Every third search query on Google is a local search query, and 90% of all consumers use the Internet to find local businesses and service providers. Twenty-one per cent of all consumers even do this every day. But it’s not just search engines that have discovered local searches for themselves. One in five people in Germany has also made online or hybrid purchases via social media channels. This shows that consumers have very strong local ties and are happy to take advantage of the many benefits that local stationery and office supply retailers can offer over purely online stores.
Firstly, it is vital you understand which channels are mainly used for local digital searches.
Online searches for local business and product information are done using search engines such as Google (89%), and social media channels such as Facebook (48%) and Instagram (32%). Search engines answer the specific search query, e.g. for an “office chair” or “satchel” to start school. Selling via social media platforms – so-called social selling – works in exactly the opposite way. Here, consumers aren’t necessarily looking for a specific product, but are inspired by their social media feed and associated influencer or marketing campaigns to make impulse purchases
1. Locally optimized websites
A locally optimized website is the basis for your local digital marketing and greater visibility among the Google hits. First of all, you need to think about which keywords potential customers should use to find you on Google. Starting with the three to five most important keywords, all elements such as the page title (title tag) or page description (meta description) must now be given the keywords in conjunction with a local reference. The same applies to the local content. Here, headings (H1) consisting of a keyword and local reference are the best choice.
Moreover, try to answer potential questions for your target group. Google will tell you what they might be if you enter the keyword “office chair Cologne”, for example, and see what search suggestions are displayed. If your website has been optimized for mobile phones and provides all the essential details about opening hours, address, phone numbers, social media profiles, ratings and messenger information, then the foundation is laid!
2. Google Business Profile
Without a Google Business Profile (formerly Google My Business), you will not be able to achieve local reach. After all, 44% of all local searchers click on one of the first 3 local hits on Google (local pack). To be in this “pack”, fill out the profile as thoroughly as possible. Pay special attention to the right primary category (industry) for your stationery store: it has the biggest impact on local findability. The 7 most important tips and tricks regarding the ranking factors of your Google Business Profile can be found here.
3. Meta Business Suite for Facebook, Instagram, FB Messenger and WhatsApp
To keep the two most important social media channels of Facebook and Instagram easily under control, I recommend using the new Meta Business Suite. This will help you manage your business profiles (similar to Google Business Profiles) and, at the same time, you can use Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp for direct customer communication.
When creating the business profiles, you should make sure to include full details about the address, opening hours, delivery services, products and online store connection. What Meta also values positively is the integration of Facebook and WhatsApp Messenger. But beware: if you enable the messengers, you must also respond to user requests within the appropriate timeframe. If you ignore them, your relevance will automatically be downgraded.
4. Bing Places for Business
Microsoft’s search engine Bing has only conquered 10% of the market in Germany, but nevertheless I recommend you create a business profile, similar to the Google Business Profile.
5. Getting into eCommerce e.g. with Shopify Starter Plan
A lot of stationery and office supply stores shy away from getting into eCommerce. The main arguments against this are too much effort, too expensive, my customers don’t buy again and again – no chance against Amazon. As a local stationery store, you shouldn’t even try to get into a price war with Amazon.
What constitutes true omnichannel marketing is, rather, the clever combination of eCommerce with your physical store location. This can take the form of click & collect services, local delivery services, or even the trial of a new school satchel. Social media platforms now even offer the right store system free of charge. In conjunction with the Shopify Starter Plan, the connection to a payment processing system is included for just EUR 5 a month. Remember: Every second local searcher switches to eBay or Amazon if the desired product isn’t available in the online store of the local retailer around the corner.
Patrick Hünemohr will reveal even more concrete tips and tricks for increasing local digital visibility via Google, Facebook and the like in the InsightsTalks. On Wednesday, 5 October 2022, he will be speaking at Insights-X from 2:00 - 2:30 p.m. in the InsightsArena.
About the author
Patrick Hünemohr is an online marketing expert, business angel, start-up investor and author of the bestseller “Lokal Digital Unschlagbar” (“Locally Unbeatable Online”). In more than 5,000 digital projects, he has given impetus to SMEs and led them on the path to online success. He blogs about current tips and tricks for greater local digital visibility at huenemohr.de.