As a business owner, every message you convey has to resonate with your audience. Everyone is becoming more aware in this fast-paced world, and people are not like they were a couple of years ago. Consumers’ needs are continuously evolving, and companies have to keep up with this shift in behaviors.
Inclusive marketing is defined as the practice of using strategies that embrace diversity. It includes creating campaigns that people from all races, backgrounds, social classes, gender, and age brackets can relate to. Inclusivity means representing not only the majority of your target market but also the minorities and marginalized. Using universal marketing tactics can help your brand attract more people, especially global companies.
What Is the Difference Between Diversity and Inclusivity?
A lot of marketers confuse diversity with inclusivity. However, these two differ somewhat. According to Rita Mitjans of ADP, variety is the “what”, while inclusive marketing is the “how”. To simplify it, marketers should find the foundation of diversity to understand what their audience needs. Entrepreneurs should represent their consumers’ values to make them feel included and relevant.
For example, you could use a stock photo with people from different races, gender orientations, and ages, but if you do not represent their needs correctly then you are illustrating diversity, but not inclusivity. You have to look deeper into your customers’ psyche and see how they think. You need to consider their perspectives and apply those to your messaging to connect with your clients.
Why Should You Apply Inclusive Marketing Campaigns to Your Strategy?
People want to feel included and heard. This study done by The Female Quotient and Google reports that over 64% of consumers said that they paid attention to and took some type of action after seeing an advertisement that seems inclusive and diverse. The more you show the crowd that you empathize with others, the higher your chances of turning them into actual clients.
If you are unsure where to start, consider applying these tips to begin your journey with all-inclusive marketing.
Start With Your Team
You can’t show your buyers that you support an all-inclusive marketing strategy without applying it to your company. Consider diversifying your team by hiring people from different backgrounds and demographics. These individuals can have diverse experiences that can help your brand grow and succeed.
If it is possible, try recruiting people from around the globe and have them work remotely. By doing this, you will see the industry from a different perspective, which can help you find your way to bringing an in-depth master plan to the table.
Here are some steps that you can take to find a diverse team using inclusive marketing:
- Entice candidates by offering inclusive perks and benefits.
- Use different channels when posting your job vacancies. Go beyond your usual platforms and experiment.
- Use comprehensive language and include your diversity statement in your post.
- Nurture your partnerships with multicultural associations and institutions.
- Create an employee referral program.
- Let the people know that you are committed to finding diverse candidates.
Take a Deeper Look at Your Current Consumers
Inclusive marketing campaigns don’t mean attracting an audience that has no relevance to your brand. For example, you don’t have to market to men if you offer pregnancy-related products or services. You can look at your data and see which audience or group you attract the most. Take note of all the necessary information, such as their race, background, income level, and gender orientation. You can dig even deeper by looking at your consumers’ interests, hobbies, and buying behavior.
Once you have these details in your hands, go ahead and update your personas. Each segmentation has to reflect the buyers’ characteristics so they will feel relevant to the brand.
Update Your Content
Review all of your posted content and see if they focus on representing every customer segmentation. Then, sit down with your writers and editors, find inclusive marketing examples, and discuss your plan of action with them. Finally, come up with a guideline regarding inclusivity so it is easier to incorporate it into articles.
Take these things into considerations when creating write-ups:
- Never make assumptions. Do proper research and cite reliable sources. Go above and beyond by interviewing your customers and sending them surveys.
- Quote sources that are “out of the norm”. For example, you can discuss skincare topics with a man instead of a woman. This way, you can show your readers that you are aware that skincare is for everyone.
- Be careful with the adjectives that you use. Avoid using words that have negative connotations and go for the safer route instead.
- Steer clear of bluntly saying that your company supports inclusive marketing. You can, instead, use words that reflect said concepts.
- Pair your articles with diverse images. A picture paints a thousand words, and using visuals representing your messaging can help people understand the values you want to portray.
Your blog connects your label to your clients, so putting out varied content should be on the top of your list.
Celebrate With Your Audience
Part of being diverse means celebrating different holidays and occasions with your patrons. For example, you can show your LGBTQ+ consumers that you are an ally by posting images, infographics, or videos on your social media pages during Pride month. You can also offer support to your readers from all around the world by posting a Merry Christmas/Happy Hanukkah/Joyous Kwanzaa during the holiday season.
Just make sure that it’s not all for the show, as people can sense if you are just doing this for the sake of putting your brand name out there.
Tweak Your SEO Practices
It might not be obvious, but SEO plays a part in inclusive marketing campaigns. First, of course, you want your website to be accessible to people from all over the world, and you have to make sure that you are not excluding any group from visiting your page.
One of the best SEO practices is implementing alt tags on all of the images on your site. These tags can help people that are unable to view pictures to read what the visuals are about. Additionally, alt tags can help search engine bots understand your graphics, which can help boost your SEO rankings.
Here are other SEO tips to make sure that everyone can access your website:
- Use a CMS that supports accessibility. One of the most used content management systems is WordPress, simply because of the wide range of features.
- Make use of proper headings.
- Use internal and external links and use relevant text for each one.
- Label your form fields correctly.
- Implement descriptive URLs.
Avoid Cultural Appropriation
People can sometimes go overboard with inclusive marketing campaigns, which can often lead to cultural appropriation. Now, this is one of the things that you should steer clear of. Ethnic borrowing is the practice of taking the culture of a minority and using it to your advantage without even knowing the true meaning behind it. The said act is often offensive to marginalized groups and can cause scandals and issues for the brand. Being sensitive and taking the time to research can help you avoid sticky situations.
Take these guidelines into consideration to avoid cultural appropriation:
- Determine whether you should be telling the story or not. If you feel like you are writing for another group or person, then leave it and let them tell the story instead.
- Avoid stereotyping when creating content.
- Interview people from the minorities and quote them.
- Do not use images that contain appropriation.
- Review and revise your article. If you feel like you have past content that has sensitive topics and ideas, then consider removing or amending them.
Show that your brand is open to change by creating discussions around critical and timely matters. Let your audience know that you are an advocate of all-inclusive marketing and that you care about their thoughts and feelings. However, you should make it clear that you are here just to discuss and not to lead. Avoid making bold statements without taking a look at the background.
Here are some inclusive marketing examples on how you can create discussions and show people that you stand by them:
- Be open to corrections. Do not become defensive when an individual or group of people tries to correct you. Instead, apologize, admit your mistakes, and promise to do better next time.
- Follow the trends and see what people are talking about. The best way to start discussions is by taking a look at what people are currently talking about. You can create polls and open your blog and social media comments to encourage people to participate.
- Educate your community by sharing your knowledge with them. Support your claims by citing sources.
- Share stories from marginalized groups and individuals. Use your voice to let the majority know about their struggles and narratives.
Creating conversations is a great way to get your audience engaged and educated.
Creating an inclusive marketing strategy requires effort. You can’t launch an all-inclusive brand without reaching out to others. And while it might be time-consuming, the benefits from this are extremely rewarding. This scheme is also ever-evolving, so make sure to keep your eyes and ears open, use distinctive visuals, language, and words when necessary to show your consumers that you are a diverse brand.