How to Get Black Customers Online: 6 Steps

 How to Get Black Customers Online: 6 Steps
Get Black Customers Online

In their rush to keep up with the technology, many African-American business owners are so busy trying to add the latest bells and whistles to their websites, get to the top of search engines, and learn the newest database management systems that they often forget this simple fact: people do business with other people, not computers. To get African-Americans to buy online, you need to know how important relationships are. Here are some useful ways to get Black people to buy more from your website.

Here are some useful ways to get Black people to buy more from your website.

Step 1: Make it personal by giving it a face.

Adding photos of people who look like they belong on your website will help you sell more. Photos stand out on a page, so even if someone just skims over the words, the photo will leave an impression. Use stock photos if you don’t have photos of your real employees or customers.

Some of my favorite places to find photos are:

FotoSearch and Getty Images

Royalty-free images from Corbis cost between $19 and $35 per image, which is much less than the cost of rights-managed images. If you have more money, you can buy CDs with whole sets of stock photos and illustrations of African Americans.

Step 2: Get people to trust you.

When you walk into a place of business, you can usually tell right away if you want to do business there. You can see if the place is clean and well-kept, well-lit, and if a friendly person is there to greet you and help you. Your website has to do all the talking and guiding on the Internet. If a potential customer is visiting your website for the first time, they may not know if you’re a real business or if they can trust you.

There are many ways to calm your customers’ fears and give them peace of mind. First, make sure your Web site has all of your contact information, including a phone number. Second, if possible, show a picture of your place of business and your employees. Third, if you belong to any professional organizations, like the Better Business Bureau or professional trade groups, this is a great time to show the logos of those groups. Most importantly, put up quotes and reviews from happy customers to show what great products and services your business offers.

Step 3: Use “brand awareness” to spread the news.

The oral tradition is at the heart of African American culture. It can be found everywhere, from the griots of Africa to the barbershops and hair salons to the chat rooms on BlackPlanet.com. Take advantage of this ready-made network and give people the tools they need to tell their friends and coworkers about your products. A “Tell a Friend” button on your website is a great way to do this quickly. This service is a part of Constant Contact’s program for managing e-newsletters (see Step 6).

Step 4: Connect with other sites on the Black Web.

One way to get more people to visit your website is to get customers from other popular sites. You can buy ad space on a site that gets a lot of traffic and has a lot of people who are in your target market. A cheaper option is to trade ads with a business that sells products or services that go well with yours but don’t compete with them. For instance, if you design websites, look for someone who also hosts websites or provides network services. This strategy can work for both ads on a website and ads in the promotional e-mail newsletters of both businesses.

(NOTE: Don’t trade customer databases or lists of email addresses unless your customers give you permission to do so.)

Step 5: Tell your customers why they should act now.

How many times have you gone to a website and thought, “What a wonderful thing! I would like to buy it, but I think I’ll come back later.” You really went back and bought it, right? Perhaps not. Make an offer that your customers can’t refuse. This will help them decide right away. Use ads like “only for a limited time,” “only this week,” “act today and get $10 off,” etc.

Sixth step: Stay in touch.

Remember that it’s about people. Did you know that most people who buy from your website do so on their fourth or eighth visit, not their first? So you’ll have to think of a way to get them to come back to your website a second, third, or fourth time. Email lists are by far the easiest, cheapest, and easiest way to do this. You can’t just collect email addresses on your website and at your vending events. You have to write and send messages to the list. Try to send out your newsletter at least twice a month. If you’re just starting out, send it out every three months, then every month, and then every other week.

I like the following email list services:

Constant Contact Aweber

YahooGroups (free) (free)

Relationships, relationships, relationships are the key to successful online marketing, no matter what race you are. Find ways to connect with your customers that are meaningful to them, and they will not only be loyal to you, but they will also be happy to tell others about your website.

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