Clutch Recognizes LSM as a Top SEO Consultant – 2017


On November 30, 2017, Clutch announced Local Search Masters as one of the top search engine (SEO) consultants in the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom. To determine its nominees, Clutch assesses agencies on over a dozen qualitative and quantitative factors. Being recognized by Clutch as a top SEO consultant means our services demonstrate excellence in digital marketing and design.

“Digital marketing is changing rapidly,” said Clutch Analyst Ilse Heine. “As consumer behavior changes and technology advances, businesses have to consider more factors. For example, without a strong organic and paid search strategy, content won’t be found by online users. Each element connects to the other, and these high-performing agencies prove that they not only are experts in their specific practice but also have a clear understanding of how their piece connects to a larger strategy.”

LSM is incredibly proud of Clutch’s acknowledgement, and we’re especially glad that our dedication to understanding and developing effective digital marketing strategies is helping multi-location businesses generate more leads and brand awareness.

Curious about partnering with LSM? Contact us today for a free consultation! Not curious? Maybe reviewing a few award-winning case studies will change your mind!

LSM Named Finalist at 2018 Best in Business Awards


On January 28, the Nashville Business Journal announced the finalists for the 2018 Best in Business Awards. Now in their 8th year, the awards use a panel of local judges to select which companies deserve this recognition based on profitability, employee engagement, and community involvement. For the 6th time in 7 years, we’ve been named a finalist among companies in the 26-100 employee category!

“We’re pumped to once again be apart of the Nashville Business Journal’s Best in Business Awards, and not just because of the delicious chicken lunch!” says CEO Trevor Emerson. “Receiving regular recognitions from the Business Journal was a goal of ours when we started 12 years ago, and to now have 6 nominations in is very satisfying.”


LSM recognized at 2015 Best in Business Awards




A chunk of our team looks forward to attending the 2018 Best in Business Award luncheon on March 8 where the category winners will be revealed. LSM is extremely proud of the nomination, and is thankful for all of our clients who‘ve given us the opportunity to partner with their brands and grow their bottom-line!

Interested in working with one of the best businesses in Nashville? Contact us today!

Brand Voice: What You Need To Know



by: Dayna Lucio 


Your brand’s voice is what customers should hear whenever they encounter your brand, product, or service. Brand voice spans all content, including marketing material, social media channels, and even the in-store experience. Having a consistent, strong voice gives your brand a personality, sets you apart from competitors and builds connections with consumers.  Essentially, it is the persona created for your brand that is conveyed in language, tone, and purpose. It’s what your brand is and what your brand isn’t put together in one unified voice.

Your brand voice is not a mission statement or a simple few-word tagline. It’s more than that.

  • It tells your brand’s story.
  • It defines the characteristics that make your brand stand out (i.e. gritty, tough, bold).
  • It creates authentic connections. Authenticity helps to build relationships between brands and their customers. You wouldn’t trust a person who you didn’t think was trustworthy or authentic, so why would you expect your customers to trust a brand that didn’t exude those same characteristics?

Think about the brands that you feel passionate about. Do they have strong personalities or voices that come to mind? Of course they do.


The message and tone of your brand is conveyed in the voice that is used throughout both internal and external communications, including:

  • Website Content
  • Employee Onboarding / Company Culture Documents
  • Marketing Materials (Brochures, Fliers, Ads)
  • Newsletters and blogs
  • Social Media Profiles


After you’ve found your brand voice, it’s important to use it as a guide for all content that is produced so that everything is consistent. Creating a guide for your brand allows you to easily outline the do’s and don’ts along with any other key elements so that everyone in the company is on the same page. Keeping your voice consistent across all media can help to build customer connections, tell stories, and make your brand stand out amongst others in a crowded industry.


*For additional information on brand voice and messaging, contact us today.

Snapchat in a World of Paid Ads

Sowell Train Awards

The Sowell Train Awards aim to provide a little insight into the latest developments in the digital marketing world. From Google algorithm updates to the newest social media features, I take a look at the biggest trends and changes in the field, give a little analysis, and apply a rating system based on the value that each development provides to marketers. Highly valuable developments are awarded a whopping 5 choo choos, and not-so-promising changes get only 1.

Snapchat’s recent rejection of Facebook raised some eyebrows and got the world wondering whether a company that relies solely on donations for revenue is potentially worth more than $3 billion. What many would call a risky move implies that Snapchat CEO Evan Spiegel has his own plans for the app’s growth and development. Presumably, generating a consistent flow of revenue will be a major goal.

Snapchat has ventured into advertising by providing limited advertising capabilities, and some companies, such as Taco Bell, have started to dip their toes in. By creating an account, adding “friends,” and sending Snapchats to their “friends,” these companies have been able to market their products to users who accept their “friend requests.” However, there are a number of serious limitations associated with advertising on Snapchat.

All of this leaves us wondering – what should marketers expect in terms of paid advertisements on Snapchat?

Facebook’s offer to buy Snapchat isn’t the first time that the social media giant has made moves to purchase a successful picture and video sharing mobile app. In 2012, Facebook purchased Instagram for approximately $1 billion. More recently, Instagram announced that it would start to feature advertisements.

Perhaps a clue to the answer lies in the development of ads on Instagram. The most blatant similarity between Snapchat and Instagram is that both focus on drawing the user into a visual experience. It makes sense that both of their ad formats will not only rely heavily on pictures rather than text to convey messages but will also cater to the individual characteristics of each service.

Still in its infant stages of development, Instagram features ads from select brands such as Burberry, Ben and Jerry’s, and General Electric. The success of these ads will probably lie in their ability to convey an idea with little to no text – a picture that is worth a thousand words, if you will. Because these ads will have to be visually appealing, this presents both a challenge and an opportunity to marketers. Products like clothing, cars, and delicious ice cream, the value of which already lies partially in the ability to be visually appealing, will probably have an advantage in the Instagram ad world. Consequently, marketers will have to be smart about deciding whether to market a given product on Instagram.

This leaves us to surmise the future of advertising on Snapchat. Like other social channels, Snapchat will have to adapt ads to a format that fits the characteristics of the app without being excessively annoying to users. Thus, while keeping in mind the (albeit limited) success of their current advertising ventures, it is important to consider how – and if – Snapchat will provide value to marketers as time goes on.

Limited insight into user data is a major challenge for Snapchat. With Instagram’s access to at least some of Facebook’s massive conglomeration of user data, they are set up nicely for ad targeting. Snapchat? Not so much. While companies can add users on Snapchat, and one could argue that users who accept a company’s “friend request” are a decent market because they have already expressed interest, adding random users is by no means sufficient for ad targeting moving forward. Since user data is crucial to a successful ad campaign, Snapchat will almost certainly have to figure out a way to obtain this information. The current model of Snapchat is simply not conducive to gathering data. Whereas Facebook users express their personal preferences through page “likes,” personal profile data, and more, Snapchat users simply send pictures and videos that disappear and don’t provide much information in their user profiles beyond their phone numbers, email addresses, and ages.

The most distinguishing feature of Snapchat is its use as a medium for content that isn’t intended to be lasting. This presents another challenge for marketers, who will presumably have to create ads that somehow match that characteristic. Unlike Instagram, where users can publically express their approval of an ad by favoriting or commenting, Snapchat cannot offer a similar service without changing the very nature of the app because everything disappears so quickly.

Although the advertising future for Snapchat certainly looks less promising than for Instagram, I don’t think that hope is lost.

The new “My Story” feature could be a lifeline for the future of Snapchat advertisements. With the new “My Story” feature on Snapchat, users can choose to allow pictures and videos to last for 24 hours before deletion – much longer than the previous maximum of a few seconds – and users can view a “My Story” multiple times within the 24 hours of its creation. “Friends” of any user who has shared a Snapchat on “My Story” will get a notification of the “My Story” and will have the option of whether or not to view it.

While the option of viewing an ad multiple times might not improve the effectiveness of most ads, users presumably will want to watch a few highly interesting or humorous ads more than once – you only have to look to the hype of Super Bowl ads to see the evidence. And although many users might not choose to open the “My Story,” human curiosity will probably get the better of many of us.

Additionally, the “My Story” feature allows users to string Snapchats together in a particular sequence, and the sequence can be longer than Snapchat maximum length of 10 seconds. Although successful ads certainly can be 10 seconds or less, the ability to create a longer ad increases the versatility of Snapchat advertising.

Even more than with Instagram ads, Snapchat ads will have to be able to grab a user’s attention and convey a message immediately – and be at least mildly entertaining at the same time. The challenge to marketers utilizing Snapchat? Your ad must make an impression that is not only immediate but has enough of a lasting impression that your message lives in the mind of the viewer long after the advertisement has disappeared from the screen.

While I am skeptical of Snapchat’s ability to grab a large audience in a reasonable way, I think that the widespread adoption by so many young people means that it could be viable option.

Therefore, I give Snapchat advertising three choo choos for future digital marketers.

train train train

Hannah on Google+

 

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SEO Moneyball: Hashtags are Becoming More #Important

Nashville SEO associate Jackson Martin's Moneyball image is shown, featuring a man on a baseball diamond.

Google+ finally bit the bullet and added hashtags in May, joining other major social media networks in utilizing the functionality to let users click on a hashtag to search related posts.

The search giant has now taken its use of hashtags even further, adding the feature to normal Google search results. Now, if you were to search something like #SEO you would see this on your results page:

a screenshot of a google search for #SEO

The right side is a listing of all the posts on Google+ using the hashtag, and under that you have options to search the same hashtag on either Twitter or Facebook. Meanwhile, the normal results page has posts using the hashtag on sites like Tumblr or Pinterest and regular webpages that use the function too.

If you are signed in to Google, the results on the right side will feature posts from people you follow or public posts.

Google engineer Zaheed Sabur explained the new function in a Google+ post:

In May we added related hashtags to the Google+ stream, turning any post into an opportunity to go deeper and explore what’s interesting to you. Today we’re bringing a richer hashtag experience to Google Search. Here’s how it works:

– When you search on Google for a hashtag, say [#AmericasCup] or [#WaterfallWednesday], a set of relevant Google+ posts may appear to the right of regular results.
– You’ll only be able to see posts that have been shared publicly or shared with you.
– If you click on any of these posts you’ll go to Google+, where you’ll see the full set of relevant posts.
– You’ll also see links to search for these hashtags on other social sites.

This means that utilizing hashtags in your social posts (especially Google+) is important- now more than ever. Not only does the function allow your messages to be discovered by more people with relevant interests, but now it gives you free, organic search real estate if leveraged properly.

Joining the conversation around relevant topics to your business gives you the opportunity to gain credibility and visibility. Being able to join that conversation on the first page of Google search results can multiply each of those tenfold.

Not using hashtags now becomes, if nothing else, irresponsible social marketing by a company. Every post doesn’t need one, but your brand needs to be visible in these searches. SEO companies already do so much keyword research as it is; taking another five minutes to see what’s trending on social media only makes sense given its greater significance as we move forward.

Jackson on Google+

 

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SEO Moneyball: Mobile Browsing is Up. How Do You Take Advantage?

Nashville SEO associate Jackson Martin's Moneyball image is shown, featuring a man on a baseball diamond.

We keep seeing reports that mobile internet usage is on the rise- and in a big way. Mobile Internet usage now accounts for one out of every three digital consumption minutes. The increased amount of mobile visits to websites is leading many companies to alter their web strategy and tailor it to their mobile users.

Visits aren’t everything, and, as with any data on web traffic, we need to look closer at the numbers and figure out what the real solution should be moving forward. Like most marketing strategies, the answer is going to be different for every company and every industry.

Growth in Visits Smartphone vs Desktop

A BrightEdge Mobile Share report found that mobile traffic to sites has increased 125% since 2012, with the biggest gains coming in the Software/Technology and Financial Services industries.

Industries Leading Market Growth of Smartphone vs Desktop

This is a tremendous amount of growth for mobile visits, an amount that cannot be ignored. More and more, we must learn to think of the mobile user during web design.

The problem comes during the most important step: conversions. Mobile users convert at under a third the rate that desktop and even tablet users do. People just do not buy at the same rate on mobile, and BrightEdge says, “”Marketers need to a do better job at addressing the user experience on smartphones [by] paying close attention to common mistakes such as smartphone-only 404s and featuring app download messages that may disrupt the user experience for visitors to that page.”

Conversion Rate Smartphone vs Desktop

Mobile browsing should be a simplified experience, but when these disruptions occur it is difficult to salvage any conversions from customers.

“Marketers have understood for a few years that they need mobile sites to take advantage of the explosion in mobile traffic, but many have existing sites that were not built for a smaller screen and do not take into account the user experience on mobile vs. desktop vs. tablet,” said Brad Mattick, BrightEdge’s VP of Marketing. “Each device is unique in how consumers interact and engage, and marketing activities should reflect this. Leaders are taking the time to develop responsive web sites- our customer Microsoft for example has optimized their site for all device types and offers a fantastic targeted experience.”

There are a few industries that convert better on mobile than on desktop. The media and entertainment sector has seen conversions on mobile connections skyrocket to 1.6 times better than desktop users.

Industries With Highest Conversion Rate Smartphone vs Desktop

In this sector, along with the other industries that perform well on mobile conversions (real estate and commerce), there seems to be a strong correlation with the presence of onsite videos and other multi-media content. Videos and other multi-media content feel natural to consume on smartphones, and so users interact with the entire piece of content without needing or wanting to switch platforms.

The results of the study clearly show that not everyone is prepared for the mobile browsing boom that is happening right now. While tablet users tend to convert at the same rate as desktop users, mobile conversions lag far behind. In order to maintain conversion rates across the board, marketers must optimize their site for mobile or be left behind.

Jackson on Google+

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