Welcome to our client list, Set the Occasion – Table Designs by Thena! We have loved working with such a talented and professional client. The web site looks great, and working on photoshoots with you in beautiful locations in Larkspur, Belvedere, and Corte Madera has been a highlight of our year.

Yes! SetTheOccasion.com is here! John coded this custom for Thena – beautifully responsive, deep linking portfolio pages, perfectly optimized photos, slideshows with several different progress options – well done, partner. I love the design – so simple and elegant and all about the photos.

Header to this blog post is a setting photo as we integrated it into a header graphic for the contact page.





Thena, we can’t wait to see where you take us next! We are grateful that you are taking us with you.


Holiday Marketing

(If you are looking for gifts, decor, corporate gifting, inspiration, or fun, MenloVille, pictured above, decked for the holidays, is a great place to start. Tell Lisa we say, “hello”.)

Well, I’m a little late this year with the reminder.


These are the things that seem end up being rushed in November and costing extra for rush shipping – prepping and ordering gift bags, greeting cards, holiday decor, gift certificates, gift tags, posters, etc…

Each year in November and December we get a slew of last-minute projects for which clients end up paying rush shipping and printing rates. (Reminder of our rush project policy.)


Plan your online marketing: e-mail campaigns, seasonal web site changes, and AdWords campaigns.

Are you sending cards, party invitations, and/or gifts to your clients and partners this year? Let’s get on that too!

Selling gifts? Check your inventory and the lead times of items you wish to stock. From October on-wards, order fulfillment and shipping from your vendors may take additional time. Also, be sure you stock plenty of festive packaging and shipping supplies if you plan on mailing items.

Holiday party? Book your caterer (you can’t go wrong with our client, Palace Cafe Catering!), asap. Start sending Save the Date invites early. Plan how you are going to invite people and take RSVPs.

Don’t forget your staff! Plan parties, gifts, etc…

This is also the time of year to think about partner marketing for the holidays. Consider gathering a group of businesses with similar clients to yours and use their mail lists and social media to get the word out about your holiday specials, events, etc…

Here’s some 2017 key dates to keep in mind…


Halloween, Tuesday, 31th


Daylight Savings, Sunday, 5th

Veterans’ Day, Friday, 11th

Thanksgiving, Thursday, 23rd

Black Friday, 24th

Cyber Monday, 27th


Pearl Harbor Remembrance, Thursday, 7th

Green Monday, 11th

Hanukkah, Tuesday, 12th through Wednesday, 20th

Festivus, Saturday, 23rd

Christmas Day, Monday, 25th

Boxing Day | Kwanzza, Tuesday, 26th

New Year’s Eve, Sunday, 31st


Halloween Marketing

John and I have been making sure to seek out balance between work and relaxation as we ramp up to marketing’s silly season over the next few months. (Are you ready?)

On Friday, we headed to Santa Cruz for lunch at the Crow’s Nest and a walk on the beach. Here’s John chilling out with some new friends.

Happy Halloween, everyone!

And remember, all work and no play makes everyone stressed and grumpy!


Allison Quistgard

We’re so excited that Allison Quistgard, founder of Sprig & Glow, has been working with us on her site and on photos.

Ali is a Master Clinical Aesthetician, wellness editor, freelance writer and blogger with a passion for beauty, wellness, skincare, and the science behind it all.

She recently appeared as an Expert Skincare Consultant at Space NK Apothecary in Larkspur, which is where we met her to take a few photos for use in marketing. She’s amazing!

Allison Quistgard

She’s also a contributer to Marin Magazine – here’s her latest article: Are Korean Spas the Next Global Trend?

We met Ali through our client Hayes Valley Medical & Aesthetics – one more reason to be grateful to Linda and Sheila.

Ali – we hope we can work together again soon!


Is your site secure?


I know this is the type of detailed techie info to which many of our clients are averse.  But it’s key.

The main things to know are that we’ve got your back, we can take care of this, and it’s not going to cost you a lot.  Good?

Extra good news…if you are one of our clients and your site is hosted by our partner, NeuronLinks, or our MPS server, the hard part is being done for you – FOR FREE!  Thank you, Raj and John, for including this extra as part of your clients’ web hosting package.

And super good news…only businesses with credible websites will be making these updates.  (If and when someone tells them about the issue.)  By implementing these changes toot-sweet, you could get some google bounce while non-HTTPS sites will be penalized.

We’ll be reaching out to our clients, if we have not done so already, or, please contact John at johnp@metapix.us or 408 252-8664.  Many of our clients have just asked us to “handle this” – we will certainly do so, and can quote for any time spent on site review and/or coding before we start if you wish.

Here’s the details (it will be easiest to understand if you use a desktop or laptop computer)…

(2018 update: The info below and the graphics are captured from the Chrome browser on a desktop on date blog was posted. All browsers have changed the way they display security info. Now, if you see an icon with a locked padlock, you can assume the web page is secure. If you see an icon displaying an exclamation point, an open padlock, a circled i, or the words, “not secure”, you do need to read further for the fix.)

Secure Web Site https

Here’s a view of a secure site. (And some pretty photos of great hair to break up the tech details.  You’re welcome.)

If you click to every page of the Halo site, you’ll see an icon of a locked padlock to the left of the domain name. It shows this is a secure site because it’s host is using SSL Certification* and it’s using the HTTPS secure website protocol.**

If your site shows a locked padlock icon on each page, you can stop reading – you’re good.

This is a big deal because soon Google will be flagging and penalizing any website that is not using SSL Certification for their websites—that is, if links don’t start with https://.

If each page of your site is not secure, browsers may show warnings that make it seem your site is not safe, especially when forms are displayed. And there will be a reduction in your website’s ranking in Google organic (non-paid-for) search results.

From here, two steps need be taken.  1) set up of SSL certification on your server and 2) review and coding of your site to set up HTTPS secure website protocol.


If your website is hosted by a company other than Neuronlinks or MPS, you’ll need to check whether your server is already supporting SSL. It’s easy to check, just type in “https://” followed by your domain name. You will immediately see the green lock if SSL has been set up (if you are on Chrome on a desktop/laptop.) If it has not you will see this message:

https not set up

You’ll need to review each page of your site – not just your home page.  Contact John if you’d like us to do this site review for you.

If you go to your website, in Chrome, and see this little iconnon-secure website icon it means that page is not secure and will be docked by Google soon. You’ll need to ask your web hosting company to switch your site to SSL. Good hosting companies should be offering this free of charge.

non-secure website notification


Once your site has SSL certification, the next step is to review your site for HTTP issues and make corrections.  And then add code to move to HTTPS.  Our charge for this work will vary depending upon how your site is coded, if you have separate blog, store, database, and/or mobile site, and how many pages on your site.

If you’d like help in updating your site, please contact John at johnp@metapix.us or call 408 252-8664.

*SSL Certificates are small data files that digitally bind a cryptographic key to an organization’s details. More info at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Certificate_authority.

**HTTPS secure website protocol – “S” for secure.  More info at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/HTTPS.


Last month, our client Hayes Valley Medical & Esthetics invited us to their San Francisco location to try their new facial – Event-Ready Facial.  It was quite an experience, at least for me as I just lay there, while John took the photos and Licensed Esthetician, Holly Byerly modeled beautifully while working.

(BTW, fab manicure, Holly!)

This experience was unlike any facial I’d experienced before – more like a treatment visibly minimizing wrinkles and firming my skin.  And unlike any previous facial, it really is event-ready – no redness or splotchiness.

Photos have been used as a blog post promoting the facial, an instagram post (left), and will be Facebooked too.

Yes, many people will see me at absolutely the worst possible angle – neck and nostrils!  I’m not ready to add model to my resume, but if anyone wants to give me a luxurious, clinically-sound, and results-driven facial, I don’t have an issue with a few unflattering photos.






Instagram Repost

Instagram does not have a share or repost feature as their intent is that content be original, rather than the same material shared around. There’s two ways you can repost on Instagram, with or without an app.

Instagram Re-poster App


Visit Google Play or the App Store from your smartphone and search for “repost for instagram” or “repost for instagram”. You’ll get a lot of options – read the reviews and pick the one that works for you. Free apps have been fine for us.

Directions will vary for each app and type of phone, but this should give you enough info to work it out. 

Once you have the app installed:

1 – Be sure you are logged into the Instagram account to which you wish to post! If yes, go to #2 below. If not, you’ll need to be sure to memorize the Instagram handle of the post you wish to repost, and when you are logged into your correct Instagram account, search for the handle of the poster, and find the post you wish to repost.

2 – Click the three little dots at the top/right of the post – you’ll get a drop-down with several options if the poster’s settings allow a re-post.  Select “Copy Link”.

3 – Open your repost app and the post you just copied will be waiting for you at the top of the list. Click on it.

4 – You’ll have options for where to put the attribution mark and how it will look, whether to copy the original poster’s text as well as the photo (you’ll get to edit the text at the next step), and whether to post to your story or feed.

5 – You’ll be in Instagram now. If you wish, add multiple photos or videos to the post or apply a filter. Go to “next”.

6 – If you copied the text from the original poster, double tap the “caption” area and paste. Or write your own copy. Either way, you can edit the text or add hashtags.

7 – Add your location if you wish, and share.



Instagram Repost No App

(Technically, not a re-post, but it gets the job done.)

On your phone, do a screen capture of the post.

Note the poster’s Instagram handle.

Open Instagram and use the cropping feature to crop out everything except the photo.

Then post as you do usually. Thank the poster and use a @hashtag with their Instagram handle.

(If you want to be re-posted, be a brand ambassador and do as this poster, @mercygoddard did – be a brand’s dream Instagrammer. She tagged the photo with our clients name so it was easy for me to find the post. Plus she made a great photo that fits our client’s brand and looks beautiful with her Halo Fab Blow Out.)



Infographic credit: AdWeek Infographic based on Experian study

What are the best days and times to send your email marketing campaigns?

According to research from an Experian email marketing benchmark study, the best open rates tend to be in the evenings Tuesday though Thursday, but these are only general guidelines. When working with our client’s specific email lists we test different times and compare open rates. But if there is a call to action including a phone number to make an appointment we won’t send an email after closing time. For example, one of our clients best open and interaction rates comes with launch at 8pm, but the campaigns generate phone calls, and they are closed at 8pm, and so they can’t launch most campaigns at the peek time. So as with so many things in life, there’s no clear-cut answer–“It depends!”

From the study: “…recipients are surprisingly active late at night. Unique open rates averaged 21.7 percent from 8 pm to 11:59 pm and 17.6 percent for 12 am to 4 am. Moreover, this late-night group was more likely to click through, with open rates of 4.2 percent and 3.2 percent, respectively. These night owls also had the highest click-through rates for all times of the day. Revenue per email was also the highest in the 8 pm to 11:59 pm group. Additionally, more than 54 percent of emails are now opened on a mobile device.

Green Dahlia Wall Clock available in Rachel’s Society6 shop
dahlia scallops green and white wall clocks


+ Free ad from Google!*

Google My Business Listings are free and an essential component of any modern company’s online marketing.

  • Being listed gives you a boost in organic (un-paid-for) search results and therefore leads to more traffic.
  • You can set up multiple service areas if you have more than one location so your customer sees the closest location when they look for you.
  • Connects directly to Google Maps so your customers can easily find your location on their mobile devices.
  • Makes it easy for your customers to leave reviews for your business.
  • Adds credibility to your business when your business is properly listed, with hours, photos, videos, service descriptions, etc.

Google My Business Listings show on the right side of a Google search engine page.  Please see the sample listing For Halo Blow Dry Bars.

*Now, Google is offering a free ad posts which shows within your listing.  Please see the Keratin ad on the sample listing.

Ads can be up to 300 words, include a graphic, and a call to action: “Learn more,” “Reserve,” “Sign up,” “Buy” or “Get offer.”

Ads are designed to be dropped from the listing after one week, but if you want an ad to run continually, we’ve got a work-around to do so.

We manage the Google My Business Listings for several clients and are contacting them about adding a promotion.

Please contact John to set up your business listing – or to add one of these new promotional resources to your existing listing.