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Posts Tagged ‘Tips and Tricks’

How To Use Job Sites As A Networking Tool

Wednesday, July 28th, 2010

Recently I came across an article about how to buy technology for small businesses. The article has a lot of great points, but there is one tip that struck me as entirely innovative.

Article author Gene Marks points out that hardware reviews are readily available in magazines, but when it comes to business software applications and services, it can be hard to find reliable testimonies. What to do? Marks says to log onto job search sites such as Monster.com and CareerBuilder.com and search for the software’s name in job postings.

With any luck, you’ll come across a company seeking candidates familiar with your software, which means that the company uses the software. Then, call up the company and ask them what they think: Do they like the software? What has their experience been like? How’s the tech support? Many companies will be glad to help, and best of all, they have nothing to gain by being dishonest.

This is a brilliant and innovative way to use networking to your benefit. Taking advantage of other people’s experience is one of the most tried and true ways to get ahead in any industry. Maybe it’s the colleague who has worked in the business for thirty years that you turn to; but who says you are limited to those people to which you have direct access?

Think outside the box—learn from anyone you can. In my experience, everyone in GAWDA, from green salespeople up to the company presidents, is willing and happy to share their knowledge and experiences. This is the greatest resource the association has, so why not use it? With technology, networking is easier than ever, thanks to sites like LinkedIn and Twitter. Based on Marks’ advice, you could even add job search sites to that list.

Tutorial: Create Your Own GAWDAwiki Toolbar

Tuesday, July 13th, 2010

GAWDAwiki is a great tool. I use it constantly, whether I’m trying to figure out the difference between MIG and TIG welding or I want to know what Nitrogen Trifluoride is used for. The wiki is over 1,600 terms and growing. If there’s an industry term you need to know, there’s a good chance it’s in the wiki.

The best part is that the definitions are submitted by you and other people in the industry. It’s like having your own personal gases and welding expert around 24/7 to answer your questions. In fact, just last week a veteran sales manager at a GAWDA member company told me GAWDAwiki was one of his favorite resources.

To make the wiki even more convenient (as if that were possible!), I want to show you a little tip to search more quickly from anywhere on the Internet. In three simple steps, you can make your own GAWDAwiki search bar. Once you have your shortcut, don’t forget to go to the homepage when you’re done to read up on daily gases and welding headlines.


Step 1. The first thing you need to do is go to any definition at GAWDAwiki.org. For this example, I used the word “cylinder.”

GAWDAwiki

Step 2a – For Internet Explorer 7 or 8 only | (Jump to Firefox Step 2)
In the upper right hand corner of the browser is a search box. While viewing the GAWDAwiki page, hit the drop-down menu and go to Add Search Providers. Select GAWDAwiki (en).
Adding a GAWDAwiki Search Toolbar
Step 3a – For Internet Explorer.
Confirm your choice. Check whether or not you want it to be your default search. Press Add Provider.
Adding a GAWDAwiki Search Toolbar

That’s it! You have your very own wiki search tool. From anywhere on the web, type in a word and hit Enter. The wiki page will instantly show up on your screen.


Firefox

Step 2b – For Firefox only.
In the upper right hand corner of the browser is a search box. While viewing the GAWDAwiki page, hit the drop-down menu and select “Add GAWDAwiki (en).”
Firefox Wiki Toolbar Step 3

Step 3b – For Firefox.
To make GAWDAwiki your default search tool, press “Move Up” until it is first on the list. Press OK.
Firefox Wiki Toolbar Step 3
That’s it! You have your very own wiki search tool. From anywhere on the web, type in a word and hit Enter. The wiki page will instantly show up on your screen.

How To Take Your Gas & Welding Supplies Online

Wednesday, June 23rd, 2010

These days, a company website is an important part of marketing for a gases and welding distributor. How does your company’s website look? Where are you in the search engine rankings? Maybe it’s time for a face-lift.

For the June issue of GAWDA Edge, I had some great conversations with young IT professionals in the gases and welding industry about their companies’ Web ventures. Allison Earlbeck, corporate development and Earlbeck Gases & Technologies, is currently planning the design for an overhaul of the company’s website. Rodney Huber, production manager and Internet sales at Huber Supply Company, took on the challenge of creating an e-commerce site for Huber Supply.

Huber Supply's WeldingOutfitter.comBeginning in November 2009, Huber has sold to customers in 32 different states. One customer even purchased welding supplies to send to our troops overseas. (Talk about global reach!)

Here are some of the tips they shared for planning a website.

Embrace the Competition
When Huber set out to create a website, one of the best resources he found was the competition. “I talked to the owner of a welding company that has a successful e-commerce site,” Huber says. “He steered me in the right direction and gave me some pointers. He was happy to help me.” Earlbeck also uses the competition for inspiration. “I look at other companies’ websites to see what works and what doesn’t,” she says. “It’s good to find out what other people in the industry are doing.” As Earlbeck draws up plans for the company’s new site, she incorporates those features that are most effective.

What’s in a Name?
When planning a website, an important aspect to consider is a website name/URL. When it came to the company’s e-commerce site, Huber was concerned that the name Huber Supply might not be easily associated with gases and welding supplies. Instead, he chose the name WeldingOutfitter.com as a more search engine-friendly option. To customers, the website’s purpose is self-evident, attracting a wider audience. Earlbeck Gases & Technologies also has an e-commerce site, called Hypermax.org. They chose the name to reflect the fact that they carry Hypertherm products.

Instant Gratification
One of the biggest challenges for an e-commerce website is inventory. “Customers on the Internet want to get their orders fast,” says Huber. “They want to see their order shipped within a day, and they want to see it within 3-5 business days.” That kind of turnaround does not leave time to order products that are not in stock. “I pay attention to what customers are ordering and try to keep it in stock so that we can get it out the door right away,” says Huber.

Of all the tips the young IT professionals offered, one of the most important is to understand that every site is different. By letting go of expectations and getting your company out there, you can—with a little tweaking here and there—get the most out of your company’s Web presence.

What is your company doing to improve its Web presence? I want to hear from you.

June GAWDA Edge Hits Virtual Newsstands

Thursday, June 17th, 2010

The June issue of GAWDA Edge is online today at www.gawdaedge.org.

Welding and Gases TechnologyFor our June issue, I spoke with four talented, young IT professionals about working in the industry. They shared their strategies for keeping up with technology and how they use it to increase productivity and sales. Has your company thought about branching out into e-commerce? Read about a distributor that has had great success online.

Also in this issue is a tutorial on becoming a search engine expert. Use Google to find out information on customers so that cold call isn’t so cold. Hone your skills and uncover information you didn’t know was available to the public (and probably isn’t supposed to be). If it’s out there, the Edge will help you find it.

Plus: What can your business learn from Milli Vanilli?

These are only a few of the features in our latest issue. Check back right here for exclusive bonus content from the interviews.

If you’re not getting the Edge by e-mail, sign up here.