It is clear that there is a disconnect in the Black Business Community in the matters of visibility, market share, patronage, etc. Heck, there are even gross stereotypes that many people blindly accept (i.e. poor customer service). Well, these issues eventually trickle to the marketing world.
It is easy to look at what others are doing and become easily dissuaded from taking action into your own business. It’s also very important to remember that you can’t disqualify yourself from a greater position.
“How can I do that”
“I’ve tried marketing...it doesn’t work for me”
“I can’t compete with them”
Just stop it with the objections already!
Of course, the competition is tough when you aren’t even on the playing field, but the point I am trying to make is that you have to be on the field first before you even attempt to score (there isn’t any scoring from the sidelines).
You want to make the next viral post, you have to post FIRST. You want to have highly converting ads, you have to START advertising. I understand, it is easier said than done but there isn’t any other avenue that will allow you to compete in the marketplace — that’s digitally.
There are so many options when it comes to digital marketing; paid ads, social media marketing, content marketing, search engine optimization, email marketing, and more! Black-Owned Businesses need to embrace the digital world more than we ever have (COVID proves that across the board).
Everybody has the opportunity to advertise on platforms such as Facebook, Google, Microsoft (Bing), LinkedIn, etc. You just have to take that first step and leverage whatever platform that will benefit your business. Just make sure you have some kind of strategy in place for when a lead/customer is ready!
Let me just ask you this…
How much would you spend to reach just 1000 people?
How long would it take you to speak to 1000 people that would be “somewhat” interested in your service/product?
To understand how digital marketing (specifically advertising on this point) can be more affordable than “Word of Mouth” you have to consider your time like an hourly rate. If you had 1000 people lined up, ready to speak to you for a minute then on to the next, it would take a little less than 17 hours to talk to EVERY SINGLE PERSON!
Nobody is going to do that...in the beginning (there is something similar but that's a different story).
Don’t get me wrong, word of mouth is still far more effective than anything because there is a higher chance of closing but before you get to that point, people have to know AND advocate for you.
So ultimately, marketing online will save you time and money...period
The return of investment from digital marketing compared to traditional means are just insane!
Ask anyone to pull out a cell phone and about 96% of the time, they will have it (Heck...they might have it already out in a mindless trance). Seriously, virtually everybody has a cell phone and that just means everyone is connected in the border-less community we call the World Wide Web.
People do everything online; we order food, book hotels, buy tickets, have meetings, and run businesses. If you think your audience is NOT online, please enlighten me. Of course, there are different avenues to pursue and strategies to implement to get their attention, but it has already been done.
Try combining a great advertising campaign, amazing content, and a well-tuned search engine optimization strategy...see what results you yield. People are always searching for something, that's why “Google it” is a verb (it’s a mood when you search for Jamaican/Caribbean food nearby). Facebook has the most active user worldwide on the platform, you can easily take your business global!
There are so many platforms that can work with your business, just choose a couple and do those platforms extremely well and expand from there. Don’t forget to make connections and network with people.
Now, I don’t want to scare you but the capabilities of how marketing online is amazing...is in all simple codes such as Google Analytics tags, Facebook Pixel, LinkedIn tags, Pinterest tag, etc.! They may not be perfect but to know where people are coming from, such as knowing you get great traffic to your website from Instagram is useful so you can focus on ramping up the content.
As a business owner, knowing where you are acquiring customers allows for you to engage with potential customers on a certain platform. Make a better user-experience for them but having data to back up your decisions. A data-driven decision will outperform any decision with no analysis of the situation.
Whatever platforms you use, make sure you install the pixels/tags for better conversion tracking. Here are a few examples:
Facebook Pixel = Facebook Pixel
Google = Google Analytics, Google Tag Manager
LinkedIn = LinkedIn Insight Tag
Pinterest = Pinterest Tag
Ensure you monitor your Google Analytics to see how you can optimize your website and how to make changes that are user-centric.
One of the most beautiful things about digital marketing is that once you have something in place that works...it works! You can scale from there. In most cases, working on multiple platforms can enhance a campaign. For example, if you are a home service professional — advertise on Google and use Facebook to retarget!
You know what is also great...you can stop it. Yes, maybe you had such a great marketing strategy that you have to just slow down or completely pause something.
The point is that you have control over how things are implemented. Start, pause, stop...the choice is yours. Don’t let growth scare you from starting a strategy that can work for your business.
It can be scary to get yourself out there in the digital world, it’s very noisy, everybody is doing something. It’s just one of those things you have to become comfortable with. People buy from people and your future customers/clients just need to see a face behind the brand.
A content marketing strategy to educate, entertain, or engage with people is easier said than done but doing it is better than not doing so. You want to get to the point where people can refer others to you or they can talk to you.
There are many Black Business professionals out there that have been seen as inferior to their counterparts. Their hatred is not an easy problem to fix, but what can be done is to gain such a following that it becomes hard to ignore that we have passionate leaders and professionals within our communities.
At the end of the day, we have to do our best, as Black-Owned Businesses to empower our communities. If digital marketing offers you an opportunity to grow your business, you can hire locally! We can take the lessons learned from Tulsa’s Black Wall Street and do more for our communities if we collaborate and grow together.
Digital Marketing allows for your business to go international, virtually no borders can stop a business if they can offer something online. While we know most businesses will fail within 3 years, it is rougher for black owned businesses due to a lack of capital and a lack of opportunities. One common trait amongst all failing businesses within 3 years, is that they failed to market themselves properly.
This is the main reason why Imani Advantage exists. Our purpose is to help small Black-Owned Businesses with their online marketing strategies to ensure they have the knowledge to go forward.
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I am a career military service member with a passion for Digital Marketing, Business Development and Automation. A Co-Founder of Imani Advantage, which is an all-inclusive Marketing Operations Consultancy that offers services to small businesses and entrepreneurs looking to take their brands to the next level! We work with clients to develop their brand and maximize their ROI through our proven process of Strategic Planning, Tech Integration, and Paid Advertising. I've been in the military for over 13 years and have served in both the US Marine Corps and US Army. My military background has given me the ability to see things from different perspectives which has helped me develop skills that are now invaluable in my business life.
Imani Advantage is a Marketing Operations consultancy that believes in empowering brands with an inbound methodology. Aligning business goals and strategies to the customer experience.
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