Free online advertising for black owned businesses
As a small business, there’s nothing better than free online advertising. In the digital age, there are a variety of platforms to help you spread the word about your business, but you have to start by getting yourself online. Search engines are a common starting point for consumers, and as a business owner, being knowledgeable about free ways to help your business appear more often in local searches will bring you more visibility and business.
We’ve compiled a list of seven free online advertising opportunities that any small business can take advantage of. Each of these free online advertising tricks will get you in front of potential customers and help you to be more relevant in local search.
1. Claim and complete your business listings
In addition to ensuring that all of your business information is accurate on your own website, be sure all of your online business listings are claimed and complete. A Yelp Business Page is free to set up and is a great way to spread the word about your business. Not only do many consumers use the Yelp app to search for great local businesses, but the business information that you add to your Yelp Page—such as hours, website, etc.—is typically pushed through to Yelp partners.
You can also sign up for Yelp Ads, which prominently places your business listing throughout the Yelp site. This no-contract, no-commitment advertising campaign allows you to choose your own budget and pause/cancel whenever you like. Many businesses are eligible for a free Yelp Ads credit if they haven’t tried ads before. Just sign in to your Yelp for Business account and click the Yelp Ads tab, or contact a representative to determine your eligibility.
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Promote your business to local customers.Claim your free page
2. Search engine optimization (SEO)
Search engine optimization, or SEO, can sound like a complicated process, but it doesn’t have to be. With knowledge of a few basic tools you can begin to move the needle and increase the virtual presence of your business. This guide to small business SEO is a great place to start.
Once you begin to understand the basics of keywords and search engines, you can apply that SEO knowledge to other sites, like your online listings. Having complete profiles is important, and ensuring that those profiles are rich with keywords and phrases that describe what you do will help to increase your visibility.
3. Get into blogging
Blogging is a great way to spread the word about your business and establish you as an expert in whatever vertical you operate. Consider a few topics that are relevant to your offerings, and produce a few informative articles to show others that you have diverse experience and expertise in your field. If you’re not sure where to start, do a few searches and see what content already exists.
Consider common issues or challenges that your customers are faced with. What insights can you provide to help them in their time of need? Just because you provide knowledge and information online doesn’t mean that you’re going to be giving the secret sauce away to your customers for free, but it establishes you as a credible source at the exact time they need it.
If creating your own blog content seems like an overwhelming task, consider doing a guest post on someone else’s blog. You can search for blogs relevant to your industry, and look up trade publications to see if they accept contributed content. Most magazines, industry publications, and websites look for contributors, so reach out and see if they’d be interested. And remember to always create a backlink that takes people to your work.
4. Email marketing
Email marketing is a great way to promote content, share business-related news, reengage your customers, and build deeper relationships. Your email list is a captive audience, and connecting with them to provide updates and information is a great way to create transactions and even reach out to new, potential customers. Get creative and have some fun with your messaging. Include vibrant images of your business and your goods or services. You can provide offers or deals and encourage that network to spread the word to their family and friends.
Creating frequency with your emails can help keep you top of mind. A scheduled email newsletter is a great way to stay connected with your customers over time and allows you to capture their attention at a specific time with a specific message. This also helps your goods or services stay top of mind between actual customer contact points. Just be aware of overcommunicating; you don’t want to come off as spammy. If your business provides services that most customers take advantage of annually, a monthly newsletter may be too frequent and you should perhaps consider sending every six months. Adjust your cadence based on your customers and the things they need from your business.
5. Develop a social media presence
Social media is free advertising, and it provides an opportunity for you to develop your brand in an engaging way. Having a consistent message of who you are across all of your social platforms helps create connections with consumers looking for the goods or services you provide.
Whether it’s a Facebook business page, an Instagram, or a Snapchat account, you want to visually express who you are as a small business. Include images with engaging and descriptive captions to highlight what you’re showing. Be authentic, and show what’s going on behind the scenes. Video footage is very engaging and will often get increased visibility. What sets you apart from your competitors? How can you show that visually? Having a social media strategy can be valuable in growing your community and increasing new customers.
6. Creative YouTube videos
YouTube has more than two billion active users, and video content is a great way to entertain and engage potential customers. People are much more likely to watch a short video than read a long-form article, and they’re also most likely to share videos. Creating engaging and informative content is a great way to sell your brand and spread awareness for what you do.
Creating YouTube content is similar to blogging in that you’ll want to continue to publish things over time. Consider creating a YouTube channel where you can cover everything from who you are and why you got into business to expert advice for your industry.
7. Partnerships with other businesses
Digital partnerships are a great way to expand your network and spread the word about a good or service you provide. Consider other business owners or brands who would make good collaboration partners—people with strong social media followings, businesses in similar or cross-functional areas, and industry experts who you admire or respect.
Partnerships and collaborations allow small businesses to spread the word about who they are and what they do beyond their immediate and existing customer base. Simply tagging another local business in a social media post, or asking them to join you on a Youtube episode can help increase the number of eyeballs who are seeing what you have to offer.
An industrious entrepreneur, Elton began his career as the founder of Conceited Magazine and has since scaled to become successful in various creative fields, including artist management, photography, and filmmaking.
Belton’s vision for Now, That’s TV came about as a simple idea back then when he was still the manager for Big Lex, a renowned rapper, reality star, and a former cast member from “Joseline’s Cabaret Atlanta Season” and the new show “Big Lex Baddies Collection Season 1.” According to Belton, the idea was to independently establish opportunities for content creators and filmmakers to not only have a platform to start on but also to thrive beyond their dreams. “Now That’s TV Network was created to give new life opportunities to help new content creators push their work, monetize, and continue to grow their brands,” he explains.
Now That’s TV has grown into a six-figure network in just a year, with over 100,000 subscribers and 80,000 Instagram followers. The network is also home to some of the most popular shows in the country, including the series “Big Lex’s Baddies Collection Miami,” hosted by rapper Big Lex, “Baddies Olympics” (as seen on The ShadeRoom), “The Last 24,” “Untold Stories,” “DollHouse University,” hosted by YouTube star Kianna Jay, and “Coming Up Los Angeles,” hosted by Lucky Hustla. Reality TV stars Sidney Star and ChriseanRock have both been on past episodes of shows that air on the network.
For months, Now That’s TV has been bringing back real reality TV with its current roster of shows. New shows coming to Now That’s TV this year include “Barbie Wants Both,” “South Central Baddies Season 3,” “Zodiac House Season 1,” “Big Lex Baddies Collection,” and “Déjà Vu Reunions.” Belton has also hinted at plans to organize meet-and-greet events, which is part of their plan to bring the experience to your door. “We are a network that is always looking for fresh and new content and ideas,” says Belton.
But the media space is a dynamic sector with numerous players, some of whom can be unscrupulous. Belton and the team have faced numerous challenges, including overcoming the many naysayers and haters that come for their network and creators daily. Since the launch of Now That’s TV, there have been so many copycats trying to duplicate the network. It’s challenging for all networks just starting off because you have to learn the business.
But regardless, the Now That’s TV team has remained steadfast in their focus on fresh and captivating new concepts with an abundance of originality. The goal is to stay connected with their audience and consider all options and opinions.
The Black vintner of Vision Cellars said the way to champion diversity is with a brand that turns heads.|
January 10, 2023, 2:29PM
Updated 2 hours ago
Born the son of a Texas moonshiner, Mac McDonald tasted Burgundy at age 12 and was transfixed. The depth of flavors in the wine made him realize his calling was to be a winemaker.
Now 80, McDonald of Windsor’s Vision Cellars is just one of a handful of Black vintners in Sonoma County. There are fewer than 60 wineries in the U.S. operated by African Americans. according to Statista, an online platform specializing in market data.
Producing a brand that turns heads is the winemaker’s modus operandi for championing diversity in the wine industry.
“Make a top-quality wine,” McDonald said. “That’s how you fight for it. Hopefully, people will forget what color you are when you make a good product.”
The vintner accomplished his goal by cofounding Vision Cellars in 1995 with his wife, Lil, and making pinot noir that drew praise from both critics and dignitaries.
With Vision Cellar’s flagship pinot noir, the brand’s highest rating was in 2009. It snagged 93 points from Wine Spectator for its Vision Cellars, 2007 Pinot Noir, Russian River Valley, Coster Vineyard. The brand also was served at the White House on a handful of occasions. One of its most high-profile pourings was as at a dinner in June 2005 to celebrate Black Music Month, when the Vision Cellars, 2003 Rosella’s Pinot Noir was paired with Angus steak.
“I take pride as a winemaker in creating something that someone else can enjoy,” he said.
Mac the mentor
In 2002, McDonald cofounded the Association of African American Vintners, in part to champion diversity in the industry and highlight Black winemakers.
Black vintner Phil Long of Livermore’s Longevity Wines said McDonald has been a willing mentor in the industry with his vast knowledge.
“When you’re a winemaker/owner, winemaking goes way beyond your knowledge of how to handle grapes,” said Long, now president of the association. “Mac understands the industry and how it works. You have to have this quality to survive in this industry, let alone thrive. And he’s willing to share all his knowledge and experience with anyone interested.”
With more than 200 members, the association’s current project is to raise $25,000 to support Black-owned wine businesses with grants. To date, the organization has raised almost $9,000 (givebutter.com/aaavgrant).
In 2019, the association decided wineries don’t need to be owned by people of color to become members, as long as they support diversity and inclusion.
“Mac’s dedication to the association and to the industry kept him engaged to move the association forward,” Long said. “His commitment to ‘we do, too’ continues to shine a light on African Americans in the industry.”
Mac the mentee
McDonald grew up 89 miles south of Dallas, Texas, in the town of Butler (formerly Oakwood). When his high school basketball coach heard he wanted to a winemaker, he encouraged McDonald to move to California.
After graduating from high school, McDonald made his way to the Golden State in 1962. He attended Merritt Jr. College in Oakland and later took biology classes at UC Berkeley.
McDonald worked various jobs in restaurants and worked on a farm in Union City before landing a job at Pacific Gas and Electric Co. But he never wavered from his goal of becoming a winemaker. He spent a lot of time in Napa Valley, asking questions of those working in the vineyards.
His lucky break came in the late ’70s, when he crossed paths with vintner Charlie Wagner of Rutherford’s Caymus Vineyards.
“He (Charlie) was working out in the vineyard, pruning,” McDonald said. “I thought he was a hired hand. He talked to me all the time. It was nine months before I found out who he was. Then I found out he owned the winery.”
After mentoring McDonald for many years, the Wagner family suggested he get into the wine business. When he said he didn’t have the kind of money necessary to make wine, they helped back him financially.
“We crafted wine in 1996, but we didn’t release it because it didn’t meet our standards,” McDonald said of his own label.
When he and Lil bought their land in Sonoma County, they planted a variety of pinot noir clones in their vineyard.
“My vision of becoming a winemaker was a reality,” McDonald said. “Our first bottling was 1997 pinot noir, and Vision Cellars was born. … Every year, I learn something different. It’s an exciting adventure I look forward to.”
After more than four decades, McDonald’s ties to the Wagner family remain strong.
“My parents taught me if you want to be successful, you have to be persistent and learn as much as you can,” he said.
McDonald also talked about his favorite wine book, diversity in the wine industry and what he takes most pride in as a winemaker.
Question: What’s your favorite wine book?
Answer: “Love by the Glass,” by Dorothy J. Gaiter and John Brecher. They write about the romance of wine, and it’s very interesting.
Q: Will the wine industry ever be truly diverse and, if so, when?
A: It’s probably 10 years out. People really need to understand all aspects of the wine industry, like the three-tiered distribution system (producers, distributors and retailers). I don’t want to put a damper on things, but it takes a lot of money to be in the wine business, and you have to be up-to-date with your knowledge.
Q: What do you take the most pride in as a winemaker?
A: I wanted to be a winemaker and I wanted to be recognized. I had the idea of being rated in the Wine Spectator, and I accomplished that nine or 10 times. I had the goal of having my wine poured in the White House, and I accomplished that four or five times.
You can reach Wine Writer Peg Melnik at email@example.com or 707-521-5310.
Wine, The Press Democrat
Northern California is cradled in vines; it’s Wine County at its best in America. My job is to help you make the most of this intriguing, agrarian patch of civilization by inviting you to partake in the wine culture – the events, the bottlings and the fun. This is a space to explore wine, what you care about or don’t know about yet.
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Morning, everybody; today, we plan our next museum visit on Heritage Treasures Day! It’s Sylvia, your host of the Daily. Here are all the things you need to know about what’s happening in town. Today’s briefing includes:
- 👮 Discovery of a deceased woman in front of an office building
- 💧 Precautions to prevent further flooding
- 🏗️ 2400 Long Beach Boulevard construction update
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Variable cloudiness. High: 63 Low: 48.
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⛽ Three of the Cheapest Gas Stations in the City of Long Beach
- Sam’s Club at 7480 Carson St., $3.89
- G&M at 805 E Ocean Blvd., $3.99
- ARCO at 1785 Bellflower Blvd., $3.99
💐 Valentine’s Day Poll! 🥂
Pink hearts, boxes of chocolates, and greeting cards – reminders that Valentine’s Day is coming are everywhere. But responses to the holiday are mixed. What are your feelings about the occasion? Do you celebrate? So far, 50% take a bah-humbug approach, while 38.9% plan on a Valentine’s Day with all the trimmings. 2.8% plan on celebrating Galentine’s Day, and 8.3% focus on Singles Awareness Day.
📰 Here are the top stories in Long Beach today:
- Homeless Winter Shelter Update: On Sunday, we talked about the winter homeless shelter at Community Hospital that doesn’t offer showers or functioning indoor toilets to residents. On Monday evening, the restrooms reopened, and mobile showers are on the way, so residents don’t have to be bused around town. Reportedly, Los Angeles County Supervisor Janice Hahn was outraged “by the plumbing problems that had been plaguing the shelter since almost immediately after it opened on Dec. 19.” There’s some talk of opening another facility because Community Hospital filled up so quickly, but nothing has been confirmed yet. (Patch, Long Beach Post)
- Passersby found the body of a woman on 1st Street close to the Promenade on Tuesday morning. She was “on the sidewalk just outside a Downtown Long Beach office building” around 6:30 a.m. According to the police, there’s no suspicion of foul play. (Long Beach Post)
- After flooding the peninsula last week, Long Beach residents weren’t willing to take a chance with the second forecast rainstorm. On Monday, you saw people from across the City “taking full advantage of the free sandbags at the 72nd Place lifeguard station to fortify their homes.” It’s noteworthy that officials weren’t expecting “the surf and high tide to be as severe or destructive as last week.” But even if you aren’t close to the coast, it’s a good idea to keep an eye on things. “If you see palm fronds, put them up on the sidewalk . . . Keep them out of the storm drains. We all have to get together to protect our community,” Long Beach’s fire captain explained. (CBS)
- The school bus depot near Willow Station has been removed to allow “for the construction of a mixed-use affordable housing complex.” The project was approved last March and will bring 194 apartments to 2400 Long Beach Boulevard. Costing an estimated $92 million, “dwellings (will be) priced for households earning between 30 and 70 percent of the area median income level.” There’s no completion date yet. (LA Urbanize)
- Long Beach is bringing back Black Restaurant Week for a second time. Running for eight days from January 22 to 29, it celebrates “African, African American and Caribbean fare” while also putting the spotlight on “Black-owned culinary businesses as well as Black chefs and bartenders.” So far, we know that Eddie Clyde’s Tamale Hut & Sweet Treats is a confirmed participant. (Long Beach Food & Beverage, 2)
📆 Today in Long Beach:
- Yoga at the Belmont Heights United Methodist Church (9 AM)
- Narsiso Martinez’s exhibit ‘Rethinking Essential‘ has been extended to January 28 at MOLAA (11 AM)
- Let’s Werk ~ A Weekly Coworking Date Just for Queers at Wood Coffee Co. (11 AM)
- Free Trivia at Beachwood Brewing (7 PM)
- Karaoke at DiPiazza’s (9 PM)
🖊️ From my notebook:
- “❗️Here are some rain safety tips↓ ✅ Call 562.570.2700 to report street flooding/downed trees ✅ Plan commute accordingly, and please drive safely, avoid flooded streets ✅Follow Long Beach Recycles for street sweeping.” (Long Beach City via Facebook)
- “Today and every day, we appreciate the men and women of the LBPD for their continued service to our community! Happy Law Enforcement Appreciation Day! 💙” (Long Beach Police Department (CA) via Facebook)
- “Long Beach residents can pick up sandbags and sand at the Lifeguard Station located at 72nd Place and Ocean Boulevard. Empty sandbags are also available at all neighborhood Long Beach Fire Department stations.” (Long Beach City via Facebook)
- “Our Long Beach Public Library, in partnership with the Arts Council for Long Beach and supported by Urban Word, is launching the inaugural Long Beach Youth Poet Laureate program.” (Long Beach City via Facebook)
- “The MLK Day of Service is ONE WEEK AWAY! If you’re looking for a way to honor him and want to volunteer, we have projects that still need sign-ups!” (Leadership Long Beach via Facebook)
- “Please be advised that while we make every effort to collect all trees left out on Saturday, Jan. 7, the volume of trees placed out for collection are often more than we can handle in one day. Any areas missed on Saturday will be collected throughout the rest of the week.” (LB Public Works)
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Thanks for following along and staying informed! See you all tomorrow morning for another update.
— Sylvia Cochran
About me: Sylvia Cochran works out of sunny Southern California and has been freelance writing full-time since 2005. She loves dogs, cats, books, plays Best Fiends (don’t judge), embraces social justice, and tries to live out Micah 6:8.
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Steven Scott Bradley sells insurance brokerage to fast-growing $600M Atlanta firm Philadelphia Business Journal
Once you’ve registered your free Business Profile, what should you fill out first to be discovered by consumers on Native?
Congratulations on claiming your Native Business Page! Now that you’ve registered your business, here are three free things you can do right now to make your page stand out.
1: Complete the Business Profile Business Details
That’s right, make sure the correct channels to contact you and the business is accurate. not only for your potential customer to reach out to you, but also for this website to work for you. Be sure to add correct phone, website’s, address, PayPal, crypto payment address and configure your site preferences.
Photos are one of the most important parts of your Native Page. They’re your digital window display and ideal for a Social conversation. They help your potential customers visualize what you do—and more importantly, what you could do for them. Add photos that feature your products, services, staff, and any certifications you may have on your Profile page. If you have a brick-and-mortar location, show what your physical space looks like, both inside and out. For service businesses, before-and-after photos are really important. For restaurants, show off those beautiful food and drink photos, and definitely add pictures of your menu. When choosing pictures, remember to select high quality photos with good lighting, and don’t forget the captions. Even if what your writing seems obvious, use descriptive words and phrases. For example, rather than a caption that says “vanilla ice cream,” try something like: “Refreshing, soft serve vanilla ice cream in a waffle cone. We serve seasonal flavors with all your favorite fruit and candy toppings.” Your photos show future customers what you have to offer. Next up, it’s time to tell them what you have to offer.
3: Be the Mouth Piece of the Business
Make a great first impression with someone who just discovered your business. This section of your page has three goals, showcase your specialties, talk about your experiences, and meet you -the owner or manager. This is where you be the mouth piece your unique services. This is the place to make that distinction. History is where you share the background and story behind your business. Meet the owner or manager is all about you. Write about your personal backstory and why you’re passionate about your business. As you’re adding business details, remember, this is your chance to wow prospective customers, giving them free pointers or knowledge from your expertise. When people are searching on Native, they’re usually looking for a specific product, service, or experience, but they don’t know which business to pick. They found your page because you offer what they’re looking for and now’s your chance to inspire them to choose you.
4: Download the Black Flip.app for Business
It’s available for both iPhone and Android. It’s just for people who own or help run a business. The BlackFlip.app for Business is the easiest and fastest way to manage and update content as you grow your business. You can use it to see how your page is performing. There are insights on how many times your page was viewed and beyond. You also have access to our support team. You can respond to reviews on the app, which is important for managing customer relationships. It shows that you really appreciate feedback and take it seriously. The app is also great for responding to messages or requests from prospective customers. A quick response time makes for good customer experience. Plus your average response time is displayed on your page, so if you’re quick and responsive other consumers will see that. Are you ready to get started? Log in to your business account and take a few minutes to show off all the best things about you and your business.
If you’re hungry for more tips and tricks, head over to our business blog or register for an upcoming webinar. See you next time.