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.
“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!
During the 2016 holiday season, our team donated gifts to the students at Blessed Babies Learning Academy. The team contributed to a fund, matched 100 percent by Local Search Masters, to purchase puzzles, books, school supplies and Play-Doh. It took a few tries for “Santa” to make it over to the academy thanks to a little winter weather, but we finally arrived as the kids were beginning their day. The excitement shown on the their faces as they opened Santa’s gift sack was priceless, and their appreciative spirits lifted ours that much higher! Merry belated Christmas and Happy belated New Years!
As part of the awards package for being an All-Star, LSM has received an all-expenses-paid invitation to Google’s All-Stars Summit at Google HQ in Mountain View, California. The summit will include a tour of the “Googleplex”, one-on-one consultations with a few of Google’s online marketing experts, advanced training and, hopefully, lots of free Google merchandise!
“We’re very excited and proud about the opportunity to get back out to Mountain View and spend time with our Google Agency Partners and other Google personnel” says CEO Trevor Emerson.
LSM is a member of the Google Partners network, a membership earned by passing Google advertising exams, adhering to paid search marketing best practices, and delivering quality results for our clients. Beyond providing us with the opportunity to receive all-expenses-paid travel to fun locations, our partnership with Google provides us access to additional personnel, tools, trainings and special events.
Upon our return from Google HQ, LSM will revisit this post and include additional information about certain things we learned and how they can help businesses generate more business from their web presence.
We can all agree that proper SEO can be beneficial for your business, but you might not understand just how beneficial such practices can be for the growth and sustained success of your company. To keep you both informed and entertained, we’ve compiled a list of the best arguments below.
1. SEO has become a necessity, not a luxury.
In the modern business climate, utilizing the Internet correctly is not an added bonus; rather, it’s necessary for the long-term wellbeing of any company. If you don’t take advantage of the online world to capture new business, chances are your competitors will. Why would you sit back and let others draw in all your potential customers? Even if you’re not interested in using Google primarily to drive sales, SEO is still vital because it’s a great way to enhance a company’s comprehensive web presence (for more, see #4).
2. It builds trust and credibility.
How often do you ever go beyond the first page of Google? Rarely, if ever? You’re not alone; most people rarely move past the “Go” to muck around in the “ooooooogle.” It’s not just because they find what they’re looking for on the first page; people sometimes don’t. Rather, it’s because people inherently trust results on the first page more. We know that results that rank highly are probably both relevant to what we need and likely trustworthy businesses (such is our faith in the King of Search Engines). This is why most people try a different search when they can’t find what they need after the first page or two. They’d rather try their luck changing the search terms than go on a wild goose chase through the backwoods of later results pages where quality links are few and far between.
3. It helps ensure a consistently strong message.
Not too long ago, it used to be that you only had to worry about your company’s image on one small plot of digital territory: the company website. In the modern age of business, however, this no longer cuts it. In addition to your website, there are all sorts of places where your company’s name can pop up, including (but by no means limited to) Google Places, tons of review sites, directories, social networks, and blogs. While this can certainly be an opportunity for your company, it can also cause problems for your business’s image if its web presence is not managed correctly. Poorly filled out directory listings, low social media activity, and bad reviews are just a few examples of this. An SEO specialist can take care of all of these things for you, finding the various places on the Web where your company shows up and ensuring that the message, wherever it’s found, is characterized by both excellence and consistency.
4. It brings in the right traffic.
Most people understand that SEO helps increase the online visibility of a company, which in turn leads to a greater number of people viewing your site. While volume undeniably matters, the quality of that volume is also important. SEO improves the quality of your traffic by targeting the right kinds of consumers, namely, those that are looking for goods or services that your company actually provides. Websites that bring in more quality customers usually see a corresponding increase in the number of views actually converting into sales.
5. SEO is consistent with the intentions of those searching.
We all know that certain types of advertising, especially on the Internet, can be extremely annoying. Pop-ups and intrusive banner ads are like online mosquitoes that we have to swat away from time to time. To make matters worse, the material is usually completely irrelevant to the interests of the person browsing the Web. Advertisements like these are hardly ever popular with consumers and tend to turn people away from the business in question.
One of the great things about SEO is that it’s a process that’s molded around the desires of the consumer. Instead of pushing your way into the minds of unsuspecting people who just want to leisurely surf the Web, SEO allows companies to welcome in people that already want their services in the first place. You’re not trying to sell ice to an eskimo. You’re simply making it very easy for the Eskimo (and the other thousands that desperately need an ice salesman) to find you should he or she happen to run out of ice.
6. It helps you take advantage of free advertising.
Google is your friend. The King of Search Engines wants to take your business and show it to the whole world (or at least those people that type in certain keywords), but it can’t do this unless you work with it. If you’re not, at the very least, filling your website and Google+ Places page with respectable content and doing little things like optimizing titles, meta descriptions, and other media like photos and videos, you are missing out on valuable, free advertising space. Make it easy for search engines to spot you, and you’ll make it easy for your customers as well.
7. ROI can be monitored easily.
Unlike many other marketing initiatives, the return on your investment into SEO is fairly easy to analyze. You can make use of software like Raventools.com or www.seomoz.org/plans to track all sorts of data, including but not limited to: increases in traffic to your website over any period of time, the sources from which traffic is coming to your site, changes in search results rankings for specific keyword terms, social media activity, and even bounce rate (the percentage of page viewers that leave your site immediately once it loads). A good SEO specialist can track all of this data for you and update you via weekly reports. This will allow businesses to see definitive results so that they can understand exactly what they’re getting for their investments.
8. Even if your business ranks well on results pages, it might not stay there.
In the unlikely case that you’ve managed to luck out and place highly on Google without any significant optimization, you’re still at risk to lose such a prime position in the future. Google comes up with cutely named (Penguin, Panda, etc.) updates to its algorithm regularly, and sometimes these changes can cause significant ranking decreases for businesses. SEO companies make it their priority to understand how these differences can affect search results, and they help their clients adapt their websites to the new SEO best practices. No matter if it’s Platypus, Pony, Parakeet, Peacock, or Polliwog, future Google updates can seriously damage your online presence as a whole and, ultimately, (Gasp!) your sales. Investing in SEO will allow you to adapt to these changes more quickly and easily.
9. Offline sales benefit, too.
SEO doesn’t just generate online sales. These days, many consumers choose to do some research on the Internet before making a purchase at a traditional brick-and-mortar store. A recent study found that 89% of consumers utilize Internet search engines to make purchasing decisions. They won’t learn more information about your product if they can’t find it or if they are led astray by your competition. Even if page views don’t convert directly to sales on the website, they might soon become sales at your physical store. Ranking highly is just as important for consumer research purposes as it is for sales. The higher up on the results page you are, the more likely viewers will look into the products and services you offer. This leads to increased sales- in cyberspace and in the real world. It’s that simple.
10. SEO is a champion of small businesses… and large ones.
As mentioned before, SEO is cost-efficient. You don’t need to have boatloads of cash to make yourself more visible and more relevant online. By utilizing free services like the Google Keyword Tool and Ubersuggest, businesses that don’t want to invest a lot of money into SEO can see improvements at little to no cost. Thus, even companies that don’t have Apple-like amounts of cash can still have a chance to be seen and compete for searches relevant to their industry. Still, if you’re interested in competing long term, you’ll probably want to start paying an SEO expert to link-build for you. If you do decide to pay a firm to do a more comprehensive SEO job for you, the sales generated from their work should more than make up for the investment, provided you did your homework beforehand.
While the cost effectiveness is something that both large and small companies can appreciate, larger companies also stand to benefit in their own way. Larger companies often have multiple locations in different regions; this can mean multiple listings on review sites as well as more Google Places, Facebook pages, and Twitter accounts to manage. SEO specialists can help you keep these various sites positive, informative, and updated. Further, as mentioned in #4, they can ensure that the message is consistent across all these locations and pages.
11. It is often more relevant than paid advertising.
I could write a fairly convincing paragraph explaining this, but just click here then come back. I’ll wait.
If you were too lazy to click, here’s a good summary: organic SEO, which you can do, in part,for free, drives over three quarters of all search traffic, whereas paid search advertising, whichyou have to pay for, receives less than 25%.
Don’t get the wrong idea about paid search advertisements. Utilizing paid links can be a good investment for a few reasons. It can be a quick way to get some Page 1 real estate if your organic rankings are abysmal. Paid search can also be the right decision if the company website has a high conversion rate and/or a high margin on each sale to make up for the money spent. However, keep in mind that consumers can be wary of clicking on these, as advertisements inherently have agendas, while organic search results (in the minds of consumers, anyway) do not. Furthermore, paid ads garner more clicks when users know of and trust the brand, so a well known company like Zappos.com or Domino’s Pizza is more likely to have success with this sort of campaign than less reputable and/or less recognizable companies.
12. SEO creates a better customer experience.
This is true for a number of reasons. First, it makes your business easier to find, which customers appreciate, especially when they’re looking for your company specifically. Second, optimized sites are easier to navigate, as these sites generally tag content, provide clear, explicit links, and include helpful sitemaps. Further, well-optimized sites integrate more seamlessly with blogs, social media sites, and directory pages. This allows the user to get a more well-rounded snapshot of your company.
13. You can capitalize on slow-to-adapt competition.
Even though the Internet has been around for a while now, some companies still don’t invest in the long term well-being of their web presence. If you’re lucky enough to be competing with companies that don’t, you can take a lot of potential sales that would have gone elsewhere. Unless your product or service isn’t really ever sought on the Internet (A lemonade stand, maybe?), your business can make respectable gains in market share by being the dominant online presence in the industry.
14. Experts can do it for you.
If you don’t have the time and expertise to dive into the intricacies of SEO yourself, you can place your web presence in the hands of people who will make it their priority. Depending on the scope of the project, SEO and related operations can be tedious and complicated. Why not let the people who know what they’re doing and who enjoy the work just do it for you? If everyone focuses their time and energy where they’re excellent, then everybody wins.
If you still aren’t convinced, check out our LSM Video Testimonials and see what the people we have worked with have to say about SEO.
At Local Search Masters, we provide social media management services to clients of various sizes in a number of different industries. Part of the work that goes into these services includes monitoring these social media accounts for positive and negative feedback from friends and followers and responding appropriately. Recently, I had to deal with a situation involving an unhappy customer who had made his discontent known on one of our client’s Facebook pages. It provided me with a nice refresher course on how to react in a social media PR crisis. Here are the basics:
Address the comment as quickly as possible. In addition to the fact that a quick response makes your company appear more competent and more responsive to your customers, you also don’t want to allow the bad vibes to fester. The original poster might comment again out of anger over your lack of response. Additionally, others who have only experienced mild dissatisfaction and have kept quiet until now might be encouraged to pile on and voice their problems publicly, too.
Be sincerely apologetic without making excuses. Excuses are a way of deflecting blame, and making them will signal to the customer that you’re more concerned with your image than you are with meeting their needs. Don’t make it all about you. Also, never imply that the customer is at fault, even if they are.
Reach out to the disgruntled customer. If the person is so upset that they’ve taken to social media to execute their vendetta against your brand, chances are you’ve done something wrong. It’s quite appropriate for you to offer something in exchange for the problems that you’ve allegedly caused; refunds and free products and services are common remedies.
Ask permission before taking out the trash. When people talk badly about our brands online, we tend to panic and have a natural impulse to delete the comment. If the comment is slanderous or clearly put on your Facebook by a fake troll account (a fine line to walk, to be sure), then go ahead and delete it. However, for legitimate claims of wrongdoing, you should not instantly delete the comment. Later on, once you’ve addressed the issue with the customer and left him or her adequately compensated, you should ask his or her permission to take it down from your profile.
Remember, these little social media emergencies aren’t the end of the world. Take the opportunity to show your follower base that maintaining a certain standard of quality in your products and services is important to you, as are the opinions and feelings of your customers. If handled properly, you can actually turn these snafus into positive PR. Make amends with and compensate the person (if they have a legitimate complaint) and turn a malcontent into a proud brand advocate by showing that you care. You’ll increase the lifetime value of your customer by making it more likely that he or she will continue to make purchases with your company, and, if you’ve done a truly exceptional damage control job, you’ll give the customer a great story to tell his or her friends (AKA, new customers).
Looking for more advice? Check out these great posts!