As Black History Month wraps up, BlackBusinessSearch.com, a new online black business directory is inviting black-owned businesses and black business professionals to receive free lifetime memberships on its site. The new online directory, known to some as “the Black Yelp” connects black business owners with black consumers seeking their products and services. By offering a limited number of free memberships, Black Business Search hopes to build up a group of early adopters, which they need for feature & website performance testing. It is unclear how many free memberships the website plans to give, but sources say they would typically need from 200 to 500 active members prove out the integrity of the site.
Small businesses typically have small marketing budgets, which makes it difficult to market their goods. This challenge is even greater for black-owned small businesses, as they typically have even smaller budgets. When facing the challenge of marketing their businesses online, many small business owners turn to mainstream tools and tactics, such as Google AdWords, Facebook Ads, and black press release services. While these can both be excellent tools to include as part of an overall marketing strategy, they are also known for becoming very costly very fast.
Black Business Search’s go to market plan is based on three packages currently ranging from $7.95 to $15.95 per month, depending on the features included in each package. The free membership being offered will allow new members to enjoy full profile benefits of the directory’s premium package at $0.00 for life. Aubrey Williams, the Founder and creator of the directory is making it clear that there is no catch, and free members will not be obligated to participate in surveys, write reviews, or contribute feedback in any way.
“Our primary reason for gathering a group of free members is to ensure quality performance of the site. While this additional testing should only take us a few months, we’ll gladly allow our early adopters to keep their free memberships for the life of our site. That’s just our way of thanking them for allowing us to do proper site testing behind the scenes” says Williams. Usually a website can’t be properly tested without a significant number of users, so the free offer makes perfect sense.
BlackBusinessSearch.com is not the first list of black businesses on the internet, and probably won’t be the last. What differentiates them, according to Williams, is their funding and their ability to generate web traffic to their directory, which subsequently results in new customers for their members.
How can I advertise my black business? That’s the question so many black entrepreneurs are asking, and Black Business Search is already grabbing attention as a promising answer. With a Facebook page that’s on fire with interest and momentum building, BlackBusinessSearch.com is eager to complete testing, although the site is already capable of taking on both free and paid members.
The directory is also a great place for black consumers looking to support black businesses. In a very interesting blog post titled “Once You Buy Black, You Never Go Back… Or Do You?”, Black Business Search touched on the main drivers of supporting black businesses, including opportunistic convenience, social acquaintance, and relational familiarization. The good news is that African-Americans still consciously support black entrepreneurs and black professionals at least to a degree. BlackBusinessSearch.com is another quality tool to perpetuate an already good thing.
Black owners and professionals interested promoting their products and services can request a free lifetime membership by completing the form at www.blackbusinesssearch.com/free-membership. If approved, they will be sent instructions to create their free profile. They should keep in mind however, that this is a soft launch, and that it could be several months before the site is running at full speed.