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Biz Bites: Black History Month & Identity Marketing


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Bonus episode | Host Emily Washcovick does a quick deep dive into a topic affecting small businesses, sharing small but mighty changes you can implement in your business.

In episode seven of the “Biz Bites” series, we celebrate Black History Month and discuss identity marketing. Consumers want to connect with the businesses they support, and sharing your story and identity as the business owner is a way to create deeper connections—particularly when relevant to your business and offerings. Learn about ways to leverage heritage months and other times of celebration that align with your business and background.

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EMILY:  Hey there. I’m Emily Washcovick, Yelp’s Small Business Expert and the host of this podcast, Behind the Review.

Welcome to “Biz Bites,” our biweekly extra episode where we share a few minutes of tactical advice about topics affecting small business owners. If you have a topic or question that you’d like us to cover on Biz Bites, just send me an email! You can reach me at We’d love to hear from you – and just for submitting a question we’ll send you a link to request a copy of one of our current business book giveaways. 

Now, let’s dive right in. Biz Bites episode seven: Celebrating Black History Month, and digging into the value of identity marketing. 

So first I wanted to kick off this episode by saying happy Black History Month. If you’re listening to this episode in February, you’ll also notice that we have tons of Black business features throughout the month. At Yelp, we love to celebrate different heritage and identity months and use them as a way to continue elevating the voices of business owners from those various groups, such as Black-owned businesses, Women-owned businesses, veteran-owned businesses. 

It’s really important to us to celebrate and highlight these groups year round, but also taking time to recognize them during something like Black History Month. Because those are times when you have an increase in consumer interest and buzz, and also there might be different opportunities or campaigns that you can be a part of during those different celebrations.

You know, my entire time at Yelp – I’m in my 10th year right now – it’s really been important to feature a variety of businesses and have a lot of diversity in who we highlight. And that’s diversity in heritage and background, but also diversity in industry. So it really runs the gamut. And when it comes to these different heritage months, like Black History Month, I love to use it as a way to elevate those voices and really shine a light on them.

But for me, it also allows me to connect with and meet business owners that I can feature throughout the year. And something that’s really exciting is this year for Black History Month, February. All of our features on our standard Thursday episodes are Black-owned businesses, and we have quite a few that also have Black consumers or Black Elites who are the reviewers on the episode, which is really fun just to have that diversity and representation. 

Something that I hear time and time again from business owners of all different minority groups is that they just want to be seen as a good business. Good at their craft, or their service, or their offering. And then also being Black-owned or Women-owned instead of that being the main focus.

So they don’t want to just be the best Black barbecue spot. They want to be the best barbecue spot, that’s Black-owned. And I think a lot of people can identify with that. And that’s what I like to call identity marketing. You don’t necessarily want to make every element of your business about those identity markers that you have, but it’s probably an element of your business that you want to talk about.

Maybe for example, your business honors your heritage or your background through the cuisine you cook. That’s a great way for you to integrate that story into your marketing. To talk about the background that your family had, the culture that your mom comes from, for example, and how those recipes were curated in your family.

How can you talk about that heritage and background in your marketing to validate and connect with those consumers looking specifically for someone like you? 

And we have to remember there are times when consumers search specifically for certain attributes, like a Black-owned or Women-owned business. And as we celebrate these different heritage months, that’s a great time to make sure your pages are updated. And not just your Yelp page. Maybe it’s also on your Instagram and your website.

This information can help you be found when people are doing more of those searches during times like Black History Month or even Juneteenth coming up. So by getting that information on your profiles, you’re able to attract those consumers and connect with them on a deeper level.  

When you identify yourself as one of those attributes, you’ll appear in the search results when consumers are drilling down by that item.  

The last thing I want to dig into is how you can use these different heritage months to maybe attach your business to a larger community event or campaign.  Maybe there’s going to be a Black-owned market where lots of different business owners and vendors will come together and consumers will shop, and see what these different businesses are. Maybe to elevate businesses without a brick and mortar for example. 

So take a look in your community or the nearby cities and see if there are certain things coming up for Black History Month Or Juneteenth that you can hop onto. 

I’m also going to link a ton of our incredible Black-owned features In this episode’s show notes, so definitely check out some of those stories if you haven’t already. 

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