Annual Maintenance Jobs To Keep Your Business Looking Its Best

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Your business undertakes a lot of annual tasks. From filing taxes to annual audits, there are some things you know you’ll need to do every year for your business.

But in addition to the things that happens behind the scenes, you need to think about the things that people can see. A well-maintained business premises leaves a positive impression, so it’s important that you keep on top of it.

Here are some annual maintenance jobs to keep your business looking its best.

Commission a deep clean

While regular cleaning is something that should be done daily, there are some cleaning tasks that are needed a little less frequently. Nonetheless, an annual spring-clean can leave your business gleaming, ensuring that those areas that are often neglected, such as gutters, ceiling lights, high up displays, etc. are kept in order. With attention paid to some of those trickier areas, you can make sure your business stays looking your best. 

Dress the front of your business

A refresh of the front of your business can create a more welcoming vibe, adding interest to your business that could encourage more passing trade. There are a lot of great ways to boost your business’ kerb appeal, including adding plants, displays and additional signage. Dressing your business for each season keeps things fresh, making an excellent impression on people walking past your door. If you want to attract new customers to your business, those first impressions will really count. 

Maintain your car park

Your car park can easily become neglected after a season of wintery weather, especially if there’s been a lot of rain. This can affect parking lines, signage on the ground and even the quality of the terrain if potholes or other signs of damage have appeared. Once a year, it’s a great idea to bring in CJJ Services to redo your line markers so that everything is clear to see for your customers. You should also ensure that all debris is cleared and that any other markers in your car park are in their proper place. 

Ensure your signs are all visible and up to date

From wind and rain to too much sun, signs can easily be become faded or ineligible. Not only that, but some people also find it funny to steal or destroy business signs, leaving businesses without adequate signage for customers. Carry out a signage audit to check that your signs are visible and feature up-to-date information. If anything is dated or missing, get it replaced to ensure your customers can stay fully informed. This could also be the perfect excuse for you to refresh your signage, and there are a lot of great signage ideas to give you some inspiration. 

Maintaining the appearance of your business is important. If things are looking run down or dated, it could be a major turn-off for your customers. Making a list of annual jobs for the outside of your business can help ensure it stays looking its best, while also creating a safe and welcoming environment for customers.

How to Stop Your Company Being Left in the Dust

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If you’re concerned that the competition seems to be moving faster and achieving more than what your business has been able to achieve so far, you might be concerned about the future. That’s understandable; after all, businesses that stand still eventually tend to get left behind. Here are some of the ways in which you can stop that from happening and keep your business moving in the right direction.

Innovate and Push Boundaries

It’s important to keep on pushing boundaries and attempting to break new ground, even if you’ve already done that many times in the past. As we’ve said, things don’t stand still in business and your company can’t afford to either. Do what you can to push boundaries, move forward and achieve the outcomes you want your business to achieve. 

Listen Closely to Customers

In order for your business to remain sustainable, it has to be meeting the needs of customers. Nothing is more important than them, and that’s why it pays off from your point of view to do what you can to listen to them and their needs. When you understand their needs better, you can tailor your approach accordingly and make sure you’re delivering for them.

Create a Joined Up Social Media Approach

Creating a more joined up approach to social media is a must these days. If you haven’t really mastered social media or what it has to offer companies like yours, it’s probably a good idea to do something to change that at the soonest opportunity. Create a brand style and a brand voice across a range of social media platforms and be sure to do whatever you can to keep engaging people and interacting with your target demographics. 

Use the Right Software Solutions

Using the right software is something else that’ll make your life a lot easier than it might otherwise be. When you have strong software solutions in place, like those provided by Antzman software, you can place your business at the cutting edge and make many of your processes far more efficient and effective than they would be if you stuck to the old ways of doing things.

Offer Something Your Rivals Can’t or Won’t

Finally, you should think about how you can make your business stand out from the companies trying to steal its market share. If there’s something your rival isn’t doing that you feel is of value to your customers, it’s probably a good idea to think about how you can deliver on that thing. If you’re offering something to your customers that your rivals can’t or won’t, you’ll have an advantage and that’s something that can’t be overlooked.

Now that you have a better idea of how to keep your business moving in a more positive direction, all that’s left for you to do is start taking action. When you do that, you’ll quickly realize how important it is to keep moving and not stand still for too long, especially in competitive sectors.

Many Managers Are Not Natural Leaders, So Help Them

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Not everybody who deserves to be in a leadership role, is a natural leader. What this means is, someone who is really good at their job, can manage their time well, get their tasks done quickly and effectively, may not be someone who leads from the front. You as a business owner have probably come across someone who is so talented yet, they aren’t in a role that helps them to make key decisions and help others. Many managers are like this. They are in a leadership role, they are great at managing their responsibilities, except when it comes to leading the team.

Should we give up on them?

You might be thinking that, if someone isn’t a natural leader then they should not be a manager. However, if you took this approach with every role in your business, you would run out of managers. No, we should not give up on people who don’t seem to be natural leaders. What we should do is to bring their leadership qualities out. If they already have great skills in time management, attention to detail in projects, great communication skills, but they can’t energize and motivate their team as well, then let’s not shy away from this task.

How to help them

The best way to help a manager become more assertive and be able to read his team better is to give him leading training. If you don’t have an in-house training program, then seek to put your managers through a leadership empowerment program like that on the Learning Bank – digital learning. They will learn how to properly delegate tasks, motivate their employees to take on tough challenges and also improve each employee’s productivity. Developing employees for the future is a task that managers have to pick up with gusto. Making employees more resilient to sudden changes to tasks, and having quick recovery processes in place to prevent projects from slipping behind schedule, will all be taught to your managers in the program.

Give them time

Philosophers often say you should give power to the person who says or acts like they don’t want the power. This is what makes them a good leader because they’re not in it for the power, or the pay, they know the seriousness of leadership and so they want to get it right. They also don’t have an ego, so they’re much more likely to grow over time instead of hitting a wall of personal growth and then decline. So, give your managers time to become used to their role. Give managers encouragement in areas of their people skills that need to become better, etc. Check up on them every week to see how they are doing and get updates of how they are improving in their role, after their leadership training.

Not everyone is going to be a great leader naturally, but that does not mean that you cannot bring out the true leadership qualities in them. So if your managers do everything well except motivating and leading their teams, you can fix this issue with a leadership program.

Franchise or Start-Up?

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The franchise industry turns over billions of dollars a year. Buying into a franchise can offer a new business owner some support and stability, but it can be more expensive to do this rather than launch a business of your own. As a start-up, you will be able to control your own business, and reap some huge rewards for your hard work. Whichever route you go down, there’s a lot of research that needs to be done to find out what opportunity there is and whether it’s a worthwhile investment. The right option will depend on your business style, business acumen and the type of person you are.

Franchise Vs Start-Up

If you decide to buy into a franchise, it’s likely to be a bigger investment than starting up on your own. This is because the franchise will share an initial fee for you get started with them. The advantage is that a franchise has a lower risk of failure, and the franchise might help you secure the funds to get started. You will need to keep paying royalties to keep your franchise, but you will keep getting support too for things like advertisement costs and the reassurance of a known brand. 

When you start a business on your own, you need a business plan to get any investment. If you can’t secure a big investment, you can get started using loans or credit cards. Whatever you need to do to get started and keep your business afloat in the early days, you will need to make sure that you also have a long-term plan in place, so your business can continue to grow and doesn’t falter in the early stages. 


One of the big advantages of buying into a franchise is the strong support network that comes with it. Some big franchise, such as Auto Repair Franchises, give their new starters a few weeks of training, with time spent in a classroom learning the brand and time spent in existing franchise sites learning more about the business. The other advantage is that you also have operational processes and links with suppliers already in place through the franchise. You will be looked after from the beginning. The downside of buying into a franchise is that you won’t have the freedom to try anything new or build partnerships on your own. 

If you decide to start your own business, you will be able to make all your own decisions at every stage of the journey. This will take hard work and a lot of knowledge, but if you have a great idea for a business, you will probably want to shape it yourself and watch it grow. By what support is available to start-up businesses? Good business is good for the economy, so look into government schemes that offer funding, advice, and support. There are lots of websites, forums, and books out there that can offer lots of valuable advice that can guide you through the process of starting your own business.

Using Solar Energy To Drive Your Business Forward

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One important task in today’s world is to help entrepreneurs and business owners promote their business activities, strengthen them and therefore create an alternative to existing businesses to reduce the carbon footprint claim. The basic assumption is that the business will continue to work in the same way but will reduce their activity and limit any activities that  interfere with the environment. Establishing green businesses is a good long term solution to numerous issues in the world at present. One of the ways that businesses can gain power without sucking up resources, is to use solar power. They are cost-effective in the long run and can be of huge benefit to your business, therefore considering this option carefully is key. Lots of companies are offering businesses a helping hand, such as – and here you can find out the likely pricing options and how this will be a brilliant choice for your business. Although perhaps the question still remains; what is solar energy? We know it comes from the sun, but why is it so good?

Generating electricity from solar energy – the sun saves thousands of tons of carbon dioxide and thus prevents global warming and pollution.  The cost of generating electricity from solar energy has become much cheaper every single year. Of course, the location and size of the system has a big impact on the cost of electricity produced in it – the higher the area with solar radiation and the conditions are ideal for a solar system (cold with strong sun, low clouds and clean air) the cheaper electricity will be and the larger the system.  But in general, the prices of solar energy have dropped so significantly and now generating electricity from solar energy is the most economically viable option of all the other options for your business, including the polluting ones. That is, if until now we used electricity from polluting sources because of its cheap cost, today it does not have this advantage either.
When you install a solar system and choose to consume directly from the system and flow only the surplus (see accounting methods) you neutralize increases in electricity prices. You are also protected from the rise in the index – even if there is hyper-inflation you will continue to consume the electricity you generate. You produce the product for yourself and the price is known in advance – the price you paid for the system. This is why it is a very sustainable option in every sense of the word. Also, by using green systems, you are showing your customers or your client base that you are taking world matters seriously and are cutting emissions and contributing to a healthier world. This in itself often brings you some praise and allows others to follow suit. In this case, you must consider choosing wisely, shopping around and being open to new ideas. No business grows without open-mindedness and the ability to think ahead. The power to change is in your hands, so make it good!

The Power Of Branded Merch & Why it Matters

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A brand needs to be seen to exist. Yet, when you are competing for attention against thousands of other brands, you need to be creative to get noticed. Ultimately, the more memorably you make your brand, the easier it is to attract new customers. There’s a reason why highly visible marketing activities such as banners or vehicle wraps remain a favorite. They boost visibility, brand awareness and drive acquisition forward. They also give a new dimension to the brand by placing the logo onto a tangible and physical platform. 

We are do-ers. We naturally remember things better when we go through the motion of physical and tangible activity. Every student trying to learn new skills knows that the best way of improving their knowledge is through doing rather than reading. The same principle applies to brand memory. Giving your audience something they can touch enhances brand memory. Here are 5 branded merch ideas that nail it.

Health and mental health audience

If your audience has a strong health interest, it is something you can support through smart merch. Interestingly enough, there are two ways to merch health products. You can partner with a health product provider to create a unique preroll packaging design, for example, for both recreational and medicinal cannabis users. This could be a great way of getting your brand out there if the design is relevant to your audience group. 

You could also create your branded add-on, such as a fitness tracker wristband that would fit Fitbit or an Apple Watch devices. 

Lifestyle audience

Lifestyle and fashion audiences will appreciate wearable merch that is comfy and practical. A branded tee could be a no-go as most of us have a huge collection of t-shirts. Yet, a cozy and warm hoodie with your brand’s motto can make sure your brand will gain more visibility.

Gourmet and foodie audience

You can’t use mugs as merch items. Every kitchen cupboard is overflowing with mugs. Instead, opt for something your foodie audience might appreciate, such as beer glasses, coaster, or even a set of snack bowls. Ideally, gourmet merch is best suited to food businesses, but it’s a conversation starter in the fitness, nutrition, and leisure industries. 

Children audience

If your products are aimed at kids or families, you can turn your merch strategy into a family assistant. Quality coloring books, for instance, will keep little ones occupied when parents are busy. Soft and safe toys, such as inflatable beach balls or squishy balls, are a great option too. Parents are also going to be grateful for everyday accessories such as sunglasses or socks. Kids are prone to accessories on the playground, so it’s always great to have replacement items! 

Pet lover audience

If your brand focuses on pet lovers, such as dog-friendly hotels or pet food, you could use your merch to broader your reach. Branded pet collars or leads, for instance, will get you noticed in a dogs’ park. A branded food bowl,  especially if it can be engraved for VIP customers, is also guaranteed to drive interest. 

Merch items are designed to be seen. They need to integrate smoothly into the lifestyle of your audience groups, so you can be sure they will use them. The more use your free merch gets, the more likely existing customers are to turn into advocates. Who should get merch products? As a priority, VIP customers, winners of promotional events or competitions, and overspenders should be the first to receive your unique merch items.

Concept To Customer: How You Can Turn Your Great Idea Into A Successful Business

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When you have a great business idea, the excitement will propel you into a frenetic launch. You are naturally eager to get it made and sell it and become the next Jeff Bozos or Elon Musk. Hold on a moment though. The statistics are sadly going against you. Almost a third of businesses do not make it past the first year, and half have failed within five years. The statistics are against you. 

Of course, that does not mean your idea for a product or a business is not going to work. If it is a viable idea and you take the right approach, you could be well on your way to making millions within a few years, but patience is key here. 

Let’s take a look at how you can take your concept and turn it into a great – and successful – business.

Research your market

You may believe you have come up with a failsafe idea, but will it sell? Many businesses begin operations only to discover that someone else had the same idea and had entered the market first.

Perhaps it is a totally unique product, but the future demand is so limited that you will never be able to profit from it in the long run. To ensure that your idea will truly meet a need, you must conduct a thorough market study of both your idea and the target audience.

Begin by performing a SWOT review on your plan. This is where you spend some time identifying all of its strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. Get everyone who is involved in the business on it, or ask your friends, family, and associates to help you if you are going it alone.

You should speak with as many people as possible at this stage. Reach out to people on platforms such as Twitter and Linkedin – many people are receptive to cold outreach methods to talk about potential business ideas.

Expect some pushback because your idea is unlikely to appeal to everyone, which is fine. Some of the most audacious ideas were met with skepticism at first. The point is that you listen to a variety of perspectives and use the information to direct your research and preparation.

This should give you a better idea of whether your idea is worth continuing with and developing, or whether it is better off shelved for now. 

Create a business plan

If your market analysis indicates that you should continue, the next move is to create a business plan. This should lay out all of your goals, financial forecast, and how you intend to grow your business. This will be especially vital if you plan to seek funding for your start-up from an external source or investor. The more detailed your business analysis and financial strategy are, the higher your chances of attracting funding.

Your financial plan, which forecasts how the numbers will add up, is an important aspect of the overall business plan. It should provide accurate projections of overheads, cash flow, revenue, profit/loss, and investment stages, which are typically forecast over three to five years. These statistics would, of course, be largely speculative, but they must be based on facts, so do your diligence.

Your business plan also needs to show how you are going to go about actually selling your product. Will you be simply manufacturing it and selling to distributors and third parties for them to sell, or will you bypass that and sell it directly? Both of these have pros and cons and should be weighed up carefully. If you are selling to consumers directly, you should have an idea of how to market your product, but these tips for DTC ecommerce are also helpful.

Find your place

Once you have worked out that there is a gap in the market for you and your product, it is time to find out exactly where that is and plant yourself there. You need to have your product and business elevator pitch ready – what exactly is it that you are offering customers with your product or service, and can you explain it in thirty seconds? This messaging is crucial, so test it out on your friends, family, coworkers – maybe even set up focus groups made up of your target demographic to see what they think.

Build your brand

McDonald’s. Google. Coca Cola. Disney. You recognize these brands immediately through their logo, color choices, slogans, and tone of voice. This is created through branding, and it is a key concept that you will need to be able to get your head around if you are hoping to create a successful business. Branding experts and professional marketers can be employed to help you, but you need to have that input if you want it to be authentic and true to your vision.

The importance of consistency cannot be overstated in branding. Your brand should be a constant reflection of your values, but it should also represent the values of your target audience. Consider your product or service as a human or an animal to help you build your brand personality.

Legalize your business

You have your idea, you have your product, you have worked out who you are selling to and how you are going to sell it, you have built your brand. Now it is time to formalize everything and legalize your business. You may want to seek professional legal advice to make sure that you have all the necessary paperwork and licenses in order.

When it comes to turning a business idea into practice, patience is a virtue. By following the steps above in the correct order, you should be able to avoid the pitfalls of building your business on shaky foundations. Most importantly, keep trac0 of what you are doing. Take expert advice and listen to constructive feedback. You never know, you may well be the next Jeff Bezos or Elon Musk!

Get Your Office Running Smoothly with These Tips

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Keeping an office running smoothly is no easy task. The larger the office, the more there is to manage, but even a small office can be tricky to keep in line. There are so many things to think about, from deliveries of supplies to staffing and answering the phones. A lot can go into making sure your office is running as it should, but there’s always room for improvement. A tightly run office can save you time and even money, plus boost productivity. If you’re looking for ways to make your office run more smoothly, take a look at these tips to get everything in order.

Schedule Everything

A comprehensive schedule of everything that needs to be done in your office keeps everything on track. There are many things that need to take place within a day or week, and it helps to know what will happen when. You can keep a schedule of when you will receive deliveries of supplies, as well as when you need to order new ones. You can schedule when people need to fill out their timesheets, when invoices are due, and when it’s time to do payroll. All of these things will help you to stay on top of everything.

Rearrange Your Office Layout

You only have a limited amount of office space, so it’s important to be able to use it smartly. That means not only making use of the space that you have available but also setting things up so that it helps everyone in the office to be more productive. If there’s office equipment that everyone needs to use regularly, don’t tuck it away in an inaccessible corner. If you have a separate printer and copier, it would make sense to put them close together so they can be used one after the other.

Update Office Equipment

Old office equipment can really get in the way of a smoothly running office. If you have a printer that’s always causing problems, it can waste everyone’s time and cause huge amounts of frustration. It could be time to contact a leading copier dealer or another office supply company to help you out with new office equipment. If you need to justify the cost, determine how much time is currently being wasted on dealing with old equipment or how much money you’re spending on repairs or having to buy specific supplies.

Ensure Happy Workers

If your office workers aren’t happy, it can cause all kinds of problems in the office. They won’t be as productive as they should be and they might not be doing their best work. Unhappy office staff could also mean that there are more in-office disputes, which can be tricky to deal with. If you want an office that runs smoothly, you should provide a calm working environment. Make sure everyone gets to take their breaks and take steps to resolve any issues before they develop into something bigger.

You can get your office running more smoothly by making a few key changes. Getting everything in order will improve productivity across the office.

How To Convert Website Traffic Into Leads

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Your website is your shop window; it is a customer or client’s first port of call when looking up any business. In today’s world, having a website is essential. Chances are you already have a website. It may even be optimized for SEO, contain a blog, and your social media game is strong. As a result, you have no doubt seen an increase in traffic to your website, the word is getting out there, and people want to know more about what you have to offer. Awareness is great, but if it is not generating new business, your business won’t last long. Once you have mastered awareness and attracting traffic to your website, it is essential that you can convert that traffic into paid custom, and here are some tips for how to do it. 

Know who is visiting your site

Studying your website analytics is the window into your audience. Analytics can give you a plethora of information on your audience. You can obtain a breakdown of the geographical location of your traffic, their age range, gender, whether they are viewing your website from a smartphone or desktop, to name but a few. All of this is important because if you sell domestic products to a predominantly female audience, having a large audience base of males 5000 miles away will not result in leads from your website traffic. Consequently, you may want to readdress how you are marketing your website. Assuming you are doing so at all.  If you’re not, you should be. Top tip; Don’t worry if your analytics show users as ‘anonymous’ users; this hurdle can be easily overcome. You just need the IP address of the visiting site. There are tools that allow you to convert an IP address to a company name and, in turn, decipher who is visiting your website.

Quality Content

In a world where everybody in online content is king. You need to stand out from the competition and provide quality content that speaks to and engages your audience. Again, this means knowing your audience, how they visit your website, when they visit and why so you can tailor content to them. Make sure your content is relevant. 

Google loves websites that are updated regularly, so be sure to do so and to add new content often. Your audience won’t stick around if the content on your site is dull and of little interest. Engaging quality content isn’t just the written word; it needs to be aesthetically appealing too. Images, videos, and audio go the extra mile to entertain your website traffic and promote to that traffic. If you don’t have quality content, the following tips will be of little benefit to you. 

Conversion forms

Set up a mailing list or email subscriber form. Your quality content is a great way to attract website users to sign up for your email newsletters or mailing list, i.e. direct email marketing. Once users have provided the relevant information, i.e. their email address, you can send relevant emails straight to their inbox. You can use this to raise awareness of and grow your business. You have direct access to your customers and can nurture your relationship with them accordingly. Top Tip; Don’t forget there is an unsubscribe option, so don’t overload your subscribers with irrelevant content. Ensure these emails are adding value to your customers and receiving them is worth their while.  

Call to action 

A call to action is a directive used to try and encourage a visitor to take a particular action. For example, if you are selling an online course having a clear and notable ‘start now’ or ‘sign up here’ button is a fantastic CTA to convert traffic into leads. To convert traffic into leads, you need the process to be as simple as possible, and it doesn’t get much simpler than a CTA. Not having a CTA will cost you leads. Ensure they have a place on your website. 

When deciding on a CTA consider these top tips:

1. Keep it short and make sure it stands out; ‘subscribe today’.

2. Use a strong verb, such as order, buy, shop, download, get.

3. Follow the verb with an adverb like ‘now’ or ‘today’. This helps create urgency and the idea that your customer is getting something tangible right away.

4. A slightly longer CTA may help promote enthusiasm and emotion, ‘let us help you’, ‘get up to 50% off.’

How to Start Selling Sucessfully on Amazon

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Have you been considering starting an Amazon business? There is no denying that the huge market share currently occupied by the e-commerce giant can help propel your business and give you a good start. But with so many sellers on the platform, how can you get started to ensure success and make sure you are seen amongst the competition?

How to Sell

The first and potentially most important step is choosing how you are going to sell on Amazon. FBA is fulfilled by Amazon and means you send your products to their warehouses, and then Amazon fulfills any orders. They handle every step of the sale. FBM has filled my merchant and means you are responsible for shipping and handling the sales, limiting if you are a small outfit.

Find your Niche

A niche is essential on Amazon. Due to the sheer enormity of sellers on Amazon, you need a niche to identify your audience and build your brand properly. You need to know exactly what you will be selling, the type of persona you are hoping to purchase from you, whether or not there is a market for your product, and most importantly, will this product still be selling, 2, 5, or even 10 years from now.

Source your Products

You can choose a few ways to source your products.

  • Design and produce your own goods from scratch.
  • Purchase low-cost items at yard sales, etc., and resell them on Amazon for a higher profit (retail arbitrage).
  • Find goods that are already selling well and build on this.
  • You can buy popular goods that are already selling well and resell them under your own name.

Head to the Amazon Best Sellers List to look for current popular items and ask yourself how popular they will continue to be. While current trends could be a great way to get started, identifying emerging trends and expanding on your products to remain relevant is vital.

FBA Guidelines to Maximise Sales

If you choose for your products to be fulfilled by Amazon, some tips to maximize sales include keeping the cost under $50, lightweight products cost less to ship, and low best seller rank. The lower the number, the more popular it is.

Choosing the most popular products to sell can be easy, but for the best chance of success, choose products that can be sold all year round, be improved upon, and are easy to manufacture.

Utilize the best tools on the market to help you identify what your niche should be so you can be as successful as possible. Thrasio will help you grow your Amazon business or even buy it once it comes for you to move on from a successful Amazon business.

Engaging Descriptions

You can boost your visibility on Amazon even more to pay attention to the product description, product name, and meta description for your listing. Have you ever Googled a product, and it brought up an Amazon listing? This is what you want. Optimize your content for search engines by putting keywords into your title, description, and meta for the best success.