Frustrating news – sorry!  A businesses e-mail address list will degrade by about 20% each year. Here’s some ideas on how you can continue to grow your mail list.  The idea – gain addresses faster than losing.

  • Keep making valuable e-mail campaigns!


  • Keep your newsletter sign up form as simple as possible.  One field is best – just ask for e-mail address.  Once you start asking for first name, last name, phone number, etc, you lose people quickly.
  • Add a lightbox popup with address list sign-up form to your web site.
  • Have a physical sign-up sheet – in-house/store – and at every event you attend.  Be sure it clearly states you value privacy and do not share addresses.
  • On your online and physical sign-up forms, be sure to note the value of being on the list: exclusive mail-list-only offers, useful information, event invites, tips, etc.  Even better, create copy to be used in landing pages, postcards, blog posts, actually any print or on-line marketing, listing the top ten reasons to sign up for your mailing list.
  • Make sure a newsletter sign-up is on every page of your site – easy to see and complete.  Don’t skip ad landing pages and your blog pages.
  • Add a note to your online sign-up form: “Join the XX subscribers who already enjoy this newsletter”.  Show that they will be part of the crowd.


  • Have a contest with a fabulous prize – worth signing up for a mailing list to enter.
  • Have a single database for addresses and make sure your staff knows how to use it.
  • Host an event and be sure you have your mail list sign-up sheet well-displayed.
  • Send a snail-mail postcard specific to opt-ins.
  • Host an on-line webinar for which registration requires an address list sign-up.
  • Create something people will be interested in seeing.  For example, for our client SkinSpirit we made this recipe ebook and required an e-mail before the visitor could see it.  Your give-away could be tips, information (for example, a BMI calculator), or a white paper.  Promote these on social media.
  • Consider paid advertising for your list or re-marketing specific to address list sign up.
  • Add a link to a newsletter sign-up page on Facebook.
  • Include call-to-action in videos posted to YouTube and in your YouTube Channel.
  • Put a fishbowl on your counter and encourage clients to drop in a biz card or slip of paper – once a month drawing.  All entrants are added to mail list.
  • Give a free birthday service to the people on your mailing list.
  • Get your employees involved – he or she who collects the most e-mails gets a bonus.
  • Do a give-away (discount, gift basket) for all new list sign ups over a week (month, whatever works for you.)
  • Work with your staff to provide a script for getting people to sign up.  Be sure they are aware of incentives to signing up and can offer them on the spot with a hand-written sign-up form, or a database they can add to.










HOA Website

Thank you, Tri-State Enterprises, Inc. for hiring us to make another homeowners association website.  We use the same template for each of these site, which has a small, simple public section, and a large functional, password-protected, area for HOA members.  Within the members section, residents can manage their property, communicate with management and other residents, and interact with a property calendar.

There’s more in our website portfolio and links to all our HOA site here.


Keratin Cut Color

Thank you to long-time clients Brandau Brandau and Halo Blow Dry Bar for giving me unusually controlled hair!  My usual is an unruly mop of curls and frizz.

Ten days ago, I got a Keratin Treatment at Halo.  It has totally changed my hair – I can see why so many women are obsessed.

Before that Kerrie Brandau gave me the great colour and today George Brandau gave me a cut and blow out.

Thanks also to Halo for the Jane Iredale lips and mascara and SkinSpirit for the face make up.

Love that I get to enjoy the services and products of so many of our clients.


ENT Doctors Business Cards

We’ve recently been working with our long-time clients at Ear, Nose & Throat Associates of San Mateo on updating their brand.  They still like the logo we developed for them a decade ago, but have updated their print items and we’re wrapping up a new responsive website.

ENT Business Ad



Clothing Boutique Photo Shoots

Thank you to Susan Graf and her fabulous team for hosting two successful photo shoots – one in Healdsburg, one in Palo Alto.  Their hard work in preparing the boutiques made the projects look great.  And their personalities made it a really fun time for me.

One highlight for me was twilight in the Healdsburg Plaza as I took shots of the store windows growing brighter as the daylight faded.  I discovered if you ever wish to chat with strangers, set up a tripod, stare intently at a subject, and start taking photos.  So many people approached to ask me what I was doing.  Some offered tips.  Several also had curious dogs.

If you are ever in Palo Alto or Healdsburg on the plaza, don’t miss Susan Graf Limited – the clothing is fabulous – men’s and women’s.  Check back soon as she’s got a new web site under development.  Below is one of the graphics we’ve pulled together for the men’s department.  And here’s some of my favorite shots…

Clothing Boutique Web Site Header



Video for Websites

Yes, getting video on your site can help search engine optimization (SEO) and visitor experience, but done wrong, it can hurt SEO and the impression you give to visitors.  This post will hopefully answer frequently asked questions about using video on a website.

You may also be interested in our post on creating your own YouTube Channel – a must.  As soon as you have a video for your site, also post it to your YouTube Channel.

(See the videos in our header graphic at:


The best code to use to play the video on your site is your own.  But this requires development time and money.

Many developers save time and money by using YouTube’s free embed code.  It’s very fast to copy and paste this into your site, but there’s a big downside.  Once the video finishes playing, recommendations on other related videos hosted on YouTube will be displayed.  This can drive visitors away from your site, and even worse, it can recommend video by your competitors, driving visitors to them.

As you can see, we recommend avoiding YouTube’s embed code for a good reason.  But we know that budget also has to be taken into account.  One idea, if budget is an issue, is to use the YouTube embed code and then as soon as the budget allows, switch to your own site’s code.


We’ve ranked five main ways video can be used on a website – number one is the optimal and most beneficial – to number five, the anti-SEO, bad, bad way.


Develop your own, original, and unique videos, upload them to your server, and place them on your site using either of the code options mentioned above.

Unique content reigns as the king of SEO due to the high ranking search engines (including YouTube) give it.  It’s also going to provide your visitors with a true idea of your business and add credibility.  Of course, the downside is the high cost of video production, although with an iPhone/Pad and basic video editing software, just about anyone can produce their own video content.


Use video with permission, upload them to your server, and place them on your site using either of the code options mentioned above.

An example of this is using the video created by a vendor and downloaded to your possession with permission – say with granted access to their brand box.  Since the content is not unique, the SEO value is slim.*  But it is still valuable for user experience and adds credibility and caché to your site.


Use YouTube video without permission. Using YouTube’s “embed” feature, grab the video code and place it on your website. (Note that some video content producers turn off the embed feature completely so this might not even be possible.)

This opens you to lawsuits – or at least a cease and desist letter. YouTube does actually seek out and punish copyright infringement.  Since the content is not unique, the SEO value is slim.*  You’d have to feel strongly that the content will have great user value before following this path.


Use non-YouTube video without permission. It is possible to “lift” video off of other websites, but it usually is not easy and requires advanced HTML and video skills.

Again, this opens you to lawsuits – or at least a cease and desist letter.  You’d have to feel really strongly that the content will have great user value before following this path.


Linking to the video on another site, including YouTube.

By doing this, you are driving visitors off your site.  Who knows what they may be distracted by on this other site – including your competition.  You also have no control over the page containing the video.  If the video’s URL is changed, you’d have a dead link on your site.  If the video is moved, you could lose the content.  Out-going links have no SEO value.

Did we miss something?  Still confused?  Ask John.

*One way to help SEO if you go this route is to put the video on a separate web page, rather than putting it in-line with other content.  At the least, that additional page will increase the size of your site which can help SEO.




South San Francisco

We enjoyed a trip to South San Francisco last week to photograph a property for our home-owners association management client, Tri-State Enterprises.  Some of the apartments had this view, which even in the rain, looked amazing.

These photos will be used on a new website, currently in production.  Thank you Tri-State!

One of the highlights of this property is the fabulous succulent garden:

Cactus and Succulents


Partnership Marketing

First of all, credit where it’s due.  This fabulous corporate head shot was produced by Lisa DeNeffe Photography – a business we are lucky to work with from time to time.  The model is one of our long-time and favorite clients, Rosemary Camposano of Halo Blow Dry Bars and G3 Strategy.

Lisa and Halo have put together their services in such a great way.  Halo is offering a discount to Lisa’s clients on hair and/or makeup styling before their photo session.  And Lisa is offering Halo clients a discount on a corporate head shot package.

Both Halo and Lisa will send an e-mail campaign to their clients, so Halo will be introduced to potential new clients and vice-versa.  There will also be printed collateral for display and hand-outs and the web page version of the Halo e-mail campaign can be linked to from blogs and social media.  At the least, each business is generating new in-coming links from credible sites to their own web site for a nice search engine optimization boost.  A few such links are below – you’re welcome!

Partnership marketing is a win-win situation.  Your business’ clients win as they get an introduction to a new service or business and they get a nice deal.  Your business wins with exposure, added brand recognition, and SEO.

MPS wins too!  We have the opportunity to work with these great businesses and we developed the e-mail campaign Halo will send.  Here’s the landing page version: Professional hair and makeup + professional photographer = best headshot ever!

And my Facebook post for Halo that reached eighty Facebookers in the hour after being posted.

TIPS! Think about the types of services that would compliment your business and would be of benefit to your clients.  This is such an excellent sample – what could be better than hair and makeup right before a photoshoot?  Find a partner:

  • with an over-lapping target market to your business,
  • with a nice-sized e-mail list and/or blog following,
  • with the ability or contractor able to bring about a quality e-mail campaign and print collateral,
  • and with your level of energy and commitment to work to maximize all possible marketing pathways to make the partnership a success.

Be sure to check out:

Lisa DeNeffe Photography • Town & Country Village • Palo Alto •

Halo Blow Dry Bar • Burlingame, Los Altos, Menlo Park, Palo Alto •

Thanks for reading – Rachel