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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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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Due to the increased pressure from advocacy groups and potential litigation, websites for disabled persons have become a hot topic in the world of web development. One in five Americans have some kind of disability, and having websites that accommodate certain disabilities do wonders for helping them live their day to day lives. The internet has become essential to living a productive life and managing the daily tasks that come with it – it’s only fair to make sure as many people as possible can access it. With this in mind, here are a few things you can do to make your website disabled friendly.

Design for Screen Reader Tools

For those with visual ailments (either extremely limited or without vision) one of the most useful tools for navigating the internet is a screen reader tool. These things work by taking in all the text on the screen and reading it aloud to the user. Most smartphone models have some form of screen reading capability and there is similar software available on desktop set ups. Since it reads everything, there are some rules you must take into account when designing websites for disabled persons.

First, use alt-tags frequently! If you have important, prominent images on your website it’s a good idea to assign alternative attributes (alt-tags) to each image to communicate what the image is and define its purpose. Another important practice: punctuation. Screen reader tools read everything that is on the webpage, so making sure things are grammatically correct ensures that there are no hiccups. Putting a simple “.” Between acronyms (N.B.A. as opposed to NBA) will stop the reader from saying the word phonetically. Lastly, don’t be afraid to utilize larger text as those with limited visual acuity will be able to read the page much easier.

Accommodate for the Hearing Impaired

A website can mostly function without utilizing sound, depending on the nature of the site, but there are still occasions where there needs to adjustments for the deaf or hard of hearing. Websites for disabled persons always need to have a means of reaching out to the business beyond a phone number. Having an email contact or inquiry submission page is essential as it allows for the hearing impaired to communicate without the need of an interpreter for phone calls.

Video is another area in which some adjustments should be made. Subtitles and transcripts go a long way toward making video accessible for the hearing impaired and simplifying descriptive text (with good spacing) makes it easier on the eyes when reading. Content in simple English that gets to the point creates for an efficient website overall, and something very much appreciated by the hearing impaired.

Be Mindful of Space and Layout

Users with physical or motor disabilities often are still able to use a mouse and keyboard, but can have a difficult time with small icons or unwieldy layouts. Websites for disabled persons are not often sprawling with so much to do, but easy to navigate and visually simple. Icon grouping can result in accidental clicks and user frustration, so spread your necessary icons but keep them easy to access. Long, extended forms and brief time out windows are also a big no-no.

Large, clickable icons are the best option for navigation purposes. Making your website navigable through keyboard as well as mouse is another way to make it more accessible. Spaces between fields reduce frustration and overall make it much easier to distinguish between what should be clicked and what can be clicked. Making your website mobile optimized is another big boost as navigating a desktop site on a mobile platform can be uncomfortable. Websites for disabled persons often adhere to these principles and avoid the flashy layouts for something more simple and straightforward, a good design choice overall.

Be Mindful

More than a billion people on this earth have some form of disability. Laws are continuously being put in place to require some form of accommodation for these users on websites of all types. It’s better to be safe and proactive about this, as letting it slip could cost you in either legal action or lost business. Remember to keep things simple, helpful, specific and to the point. There are lots of users out there surfing websites for disabled persons that want to see your content, so don’t lock them out. It’s the best thing and, most importantly, the right thing.

Promotion LA does its best to adhere to these standards and beyond. Follow us on Facebook and Instagram for a dose of inspiration and the latest updates. If you want a website designed for your business, reach out to us today!

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You should claim your business online – RIGHT NOW! Okay, now that we got that out of the way you may be left with a few questions: How do I claim my business? Why should I claim my business? What is claiming my business? I have a website, isn’t that good enough? The answers are as follows: Go online, because someone else will, taking ownership of your online local listings, and not at all. The World Wide Web has seen drastic changes in the way it indexes and presents content since its early days. These changes require you to be able to adapt to these constant changes. Local listings are of utmost importance in today’s online realm as it lends legitimacy to your company and, with some effort, can help tremendously with your online rankings. What are rankings? It’s the ranking of which your website and/or content appear on Google. The best content and websites are the ones that appear on the first page of Google and within the 10 ten searches for a particular topic. Just having a website is NOT enough – you need to claim your business and we’re going to show you how and why, but first…

What are Local Listings?

Local listings are pages in online directory systems that provide information to potential customers. These act similarly to the yellow pages of the print era and some even have GPS abilities to make sure your business is able to be found. A customer needs directions to your business so they can buy your products, but will the online GPS be able to map your business? This is where taking over a listing with mapping capabilities is important. Google Business, for example, allows a verified listing to be searchable on Google Maps. Unless your business is very, very new there is always some trace of it on the web. Businesses on these listing directories need to be verified, which is why you need to; claim your business sooner than later. Each has their own verification process with the express purpose of making sure the person claiming the listing is legitimate.

Why Claim?

Even though this information is publicly available and can still drive people to your business (albeit in a roundabout way) the act of verification has tremendous positives. Having your website connected to a listing helps with its search engine optimization (SEO), and any contribution there can eventually do wonders for your search ranking. Another major positive is having complete control over your listing.

Got a bad review that you felt was a misunderstanding? Having control over your listing will allow you to reply back and mitigate any damages a bad review can cause. Want better pictures uploaded to represent your business? You have that option as well! Changes in hours, events, descriptions – all this will be at your command and continuously staying on top of it will make your business look professional. An unverified, unmanaged listing can provide a bad look to your business in today’s digital age, so put in the work!

How to Claim your Business

First, you need to find your listings! Some of the major listings are Google Business, Facebook Business, Yelp, Yahoo Local, and Bing Places. There are other tools that allow you to see what listings already exists if you have the name of your business and phone number – which you should, you own it! One of our favorites is Yext. Each of these listings will have a claim option and after that, you can input information, photos and even posts. Next is the verification process which will require an automated phone call, an email, or in some cases both. The automated phone call is very easy to complete. Simply log in to your account after claiming the listing, request a phone call (which happens within seconds), then simply input the pin number given to you by the robotic voice on the other line into your account. You will then see a prompt on your computer screen letting you know the verification has been completed. There are some situations that will require a mailed postcard with the pin number. The process is similar but you cannot complete the process, until you receive your pin number via the postcard.

The postcard is the most secure option as it will send a verification code to your business address and then you can verify online once received. You may run into a situation where an attempt to claim your business has shown that someone else has already done so. Don’t panic; there is dispute processes in place for each service that allows you to present your information and transfer the listing over from another party.

Re-verification may be needed in the future if things change for your business (change in location, phone number, or ownership change). Staying on top of your listing by checking all the incoming emails from it and posting regularly will stop these things from falling through the cracks. A spreadsheet is the best way to keep tabs on all your logins between listings (Microsoft Excel or Google sheets are the best options).

Don’t Hesitate

Protecting our business is priority number one if you’re going to be successful, and having full control of your online presences is the best way to go about it. Posting new content and updating features on your website keeps you in good standings with the top search engines and claiming your online listings helps support those efforts. Managing the online efforts of your business is another job in itself and your time is valuable as a business owner. Promotion LA specializes in content, content marketing, and improving your online presence making us advocates for small business. It takes a solid framework and strategy to make the above things happen and you need someone on your side who can manage all of this for you. Promotion LA is capable of handling all of this on your behalf so you don’t have to.  Helping you claim your business online is just one of the many things our agency is able to do for you. Contact us today for more information or follow us on Facebook and Instagram for some visual motivation!

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Every business (big or small) should reevaluate their business at the start of the New Year. Just as people think about their resolutions, businesses should consider some as well. Since we work primarily with small business, we thought we would put together a list of five new year’s resolutions for small businesses. Be sure to keep these 5 resolutions  in mind as you plan 2018.

#1. Reflect on Mistakes

Before you can move forward with making any changes to your business or business goals, it’s best if you reflect on the mistakes that were made by your business. Whether these mistakes were made by you, employees, or other staff, you really should spend time thinking about what happened and what your role was. This is the difference between a weak and a strong business. A weak business will fail if the employers never think about how they can avoid the mistakes that were previously made. Of course those who don’t take this step are doomed to repeat the same mistakes over and over again. Having made a lot of repeated mistakes ourselves, we know that this first resolution can be difficult but ultimately it is a necessary resolution to begin a better year.

#2. Upgrade your Technology

This can be costly for a small business, however if you can afford it, it can help attract more business. For restaurants, this could mean joining the number of online (or app based) delivery services to stay relevant and to also be found for those customers who are users of Eat24, Uber Eats, GrubHub, Postmates, etc! If you’re a small business that is using computers and software, you should consider getting newer versions, particularly if your employees are complaining about the speed of their programs or if their computers are constantly crashing. You really need to take a good look of the technology in your business (like POS systems) and consider an upgrade where possible.

#3. Learn Something New

Although we advise that you learn from your mistakes, that’s not necessarily learning something new. Often times business owners get stuck on one path of conducting their business. As a business owner you can learn something new about your industry and see if it’s applicable to your business goals. Maybe there are new ways to do the same thing you’ve been doing for 30 years. Maybe valued employees will have a fresh perspective on the path that your business takes. Listening to trusted employees can teach you a few new tricks. Learning something new can move your business forward.

#4. Use Social Media

There are plenty of social media platforms out there, between Snapchat, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Google+, even Yelp which is not considered traditional social media but is extremely social. You have to consider what industry your business is, the branding and voice you want to use while posting, and whether or not posting is useful for you. We don’t advise on posting for every platform, as each platform is different and one may not make sense for your business. For example, Instagram is wildly helpful for the food and beverage industry. Whereas Twitter may not be that useful for your small business since that is considered a platform that is used more for informational purposes. Meanwhile Instagram is great for the food and beverage industry because it is visual. People love seeing great images of food and drinks. Instagram users also love tagging the establishment they are in. Being tagged in someone’s photos is a great way to show even more pictures of your space or your products, from the perspective of a consumer.
Facebook is useful because many use this platform to check in and to post reviews, which adds visibility to your business. For Yelp, it’s one of the most popular platforms consumers use to review establishments. Remember that with Yelp you want to make sure to regularly check and respond to reviews. Negative reviews can really impact a business, responding to them can help show that, one you care about their concerns or complaints and that you also want to help. When Yelp users scroll through the reviews and see that you attempted to offer a solution, it gives you more credibility. Keep in mind that sometimes users will also remove their negative review if you do attempt to make the situation better.

#5. Strategize

Now that you’ve thought about your mistakes, you’re doing a possible upgrade to your technology, you’re learning something, and you’re using social media to your advantage, your last step is to come up with a strategy for the year that can help achieve your business goals. Whether you’re looking to attract a certain amount of new customers or you’re looking to generate more leads per quarter, you have to evaluate where you currently are and where you want to be. Our intent was to shed some light on the importance of new year’s resolutions for small businesses in 2018.

Ready to take your business to the next level? Schedule a consultation and discover why working with us might by the 6th resolution you want to make this year. Feel free to fill out our contact form or call us (310) 405-7598. You can also follow us on Facebook or Instagram to see some of our work and receive other useful tips like this article.

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