brochure website.  And this goes to a point that somebody made, I think in Icelandic.  My Icelandic is not as good as it use to be.  But I think somebody said, 'Just building a website isn't enough.'  And that is true.  This is a terrible website.   

Letter from the Snells 

We had an 'about us' and a letter from the Snells.  Like you want to read a letter from the Snells written to everybody about how great we are.   

GDS Products and Services 

We had a list of the products and services that we sold. 

FREE CATALOG Request Form 

And the only actionable item on the site was a free catalog request form.  Ya'll remember that catalog, the one that didn't work? 

Yahoo was the Google of 1997 

So I spent all this time working on this website.  And I am a glory hound.  I like getting credit for what I do.  And I wanted people to come see my work, because I was so proud of this website that I had built. 

And so, I said all right.  Just building it isn't good enough.  If you build it, they will come? 

That is crap.  That is not going to happen.  You have to drive traffic to your website.  And back in 1997, Yahoo was where the traffic came from.  Yahoo was the Google of 1997.  And right in the Yahoo directory listing was the secret to getting traffic.   

So I did my homework.  I did my research.  I learned what I had to do and I wrote a great Yahoo directory listing.  And this is the Yahoo Directory listing that to this day actually still exists.  And it was awesome.  We got tons of catalog requests; hundreds of them.  My dad was freaking out.   


He is like, 'I am not sending hundreds, and hundreds, and hundreds of people catalogs that lose money for us.  Get the store online.  Put the catalog on the web or shut down the website.'  And after all this work, you know?   

Online Store Builder 

My brother found ViaWeb, which is now Yahoo Store.  Yahoo bought them about a year after we got online. 

And they had an online store builder.  And this was the answer to my prayers, because I had been playing around with a shopping cart, and a CGI bin, and secure server stuff, and I don't understand a lot of propeller head stuff.  And this was one of the first online web apps.  I mean Paul Graham, the guy who created this, got $50 million from Yahoo back in 1998.  I mean they got a bargain.   

Build the Store in your Browser

It is an online store builder.  I mean you build the store in your browser.  You know, like using forms, clicking around.  This is way back in the dialup days-14.4 modem.  I am with you. 

I feel ya.  And uploading these huge pictures.   

But we had all this content from the catalogue.  Remember that 90 days in hell with my dad writing all these catalog descriptions and laying that sucker out?  You know, you upload a picture you type in the name, you hit update, and boom.  You have a product page. 

Built-in Shopping Cart 

It had a built-in shopping cart.  I didn't have to do any of that propeller head stuff; no heavy lifting on my part.  Yahoo is going to take care of all that.   

Secure Checkout 

It had a secure checkout.  I didn't have to deal with security certificates or virus protection and that kind of stuff, hackers.  I didn't have to deal with that. 

Yahoo took care of that.   

Back End: Order Manager 

And on the backend, it had an order manager.  It had all the bells and whistles.  And this is back in 1997.  I mean this was awesome.  And one of the main points I want you guys to get form this is that they have already invented it.  You don't have to go and redesign something from scratch. 

There is somebody out there who has a product, a service, that allows you to get online doing whatever you do.  And I know all of you aren't retailers, but doing whatever you want to do online, there is a way for you to do it without having to pay $100,000 to build out a website.   

Now you have an online store 

But you do this, and now you have an online store.  And this is the homepage, the way it looks today.  I guarantee you it didn't look like that in 1997. 

May-Dec '97 Visitors 

And we already had traffic coming form our Yahoo directory listing.  Remember that?  I wrote a great Yahoo directory listing.  We were getting hundreds of catalog requests.  My dad was freaking out.  We actually had visitors coming to our website.  Two days later we launched, there were about 100 people a day hitting the website.  That was pretty good.  We didn't have 100 people a day coming into the store.  They were all going to Pet Smart.   

E-commerce makes it easy for folks to give you money 

E-commerce makes it easy for folks to give you money.  This is the second point.  If you cannot take payments online, you are missing out.  If you just have a brochure website'Anything you can possibly do to allow folks to give you money online, if you can possibly do it.   

June 5, 1997:  First Online Order

I logged into the store, and on day three, we had our first online order, two days after our soft launch. 

And you can even see on here, I didn't even charge them shipping.  Whoops!  I hadn't set that up yet. 

Dummy Launcher 

And this is what the guy bought.  The first thing I ever sold online was a dummy launcher.  This thing uses blanks to fire.  The gas comes out the cylinder and it shoots this dummy for the retriever to get 250 yards, because you can't throw that far for your retriever.  I have more fun doing this at this presentation, because I get to look back on all this stuff that I never have time to.  This page still exists on the Internet today.  We are still making money selling this same product for $75, just like we did 13 years ago.  This same page that I made back in 1997 is making me money right now.  I probably just got an order for one. And it beats the hell out of getting your butt kicked by Pet Smart.   

May-Dec. '97 Graph: Number of Orders 

And we didn't set the world on fire.  In 1997, we got online.  Here are the first six or seven months.  But it was enough to go, 'This is the future.  This is growing like a weed.  This where we gotta be.  Forget Pet Smart.  Forget selling dog food.' 

May-Dec '97: Revenue $$$ 

And that is the first month there.  But if you look at our revenue, we did $88,000.  That is OK, but for a little project, it was something to get momma to shut up.  You know?  That is not too bad.  I love my mom.  Ya'll don't take it the wrong way.   

More, please 

And so, we wanted more.  How can I get more?  I got a Yahoo directory listing.  

Bought Banner Ads 

So the next thing that I did is I did a little bit of research.  I said, 'Well OK.  Where are my future customers hanging out so I can go introduce them to me?' 

And I found a site called Working Retrieval Central that had thousands of people who were retriever enthusiasts.  Remember I was talking about how few people there are in the United States who have dogs?  Well, half of them are on this website.   

And I contacted the owner, and I said, 'Hey, how much do buy some banners on your site?'  And he said, '$750 for three months.'  So I told my dad, and I thought his head was going to explode.  '$750?!?'  So I bought banner ads on my credit card and not on his.   

1989-1996: Dog Store Sales 

And it worked like gang busters.  We started getting orders in.  And if you go back on that graph, you can see kind of about August.  That was revenue coming from those Working Retriever Central banners.  And my dad was like, 'See!  You don't have to buy advertising to make money on the Internet!'  I was like, give me my $750 old man.   

1989-1997 Dog Store 

So let's recap.  1989-96 Dog Store sales.  Retail store sales to fu-fu dog people.  And then here comes Pet Smart.  Boo!  Terrible.  Making my momma cry.   

Year 1: Store vs. Web 

And here is Year 1.  This is where it starts to get exciting.  Year 1: Store versus the web.  And within the first six months, the web sales caught the Dog Store.  And part of that is because the Dog Store was sucking at that point.  I mean you can see Pet Smart was kicking our butts.   

And one thing that somebody said at the break that I want to reiterate is this is harder than it looks.  If every single person in this room opened up an online store selling the exact same thing that we are selling or something else, 90% of ya'll would go out of business in 90 days.  It is tough.  It is very difficult.  You have to have some sort of competitive advantage. 

Year 2: Store vs. Web 

And we did because we focused on these dog folks.  It was a niche.  We weren't selling fu-fu dog stuff.  We weren't selling stuff for everybody.  We sere selling stuff for hunting dog folks.  Here is year 2, and you can see at this point, the web is just killing the dog store.  And Dog Store continues to slide.  You can tell where we are putting our emphasis. 

Year 3: Store vs. Web 

Year 3, the same thing happens.  And notice the scale of the graph keeps changing.  See that line down there at the top, that dotted blue line?  That is the best the Dog Store ever did, which was just a little bit over $65,000 in a month.  At this point, we were like, 'I love this Internet.  Let's get into it.'   

But that was 1997 

But that was in 1997.  I mean just showing up was half the battle.   

Cashing in on Search Engines 

And so, what I am going to talk about now is how we got from 1997 to 2003.  I am talking about cashing in on search engines.   

When customers are looking to buy what you sell, show up. 

This is the most important thing I am going to say all day and probably in my entire career.  So if I could stand up here and just say this over and over again and ya'll wouldn't leave, I would probably do it.   

When customers are looking to buy what you sell, you need to show up.  You need to sell it to them.  When customers are looking to buy what you sell, your store, your site needs to show up in the search engines.  And if that means you get in the organic natural free results and you get free traffic, that is great.  And that means if you have got to buy an ad to get to them, that is great, too.  And if you have got to do both, that is fine.  

Search engines Google graph here 

Well what search engines are important? Well you guys know this.  It is Google.  And I think it is the same over here as it is back in Mississippi.  I mean we have got a little Bing and a little Yahoo, but 75% of my traffic is coming from Google. 

Keywords (the key to search engines) 

The key to search engines is keywords.  And boy, I am obsessed with keywords.  My friends tell me to shut up.  I keep talking about keywords.  Oh, I love keywords.  I will show you why in a minute.   

Orange Dog Collar 

When somebody does a search on Google for 'orange dog collar', the search engine results page appears.  I know you have all seen this before.  One thing I did notice in Iceland is that ya'll don't have a bunch of ads.  There are tons of opportunities out there.  In Mississippi, this whole thing is full up of ads.  But when I do searches in Iceland, it is like there may be one or two people advertising.  So those one or two people want me to shut the hell up right now, but the rest of ya'll go kick their butts.   

Natural Search Results 

On the left-hand side is the natural search results.  Some people call it organic.  They call it natural.  They call it free.  What that comes from is when Google spdyers the web, they have this huge index where they keep all their webpages, and they go and they see what your webpage is about, and they basically give you'when somebody does a query, a search, it gives you the results in descending order by the most relevant webpage.  And the way they do that is with an algorithm.  And the algorithm is causing my hair to fall out. 

Google hides it.  It is a secret recipe.  They don't want everyone to know what it is so you can't just automatically do the right little dance and make your website appear. 

I spend tons and tons of time thinking about search engine optimization and how to get here.  

Inside the natural search results, you will also sometimes see shopping results if the keyword you are using like an e-commerce term, or image results, for those of you taking pictures of polar bears or whatever you take pictures of, and sometimes video results.   

So it is like three or four separate things you gotta kind of master to show up on Google.  And if you will notice, I am not showing up in the shopping results, and I shouldn't be here talking to ya'll.  I should be back at home fixing this, because we are about to hit the busiest time of the year right now for us.  But if you will look at that last one down there, I actually have a video on Youtube that I made that is showing up.

Paid Search/Sponsored Links 

On the right-hand side are the paid search or the sponsored links.  And I heard a little bit about that in Icelandic.  I heard, 'Blah, blah, blah, sponsored links, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, Google.'  And I think he was talking about sponsored links.  Oh, ya'll have a beautiful language. 

Please don't take that the wrong way.  It makes me a little nervous that it is a room full of Vikings!  We knew about ya'll! 

How I found search engines 

How I found search engines.  Remember that first order I got?  Well every time I get an order, if there is a referrer, and a referrer is a place on the web somebody came before they came to your website.  If there is a referrer, it will tell you what the referrer is.  And so I had people from the Yahoo directory come in.  I had people from those banners I bought on Working Retriever Central. 

Referrer Example 

But then all of a sudden I started getting all this traffic from places I had never heard of.  And here is an example.  MSN.  We had traffic from Hot Bot.  We had traffic from Excite, from Infoseek.  We had traffic from this place I had never heard of called Google.  You know back in the '90s, I didn't know what this stuff was.  And when a referrer comes from a search engine, it will tell you the keyword phrase. 

And I was like, 'Hmm'this is pretty cool!'   

And so what I would do is go to the search engine that they came from and type that same word in and see where we came up.  I know this sounds pretty basic, but back then it was an epiphany to me.  If we were ranked higher, we would get more clicks and more traffic.  I was like, 'Man, we gotta rank higher.  That is important.'


Web Analytics Software 

Well how do you keep with what your referrer is?  How do you know what your referrer is?  Web Analytics Software is how.  And most of the people in here who are propeller heads, you guys know about Google Analytics.   

Google Analytics 

Fortunately for us, it was baked into the Yahoo Store platform, so I didn't have to do a whole bunch to figure stuff out.  But I also run GA or Google Analytics, this web analytics software.  What it does is it tracks users. 

You guys have probably heard of cookies.  You go to a website or you go to a page and it keeps up with where individual people go.  But then overall, you can kind of see these trends.  You can see how your traffic is going day to do.  You can see where it is coming from.  You can see specific sources and what keywords folks are using. 

Where Traffic Comes From 

See that right there?  73%. 

That is why I love search engines.  And I ain't paying for more than maybe 10% of that.  73% of my traffic is free.   

What Pages Customers Visit 

This shows me what pages customers visit.  Ya'll see that orange dog collars page?  I just made that page up for some talks like this.  I got 3,500 people that have already hit that page.  That is pretty good. 

What Keywords People are Searching For 

Google Analytics will show you what keywords folks are searching for.  But more importantly, it will show you how much revenue they generated and how many transactions, and the average value of the transaction.  So you can tie a dollar amount to a keyword phrase.  You know what keyword phrases are more valuable.   

Collect Converting Keywords 

And this is how you get found when people are looking to buy what you sell.  You collect converting keywords.  And you use your web analytics to do that.   

21,358 Converting Keywords 

Right now in my personal collection, I have 21,358 converting keywords.  And a converting keyword is a keyword where somebody typed it into a search engine, clicked on my ad or on my result, went to my site, poked around, shopped, used the shopping cart, and gave me money at the end of the day.  They searched for this, this is what they bought. 

$6,264,243.60 from Keywords 

These keywords have generated over $6 million trackable revenue to the keyword level.  And this isn't for all time.  This is just for the sample that I did for this presentation.  I know what keywords generate revenue. 


Gun Dog Supply/Your Company/Domain


And let's talk about some examples.  When somebody does a search online for your company and your domain name, you better come up.  That is the easiest thing to rank for.  They are looking for something like your homepage.   

When somebody is doing a generic product category, they haven't made up their mind who they are going to buy from yet.  If they are looking for leather dog collars, they are probably looking for something like this.  You have got to show them what they want when they come to your webpage.   

And keywords have intent.  When people are searching for something, you can tell what they are interested in, what their intentions are on your website, and you need to make sure that your pages on your site actually can meet that demand.  Because if not, they are going across the street.  They are going to buy it from me instead of from you.   

Garmin GPS Specific Manufacturer 

Specified manufacturer phrases like Garmin GPS, one of the manufacturers we sell.  We have a shop by manufacturer page.  A specific brand model product.  They know what they are looking for.  They are looking for a very specific product.  At this point, they have already made up their mind.  They are price shopping right here.  I hate it when people come in on product pages, because they already know what they are going to buy. 

How can I stop my dog from barking? Query Question 

A query question.  A lot of times, people will search for an answer to a question. 'How can I stop my dark from barking?'  Well, answer these questions on your website and you can get traffic for these phrases.   

What about New Projects? 

What about new projects?  What if you are sitting in this room and you don't have a website, or you are sitting in this room and you want to do something different. 

What about new things where you don't have a bunch of history? 

Keyword Tool 

Well back in the day, you whipper-snappers, you have it so easy today.  Back in the day, we had no idea how many people were doing searches for certain keyword phrases.  There was a top 100 searches on the Internet list that I had in 1997.  And this was like the holy grail of information.  And half of the words on there were porn.  Not very helpful if you are not in the porn business.   

Now there are keyword tools.  And today I am going to talk about a free keyword tool called the Google Adwords keyword tool.  Google collects all this information about people who do searches on their website, right?  They know how many times a month somebody searches for every single keywords phrase.  They also know what advertisers you guys are willing to pay for those clicks.   

They make this information publicly available.  You don't even have to be an advertiser.  Go to Google, type in keyword tool, hit enter.  That first result is a keyword tool.  Just click on that.   

Doghouse Heater Results 

So you type in whatever keyword phrase you want to see, in this case, 'Doghouse heater,' and man, last night I think I needed one of these.  It is cold here.  If I knew it was going to be this cold, I would have brought a jacket.   

When you do a search, the results show up, and this is what you are looking at.  It will show you the keywords.  It will show you the estimated average cost per click, what you are going to have to pay Google every time somebody clicks on your ad and goes to your website, and it is going to show you the competition-how many other advertisers are actually advertising on that phrase.  And I can see right here there is a nickel phrase that has less than half of the advertiser slots taken.  I need to get to work.  I am not buying that. 

It will also show you the number of searches per month.  And there is a cool seasonality thing here where it shows you the highest volume occurred in what month.  So there is my search phrase.  If you notice above and below it are two different phrases where it is suggesting things to me.  It will tell you, 'Hey, here are some more ideas,' because Google wants you to buy more ads.  They are pretty smart about that.   

The last thing is, if you have an Adwords account and you are using this tool, you can click on this little 'add exact' and it will add it to your Adwords account immediately.  And once you do this three or four times, you can build up this huge list of keywords that gives you a great amount of information as far as research goes.  You can see how many people are searching for stuff.  You can see what the average cost per click is.  It is fantastic. 

It's not a Choice Between Quantity or Quality 

And it is not a choice between high value phrases and low value phrases.  Here is an example.  And I am going to use a real example, but I am changing the keyword phrase, because I am giving a lot away, but I ain't giving it all away.   

'Dog Beds' High Traffic 

Dog Beds. Trust me.  It is very similar.  It is a high traffic phrase: 40,000 searches a month. 

Everybody is like, 'Yeah!  I want to rank number one for dog beds!'  Well there are only 10 spots on the front page.  And who knows how many hundreds of thousands of people are actually selling dog beds? 

'Dog Beds' HIGH traffic: 40,000/ 'Large Dog Beds' MEDIUM traffic: 8,000.  REVENUE PER VISITOR 

So 'dog beds', a high traffic phrase.  A more specific phrase, 'large dog beds.'  This isn't the phrase that I am talking about, but the data is real and it is kinda similar in terms of comparison.   

It is a medium traffic phrase with 8,000 searches a month.  The revenue per visitor that I get on my website that I know about from my analytics for 'dog beds'?  $1.  For 'large dog beds'?  $11.  Why?  I sell great big large dog beds.  They are awesome.  But anybody searching for dog beds for those fu-fu dogs, they don't want a bed that is this big.  

The inventory value.  If you take the 40,000 people in the world per month searching for that and you multiply it what the value is to me, it is $40,000.  Now, if you sold fu-fu dog beds, your revenue per visitor for dog beds might be $20.   

The inventory value for me for 'large dog beds' is $88,000.  And I know I am getting deep, deep, deep in the weeds here, but there are probably 15 people who will benefit, who will be able to hire some new folks and grow their businesses because of some of this detail.  And I will go back out and get macro in just a second.   

Prioritize Keywords on Revenue 

I want you to prioritize your keywords on revenue.  When I do keyword research, I want to look at how many visits I got for the keyword phrase, how many orders, and how much revenue it generated.   

Keyword Bucket 

Here is a bucket, and I overwrote the phrase with some fake words, but it is real data.  I am not giving all my secrets away.  Some keywords are more valuable than others to me.  Look at that $9,500 phrase.  I mean I got 86 orders for that.  And these are all similar keyword phrases relating to the same product.  They are manufacturer searches, they are generic searches, but they are talking about the exact same unicycle seat.   

Revenue per visitor is totally different.  What this means is the average person searching for 'Wobble Unicycle Seat' spends $11 when they come to my website.  But if you go on down, you see that $29?  I mean that is almost three times as much revenue per visitor.  I want to focus on those keywords.  You see that $7 red block right there?  Something is wrong.  That tells me right there that my landing page that ranks really well for that phrase on row three, something is wrong.  That sticks out like a sore thumb to me.  I need to stop right now and go fix it.  

The other thing I do is I actually compare my Google traffic with these phrases.  How do I rank on Google for these keyword phrases?  So the rank 1 column is what page of mine appears first, and rank 2 is what page of mine appears second.  And if you notice, sometimes on Google you will see indented results, two listings from the same company on the same page, you can double your Google traffic by chasing after these clustered results.  And there are about four people in here right now who get it, and you will make a lot of money off of that.  And I apologize for being so micro on that.   

What do you do with all these keywords? 

So what do you do with all these keywords? 

You know, you collect your keywords? 

Optimize for FREE traffic (for best keywords) 

Well I want you to optimize and advertise.  Optimize for free traffic, for your best keywords.  You need to write content for that.  I am going to talk about that in a minute. 

Advertise with PPC ads (for keywords where you make money) 

Advertise with paid search ads, PPC ads, pay per click ads, for keywords where you make money with your ads. 


Free traffic.  My favorite thing in the world: SEO.  My girlfriend is like, 'Please shut up about SEO.  I am so tired of hearing you talk about Search Engine Optimization.'  Everybody here, have ya'll ever heard of search engine optimization before?  Anybody? 

Search engine optimization is making your website Google friendly.  That is like using text on the page, using the keywords that folks who are searching to buy what you sell will find those keywords on your page.   

You want Google to be able to find your website, read your website, index and store your website, give you credit for the content that is on it, and then send you traffic because you actually have relevant webpages for whatever you sell:  Icelandic Viking helmets or whatever your store is. 

Dog House Heater 

Dog House Heater.  This is what you want to happen.  When you do search engine optimization, this is the purpose.  Number one out of 22,000 webpages on the Internet.  Right now my momma is number one for dog house heater, and I hope she will ship me one tonight.   

How I do SEO 

How I do SEO.  I am going to do this real quick.   

Pick a Keyword:  Dog House Heaters 

Pick keyword.  'Dog house heaters'.  The first thing I do is I pick the most relevant page.  What page on my site is a perfect page that I would show somebody?  Instead of dropping them on the homepage, give them the real page.  Well this is it. This is my section page for dog house heaters.   

Put keywords in TITLE/TEXT (on most relevant page) 

The first thing I do is I put the keywords I want to rank for in the title and the text of the most relevant page.  That means you need to write good page titles.  See?  Dog house heaters, heater/heaters?  That is the page title.  The second thing is put it in text on the page.  I have got the word heater on there.  When Google comes to my site, Google goes, 'Hey! 

This site is about dog heaters.'  That is one of the reasons why I rank. 

Put Keywords in LINK TEXT (on other pages) 

The other reason is you want to put the keywords in links to the page on your site.  So if other pages on your site are pointing to the dog heaters page, you would like it in the anchor text using your keywords phrases.  And some of that stuff is pretty deep stuff you see.  Dog house heaters, dog house heaters.   

Create Keyword-rich Content 

This is super important.  You don't have to know anything about SEO to do this.  Create keyword-rich content.  I was talking to a travel guy a minute ago.  Hey travel guy.  You want to have articles on your site about travel.  So when I search for 'Icelandic whaling tourist expeditions', you know, because my girlfriend likes'She is an eco person.  She said she wanted to go whaling, I think?  Oh, whale watching. 

Oh.  Sorry doll.  Man, I am going to be in so much trouble after this thing is over! 

Steve writes content.  Steve talks about this stuff all the time.  He talks about where we live in North Mississippi, he doesn't need a dog heater, but if you live in Iceland, you do.  And I have got the keywords sprinkled all throughout the phrase.  I mean he is just writing in natural language like how he would talk to a friend of his about, 'Hey, you need a dog house heater so your fu-fu dog doesn't freeze.'  And he writes this 'Steve Says', and we put this content on the product pages or on the section pages.   

220,000 competitors 

And like I said, 220,000 competitors in the world.  My momma ranks number one.  And we optimize for all 20 some odd thousand phrases.   


All right.  What if you don't rank?  70% of the folks on Google are clicking on the left-hand side on those free search results.  But 30% are clicking on the ads in the United States.  It may be a little different over here.   

You need to buy ads. 

How I do PPC

Pick a keyword:  Automatic Dog Waterers (and figure out how much you can pay!) 

This is how I do PPC.  I pick a keyword:  'Automatic dog waterers', a keyword that say I don't rank really well for.  And then I figure out how much I can pay based on my conversion rate.  If you are selling a $5,000 B2B package, or something that a university would buy, or something that has a huge average sale, you can probably pay a lot more per click than you can if you are me and you are selling an automatic dog waterer that is $20.  

Write a good ad 

The next thing you do is you write a good ad.  Put the keyword in the name of the ad and you want people to click on your ad.  The way ads work on Google is you get to tell Google what searches trigger your ads.  So if somebody says 'Dog waterer', 'automatic dog waterer', 'auto dog waterer', 'auto waterer', I mean just any of those keyword phrases, I want my ad to show up for those.   
The next thing you tell Google is how much you are willing to pay.  I tell Google I don't want to pay more than 25 cents a click on this ad. 

Create a relevant landing page 

The next thing you do is you create a relevant landing page, a page that actually has what the searcher is intent on finding.  Remember intent from a minute ago?  Look.  I got automatic dog waterers on here.  I got five different automatic dog waterers.  I got articles about it.  I got a link to it.  I mean if you are looking for an automatic dog waterer, this is the page you are looking for.  But I tell you that so the customer gets to the website and they go, 'Hey!  That is exactly what I am looking for!'   

'and monitor results 

And then you monitor the results.  Google is really good about giving you some tracking software so you can actually see which ads and which keywords actually work for you.  And you call the losers and you improve the winners.   

Appear for both 

And you want to appear in the search results for both free and paid.   

Lots more here:  Buy yours now! 

There is lots more information.  I can talk about this stuff all day.  I hear there is another book coming out; maybe more current than mine.  I could only look at the pictures, but they were pretty nice.  How about say, 'Rob said buy my book,' and he has to give me a dollar.  Appreciate that.  That will help pay for my jacket.   

So what happens when you maximize SEO and PPC? 

All this is theoretical talk.  That is great.  Blah, blah, blah.  Marketing guy-all right.   

Year 4: Store vs. Web 

Year 4.  Look at those sales. 

Again, look at the scale on that graph.  The Dog Store is toast.  We actually sold the Dog Store to the manager so we could concentrate on the web.  It took us four years, but we got out of the fu-fu dog business.   

Things ALWAYS change 

Things always change. We were talking earlier about hey, it is going to be 2010 soon and this is back in 1997.  It was like, 'No, doing what worked in 1997 isn't going to work today.'  You have got to be current.  You have got to stay on top of all this stuff.  You have got to focus on what works. 

You don't need to get distracted by Twitter and Facebook unless you are in the relationship business.  If you are selling products, and it is like I have got Facebook ads and I have got stuff on Twitter, I am not making any money doing that.  I am making money putting content on the web, and Google is finding it and sending me traffic.  I am making money by buying profitable ads for the keywords that my customers use to find what I am searching for.   

September 2003 

In September 2003, my dad died.  He was out on his farm.  He was working with his dogs and just out of the blue, he had a heart attack.  It devastated our family. 

And this would probably qualify as catastrophic event number three if we thought about it that way.  But it wasn't business.   

My brother stepped up.  He was pretty much already running things anyway, but my dad was making the decisions.  I mean it was his company.  It was his name on the sign.  It was like anything major, he had to sign off on it, the way we approached customers, our marketing materials.  He wanted the company to be done a certain way.  And my brother stepped up and he did a fantastic job.  And for the first six months, everything was fine.   

Year 7:  Store vs. Web 

You can't tell by looking at this graph, but this is year 7.  And look at the Dog Store.  That is a long time ago.  I feel like I am up in the airplane above Raciavik [sp] flying.  $250,000.  Look at the scale of this graph.  This is monthly sales.   

You can't tell by looking at this, but this was like the worst three or four months of my life, because here it is happening again.  Everything is changing.  We were growing, growing, growing.  We were hiring new people.  We got a bigger building, blah, blah, blah, and something changed.  I mean our sales, they didn't tank, but we are still not growing, and we had some months that were off, and we had new product.  I mean there was not reason that this should have been happening.  Looking back now, it is really easy to see. 

More & More Competition 

In 2004, which is when this was, every single one of our competitors who used to be offline, they are now online.  And every single one of our competitors who was online had a shopping cart.  And every single one of those guys was selling all the exact same products that we were selling with the same pictures and the same descriptions from the manufacturers.  So you had 1,000 people competing with you, whereas, I would say four or five years before, you might have had 50 people.  And then three or four years before that, you had one guy.   

But we had a secret weapon 

But we had a secret weapon.  We had to come up with something that they couldn't copy.  Anytime we would do something, the competitors would copy it.  Anytime the competitors would do something, we would copy them.  I mean we were neck and neck.  It was driving us nuts.   

Selling Stuff & Self-Proclaimed Experts 

And one thing about my dad, he had two philosophies that I just would bump heads with him endlessly about.  Selling stuff and self-proclaimed experts.  He would prefer to offer you products in a store that you could come in and buy them if you wanted to, but he wasn't going to put a hard sell on you.  'Here is the display.  Here is the cash register.  I am reading the newspaper.  If you want to buy something, let me know.' 

Kind of old school.

When I am buying something, when I am shopping, I want to deal with somebody who knows the products.  I mean I don't know what I don't know about buying a shell and a seal skin or whatever you guys wear to keep the rain off.  I just know I am freezing.  I am really cold.  Please just give me a coat!  Noor 66 [sp]?  I am kidding.  I am going to check your website out in just a little bit, actually.

So my dad was against being pushy and selling stuff, whereas, I like somebody who actually knows what is going on.  And I don't mind being sold.  I know he is working for a living.  I know that guy is on commission.  I know he is trying to make a buck.  But if he wants me as a customer next time, he better take care of me.  He knows what I don't know.  He knows what my options are. 

The second part was self-proclaimed experts.  My dad knew more about selling dog supplies, and about dogs, and dog training, and hunting, and that kind of stuff than anybody I have ever met.  And he would never ever say that he was an expert. 

He was so humble and he just wouldn't say he was an expert, and he was.  And we missed out because of that.   

On the other hand, I am probably from the other side of the family.  If I don't know something, I will tell you I don't know it.  There is a lot about online marketing and selling online that I don't know about.  I don't know about Amazon.  I don't know about EBay.  PPC, I got my little foot in that, OK?  But if I tell you I do know something, you better believe me.  If I know something, and I believe it, and I believe it to be true, I mean I will fly all the way from Mississippi to Iceland to tell people about it.   

Pheasants Forever 

And so we made the decision to change the way we did on the website.  We had a secret weapon.  My brother Steve Snell, supermodel, holding a shotgun up here on the cover of Pheasants Forever magazine, believe it or not.  I was like, 'Steve, they didn't put your face on there buddy.  Why?  What is wrong with that?'   


Yeah.  He is not even up yet.  Let's call and wake him up.   

Steve and Dog 

My brother is more of a dog expert than my dad was.  Steve has 13 dogs.  He has trained, and hunted with, and lived with, and gone swimming with, and cared for dozens and dozens of these dogs.  And he loves these dogs.  He loves them more than he loves me.   

Steve in the Field 

If it is hunting season, he is in the field.  He is hunting.  He is out in Texas.  He is out in Montana.  He is in the field doing research and development.  He tells his wife, 'I have to, honey!  It is the job!'   

Steve Photo Montage 

Here are pictures from a Texas trip I went out there and took.  I created content for Google.  I don't know if ya'll have ever heard about that, but it is important.  He is talking the whole time.  I am recording stuff.  I got content. 

Steve and Sam 

Here he is with Sam.  Steve does unofficial product development consulting for these companies, because Steve will tell them what they need to hear, not what they want to hear.  The engineers selling these very complex systems love Steve, because man, they get what they need.  He says, 'This sucks.  This switch needs to be put on the other side because you can't reach it.  I was in the Dakotas and it was 20 degrees and the wind was blowing and I dropped it because it hurt.  It didn't fit in my hand right.  You need to change this.  Your competitors are doing a better job at that.'  He is in the field.  He knows more about selling dog collars than anybody I know.   

People buy from People 
The other thing is people buy from people.  They don't buy from websites.  They don't buy from a secure form.  People buy from people.  Transactions are between people.  So you want to humanize and personalize the shopping experience that is going to be on your new e-commerce site that you are developing tonight. 

Why don't we put ALL this on the Web? 

I was talking to Steve about this, and I said, 'Hey, why don't we put all this on the web?'  I mean he talks about this stuff nonstop.  The other thing I didn't say a minute ago, he is great on the phone.  I mean he may be rude to these manufacturers, but man, if you are a customer, and you have a dog, and you are like Steve, and you are one of his buddies the second you talk to him on the phone, I mean he wants to hear what your problems are and he wants to give you suggestions as far as what you need to get.  He is not pushy at all.  He lays out your options.  He says what is best for you and your dog.   

And we decided to put this on the web.  We put Steve's 13 dogs on the web and we put this training collars buyer's guide.  On this, we had a 50% increase in conversions.  When somebody comes to my website and they come in on this page, they are 50% more likely to buy than if they just came in on a category page for the same exact product.  Man, I say that in e-commerce conferences and people get up and leave and go make buyer's guides.  I mean that is big, big money if you sell stuff online that is complicated and needs information.   

We make these comparison charts.  Steve actually picks the products for specific purposes, and he actually lays out, 'This is what you need to buy if you are training a yard dog, a fu-fu dog. If you are training a big running birddog to go hunt quail out of Texas, you need one of these long-range two mile collars.'   

And it is really difficult, but when I am buying a coat or something, I don't know what I don't know.  I don't know what features are important and what features are the marketing department getting excited over some new technology or something.  I don't know what I need to know.   

Here is the detail on what you want to do with your dog determines what you are training your dog with.  What collar do you want to buy?  And none of this is like super-high technology.  This is HTML.  If I can code it, you can code it.  You don't need an engineer to do this.  I was an art major.  I built this in notepad.  That is a picture that I took, or that Kathy took, and that is simple HTML.  Your web person who works for you can do that.   

How to choose a pet containment system example 

Here is how to choose a pet containment system, an invisible fence, to keep your little fu-fu dog from running off and getting eaten by the coyotes.  We have a problem with that.  I don't know if ya'll got coyotes out here or not.  Artic foxes maybe?   

Example Review 

Here is a review where he talks about the Garmin Astro, which is a dog tracking collar.  It is kind of like analytics for birddogs.  You can keep up with your dog.   

30 Day Trial 

The other thing I want to push is you need to leverage how you do business to the web, how you take care of customers.  In this, Steve says, 'Hey, I don't expect it to come back like new.  I want you to use it, and if it doesn't work, send it back and we will take care of you.'   

And we don't have a high number of returns.  We might get 1 1/2 %, 2% maybe.  And these are pretty complicated products to use.  But we just say, 'Look.  We will take care of you.'  Buying over the Internet is scary. 

They don't know us.  They do because we are personal on the website.  They don't know my competitors at all.  I mean my competitors charge you'If you get free shipping to get a product, if you ship it back to them because you don't like it, they charge you to ship it back.  But then again, they charge you for the free shipping that they had to pay to send you the thing in the first place.   


I mean we actually call the people on our telephone lines dog product experts, because they are dog product experts.  They know what you need if you got a problem with a barking dog, or if your dog is running off, or whatever.  I don't know if any of you all do, but this works internationally and we will be happy to take care of ya'll.  

We ship stuff out fast.  We have a 7,500 square foot warehouse.  We have about 15 employees at Gun Dog.  I mean if somebody places an order at 3:30 in the afternoon, it is going on the UPS truck at 4 o'clock.  I mean our supply chain is like from me to you over there.   

The Results? 

We also tell people why they should shop with us.  We have our guarantees.  We will take care of you.  If you need help, give us a holler.  But this is what you guys want to see right here.  And I am showing stuff I am not supposed to be showing, so ya'll need to forget these numbers, and please don't blog this stuff.   

Shhh.  Don't tell!  Momma is going to kill me.  Christian said you need to motivate a nation.  I am like, man.  I just want to motivate one guy, one person.  I appreciate you guys inviting me to come speak to you guys, because I know where you guys are.  I know the situation that a lot of ya'll are in.  But you individually are not responsible for the entire situation.  You are responsible for making sure that your situation is covered.   

And you can do this online.  You can do this.  If you have a product that people want to buy and you are interested in taking care of them as customers and doing a good job, not just showing up and making a buck, if you are interested in taking care of people, you can do this online.   

And this graph shows that.  I want to get a t-shirt of that graph and I want to wear it everyday and say, 'Look at this!  This is what I did.  Rob Snell in Starkville, Mississippi, the poorest state in the United States.'  I graduated from Mississippi State University.  You know that top 250 colleges in the US book?  I don't think'Look at Starkville.  It is a cow college.  And I am proud of Mississippi State, but you know, it is the 50th state in the union in almost everything you don't want to be 50th in.   


And we are remote.  It takes me two hours to drive to go shopping.  I mean there are 25,000 people who live in our city.  We live out in the boonies and I love it.  It is quiet, it is nice, it is clean, it is green, it is natural.   

But this is what you can do. 

You don't have people in between you and your customers.  It allows you to be personal like you can be in a boutique, but to anybody in the world.  You guys can do this.   

Look at that. $700,000.  Now we haven't hit that yet for a month.  Ya'll gotta be quiet about this.  Keep this on the DL, OK?  I mean Pet Smart isn't even a wrinkle in our equation.   

And look at that line.  That is when we started being very helpful, is the word I like to use.  My dad would say pushy.  We suggest solutions to people's problems.  We say, 'If your dog is barking, buy this.  If you are afraid your dog is going to run off, get that.'   

Look at the vector on that.  That is nuts.  I am not a technical person.  I was an art major. 

Like I said, my Icelandic isn't as good as it used to be, but I think somebody said earlier today that you need to hire experts, and he is absolutely right.  When you get to the point where it is above your pay grade, you need to hire experts.  But I did all our stuff.  I am still such a control freak, I still do most of our own stuff ourself.  It is very difficult for me to turn this stuff lose.  You can do this kind of stuff.   

7 Things 

All right.  Seven things I want you to take away from my presentation today.  I am going to have this up on, my website.  I have got tons of free information about how to sell online.  So many people helped us make it when we were in trouble.  People taught us stuff.  You know how they say, 'When the student is ready, the teacher appears?' 

It seems that way in my life all the time.  I mean people helped us, and so that is why I am giving this information away.  So, sshh!  Don't tell anybody now. 

Get online now! 

Get online now.  If you don't have a website, get online.  If you don't have your toe in the water, you are not doing anything.   

E-commerce makes it easy for folks to give you money 

But e-commerce is the way to go.  If you just have a website and you are not selling anything, if you don't have a way for people to pay you, get some sort of way for people to pay you.  I mean you saw those stats as far as some of these big, big, big brands, what they were getting as far as the percentage of orders that were now coming over their Internet.   

This isn't a get rich quick scheme.  Like I said, I don't want to discourage anybody from going online and trying something.  If you saw the list of things that I have failed at online, things that I have tried and not made it, I don't have enough slides to show you all that.  You have just got to try things.   

When Customers are looking to buy what you sell, show up. 

When a customer is looking to buy what you sell, show up.  I know that is really basic, but you want to be where they are. And right now, it is Google.  And next year, it may be Facebook, but right now it is not.  You can spend a lot of time wasting time chatting with people on Facebook.  If you are in the relationship business, if you are selling real estate'a friend of mine got a $100,000 client for his advertising agency' 


Uh-oh.  I guess I am done. 

It is time for me to wake up in Mississippi.   

Collect your Converting Keywords with Web Analytics 

It is really easy.  Google Analytics is free.  You can go right now, download it, give it to your web guy.  He will throw it up on your website.  Collect converting keywords.  

Optimize for Free Google Traffic with SEO 

And then, optimize for free Google traffic with search engine optimization. 

Advertise with paid search ads on Google.  And look.  You are your own best secret weapon.  Leverage who you are to the web.  Let the world see the qualities that make you awesome.   

Conclusion:  Sometimes the worst thing is the best thing ever. 

Sometimes, the worst thing that can happen to you is the best thing ever.  And that is me.  Thanks. 

How E-commerce Saved Our Family Business Rob Snell, Co-owner Gun Dog Supply [email_address]