In 2011, U.S. Navy SEAL Eli Crane obtained a bottle opener made of
inactive .50 caliber ammunition from his brother serving in the
Marines overseas. Eli took it, painted it black, and added his unit’s
insignia. His platoon loved it. Realizing the potential business
opportunity, the entrepreneur-at-heart and his wife, Jen, enlisted
other military personnel to help get Bottle Breacher up and running.
They handcrafted unique .50 caliber bottle openers out of their
garage and later showcased their products on national television in
2014. “From there, everything just blew up,” Jen describes. A flood
of online interest crashed the company’s website, but it wasn’t
anything that a trained Navy SEAL couldn’t handle.
Eli left the Navy after 13 years and relocated his family to Tucson to focus on Bottle Breacher. The company moved into new quarters, expanded their product line to include other accessories and apparel, and quickly adopted AdWords, Google’s advertising program. “We knew that we were growing and that was the next step. Google is such a powerhouse, and it’s how we reach customers we normally wouldn’t,” Jen says. They also use Google Analytics to measure web traffic, hone marketing campaigns, and identify prime shopping times. “We run a really tight ship here, so we constantly check Analytics to see if we’re putting the right amount of time into the right places,” explains Jen. “You can’t be successful unless you understand the numbers.”
Every month, Bottle Breacher sells their products to thousands of customers worldwide. And the broader community has benefitted from their success. “Growth for us isn’t just about increasing sales. It’s about being able to reinvest our earnings to help veterans and active duty military personnel,” explains Jen. “It’s also about bringing more of our manufacturing in-house.” Today, they’re doing both. Bottle Breacher manufactures almost all of their products in the U.S., most of which is done in their own Tucson facility. They hire as many veterans as they can because, as Jen describes, “veterans are the hardest working people we know.” They also support numerous non-profits—over 200 in 2016 alone, many of which are veteran or first responder organizations. The company has come a long way since their early days in the garage. But amidst all their growth, they’ve remained true to their mission and their roots. “If a Navy SEAL doesn’t like it, we don’t sell it,” Jen says.
Bottle Breacher Tucson, Arizona
“If it weren’t for the web, we’d still be knocking on doors trying to sell our products.”Jen Crane, Co-ownerBottle Breacher has 35 employees.link www.bottlebreacher.com
In 2011, U.S. Navy SEAL Eli Crane obtained a bottle opener made of inactive .50 caliber ammunition from his brother serving in the Marines overseas. Eli took it, painted it black, and added his unit’s insignia. His platoon loved it. Realizing the potential business opportunity, the entrepreneur-at-heart and his wife, Jen, enlisted other military personnel to help get Bottle Breacher up and running. They handcrafted unique .50 caliber bottle openers out of their garage and later showcased their products on national television in 2014. “From there, everything just blew up,” Jen describes. A flood of online interest crashed the company’s website, but it wasn’t anything that a trained Navy SEAL couldn’t handle.Bottle Breacher has 35 employees.link www.bottlebreacher.com
Wings for Warriors Phoenix, Arizona
Wings for Warriors
“If it wasn’t for Google’s help, we couldn’t have helped people all over the country.”Anthony Ameen, Founder & CEOWings for Warriors has helped 1,500 wounded warriors & military families.link www.wingsforwarriors.org
U.S. Navy Hospital Corpsman Anthony “Doc” Ameen was serving in Helmand Province, Afghanistan, in 2008 when he stepped on an IED while running to help an injured Marine. The explosion cost him his lower left leg and badly injured his right. A church raised $25,000 for what they called “Wings for Anthony” to help his parents fly to his bedside for a total of 32 surgeries. In 2010, Anthony founded Wings for Warriors, a non-profit organization to offer similar help for other injured service members and their families. “Being a wounded warrior myself, and after initially being denied my healthcare and financial benefits, I knew what kind of care I was supposed to get,” Anthony says. “I took a blend of everyone's challenges and turned it into one organization.”
The non-profit provides tools, insights, and resources for wounded veterans as they go through recovery and transition, plus travel expenses for families to be by their sides and healthcare and financial counseling. Anthony has used a variety of Google products to build his organization. Google Voice allows him to be reachable, but also to hide his personal phone number and manage the influx of calls he receives. Gmail helps to keep him organized and able to access email from anywhere. And in 2014 Wings for Warriors received a Google Ad Grant, coincidentally, on Veterans Day. The resulting campaigns in AdWords, Google’s advertising program, “literally put us all over the map,” he says. “It has allowed us to now help veterans and their families all across the United States.” He adds, “If it wasn’t for the AdWords campaigns, I’d just be staying afloat. It’s made this so much easier for me.”
AdWords also helps to connect Wings for Warriors with potential donors and volunteers. The organization now has 600 active volunteers, and interest continues to grow nationwide. “More cities, hospitals, sponsors, and VA clinics are getting involved with Wings for Warriors,” he says. “And because our AdWords campaign is successful, we're able to further our relationships with our volunteers.” For example, a Florida high school senior raised $3,700 for the organization, and her school is now continuing her work. “A Google search is how she found us, which is pretty cool.”Wings for Warriors has helped 1,500 wounded warriors & military families.link www.wingsforwarriors.org
Sedona Golf Resort Sedona, Arizona
Sedona Golf Resort
“We depend on the Internet for our advertising.”Jeremy Hayman, General Manager37,000 rounds of golf played in 2014link www.sedonagolfresort.com
With a tenth hole overlooking Arizona’s majestic red rock buttes, Sedona Golf Resort boasts the most photographed par 3 in the Southwest. "We're unlike any other golf course in America," says General Manager Jeremy Hayman. "As golfers play the course, the elevation increases and the views get better and better. It's four hours of incredible scenery and great playing conditions—a bucket-list venue." The resort also offers a bar and grill for casual dining and banquet facilities for weddings. Their website markets the resort's amenities and breathtaking beauty for its three business divisions.
Jeremy uses a variety of Google tools to bring visitors to the main golf-course website as well as to the resort’s wedding and restaurant domains. Campaigns using AdWords, Google's advertising program, target golfers, wedding planners, and diners. "One click could turn into a $25,000 wedding," Jeremy says. Their Google My Business listing offers directions, reviews, and a link to their Google+ page. Google Analytics gives Jeremy the data to maximize his marketing efforts. "Our biggest strength is our visual appeal," says Jeremy, who entices prospects with YouTube videos. "Customers tell us, 'I watched the video and booked the tee time because it looks amazing,'” he says.
The resort is swinging into its next phase of marketing with a new website designed for optimum viewing on mobile devices. "We get a ton of visitors from Phoenix coming to Sedona who want to book a round of golf,” Jeremy says. “We needed a more responsive website for tablets and cellphones so that when people search for us, they find us." Tee-time reservations made online comprise 20 percent of the resort’s total business. Their overall golf business has increased by 37 percent, weddings have more than doubled, and food and beverages bring in $1.5 million per year. "Google makes it so convenient for people to find what they’re looking for,” Jeremy says. "It makes my job a lot easier."37,000 rounds of golf played in 2014link www.sedonagolfresort.com