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digital marketing

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10 Ways To Create a Strong Online Presence For Your Business

The average person spends roughly eight and a half hours a day online. Between work, streaming, social media, and shopping, that leaves a huge window of opportunity for your business to reach those high valued target customers.

Make it easier for your target customers to find you online by creating a strong online presence. Here are a few ways to start:

1 – Mobile Responsive Website

The majority of consumers now use their mobile devices to browse the internet. That means your website needs to look as engaging and attractive on a small smartphone screen as it does on a desktop.

2 – Content Creation

Marketing today is all about maintaining high-quality customer relationships, and that requires keeping consumers attention. The best way to do that is to have a content calendar that prompts your business team to update your website and social media with fresh visual, written, and audio content.

3 – SEO and Location Data

Every company needs a search engine optimization, or SEO, strategy to organically appear higher in popular search engines like Google, Bing, and DuckDuckGo. Hiring a professional digital marketing team is an excellent way to improve your website SEO, especially if you are a local business. Google loves to elevate search results based on your physical location and area of service.

4 – Managing Your Website & Online Reputation

Having so many review-based services is a double-edged sword. On the one hand, you get to know which restaurants, bars, and stores your community likes the most. On the other, one bad review can mean the difference between being #1 and #5. Therefore, you need to manage your online reputation and mitigate as many bad reviews as possible, so your final rank appears good enough to draw in customers. 

 5 – Engage in Social Media

Love it or hate it, social media is here to stay. The benefits of directly connecting with your clients far outweigh the minor inconvenience of staying up to date with new content. The good news is you do not have to engage in every single platform. Stick to the 1-3 platforms that work naturally for your business and focus your efforts on growing your viewership.

6 – Create with Sharability in Mind

The more your original content can be easily shared across multiple platforms, the faster you will organically improve your brand reach. It is not uncommon for a store in Denver, CO, to feature some excellent content noticed by tourists from New York City. You never know who you’ll reach, but at least you’ll know you are reaching them. 

7 – Leverage Google My Business

Google My Business is a profile service where your registered company shows up at the top of Google’s search result page when people search for your industry, company, service, and location. It is a great way to stay top of mind for anyone looking for your business. 

8 – Video is Best

If you have the option, always elect to create content with video elements. Consumers are more attracted to video media and will spend more time browsing your website and social accounts if there are explainer videos, daily vlogs, or tours of your office.

9 – Be Accessible

There are many tools available to check the overall accessibility of your website. The general trend is for search engines to start offering preference to websites built with more accessible layouts and options. This is because it is the right thing to do and helps ensure your site has a clean, easy-to-understand design.

10 – Unify Your Brand Presence

Every single instance of your company online needs to have the same contact information, brand color, slogan, identity, and themed content. Consumers want to feel a connection with their brands, and that means offering them a unified presence. Search engines will also appreciate that all your information is the same and rank a little higher.

Consistency Equals Growth

Building your online presence to shine through your competitor’s noise is crucial to growing your business and reaching more target markets. Following a few of these tips will help you on your way, but the most essential factor is consistency. 

Like every other relationship in the world, people want to know they can trust and rely upon you to offer the same quality content and service every time they contact you.

If you would like to find out how we can help you improve your online presence, email us at agency@shoppeblack.us

 

Tony O. Lawson


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5 Digital Marketing Ideas to Consider During the Pandemic

As a business owner, you’re likely still trying to find ways to navigate the “new normal”. The good news is that this too shall eventually pass (fingers crossed). In the meantime, what you don’t want to do is slack on your digital marketing efforts.

That would be a waste of all the time and resources that you’ve already invested into your business to gain traction in an already crowded online marketplace.

That being said, let’s take a look at some digital marketing ideas that can help your business during the pandemic – and after.

5 Digital Marketing Ideas to Consider During the Pandemic

Implementing new digital marketing ideas during this period in time will have a huge impact on your company’s growth rate after the economy improves.

1. Stay Connected With Your Customers on Social Media 

digital marketing ideas

More people are on social media now while stuck at home, searching for updates and trying to stay connected in a suddenly isolated country.

People need support, understanding, education, resources. Social media can provide just that and can be extremely powerful if it’s done the right way.

2. Make Sure Your Business Can Be Found Online

This was a no brainer “pre-rona” and it’s even more of a no brainer now. Online search traffic has increased significantly over the past few weeks and will continue to climb as we #stayhome.

Everyone is glued to their computer and phone. We’re looking for news, entertainment, education, and ways to pass the time. Now is an important time to be visible digitally because other forms of traditional marketing are not as relevant at the moment.

3. Be Prepared to Pivot 

digital marketing ideas

This is an opportunity to show empathy and stay relevant at a time when your business may have been impacted by customers staying at home.

Restaurants are offering curbside pick up or free delivery. Healthcare and other service professionals that can’t physically see clients can offer online consultations.  Personal trainers and Yoga instructors can offer live classes.

Another example that we’ve witnessed is businesses that originally make clothing and accessories pivoted to producing face masks.

4. Don’t Panic

You’ve likely heard all the gloom and doom predictions on the news and online about depressions and recessions. The truth is, the economy may be slow now but it isn’t stopping.

Money is still moving and consumers are still searching for people to do business with. Adjust your plan or create a new one.

5. Use this time to educate yourself

This is a perfect time for self-improvement. Use your newfound spare time to take a step back and assess what both you and your business need right now.

Learn how to improve your marketing strategy (You’re doing that right now!) Study how to create more content or improve your website performance.  These are just a few actions that will pay off down the road.

 

Tony O. Lawson


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Get Your Website Right!: 10 Tips on How to Create a Dope Website

Every Black business owner needs to get their website right. Not now, but right now. Many of us want to support Black-owned businesses, but sometimes, business owners make it challenging to do so.

I’m sure you’ve had the following experience a time or two (or three): Someone tells you to check out a Black-owned business. You google them, go to their site, that is if they even have one, and quickly close the tab.

You’re either overwhelmed by the theatrics, underwhelmed, or simply aren’t able to get the information you’re looking for.

In efforts to help out some of you who may be entrepreneurs who may be in this situation, here’s a list of Do’s and Don’ts for getting your website right and helping your business grow.

Tip #1: Have a website. This seems like a no brainer but you’d be surprised. There’s nothing in the world worse than googling a business or asking an owner for their website only to find out that it doesn’t exist.

Oh wait, there may be something worse: clicking onto a website and finding out that the page is down or under construction. If you’re Black and in business, you should have a website. In fact, make that your top priority for 2016. If this is something that you know that you are going to struggle with then it might be worthwhile hirign a professional like slickplan to help you with your website.

Tip #2: DIY and make it modern. A decade ago, if you didn’t know programming and code, there was no way that you could create a nice looking website on your own.

More than likely, you had to hire a web designer like www.reddropmedia.com.au to create a digital platform for your business. Well, that’s no longer the case. If you’re strapped, I definitely recommend getting a web designer to help you, but building a website yourself is possible.

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Modern Platform: xnasozi

There are several platforms that will give you all sorts of options you desire to do a DIY digital platform. From wordpres hosting (our personal favorite), to Wix, Weebly, Squarespace and Shopify, there are several user-friendly and modern platforms that will help you present a 21st century digital face to your customers.

Tip #3: It has to be responsive. When a site is mobile responsive, that means that no matter which device you are using to view online content – your computer, smart phone or tablet – the experience is seamless.

The first template we used when launching Shoppe Black a few weeks ago, was NOT mobile friendly.

The initial template we used was free – which means that it didn’t have all of the sexy bells and whistles that our current theme has. 82% of the thousands of views we’ve received on our site globally have come from mobile users.

Let’s face it, we’re a mobile society. Don’t turn off potential customers because your website is not responsive to their cellular phones or tablets.

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Tip #4: Aesthetics are key. In the land of visual culture, aesthetics are QUEEN. When it comes to aesthetics, as a people, sometimes we win. and sometimes we lose. There’s a way of expressing Blackness without being so literal.

In this day in age, we don’t need to saturate our branding with an excessive amount of djembes, RBG flags, kente cloth, black fists, and Adinkra symbols to prove how Black we are. We can articulate BLACK sans “tribal” prints.

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Create a clean website, with even cleaner looking images, logos, and aesthetics that will translate well to any customer. Leave the tacky and trite images for the an era bygone. Embrace your inner Afrofuturist and go beyond the expected.

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Progressive Logo: Museum of Contemporary African Diaspora Art (MoCADA)

Tip #5: Photography is EVERYTHING. Do something about those pictures. It irks me to the core when I go on websites and see blurry, dark, poor quality images.

Granted, I’m a curator by trade, so my eye tends to be a little less tolerant than the average consumer. However, I think with the invention of Instagram and the smart phone, everyone now has the capacity to try their photography skills on for size.

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Dizzy yet?

If you have a website, invest in some high quality photos that truly speak to the caliber of your goods and services. I’ve been known to not patronize a business strictly because I was turned off by their images. Hire a professional photographer.

Check out the images of highly successful brands on platforms like IG. Use free online stock photos. Invest in a good camera. Watch some tutorials and take your own photos.

Whichever route you take, please, pretty please, just say no to posting subpar images on your site.

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Great Image: DCity Smokehouse

Tip #6: Keep the content current. So you have a website. The aesthetics don’t look like something out of a Black liberation parade circa 1972. It’s mobile friendly. People like the way it looks. There’s only one problem: You haven’t updated it in years.

It’s easy to fall into the trap of creating something nice and then ignoring it. I’ve fallen victim to I.M.W. (Ignore My Website) myself – shantrelleplewis.com. If someone were to go to my professional site, they would think I haven’t curated an exhibit or done anything significant since 2013.

Of course that isn’t the case – I’ve been featured in national and international press, curated two highly successful exhibitions, traveled to multiple countries, received awards, launched two companies and a whole lot more. But you couldn’t tell based on my site. Moral of the story: Keep it current.

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Tip #7: Link your social media. COINTELPRO and Big Brother aside, it’s critical to have a social media presence. Don’t lose out on any potential marketing opportunities because you haven’t linked your twitter, facebook, tumblr or instagram accounts to your website. The goal is to get more follows, more follows, more follows!

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Tip #8: A facebook page isn’t a website. Having a presence on social media is awesome. We all need it. But a facebook page shouldn’t substitute having a website.

You communicate how serious you take your business when you have online presence. It tells your customers that you believe enough in your brand to invest in its online presence. Get a website. If you don’t have one yet, see Tip #1.

SB facebook

Tip #9: Keep it real. All races and ethnic groups spend money. We know that. We also know that it’s not always smart to pigeon hole our clientele. Some of us cater specifically to Black audiences. Many of us don’t.

We can be a Black-owned business with diverse customers and still be a shining example of what it means to be Black and in business. What’s NOT cool, however, is when you click on a website that’s supposed to be Black owned and not one, single, solitary image is of a Black person.

That’s just wack. Newsflash: Sometimes that turns customers off too, especially your Black customers who came to you for the specific purposes of supporting their own.

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If attracting Black customers is not important to you, cool. But if it is, diversify your portfolio a little more and let your website reflect it.

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All Around Greatness: Oyin Handmade

Tip#10: Hire a Professional. There are maaany professional web developers in these streets who can create a beautiful site for you. It usually won’t cost much either. As a serious business owners, investing in a professionally done website should not be a hard decision when you consider the potential return on investment. Shameless plug: Shoppe Black offers web development services.

Honorable Mention:

Here are a few businesses that pass our Shoppe Black Website Test with flying colors:

Justice of the Pies | Chicago based Pie Maker
justiceofthepies.com

Lolo’s Seafood Shack | South-side Chicago Based Restaurant
lolosseafoodshack.com

Tastemakers Africa | NYC based Travel to Africa App and Content Platform.
tastemakersafrica.com

Leisure Life NYC | Casual Vintage Inspired Men’s Wear Boutique
leisurelifenyc.com

DCity Smokehouse | Washington, DC based Restaurant

dcitysmokehouse.com

William + James (self-promotion is the best kind) | NOLA/Philly based Haberdashery
williamplusjames.com

What updating tips did you find useful? Need any additional support? Leave a comment or email us at info@shoppeblack.us.

Shantrelle P. Lewis