List Categories | List All Articles | List Articles By Title
6 Steps to Attracting Black Customers Online
by Jamila White, "The E-Commerce Diva"
In the rush to keep up with technology, many African-American business owners are so busy trying to add the latest bells and whistles to their Web sites, get to the top of the search engines, and learn the latest database technology that they often forget this simple fact: people do business with other *people*, not computers. Understanding the importance of relationships is key to attracting African-American buyers online. Here are a few practical tips to getting Black customers to buy more from your Website.
Step 1: Make a personal connection... put a face on it.
Adding photos of realistic-looking people to your Web site will increase your sales. Photos jump out from a page, so even if someone just skims over the words, the photo will create a lasting impression. If you don't have photos of your actual employees or customers, use stock photography.
Here are a few of my favorite sources for photos:
o FotoSearch: http://www.fotosearch.com
o Getty: http://www.gettyimages.com
o Corbis: http://www.corbis.com
Royalty-free images start at around $19-35 per image and are much less expensive than rights-managed images. If you have a bigger budget, you can purchase CDs with entire collections of African American stock photographs and illustrations.
Step 2: Establish trust.
When you walk into an establishment, you usually can tell right away if you feel comfortable doing business there. You can see if the place is clean and well maintained, brightly lit, and whether someone friendly is available to greet and help you. On the Internet, your Web site has to do all the talking and all the handholding. If this is a potential customer's first visit to your Web site, they may be uncertain if you're a legitimate business and if they can trust you.
There are a number of ways to alleviate these fears and give your customers peace of mind. First, provide full contact information -- including a telephone number -- on your Web site. Second, show a picture of your location and employees, if applicable. Third, if you are a member of any professional organizations, such as the Better Business Bureau and/or professional trade organizations, this is a great time to display your membership logos. Most importantly, display quotes and testimonials for your current happy customers to show how what great quality products and service your company provides.
Step 3: Use the "word of mouth" network.
From the griots of Africa to barbershops and hair salons to the chat rooms on BlackPlanet.com, at the center of African American culture is the oral tradition. Use this ready-made network to your advantage, and give people the tools to tell their friends and colleagues about your products. A greatway to do this is with an instant "Tell a Friend" button on your Web site. Constant Contact (see Step #6) includes this service as part of it's e-newsletter management program.
Step 4: Network with other Black Web sites.
One way to jump-start the flow of traffic to your Web site is by recruiting customers from other high-traffic sites. You can buy ad space on a well-trafficked site that also attracts a high percentage of your target market. A cheaper alternative is to swap ads with a business that offers products or service that complement, but don't compete with, your own offering. For example, if you offer Web site design, look for someone who offers Web site hosting or network services. This strategy can work both with ads on a Web site, but don't overlook swapping ads in each business' promotional e-mail newsletter. (NOTE: Do *not* swap customer databases or lists of email addresses unless you have specific permission from your customers to do so.)
Step 5: Give your customers a reason to act now.
How many times have you visited a Web site and thought to yourself: "What a great product! I'd like to buy it, but I think I'll come back later." Did you actually go back and buy it? Perhaps not. Help your customers make their decision today: make them an offer they can't refuse. For example, use promotions like "limited time only", "this week only", "act today and take $10 off," etc.
Step 6: Keep in touch.
Remember, it's about relationships. Did you know that customers who buy online usually do so on the fourth to eighth visit to your Web site, and not the first visit? So you'll need to come up with a strategy to get them back to your Web site a second, third, and fourth time. The easiest, simplest, and cheapest method, hands down, is an e-mail list. It isn't enough just to collect e-mail addresses on your Web site and at your vending events -- you have to actually *write* and *send* messages to the list! Strive to get your newsletter out at least twice a month, but if you're just getting started, do quarterly, then build up to monthly, and then build up to every other week.
Here are a few e-mail list services I like:
o Aweber: http://www.aweber.com/?203887
o Constant Contact: http://www.roving.com
o YahooGroups (free): http://www.yahoogroups.com
Essentially, what successful online marketing boils down to, regardless of ethnicity, is relationships, relationships, relationships. Find meaningfulways to connect with your customers, and they will not only reward you with their loyalty, but they'll be happy to spread the word about your Web site as well.
© Copyright 2004 Jamila White. All rights reserved.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Jamila White, "The E-Commerce Diva", is an Internet Strategist, Web Designer, and E-Commerce instructor in the Washington D.C. area. For a FREE subscription to her "Sell More Online" e-newsletter, go to http://www.ecommercediva.com.
[NOTE: You are welcome to "reprint" this article online as long as it remains complete and unaltered (including the "about the author" info at the end and the copyright notice), and you send a copy of your reprint to email@example.com.]
What is SSL (the little padlock)?
SSL ("Secured Socket Layer") is a protocol used to encrypt the communication between the user's browser and the web server. When SSL is active, a "little padlock" appears on the user's browser, usually in the status line at the bottom (at the top for Mac/Safari users.
Web Users Crave Familiarity
The sad truth is, general Web users would love it if all our sites looked like Amazon.com.
Free Competition Analysis for E-Commerce Startup
For anyone who has completed research regarding e-commerce, there are some common catch phrases that we all come across. 'Competition Analysis' is one of those catch phrases.
Is Your Website Credit Card Friendly?
In my last column I discussed the process of credit card enabling your brick-and-mortar business. I pointed out that research has shown that accepting credit cards can help increase revenue and enhance cash flow.
Increasing E-Commerce Website Sales: A Guide for the Online Newbie
Because of this encouraging surge in activity, many individuals are now interested in becoming e-commerce merchants. To profit from your online business, you must first produce a unique website that will intrigue visitors and interest them in your items.
Expand Your Local Business Through the Internet
To obtain more local customers for your business, consider expanding your local business through the Internet. Here are some ways of doing so.
Online Consumers - What Are They Complaining About?
For many businesses, e-commerce represents a tremendous method for generating revenues. To maximize the profit potential, you need to keep an eye on issues that drive your prospects nuts.
Accepting Credit Cards For Your Online Business
Did you know that one of the best ways to increase sales for any online or offline business is to offer your customers the convenience of paying by credit card? As a merchant, you have several options available when it comes to becoming part of the credit card acceptance and processing chain. Here's a quick guide to get you thinking.
Accepting Credit Card Payments Online
Being able to accept credit cards and other online payments is crucial to the success of your business and profits. Your customers are more likely to buy from you if you offer them a secure and convenient way to order goods and services online at your site.
Evaluating Vendors of Ecommerce Fulfillment Services
Once your website has secured an order, you have to fulfill it. While the fulfillment of digital goods is usually handled online, the delivery of physical goods is handled in a "brick-and-mortar" world.
Choosing on Order Fulfillment Service
When your eCommerce business grows to the point where you can no longer package and ship the orders yourself, it's time to begin outsourcing your order fulfillment. Although all order fulfillment centers offer the same basic services, their individual methods and costs will help you choose one over the other.
Grow your Business with Emarketplace - Part III
Increase Company ProductivityAfter years of hard work, finally your business started to pick up. You are selling more products then ever! You have lined up a good number of suppliers and buyers.
E-marketplaces from Sellers Perspective
What is an E-marketplace anyway?E-marketplace is a business to business web based venue, where buyers and sellers meet online, generate business leads and conduct business transactions. The e-marketplace features are tailored in a manner so that a large numbers of buyers and suppliers can be serviced as a community.
Credit Card Processing - 7 Things You Need to Know Before Opening an Online Merchant Account
When considering opening an online merchant account to accept credit card orders, there are a lot of things you need to keep in mind. The best thing to do is learn all about credit card processing before you open your online merchant account so you can handle everything from the beginning rather than having to go back and make many changes.
Database: The Secret of Success
BENEFITS OF A DATABASEBy maintaining your list as a database, you can segment in many ways for targeting. Targeting improves the productivity of your offers.
How To Accept Credit Cards Online
Anyone with an online business, whether for auctions, services, or virtually any type of product, has asked the same question at some time during their quest to create the ultimate online business - "How do I accept credit cards?"Since over 90% of all transactions on the Internet involve customers paying by credit card, accepting plastic money rates a must for almost any business.The problem for most small online business owners involves the high cost of setting up and maintaining a credit card merchant account.
10 Second Internet Person, sound familiar?
Some people do not understand the Internet idea of online commerce, but then again some people do not understand themselves either. To fully understand Internet Commerce you really only need to monitor your "clicking habits" for a few days to see where you are going and what if anything you are buying.
Creating The Perfect Ecommerce Website
If you're thinking of jumping on the bandwagon and going into business with your own ecommerce website, you'd do well to look at a few examples before you start. Finding out what a good ecommerce website looks like will help you know what to include - and what to avoid - when you start to set up one of your own.
E-commerce: Is It Right for You?
The birth of the Internet and the mass availability of personal Computers in the late 80's changed peoples life forever, Everyone now has had the potential to be their own boss whether you are mother at home looking after your children or a manual laborer there are opportunities in abundance . Just a search on Google for business opportunities will bring up more offers than your parents would have had in their whole life.
Six Components Of A Good E-Commerce Site
Businesses, which are still sitting on sidelines and not doing business on the Internet, should think seriously about their position! If you are one of them, chances are there, that you have to pay dearly for your indecision as you might lose significant market share to your more proactive competitors in a very short period of time.Apart from the fact that e-commerce is growing at the rate of more than 25 percent a year, the use of online features can bring efficiency to virtually every aspect of business process, be it supply chain management or customer support management.
home | site map
All articles are copyright to their owners.
Note: this website lists articles, We do not Write Articles !