In an era where small businesses must outsmart algorithms, bots, and other artificial intelligence, digital marketing juggernauts Yext, aims to help your business convert more consumers into customers. By cutting out the tedious task of manually listing your business across hundreds of platforms, alongside other hoops and hurdles, Yext has become a useful digital marketing tool for medium and large-sized businesses alike. When you sign up with one of Yext’s plans, their algorithm compiles all of your business information, i.e. name, means of contact, services and location into one database, thus ensuring consistent listing information across the board, which also helps improve your ranking in relevant Google searches.

The Rise of Yext

Yext

 

Given the level of consistency that Google oh so loves and Yext dutifully provides, it’s easy to see why more and more businesses are moving toward Yext to improve their digital presence while making their marketing initiatives more efficient. While Yext is an especially powerful tool, for larger businesses like Simon, T-Mobile, Guess, Denny’s and Ben & Jerry’s—all of which utilize Yext for their digital marketing needs—the benefits remain to be seen for small, local businesses. Two major problems can arise for small businesses regarding Yext, the first one being cost. If you are a small business looking at Yext, you have four annual plans to choose from, albeit expensive ones.

With their $199 “Emerging” plan, Yext will integrate your business info across various SMALL and locally-geared listing platforms like Acxiom, Yellow Pages, AB Local, and City Squares among numerous others. This is, of course, a swift and easy means of getting your small business listed on these smaller and obscure platforms., all of which add up to the greater whole—favor in the eyes of Google.

Consequences of Saying Yes to Yext

Yext

Unfortunately, the only way to get listed on these websites is through Yext, who has proprietary listing rights over the likes Yellow Pages or Insider Pages. So, what if your business is too financially strapped to afford these incredibly important listings? If you were to ask Yext, the answer would be to suffer the ultimate consequence of lower consumer-to-customer conversion rates.

With the $449 “Essential” plan, Yext will integrate your business’ info across all MAJOR and popularly visited platforms like Google, Yelp, Facebook and various other leading information directories. However, the price to pay for this plan is too astronomically high once you realize that one DOES NOT receive, in addition to, listings from the “Emerging” package. Don’t tell Yext this, but you can easily list your business for free through the likes of Facebook, Yelp, etc. Just make sure you are consistent with the information you list across all platforms.

Without going into the $999 “Premium” package—because that number is just silly—the only plan that should be considered by small businesses is the $499 “Professional” package. Customers who choose this plan will receive fully integrated and consistent listing information across 150 plus websites, apps, GPS location systems, etc. This doesn’t sound too bad, but again, the near $500 price tag will be difficult to swallow.

Aside from pricing, there is one more HUGE issue that should be considered before you submit your credit card information to Yext and their overpriced digital marketing packages. If you decide that Yext’s listing services are not worth the price tag—which may be inevitable—guess what? All of your business listing information will go out the door alongside your subscription With Yext; you are essentially renting your digital presence. So if you cancel, any marketing progress goes down the drain as Yext resets your listing info to what it was before choosing their services.

Is Yext Worth the Risks?

Yext

Though the concept of a one-platform service controlling your business listing and other digital marketing needs is not the worst idea, these are two undeniable red flags. Unfortunately, with high prices and lack of control for customers, Yext has a long way to go before they can provide a perfect SEO listings service for both big AND small businesses looking to leave their digital footprint.

At Promotion LA, we are digital marketing and SEO-savvy experts dedicated to making sure our customers are as informed as we are when a wrench is thrown into our industry. With a team that comes together to research, analyze and consult, we aim to ensure your online presence is optimized and translates to business growth, even if that means wrestling with changes brought upon by companies like Yext.

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Good website design means using your expertise and knowledge about a client to creating a visual version of their business. What do you do when the service for which you’re making a website is relatively unknown to the general populous and deals with “heavy” topics? Selecting a strong theme is paramount to developing the visual, comforting, and easy user experience while providing the necessary information to educate visitors on the nature of the business. Peaceful Pets Aquamation presented this challenge to us at Promotion LA. With the right designers and content creators we managed to build a site our client could be proud to call their own.

A little more on what Peaceful Pets Aquamation’s business:

Peaceful Pets

Started by pet lovers and animal advocates, Peaceful Pets Aquamation specializes in exactly that — aquamation: an environmentally-based alternative to cremation, meant to honor our beloved pets. Aftercare is not always an easy topic to speak about, but the professionals at Peaceful Pets Aquamation have the expertise and bedside manner to handle such a heavy task. Peaceful Pets sees Aquamation as a celebration of the pets in our lives and is becoming increasingly popular around Los Angeles. With such a unique business, the website design must fit their message perfectly.

Conveying the Message

Our focus for creating the website was to provide a level of comfort for users with the right information for those interested to learn about the process and its benefits over traditional aftercare pet services. By focusing on the life of one’s pet, we sought to curate a set of images that would convey a sense of warmth and wholesomeness. These images help showcase how much more meaningful this alternative service is, framing it as the act of honoring a pet while also being at peace with the environment.The right keywords, messaging, and ease of use allow the website design of Peaceful

Pets Aquamation to flourish. Promotion LA takes that inspiration and does what it does best: creates a beautiful website. Follow us on Facebook and Instagram for a dose of inspiration, and check out our portfolio for a look at all of our amazing websites!

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There might be an “I” in “website,” but you won’t find one in “team” anytime soon, especially when it comes to developing beautiful pages to represent your business. While trying to create a masterpiece can take months and dozens of iterations, a solid push from a group can complete the same job with better quality in a fraction of the time.

Let’s examine a website our company, Promotion LA, recently made for a mobile auto services company () and how collaborative efforts from a web developer, a writer, a designer, and a video editor helped create a better website than the client ever could have imagined.

The Business Consultation

The first step to creating an amazing product for the client is hosting initial business consultation. This should come as no surprise, but when it comes to websites, collaboration is a must. An all-hands-on-deck operation, it’s imperative to have the developer, writer, designer, and any content people ask their specific questions in that first encounter with the client about their business. This allows all angles to be covered and on the same page with any internal brainstorming that happens afterward.

Website Ideas

After questions have been asked and notes have been taken, discussions begin to flow. In order to create a better website, clear and focused communication is extremely important, which eliminates confusion moving forward. After basic decision making on hot-button customer asks, breakout meetings may take place between the developer and writer, developer and designer, writer and content, etc. For this automotive business, motion was very important. We wanted to introduce some kind of unique movement as well as a video element to the homepage that reflected their core services.

Individual Production

At this point, each individual gets to work creating their specific elements.

The web developer chooses an appropriate theme for the site and begins implement any preliminary custom code or functions that the client has requested. This website called for a custom form with photo upload capabilities and a privacy policy agreement. The writer begins researching top SEO keywords for the industry. Those keywords are then strategically, but sensibly, placed when writing copy for the website’s pages. The designer creates branding elements like color pallet, page layout, and custom icons, etc. Our content person, in this case, worked with the client to retrieve previously unused video clips to cut together to display as the hero of the homepage.

Discussions definitely happen amidst this shuffle, but good communication helps maintain a straight path.

Building the Website

When the website’s pages have been completed, edited, and approved by the client, the writer, developer, and designer work together to place the text and heading elements into the pages with a custom page building tool, while minding layout, navigation, and overall clarity.

To go a step further, the designer and developer build a customized animated car that assembles from 15 separate pieces upon page load.

After the video was completed and a watermark added by the content person, it was placed on the top of the homepage to intrigue page visitors and encourage them to browse.
At this point, all copy, graphics, and content should be uploaded. One tactic Promotion LA uses to ensure accuracy, cohesiveness, and flow is an all-hands quality assessment – using the new website as a regular user to monitor the experience. This helps speed up any redesigns, page consolidation, and other errors that may have been previously overlooked.

Delivering to the Client

Once the entire team is satisfied with the website, it’s presented to the client for their review. Clients may also be a part of the collaborative process – they’re the creators of the brand’s core values and validate whether our elements correctly depict their brand.

After any post-delivery requests were made, this client was not only satisfied with the website they received, but continues to refer new business.

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Web security should be a major concern for anyone that manages their own website, but especially so if you run a business! Running a business through your site often means having credit card numbers, personal data and important internal information stored within the digital realm. In this blog we will look into some vulnerabilities that are common with websites in their early stages, and what you should be on the lookout for when making your own website.

What is a Vulnerability?

Web Security 2

A vulnerability allows for an unauthenticated user to breach a targeted website, change certain values and essential takeover said website. With full access to a website hackers/attackers/bad actors can make malicious changes to the website, steal valuable information and more. These vulnerabilities can be present in a number of ways and an astute developer should be able to handle anything that comes their way. There are scenarios, however, that can make managing web security a true pain.

Important Plug-ins

Web Security 4

For a look at web security gone wrong, let’s take a moment to look at the Total Donations plugin and the fiasco that came from it. In this scenario a bunch of non-profits, churches and political organizations looking for donations would often utilize Total Donations on their websites. Everything appeared to be running smoothly until a security vulnerability was discovered in the versions of the plugin up to 2.0.5. Surely, this would be fixable, right? Not necessarily the case when it was unveiled that the developers of Total Donations abandoned the plugin!

Abandoned plugins leave websites exposed to savvy hackers with no end in sight, and the best course of action in this situation will be to remove that plugin entirely. It may seem like a hassle, but the security of your site is worth the effort. Plus with all the money flowing through something like Total Donation it is a good idea to make sure that it is secure!

Secure those passwords

Web Security 3

Passwords are more often than not a pain to manage if done correctly. First, you have to make sure your password is secure, next you have to make sure you’re not overdoing it and finally you have to remember which passwords go where. That’s a lot of information to keep track of but constantly updating passwords may be more essential than anything else. Take a recent scam that’s been going around: An email (likely in your spam folder) was being sent around in the later part of 2018 that claimed to have salacious videos of whoever the recipient was and demanded anywhere from $800 to $1600 dollars to withhold it from being launched on public sites. In the email subject line: an old password.

This password was likely attained through an old, publicly available data leak from companies such as Yahoo and LinkedIn that had significant web security breaches in the past few years. Now the email itself was automated, and very likely none of the actual users were affected by the claims made in the body of it but that information can still be used against if you if said password was still in effect.

Stay Safe Out There

Web Security 5

The internet is still very much in its Wild West phase. While it’s easy to just rely on the big companies to keep you safe, breaches like the Equifax fiasco should give you an indicator that that’s not always the best course of action. Stay up to date on the latest web security news, regularly check your accounts and keep an eye on what type of information is being leaked from these major companies and you will absolutely limit how much at risk your information is out in the World Wide Web. For more articles like this and inspirational imagery to boot, follow us on Facebook and Instagram! Need a website for you or your business that is updated regularly? Contact us today and get started!

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When it comes to social media platforms, Google + was always a bit of an anomaly. It wasn’t as image focused as its competitors like Instagram, its messenger services were a step below that of Facebook and its posts were not as simple and user friendly as Twitter. In all regards, it wouldn’t be out of place to call it a jack of all trades, and master of none. Though it surely had some loyal followers over the years, things have changed majorly for the platform as it will be shutting down over the coming months. So in this blog we would like to take a moment to reflect on what went wrong, and what this says about finding the right set of social media platforms that work for you.

Security is Key

One of the major reasons for Google + shutting down is a series of leaks that have taken place over the years. Google relies heavily on managing A LOT of data from its users, and are capable of getting information that is very hard to come by without express permissions from the user. When something leaks from them, it is a big, BIG deal. The last major leak from Google + affected 52 million users and was as recent as December 2018. This actually caused Google to accelerate plans for shutting down their Google + service, which just proves how important strong security is to maintaining successful social media platforms.

The Right Features

Social Media Platforms 2

Google + was introduced in 2011, during the rise of Facebook, Twitter and other platforms that were able to distinguish themselves  enough from each other to have strong audiences in place and key features. Google wanted to introduce a social media service that would have its own identity in the form of “sharing.” In doing so it would create a platform that functioned very similarly to Facebook but had the + icon readily available on web pages in place of Facebook’s “like” feature. It also made the requirement of signing into other Google services like YouTube through a Google + account. Seamless integration of services may seem like a good idea, but you have to take into account the “seamless” part of that equation. In reality, forcing users into a service to unlock basic features elsewhere is a tough sell, and if it’s your only defining feature that just spells trouble.

Prominent Users Required

Influencer culture has taken over the social media landscape over the past few years, and though sometimes this can cause some pretty major issues, it shows just which platforms can dominate. With this recent trend in mind, which influencers have come made waves through Google +? Truthfully, if developing a following on your platform does not make a decent amount of waves in its lifespan, that platform may as well be DOA. Social media platforms live and die by their prominent user base, making Google’s situation look all the more dire as the years floated by without a strong voice. Its one thing for the company itself to push the product, but the power of passionate, influential users cannot be understated. With Google’s emphasis on sharing, it had very little in getting influential people to do just that.

Social Media Platforms 3

Saying Goodbye

For 8 years Google attempted to carve its own niche in the social media landscape but with mixed results at best. Google itself may be a verb, but in the ever changing internet environment that truly isn’t enough on its own when pushing a product. So with that way say goodbye to a platform that never really had its voice, but remains a strong example of what should, and shouldn’t be done in the internet age. For more articles and some inspirational insights, follow us on Facebook and Instagram. If you need an up to date site to link all your social platforms to, contact us today!

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WordPress 5.0 is on its way! Normally updates to online platforms are done incrementally, allowing small changes to build into something new over various versions – not the case here. Do you write a lot of content on WordPress platforms? Well, you are going to have to make some adjustments to your habits because the new Gutenberg Editor is bringing even more options and customization to your editing experience. A new theme is one the way as well (Twenty Nineteen Theme, obviously). There are, however, some major considerations to make going into WordPress 5.0.

Update and Test!

When it comes to these major updates it’s important to keep in mind that without testing and making adjustments, you could break some elements of your website. Releases on this scale typically affect everything, especially when it comes to plugins. Third-party plugins can often update irregularly or not at all, so testing compatibility is of utmost importance when leading up to the release of WordPress 5.0.  The last thing you want is a broken website because you didn’t take the time to prepare, there are plenty of ways to pretest as WordPress has its own beta options and you can even try the Gutenberg editor early!

Learn New Habits

Testing prior to release is needed to stop breaks from happening on your website, but thanks to the new functionality of the Gutenberg editor in WordPress 5.0 you will also have to re-think how you add content to your website. Gutenberg has a block based UI, where modular blocks can be customized, edited and input on any portion of the page to customize your websites in all sorts of dynamic ways. These changes are meant to make things easier for new users and developers and will require some time dedicated to learning how to use them most effectively.

Getting Started

The new update is due out at the end of November, 2018. If you have a website for your business, make sure your team is on top of things or find a web developer that does, like Promotion LA. We test and make sure all of your plugs and services are up to date and a talented team that can make fine tune your website to your liking. Follow us on Facebook and Instagram for updates and some motivation and make sure you test your site before the big WordPress 5.0 update!

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There will always be a need for retail stores. Whether it is someone looking for a new fan or a busy shopping for commercial lighting, there will always be a need for a physical location. Some industries simply require that in-person touch to make a sale, but that doesn’t mean they don’t need a digital presence.

More and more, customers are first looking online – and increasingly mobile – for a retail store to fit their needs. This is a double-edged sword for retailers though. On one hand, the customer is already ready to buy – they are trying to find a store right now! On the other hand, you have to find a way to make sure your name is the one they see.

Marketing for retail can be a little tricky online, so here are the most important things unique to digital marketing for retail businesses.

Online Listings

Every business needs to be easy to find online, but this is more important for retail than any other business. A retail business’s storefront is its lifeblood. Your most important sales funnel is simply directing a ready-to-purchase customer to your site, and there is no better way to do that than online listings.

Online listings are the yellow pages of digital marketing, but unlike the good old days, there are dozens of yellow pages now. There are listings for retailers, local services, food, contractors, and dozens of others. Navigating through the sea of websites to find the ones your customers are most likely to use is a huge factor in driving leads to your website or to your location. However, it isn’t a good idea to try and blast your name on every site you can find.

Many services will try to charge you exorbitant monthly fees to ‘manage your accounts’ or will ask a monthly fee just to post your business on their site. Most of these services are preying on small businesses and offer redundant or useless features. That is why we advise you to seek a professional consultant like Promotion LA. Navigating the mine field of online listings can be one of the most daunting tasks – which listings are right for you, which will charge you, and which will help. That’s why we leverage years of experience to get you listed where it matters most.

The Google 3-pack

Google is the most important tool of digital marketing for retail businesses or any other. It is what 98% of your customers will use to find your business or a website that lists your business. But in addition to the usual SEO worries of other businesses, retail businesses have to be particularly aware of the Google 3-pack.

Sometimes called the ‘tri-pack’ by digital marketers, the Google 3-pack is a Google map listing of the three closest businesses to a search result. For instance, if someone searches, “Office lamps Los Angeles,” Google will provide the top three results from where the user is searching as well as which companies have the highest rank. Each one of these businesses will have their location, website, and rating appear on Google before all other search results.

This is incredibly important as the 3-pack circumvents normal Google page ranks to provide information on local businesses.  Strategizing for the Google 3-pack can be difficult, but there are some steps you can take to try and target getting into this illustrious top three.

  1. Optimize your Google+ page. Keep this page updated with content, information, and reviews. It will help Google know where the best business in a local area is.
  2. Make sure your Online Listings all uniformly display the same address. This will massively boost your odds in the Google 3-pack.
  3. Get local backlinks. This may require networking with businesses in your area or signing up with local listings, but it is a huge benefit.

Customer reviews and ratings

Of course, none of your other efforts will matter if you have an abysmal user rating. Google, yelp, and almost every online listing have a user review/rating system for your business. If you rank poorly among customers, not only will it look bad, but Google won’t let you anywhere near the 3-pack and will even push you farther down the SERP (Search Engine Results Page).

This is one of your biggest digital marketing avenues as a retail business, and it is important to start at the ground floor. Make sure your sales staff treat customers with respect, that you have good engagement with customers both on and offline, and that you encourage customers to leave reviews. In fact, promotions for discounts upon leaving reviews or other offers are a great way to encourage your customers to help grow your reviews and ratings.

It might be tempting to try and pad these reviews and ratings with fake ones, but just don’t do it. Customers can see through lies, and suspiciously sparse 5-star ratings might not just make you look bad, but it might alert online listings or Google itself, and getting caught trying to fraud their system is the last thing you want.

Many small businesses have been in retail for decades without turning to digital marketing, but more and more, it isn’t just an option, it is a necessity. At Promtion LA, we have worked with countless small businesses and ushered many into the age of digital marketing. If you have questions, concerns, or want to schedule a consultation, please call us at 310-405-7598 or email us!

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Starting an online business can be a grueling, nearly endless barrage of hurdles to pass but it helps to be prepared. Ecommerce is, however, growing as people are becoming more accustomed to making their purchases through a trusted online resource. With this in mind, there are several types of Ecommerce sites to be aware of so you can do your best to prepare for their demands. The world grows more digital with each passing year, and being behind the times will only cost you money in the long run. So bookmark this blog or take some notes, because we’re about to detail the 6 types of Ecommerce sites in 2018.

Business-to-Business

Business-to-Business is one of the more common types of Ecommerce sites as different sites may specialize in particular types of products that are beneficial for businesses to buy in large quantities. Wholesalers, retailers and other large scale producers tend to utilize B2B ecommerce solutions more than anyone else. If you have one particular emphasis, this is one of the best types of Ecommerce solutions to utilize for your business.

Business-to-Consumer

Business-to-Consumer websites are typically what comes to mind when thinking of Ecommerce thanks to the rise of Amazon and others. These websites categorized by businesses having a direct communication with final consumer, right alongside traditional retailers. Something that really distinguishes this from other types of ecommerce sites is the logistical complexity and cost compared to others. On the business end this will be expensive, so remember to establish yourself or have a solid foundation before taking the leap on a B2C website.

Consumer-to-Consumer

Consumer-to-Consumer means that all transactions are done within the end consumer realm. There is often a 3rd party, but most of the product and money is exchanged at the will of the users. This is one of the types of ecommerce that is primarily user driven as the site itself is more of a platform for the users as opposed to the site driving sales itself.

Consumer-to-Business

Consumer-to-Business is a reversal of the usual buying process. This mostly comes from crowd sourced products, often encompassing consumers offering employment, design work, or services to companies that opt to bid for such offers. These are one of the fastest growing types of Ecommerce websites.

Business-to-Administration

Business-to-Administration is where transactions are made between a company (or companies) and public administration/government entities. Various public branches and services require aid or a directly relationship with private companies.

Consumer-to-Administration

Consumer-to-Administration is a direct relationship between consumers to public administrations or government entities. This is primarily in the realm of document submission or tax payments. This can also be used when the government purchases something from an individual, though this rarely happens.

Now that you have an idea of where your business fits when it comes to Ecommerce, you should build that website! Follow Promotion LA on Facebook and Instagram for some motivational words and updates. Visit our website and get started on your own Ecommerce business today!

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