Welcome to Break the blueprint – A new series of blogs exploring the unique business challenges and opportunities faced by black business owners and entrepreneurs. Learn how they grew or grew their business, explored entrepreneurial ventures in their companies or created sideline jobs, and how their stories can inspire and influence your own success.
Support for black-owned businesses has increased dramatically over the past year due to the disproportionate impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and the impact of the Black Lives Matter protests that took place last summer to tackle racial injustices across the nation.
Consumers have actively sought to shop from black-owned companies in order to stay open and promote the economic advancement of Black Americans.
As a result, searches for black-owned businesses on Yelp increased 7,043%, and the search term for “black-owned” on Google hit 100 last summer.
Since then, black-owned companies have proactively improved their visibility and accessibility through marketing strategies to optimize their reach.
I spoke to Dana James Mwangi, the founder of Cheers Creative LLC and a Grow with Google Digital Coach, to learn about effective marketing strategies, tools, and approaches that black business owners can use to promote their business.
Marketing strategies for black-owned companies
1. Use social media platforms to connect directly with your consumers.
Social media is one of the most important tools companies use to advertise their services or products. Platforms like Twitter, Instagram, TikTok and Facebook have unique features. Black business owners can use these networks to connect directly with their customers and the wider community.
Although some companies want to have a strong presence everywhere, Mwangi suggests that entrepreneurs focus on a platform that gives them the greatest visibility, rather than trying to be present on all of them at the same time.
“You want to use social media to get people to your website,” said Mwangi. “You can also use it to get people to sign up for your email list, or both.”
For example, see Rihanna promoting her brands Fenty Beauty, Fenty Skin and Savage X Fenty on Instagram with catchy captions and visually appealing posts. Their content is not only relatable, but also relates to people from different backgrounds.
These tactics can help you secure a potential sale and maintain ongoing, effective engagement with your audience. You can also use it to expand your brand reach.
2. Create targeted ads for high converting audiences.
Social media platforms and search engines like Google offer entrepreneurs the ability to create ads that appear in their target audience’s timelines or feeds. According to Mwangi, ads are a great way to market yourself for a faster return on investment.
One benefit of using ads is that you can choose which audience you want to target. Facebook and Instagram in particular offer the ability to market to people who follow your brand, or you can customize your targeting settings by choosing certain details like age, location, and search behavior.
That way, you have more control over who sees your ads, so you can make sure that you’re only showing your ads to those who are most likely to buy your product or service.
3. Build an email list and send out clear case studies or behind-the-scenes information.
Email lists have many advantages for businesses – ultimately, email is one of the greatest ways to generate and nurture leads.
Once you’ve started adding to your email list, consider sending emails with exclusive information, such as: B. the company’s history or what your company stands for and what is most important for your employees.
Mwangi also recommends companies provide case studies, advice to email subscribers, or product and service insights before starting.
Alternatively, highlight a consumer’s story to demonstrate the impact your business can have on your email subscribers if they choose to buy.
4. Become a thought leader in your space.
Another way for businesses to market themselves is by participating in public speaking, podcasting, or blogging engagements. Although this form of marketing has a slower rate of return to impact sales, Mwangi leaves a trail of breadcrumbs that people can reach online.
This strategy also gives potential employees or customers the opportunity to warm up in the company as they have already gained some value from the brand.
For example, check out how Tiffany Aliche, founder of The Budgetnista, used speaking engagements to promote her business and teach women how to manage their finances.
Aliche has spoken at 300 events across the country and over 1,000 worldwide, including EssenceFest and several hospitals and colleges.
5. Have an effective, well-designed website.
Once you’ve used the strategies listed above to drive traffic to your website, you want that traffic to be excited about what they find. It is therefore important that you pay as much attention to the design of your website and its usability as you do to a physical storefront.
Some black-owned companies with aesthetically pleasing websites are Teflar, Pyer Moss, and Bevel.
All three websites have eye-catching graphics and videos that grab visitors’ attention the instant they visit the website. Business owners shouldn’t be afraid to stand out from the crowd when it comes to securing a sale on their website.
If you already have a website but don’t feel like it’s doing your job, check out the ultimate guide to creating a website redesign strategy.
6. Use Google My Business and Google Analytics.
Google My Business is a helpful tool for business owners that allows them to create custom content to promote their target audience. Owners can also use the service in collaboration with Google Analytics to track data and determine where people are accessing content.
For example, Mwangi says that Google Analytics helped her know that people were coming to her website based on the content she posts on her Instagram stories.
Not only does it show her that people love her storytelling from that particular feature, but she can also share certain links and information. Google Analytics is a useful service for collecting data and finding out which platform is best for your brand.
Black-Owned Business Tips to Consider
Mwangi points out that the marketing strategies listed above are all valuable pieces of the cake. However, there are also specific approaches that entrepreneurs need to keep consistent across the board in order to drive business growth.
Let’s get into that now.
7. Be authentic.
Authenticity is an essential approach to ensuring a company’s success. According to Mwangi, a customer acquisition benefit is having a company that lets its audience know where it stands.
An example of a black-owned company that has consistently taken this approach is the black-owned line of herbal feminine care products, The Honey Pot Company. The Honey Pot Company has always been transparent about where they stand and who they make their products for, which has helped them keep loyal customers over time.
Black women in particular stood in solidarity with the company’s owner, Bea Dixon, when she received poor reviews from mostly white buyers after Target featured her in a commercial for Black History Month.
While people were trying to sabotage their brand, black women not only took the initiative to combat business valuation with positive reviews, but also spread it on social media. Although the events were unfortunate, the advertising had a positive impact on the company as people became more aware of the company’s purpose and what Dixon stood for.
“Her brand values saved her day because her customers knew what she stood for,” said Mwangi. As a result, they supported her and bought out the shelves.
8. Define your target audience.
When entrepreneurs first start their business, their goal is to serve everyone, but Mwangi explains, “If you try to talk to everyone, you are not talking to anyone.”
It’s okay for a company to choose a specific community to advertise and not apologize for it. The benefit of being an entrepreneur is that it guarantees a person the freedom to choose whom to serve.
“You are free to be as specific as you want and in a niche any way you want,” said Mwangi. “There is still an opportunity for you to make incredible profits.”
9. Speak the language of your customers.
Your company’s language is also crucial now. With all of the events happening right now, Mwangi suggests that business owners need to know what is going on in the community and in the market accordingly.
Despite current events, business owners should keep in mind that their language should match the identity of their customers.
For example, Black’s own cosmetics line, The Lip Bar, uses its platform to disperse common beauty standards.
Pointing out that the brand does not apologize for its purpose, Mwangi takes pride in serving customers who want to be bold with their makeup and set their standards of beauty.
10. Start marketing one (or more) products.
In addition, marketing one product instead of multiple products at the same time has been found to be effective. Mwangi recommends customers sell a product in different ways or in different colors to avoid the spread of marketing dollars and gain momentum quickly.
Mwangi also used The Lip Bar’s founder Melissa Butler as an example of this approach. Butler first sold lipstick in a variety of colors and then expanded its line of products to include lipsticks, foundations, tinted moisturizers, eye shadows, and more.
Another black-owned company that has used this approach is Luv Scrub, a mesh body scrub product founded by entrepreneur Caroline Owusu-Ansah. Owusu-Ansah sells towels in different colors.
“That marketing strategy is also an offering strategy or a product strategy,” said Mwangi. “You don’t have to give people all of these opportunities when you say you can fix a problem. You can have a great product that fixes the problem and when you have that it means your marketing is very focused on it now concentrates this product. “
11. Maintain commitment to your community.
A major factor in staying in business is customer loyalty and customer loyalty for your product or service. One way to get people excited about a company’s brand is to promote a variety of offers like freebies, contests, hosting Q&A, and customer functions. Entrepreneurs can carry out these offers via social media and newsletters or via their website in order to secure participation.
“Not only do you get people involved, but you also get ideas on how to refine them [your product or service]”Said Mwangi.” They are literally telling you what they want, how to refine your current products, and what they want from you in the next product. If you look at it, people will tell you what they want. You don’t have to sting in the dark. “
“The interaction with your customers is good because it shows people that you care,” she added. “It also helps you get information about what your customers are thinking. Now you know more about how they talk, how they sound, and you can have your website talk to them directly because you’ve talked to everyone this time . And listen and ask them questions. “
Overall, when it comes to marketing, customer service is also required to fully serve customers.
Mwangi notes that customer relationship management software helps with this effort.
“Marketing is delivering that story, and customer relationship management software helps you validate who you are with excellent customer service,” she said.
The above marketing recommendations, branding, and customer service help business owners develop successful business strategies and keep pace with the company’s needs to attract customers.