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How to Build an Inclusive Marketing Strategy for Your Online Business

Here’s how to reflect our inclusive and diverse modern culture in your marketing strategy.

How to build an inclusive marketing strategy for your online business

At its core, marketing is a conversation between a business and its potential customers. All forms of marketing are meant to tell customers what you, the creator, have to offer. However, it doesn’t stop there. Customers are also listening to the subtext in your marketing. Does this brand include people like them? Are they specifically welcome and wanted?

Equality and social justice matter to customers. The marketplace is crowded with digital products and services. Customers choose who they support by looking at what’s being offered and how it is presented. Let’s take a closer look at this strategy and how you can implement it.

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What is inclusive marketing? Why does it matter? Current trends in inclusive marketing How to create a diverse and inclusive marketing strategy Inclusive Marketing Humanizes Your Brand
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What is inclusive marketing?

Inclusive marketing is marketing that embraces the whole human race in all of its diversity. This includes people of every age, race, ethnicity, religion, gender, sexuality, and disability status. It goes beyond just a brand strategy to make sales. Inclusive marketing has become a reflection of you, the entrepreneur, and your business.

Our modern life has been shaped by people actively championing acceptance, equality, and social justice. However, passively supporting diversity is not enough. To make a lasting connection with customers, you must reflect that active support through your online presence and marketing decisions.

Why does it matter?

There is a worldwide lack of diversity in the workplace. White men are over-represented in positions of power and decision-making in business. This lack of diversity at the top trickles down to the goods and services offered. They are by and for a limited demographic, and it shows.

People of color, gender, sexual minorities, and people with disabilities (over 1 billion people, according to the World Health Organization) have been a marketing afterthought for far too long. Now, customers are looking for brands that accurately represent who they are. They make purchasing decisions considering many factors, including cost, convenience, and emotion.

These customers are eager to support women entrepreneurs and businesses founded by minorities. They want to use their money efficiently to improve their lives and support societal change. Your business can get a decisive edge in a competitive marketplace by clearly signaling an inclusive identity worth supporting.

Current trends in inclusive marketing

Inclusive marketing actively demonstrates your brand’s support for diversity and equality. Let’s look at some of the companies that are getting it right. What does that look like in real-world applications?

Nike is an internationally recognized athletic brand that was founded in 1964 and is still going strong. It has grown and evolved by staying focused on a central principle. Nike’s mission statement, posted loud and proud on their website, is: “If you have a body, you’re an athlete.” The business’s product lines and marketing campaigns reflect that commitment. It is also guiding their future strategy to diversify their corporate culture.

What about smaller businesses? ThirdLove isn’t a juggernaut like Nike, but this inclusive lingerie brand has a loyal and growing customer base. They demonstrate their commitment to inclusivity through images, written content, and the products they offer. Diverse models show how the lingerie looks on different body sizes and shapes. They also take it a step further, encouraging other brands like Victoria’s Secret to be more inclusive.

How to create a diverse and inclusive marketing strategy

1. Demonstrate your commitment to inclusivity

Create a statement that your business is inclusive and respects human diversity. Put this statement up on your online presence. Don’t forget your social media sites and your web page.

2. Build a diverse team

You and your business can always benefit from having diverse perspectives. This can include:

  • Hiring with an eye toward diversity.
  • Working with sensitive readers for published novels.
  • Getting diverse opinions while audience testing.
  • Collaborating with people of a variety of races, genders, etc.

3. Choose images that reflect your target audience.

To reflect your audience, you need to understand them. Do some research and analytics to see who is responding to your marketing. Next, research your potential, more comprehensive audience. What images can you choose that appeal to both old and new customers? What will reflect who they are, what they’re passionate about, and how they love?

4. Use inclusive language

Look for neutral terms and language to use in your marketing. A lot of the casual language we use is not inclusive. Using terms like ‘waitress’ and ‘fireman’ can be a force of habit, but these dated terms can put customers off.

5. Create content for all demographics

Look for ways to expand the range of content you offer. Build a diverse portfolio of content that appeals to current customers and broader demographics. Take creative risks once in a while with a course aimed toward people who aren’t yet customers.

For more specific suggestions:

  • Create disability-friendly content with closed captioning, text descriptions under pictures, and alternate moves and techniques to suit different physical abilities.
  • Optimize your website, so it’s free of clutter, has a high contrast between text and background, and uses easily-read fonts and inclusive imagery.
  • Advertise in a variety of spaces to reach a broader group of people.

6. Rework old content to reflect your new focus on inclusivity

All aspects of your brand and online presence must be aligned with your values of inclusivity and respect for diversity. If you’ve been in the game for a while, there may be older digital content that isn’t aligned with your new work. Take a look at what you can do, from rewriting passages to sourcing new stock art, to communicate your message more clearly.

Inclusive Marketing Humanizes Your Brand

Inclusive marketing demonstrates your business’s respect for the diverse world we live in. This lets you humanize your online courses, products, and your brand. It elevates your digital content into a space that welcomes all people. Brand humanization is a powerful tool for gaining an edge in the competitive entrepreneurial space. Inclusive marketing is a critical part of this. You can read more about other ways to humanize your brand here.