BookWear Redesign: The OG of College Student Swag Gifts

I was introduced to Jack Gyr sometime around 2010-2011 through a colleague who connected us over a discussion to help with Jack’s business, BookWear. 

Since then, I’ve worked with Jack and BookWear on and off, and lately, we’ve teamed up again to go all-in on BookWear’s website re-design and SEO.

Short Background on BookWear

College Recruiting Giveaways by BookWear

BookWear is a novel, product-focused business that has been around for several decades. The concept is a small book-like mailer/giveaway that’s not an actual book, but a customizable, postcard-sized deliverable with a gift inside. From custom compressed t-shirts and beanies to custom pillow cases and puzzles, there are many gift options to choose.

Leveraging the element of surprise, BookWear serves many different industries and applications. Non-profits and healthcare institutions have used BookWear for promotional fundraiser giveaways and employee thank you gifts. Universities use BookWear as recruiting gifts to reach college students.

While the latter application, college student swag gifts, has been BookWear’s bread and butter, the company works with many different organizations and has an impressive track record of customer success and positive testimonials.

BookWear reached its hay day in the late 90s and early 2000s when it was hitting millions in annual sales revenue. But in recent years, BookWear has tapered off and relied much on repeat customer orders. 

Well beyond retirement age, Jack is making a big push to get the most out of BookWear in 2024 and beyond, investing heavily in the company’s web presence. In doing so, he’s recruited my good friend and colleague, Bret Bowerman, and myself to revamp BookWear’s website and drive new leads with search engine marketing.

BookWear’s New Website and SEO Strategy

bookwear college recruiting swag giveaways

The new website redesign was done by Bret, which was a massive improvement from the very slow, outdated iteration that BookWear had relied on for the past several years. In addition to a faster, high-performing website, the lead generation funnel is optimized for seamless contact form submissions.

While Bret honed in on the design, I updated the content and SEO through the BookWear site. Unfortunately, the previous webmaster of the site removed a lot of valuable content and thinned out existing pages to look and feel more like landing pages. In turn, this compromised a lot of the previous SEO work and rankings we had done in the past. 

Much of this initial update process focused on resurrecting legacy pages and restoring the performance we once had years ago. This focused on BookWear’s original authority as the OG college recruiting swag giveaway that many prestigious universities have leveraged in the past.

Before launching the new site, I also put together a new SEO content strategy focusing on new blog posts that we’d publish over the year. This strategy would focus on topics like “dimensional mailers,” “trade show swag,” and “conference giveaways” – new verticals that BookWear provides untapped market opportunities for the company.

Marketing Momentum Post-Launch

bookwear marketing growth-in college recruiting giveaways

Having launched the new website at the end of March 2024, we’ve already seen a substantial uptick in search impressions and new keyword rankings. This early momentum is a good indicator that the new website is performing well and we can anticipate growth in the coming month.

Helping Honor-based screen printer Field Crafts own Traverse City searches

One of the biggest challenges with local SEO is getting a business to show up in cities where it’s not truly located. Here’s an example/case study.

My good friend Jack has a business called Field Crafts that’s based in Honor, a small Michigan town that’s 25 miles west of Traverse City.

field crafts custom t-shirts screen printing embroidery in honor-traverse city mi

Ironman Triathlon: A Beginner’s Guide to All Things Ironman

As part of a new content strategy for my website Better Triathlete, I’ve started developing resourceful content all about the Ironman triathlon. 

More than just the name for the world-renowned long-distance triathlon, IRONMAN® is also a brand that organizes such triathlon events (as well as half-Ironman events which they call 70.3 races).

In turn, Ironman.com owns most of the search real estate for certain types of terms, like “Ironman triathlon” and “Ironman race”. But interestingly enough, the brand’s website is poorly optimized and its content strategy is non-existent.

Supporting Local Triathlon Coaches in Tyler, Texas

Through the growing coaching network of Better Triathlete (my website that offers a coach match program to athletes), I have been able to make meaningful connections with some of the coaches I work with.

Of those connections, William Ritter of Fly Tri Racing based in Tyler, Texas has been one of the latest projects I’ve been working on. 

Better Triathlete Launches Coach Match Program

When I started Better Triathlete back in 2014, the idea was to create a blog-like platform where I could share interesting training insights and cool triathlon-related resources that I stumbled across. 

I also thought it would be cool to build a section dedicated to triathlon coaching, where I could attract the interest of athletes looking for a coach. This was all driven by the idea that one day I might become a triathlon coach, and Better Triathlete would help me grow my coaching business.

What are the best eBike brands on the market?

One of my latest projects revolves around the fast-growing eBike trend. Electric bikes are becoming incredibly popular for good reasons. Not only do eBikes allow older people, disabled individuals, or injured athletes to get out on a bicycle, but they even make sense as an active recovery tool for elite cyclists.

I was very skeptical about electric bikes when they first started getting popular. Perhaps I was a little sour about getting dropped by eBikers on the local commuter trail. But now I am all for it and I have embraced the eBike trend with open arms. And I think it’s awesome to see older folks (who might not be riding otherwise) ripping around on their electric bike.

Is an indoor “smart” bike trainer worth it?

Having spent the vast majority of my winters riding outdoors, I’ve been highly skeptical and hesitant to buy a smart bike trainer for riding indoors. I thought an indoor bike trainer would make me less tough, less adventurous, and more bored. 

This year, I took the plunge and bought a Wahoo Kickr v5, one of the better smart bike trainers on the market. (See more smart trainer options in a blog post I wrote for Better Triathlete.) I’ve been using it with the indoor cycling app Rouvy for the past few months, and I am happy to report that I am glad I took the leap to ride indoors. 

Triathlon Affiliate Content: Watching it Grow

Over the last half of 2022, I have been investing a great deal of time and energy in my triathlon blog, Better Triathlete. The affiliate sales from the content I am producing are growing and I am seeing tremendous potential in the opportunities to explore this SEO affiliate project more deeply.

In doing so, I’ve published several new triathlon-related pieces over the past months. Each of these pieces is focused on a triathlon product category with commercial intent. The objective is to distill down the research and top recommendations for each given product category and meet prospective halfway via their search journey with great content that speaks to their needs.