Your customer base is made up of all kinds of people. People of different ages, abilities, sexual orientations, races, and more will likely use your services or products. So why would you only market to one demographic? The short answer is: you shouldn't! We all know how important diversity and inclusion are in a business, and that doesn't stop with marketing. How you market your business is how people see it and what you stand for; which is why you should strive to reach as many people with your marketing as possible. The question is, how do you do this effectively and respectfully? We're here to help you figure that out!
Before we get into the application, let's go over the difference between the two and what they mean for your business. Diversity is essentially the representation of different kinds of people in your marketing content. This could be anything from using pictures or videos of different kinds of people on your socials and website to using inclusive language in your messages (i.e. avoiding slang or gender-specific words or phrases). Inclusion is what happens when you practice diversity in your business and make those different groups of people feel valued. Hiring people of different backgrounds and including all ethnicities, genders, ages, and abilities in testimonials or reviews are great places to start. Now that we know what we're talking about, let's dive more in-depth into how you can implement it into your marketing!
It's important to understand that you shouldn't throw diversity into your marketing because it's expected. Your target audience is still what it was before, but realizing just how many demographics fall into that audience can help you see just how important inclusion marketing is. Audience research is key here, and something you should be doing regularly anyway to maintain a successful marketing strategy. Let's say for example your target audience is adults from 20-40. There are a ton of different kinds of people that live within that audience, and your marketing should reflect that. We've got tips on getting to know your audience here if you need a refresher!
Now that you see just how diverse your audience is, you can work on representing that in your marketing. Your first thought is probably what happens with your website visually. The pictures and videos of people you use should mirror your audience. Different ages, races, genders, body types, and abilities all likely have a place in your audience. Your goal as a business owner should be to encourage your audience members and make sure they feel comfortable buying your products or services, and inclusive visuals can help with this connection. The same goes for inclusive language. Sticking to gender-neutral verbiage, avoiding stereotypes, knowing the preferred names for certain groups, and respecting pronouns are all important steps to take in inclusion. Another key step in inclusion is making sure your website is ADA-compliant. Including alternative text for pictures, captioning any videos, and making sure assistive technology can work with your website are all great ways to make your website accessible to people with disabilities.
The biggest takeaway of inclusion is respecting the people and groups you're working to represent. You will not always identify with or understand certain things, but you can learn and respond in a way that shows you're listening. You can be proactive by reaching out to different demographics and asking what they would like to see from your business. If you get a negative review that's specific to diversity, respond to it constructively. Adapt and update anything that is outdated in your marketing, and stay up to date on inclusive practices. Being honest with your audience and yourself about where you can improve is an important step in making a lasting impact in your inclusion efforts.
As you begin working on diversity and inclusion for your business, understand that representation matters for everyone! The more you work to make your marketing inclusive, the more likely people will be to respond positively to your company.