Inclusive marketing isn’t as simple as throwing a bunch of people together in your next commercial. Instead, inclusive marketing is a practice that you incorporate into every aspect of your marketing strategy. Here are some tips for successful integration.
Make Your Website More Accessible
If people with disabilities have trouble accessing your website, they might give up and shop elsewhere. Worse yet, they might write a negative review and make your company look bad. Unfortunately, many web designers only care about how the website looks on a screen and doesn’t think about disabled viewers. It’s easy to assume that disabled people make up a fraction of the population. Still, a disability doesn’t have to be debilitating–it could be an “invisible” disability like poor eyesight that makes it difficult to read text on a screen.
Talk to an expert about making your website accessible to everyone. Some websites offer tools and plugins that you can add to your website for people with disabilities. These tools might enlarge the text, change the color, read text aloud, create an on-screen keyboard and provide other enhancements. These tools only affect how the individual views your website–they don’t affect the actual website.
Include Representation in Your Marketing
It’s not bad for your company to have a target audience–in fact, narrowing down your audience helps you market to the right people. However, not every person who visits your website will be a straight white man in his thirties. When you represent different races, ages, genders, and sexualities in your marketing, you reach a wider audience. If they’re impressed by your product or service, they might recommend it to their friends, increasing your web of sales and profits.
No one expects you to include every single group in your advertisements–that’s millions of people. However, you could incorporate different races and cultures in your commercials, posters, and social media ads. Feature women in your promotions instead of defaulting to men every time. If you work in the dating or romance-based industry, include same-sex couples as well as opposite-sex ones. Including disabled people is essential because they rarely see representation outside of “inspirational” movies. There’s an endless amount of options you could choose from, so why stick with a parade of straight, able-bodied white men?
Talk to Experts on the Subject
You could hire an online marketing agency to help you promote your business, but you won’t get far if you never talk to the people you’re trying to represent. For example, an able-bodied person might film a commercial with disabled people. They assume that they know everything about the disability and never talk to the individuals they’re supposedly representing. When they release their commercial, people notice that it has a mocking, offensive tone coming from ignorance. This could have been prevented if the non-disabled person talked to the experts.
When you represent people outside of your cultural group, talk to people who are part of this group. They could help you avoid blunders like mockery, stereotypes, or cultural appropriation. They might also answer your questions, give advice and help you incorporate this group in your marketing plan. If you don’t talk to an expert, you could make a costly mistake that results in a PR disaster–which is the opposite of what you’re trying to achieve.