Google Names LSM A Finalist for Advertising Award

LSM was once again named a finalist for the ‘Growing Businesses Online Awardat the 2018 Google Premier Partner Awards. That means Google considers us and our fellow finalists to be high-performing leaders in digital marketing, product innovation, and client growth. Having won this award last year (we won the “Americas” category), we’re thrilled to be finalist for a second year in a row. A big congrats to our fellow finalists!

So, what have we done to get this far? Well, we showed Google a portfolio of how we helped one of our clients, L.A. Bikini, meet and exceed their expectations for online growth. An emerging beauty franchise, L.A. Bikini enlisted us as their full-service digital marketing agency in 2017, giving us oversight over their SEO, UX, Google Advertising and Facebook Advertising efforts. Our goal? Simple: generate more foot traffic to L.A. Bikini’s studios.

Teaching a Franchise to Optimize

To understand how best to strategize for growth, we performed a full audit of L.A. Bikini’s website, local listings, and previous digital campaigns. We came up with a 5-point strategy that included a simple, targeted Google AdWords campaign that would simultaneously benefit their site’s SEO standing and accomplish our two key objectives:

  1. Positioning their brand and unique sugaring services in front of more people online who are searching for hair removal services, or are demographically-accurate candidates for these services.
  2. Providing users with a better onsite experience that makes it easier for visitors to educate themselves on L.A. Bikini’s offering and convert them into new leads (appointments, memberships).

The results? In six months, organic conversions increased by 228% while paid cost per conversion decreased by 62%. Not too shabby.

Check out the video below or view our case study to learn more about our 5-part strategy to improve L.A. Bikini’s SEO standing and get them more leads.

 

 

Google Enhances ‘Google My Business’ Listing – LSMinute

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Take a minute to learn about what’s new in digital marketing!

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google my business

Google Enhances ‘Google My Business’ Listing

What Happened?

  • Business owners can now highlight products and offers/promotions directly from their Google My Business (GMB) listing. This piggyback’s off last summer’s introduction to Google posts, allowing business owners to post general information about their business and associated events.

What This Means For You

  • Posting information about your business’s separators (special offers, unique products, etc.) onto your GMB listing makes it easier for potential customers to see; they don’t need to make that extra click to your website to find these details. It’s likely to have a positive SEO impact as well. So, in our early opinion, businesses should consider regularly updating their GMB listing with product, service, event, FAQ, and promotional information.

Next Steps

  • We’re already optimizing our clients’ profiles for these updates, and so far, we’re seeing positive returns! Business owners can update their profiles themselves as well. We recommend that you ponder what information should be highlighted on your GMB listing. Then, log into your GMB listing, fill out your product/service information, post about a special/promo, and monitor your GMB analytics to gauge your results!

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Google My Business Video

Google Launches Outstream Ads to Boost Video Reach Beyond YouTube

What Happened?

  • Google just introduced a new video format, Outstream Video Ads, which will operate on mobile devices across Google Video Partner mobile sites and apps. The videos will appear in banners for mobile web placements and as banners, interstitials, in-feed, and native for apps.
What This Means For You
  • This format provides advertisers the ability to reach an audience with video content when a YouTube video isn’t present; thereby expanding the overall reach of Google’s video ad platform.
Next Steps
  • Brands in possession of high-definition video content should investigate implementing Outstream Video Ads into their brand awareness strategy; we’ll be doing this with our clients over the next two months. Brands without high-def video content are “behind the 8-ball;” video content’s only going to become more prevalent over time!

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gdpr

Understanding GDPR

What Happened? 

  • Businesses in the European Union (EU) were originally required to follow data protection guidelines outlined in the Data Protection Directive. The Data Protection Directive was recently replaced by the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). GDPR requires that organizations across the EU follow stricter data protection restrictions.
What This Means For You
  • Although these laws are confined to the EU, any business conducted with EU citizens has to follow GDPR guidelines. So, if you do business in the EU, you need to be made familiar with GDPR guidelines. Here’s a resource to help you get on the right track.

Next Steps
  • To keep in compliance with GDPR guidelines, we updated our privacy policy to reflect the recent changes to data sharing. We also won’t share your data with anyone; however, we never did that to begin with, so nothing’s really changed there.

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nashville food project

 

Recently, part of the LSM team got the opportunity to show off their green thumbs in The Nashville Food Project’s community garden! Who knew weeding and making compost piles could be so much fun?! Watch the video above to see us in action!

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awards

Award Season Continues

We recently picked up the ‘Marketing Effectiveness Campaign – Content Marketing” award at the 2018 Communicator Awards, an ‘Online Campaign: Content Marketing & UX Optimization’ award at the 2018 Summit Creative Awards and are being recognized at the 2018 Small Business Awards here in Nashville (for the 6th time!). None of this could be done without the continued support of our clients. We appreciate each and every one of you, and we’ll work hard to continue producing award-winning results in 2018 and beyond!

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LSM Recognized at the Nashville Business Journal’s 2018 Small Business Awards

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Local Search Masters was selected as an honoree for the Nashville Business Journal’s 2018 Small Business Awards, an award recognizing  small businesses making a big impact in the Nashville business community! Honorees undergo a rigorous judging process in which the judges analyze a variety of criteria, including revenue, marketing plans, employee growth, and overall strategy.

“We’re thrilled that our dedication to innovation and client services has earned us this recognition for the sixth time.” said Chris Conlee, LSM’s COO. “We’re privileged to be considered one of the best small businesses in Nashville, and we look forward to seeing our fellow nominees at the awards ceremony!”

The awards will be hosted on July 26 at The Listening Room Café.  We look forward to celebrating this achievement at the awards ceremony.


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LSM Partners With Waze

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Expanding Our Digital Advertising Platform

To increase our clients’ exposure to potential customers, LSM has become a certified Waze partner. Through this partnership, we’ll have access to a Waze account manager who will support the optimization of our advertisements by providing us with strategies and assistance in creating complex campaigns, trainings, and more.

“LSM is ecstatic to be expanding our digital advertising platform capabilities to Waze,” says Leah Harrington, LSM’s Senior Director of Product Services. “It just makes sense in today’s mobile-driven world to be in the palms of our clients’ consumer base.”

About The Waze Platform

Waze’s community-based platform was created as a way of connecting drivers so that they could work together to deliver updates on driving conditions. As a better navigation tool, Waze provides users with accident reports, police traps, and other hazardous conditions.

The Waze app has become increasingly popular as over 80 million active users utilize the navigation app, and recently, Waze began giving businesses the opportunity to advertise on the app. This opportunity puts businesses in front of potential consumers, making those who advertise through Waze likely to gain more customers simply due to the fact that their information is in front of users moment they need it. Waze research shows that 51% of users chose one business over the other because the information provided was useful. With so many consumers valuing quick, helpful information, we believe that our Waze partnership will be another opportunity to increase certain clients’ visibility–especially that of restaurants, beauty franchises, and fitness facilities.

Justin Nabozna, LSM’s Waze representative, says, “Local Search Masters has done great work on Waze, and we’re excited to partner with LSM moving forward!”

Your Opportunity

We are excited to work with Waze to boost our clients’ brands on this platform. If you think that Waze may be a good option for your franchise, contact us today!


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LSM Volunteers at The Nashville Food Project


It’s Summer Thyme, And For LSM That Means Gardening!

On May 31, a team of LSM employees got to show off their green thumbs at The Nashville Food Project, an organization that grows, cooks, and shares food with people in need throughout Nashville.

How does The Nashville Food Project work?

The Nashville Food Projects allows members of the community to get involved in 3 core ways; working in the gardens and growing fresh produce, cooking meals for those in need, or distributing the meals across Davidson County in food trucks.

What did LSM do?

The LSM team chose to get their hands dirty in the garden and were given a quick orientation and tour before diving in. We shoveled compost, planted cilantro, and weeded everything we could get our hands on. All the dirty work under the Tennessee sun was worth it to help our community, and we were even sent home with a few fresh strawberries and stalks of asparagus! Our volunteer leader, Julia, said “the crew from Local Search Masters was a pleasure to host in the garden.  They brought lots of enthusiasm, worked really hard, and got a lot accomplished in the community garden on a very hot, humid day!”

Well, how was it?

All in all, we had a wonderful day The Nashville Food Project’s beautiful garden and hope to go back soon. Maybe we’ll cook or deliver the food next time! Check out our video about the experience here.

Support Nashville’s local nonprofits!

Local Search Masters is proud to have organizations like The Nashville Food Project helping our communities. For more information on The Nashville Food Project, visit www.thenashvillefoodproject.org.

LSM Wins ‘Marketing Effectiveness: Campaign – Content Marketing’ Award


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Thanks to our work with Brain Balance Achievement Centers, Local Search Masters won the ‘Marketing Effectiveness: Campaign – Content Marketing’ award at the 2018 Communicator Awards. We are excited that our Google advertising and user experience work was such a success!

Founded in 1995 as an international awards program, the Communicator Awards recognize businesses who exhibit excellence in marketing and communication. Sanctioned and judged by the Academy of Interactive & Visual Arts, the Communicator Awards program receives over 6,000 entries from large and small agencies every year. Winners are determined based on their innovation and craft in the field.



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“We appreciate our partnership with Brain Balance Achievement Centers, and I’m thrilled that our work with their brand is being recognized by such a prestigious panel of judges” says Local Search Masters’ CMO, Matt Job.”

By using content marketing and UX optimization, LSM was able to increase conversions for Brain Balance Achievement Centers by 437% and decrease cost per lead by 370%.

Congratulations to our fellow winners like IBM, Deloitte, and Toyota! We are honored to be recognized alongside such prestigious brands!


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Google Publishes Case Study About LSM’s Advertising


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Last August, we were named the winner of the ‘Growing Businesses Online Award’ in North America at the 2017 Google Premier Partner Awards! The award recognizes the top-performing Google Premier Partner in North America for their contributions to digital marketing, product innovation, and client growth.

A perk of winning the award is Google publishing a formal case study about the services performed and results provided. Check it out below and read how LSM increased Brain Balance Achievement Centers’ PPC conversion rate by 437 percent!




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Watch this video and learn how LSM’s work drove a 225 percent increase in website traffic and a 381 percent return on investment for Brain Balance Achievement Centers.




Contact us today and learn how we’ll provide your brand with exceptional results.






Do PPC Campaigns Affect Website Rankings?


Often times when speaking with folks about LSM’s services, I hear this question:

  • “Will running PPC (pay-per-click) ads help my organic search rankings, and vice versa, does SEO help my paid advertising efforts?”

The short answer to these questions is: directly, no. However, there are components of each of these scenarios that CAN affect the other indirectly. Let’s take a deeper look.


In a Search Engine Results Page (SERP), the first listings you typically see are paid advertisements that are served through auction networks like Google AdWords or Bing Ads. These ads are what we refer to as pay-per-click (PPC) ads, meaning the advertiser only pays when a visitor clicks on the ad.

    Beneath these advertisements are the local map listings (otherwise known as the “Local Pack” section) and the organic search results. These results are populated based on the search engine’s own proprietary algorithm, and it’s impossible to directly “buy” any visibility or placement in this portion of the SERP (though Google recently tested running ads in the Local Pack section).

     This is where search engine optimization (SEO) comes into play. Agencies such as Local Search Masters perform SEO best practices to help inform search engines that your website has a better answer to the user’s search query than other sites on the web.


While there’s no direct relationship between paid traffic and improved search rankings, having any traffic to your site can help signal to Google’s algorithm that your site is trustworthy. Another positive side effect of running PPC campaigns is that you have much greater insight into which keywords generate revenue – this knowledge is a gold mine for optimizing those pages even further organically. Andrew Girdwood, Media Innovations Director at DigitasLBi says, “It is true to say that a combined PPC and SEO campaign can drive more traffic than two separate [PPC] campaigns.”


There’s a bit more tangible evidence that a well SEO’d website will perform better as a destination for a paid advertising campaign. We predominantly support two ad networks: Google Adwords and the Facebook Ads network. With Google Adwords, a large component that determines the cost of a click deals with “Quality Score,” a number between 1-10 that Adwords gives your ad based on numerous factors, such as expected click-through-rate, ad relevance, and landing page experience, the most pertinent factor here. If you have a well-optimized landing page, your quality score will improve, which can increase the number of ad impressions/clicks and reduce the amount of money it takes to garner those clicks, i.e. reduced CPC. Facebook also employs a rating factor called “Relevance Score” that acts similarly to Google’s Quality Score.


Remember, Google and other search engines like Bing and Yahoo strive to serve the most relevant search results they possibly can based on what a user is looking for and what content is available. Jim Yu from Search Engine Land says, “By intelligently integrating your paid and organic search activity, synergies provide greater results in SERP domination.” A unified SEO and PPC strategy can help both organic efforts and paid efforts simultaneously if it’s done correctly.

What is an Ad Extension and How Can It Help Your Business?


Want to give your prospective customers more reasons to click on your ads? Ad extensions do just that.  These extra pieces of information – such as your business address, website or phone number – can be added to your pay-per-click ads to better serve your customers’ needs.

Google and other search engines will tend to rank ads with extensions higher than ads without. Why? Google values the quality of an advertisement when calculating its rankings. Since ad extensions provide more information to a customer, they are viewed as superior ads.

An Infographic on the importance of ad extensions


Ads in higher positions  have higher visibility and lead to higher click-through rates. Below are some of the types of ad extensions you can use to provide more value to both your customers and your advertisements.


Call extensions place a small button on the side of your ad that allows customers to directly call your business from mobile devices. A call extension would work great if your business requires customers to make phone calls to either purchase products or schedule services.

An example of an ad extension


Location extensions show the address of your business and help nearby customers find you. This type of extension works well if your  business has multiple locations and you want your customers to know when they’re in close proximity.


Review extensions show your business’s positive reviews from third-party sites directly in the advertisement. If your business has great reviews or provides a product or service that many consumers research before purchasing, this extension would be useful for you.


Callout extensions let you show additional descriptive text about what your business offers directly underneath your ad. If your business runs any special offers and wants to share them with your customers, callout extensions would be ideal for your ads.


Sitelink extensions provide links to different pages of your website. They give your customers quicker access to the content  they want to see as it pertains to your ad.


Google offers several other extensions that your business can use. Have a mobile app? The app extension links directly to the app store where customers can download it.  Want to show off the 5-star rating of your e-commerce site? A seller rating extension shows the overall rating of your online business. Have high quality survey results to share? A consumer rating extension highlights your survey results.  All of these extensions serve  specific purposes, so it’s important to identify what exactly your customers might want to see before adding an extension. By doing so, you stand to serve better ads that produce higher value.

For more information on ad extensions and how they can help your company receive more value from its advertisements, email us (bizdev@localsearchmasters.com) or call us at 615-387-9157. You can also visit our web page about online advertising to learn more about Google pay-per-click ads, or you can go straight to Google’s web page about ad extensions.

Don’t Get Blocked: 6 Tips to Stay in Front of Consumers

According to a May 2015 report from the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), a specialized agency of the United Nations, nearly 3.2 billion people use the Internet worldwide; up from 738 million in 2000.

How does one go about introducing all of these potential consumers to their brand? Through effective digital ad campaigns of course! Google’s Display Network already reaches 90% of global Internet users. Mix that with ads on Google’s Search Network, Facebook, and YouTube and you’re in front of almost every viable customer in the world.

Effective ad campaigns can do wonderful things for a business. Among other things they can:

Benefits of online advertising

Pretty powerful stuff!

 

Businesses Flew Too Close to The Sun

Remember Uncle Ben in Spider-Man? He said, “with great power comes great responsibility.” The same message applies to digital advertising and, unfortunately, we’ve seen too many companies abuse this great power. These bozos:

  • Put the wrong message in front of the wrong person at the wrong time.
  • Send people to poorly designed landing pages that have little to do with the originally advertised message.
  • Direct people off web browsers and into mobile app stores. Everybody loves that one, right?

People need something to combat these maddening ads ruining their digital experiences; a “digital advertising Spider-Man” if you will. Our hero doesn’t come in the form of a guy web-slinging around town, unfortunately. It comes in the form of ad blocking softwares and new privacy features that block brands from showing up on the Internet’s most popular sites.

 

Witness to The Blocking Revolution

Over the last few years we’ve witnessed the rising availability of softwares and new personal privacy preferences that modify who and what gets to track your “online persona” and place their ads in front of you:

  • According to a September 2014 report completed by PageFair and Adobe, nearly 150 million people have downloaded ad-blocking software.
  • Overall add blocking software downloads are increasing by 43% each year.
  • Popular search engines and social networks such as Google, YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn give users the ability to close ads immediately, effectively blocking that brand from ever showing up in front of them on that site again.
  • The new Apple iOS 9 software allows ad-blocking software to be distributed in the App Store, and they’re dominating the Apple download charts.

The takeaway: ad-blocking technology is here and growing in popularity. Between ad blocking software and website privacy features, businesses that continue running poorly managed digital advertising campaigns will end up wasting money and hindering their brand’s ability to flourish.

 

How to Avoid Being Blocked

All is not lost! On many sites people still need to manually remove your ads from ever showing up again, and many people are still too busy or too lazy to take that extra step. Even when someone purchases ad blocking software, they can modify their personal settings and allow certain ads to show up on certain sites. Your responsibility as a business is to get the right message, in the right format, on the right sites, at the right times.

Here are 6 tips that can help your ads stand out and decrease your chances of being manually blocked:

 

1: Be a Good Business!

This one isn’t rocket science. If people loathe your business they’ll most likely block your online ads, even if you’re running a terrific campaign and offering a product they desperately want. So remember to provide an excellent product or service along with excellent customer service on the back end!

 

2: Follow The “3 C’s” Principle

The ‘3 C’s’ principle states that a strong digital advertisement will be compelling, concise, and clear:

  • Compelling: include clear pictures, video elements, animation and/or interactive elements in your ads. It requires more time and effort, but can result in an increase in traffic compared to standard banner ads.
  • Concise: convey key points about your solution and use language that’s easy to read and understand, ideally involving words and phrases used by your customers.
  • Clear: communicate one strong message about one particular solution that will resonate with the consumer.

 

3: Make Sure You Have a Quality Landing Page

Make sure that the web page(s) you direct your visitors to reflect everything that initially interested them about the ad. It should be engaging, simple to navigate, informative and easy for visitors to convert into new leads. Use conversion optimization softwares like Optimizely and VWO to help you improve the effectiveness of your landing pages.

 

4: Show Up In The Right Spots

Research where your target audience spends their time online, and then set up advertising campaigns that gets your brand onto those sites. Before advertising on the Google Search Network, do some keyword research to see which keywords make the most sense for you to buy ad space on. If you’re doing Display Ads, make sure that your ads are showing up on sites likely visited by your target audience. Don’t spend money or energy buying ad space on sites that your audience never visits.

 

5: Don’t Be Afraid to Make Changes

Continually running poorly performing ads isn’t helping your cause. Track the results of your ads, analyze the findings on a regular basis and then spend more money on what’s working and less on what’s not. Rinse and repeat.

 

6: Don’t Overload Your Customers

Pushing the same message in the same place for too long can overwhelm consumers and make them lose interest in your brand. Changing the format and placement of your ads keeps them from becoming stale, and gives an entirely new group of people the opportunity to learn about your brand.

 

Summary

The increasing popularity of ad blocking software and online privacy preferences will make it more difficult for brands to position themselves in front of the online population. The best way to minimize your brand’s chances of getting blocked is to create compelling ads that show up to the right people, with the right message, at the right time.