Authentic & Inclusive Small Business Marketing Strategy: A Working Guide
Globally, the Black Lives Matter and Stop Asian Hate movements of the last few years have driven businesses to launch and develop anti-racism pledges. However, people are wanting more than a brand’s good word. They’re calling for action and real changes when it comes to authentic representation and inclusivity – and that applies to your small business marketing strategy in its entirety.
Creating visibility, representation, equality, and inclusivity within your Colorado small business marketing strategy has a huge impact on how your potential customers view and interact with your company. The more people your brand can authentically connect with, the better your marketing campaigns (and your overall business) will fare in the long run.
While we don’t have all the answers, and we are still actively learning how to be better ourselves, here are a few pointers we’ve found to be the most helpful so far.
Start with Your Own Team
Internal and external teams that closely reflect the markets they serve can shorten the cultural and demographic gap between the brand and the consumers they aspire to connect with. In fact, companies that encourage diversity in terms of gender, race, ethnicity, and sexuality in the working environment are 35% more likely to outperform financially than others.
Think of it this way–when employees feel comfortable about who they are within their workplace, there is a greater chance of having higher retention rates, which is great for business.
Additionally, by making sure your internal and external teams reflect your target audience, your potential customers will see themselves reflected in your brand as a whole. If the people writing and creating your marketing assets are the consumers you are looking for, you’ll have increased conversions and better outcomes from your marketing campaigns in the long term.
Feature Diverse Voices and Faces
Another way of amplifying the voices of your customers in your small business marketing strategy? Featuring diverse voices and faces!
Inclusion is all about amplifying your target audience’s needs and wants. Simply adding a picture or two that “shows” diversity doesn’t necessarily demonstrate inclusion. Especially if the photo relies on stereotypes to drive home the overall message. The use of stereotypes is the quickest way to show your audience that you don’t understand them and that you aren’t really listening to them. To combat this, we recommend including the voices of the very people you are marketing to in the campaign. This could mean collecting and listening to customer feedback, having diverse representation in your advertising campaigns, setting up a panel or an event, or bringing in consumers to consult on projects.
Get Real About Your Business Identity
As most small business owners know, building loyalty and trust with your audiences starts and ends with integrity and honesty.
Consumers are no longer fooled by sweeping claims to be transparent or diverse, even if the right influencers, imagery, and rhetorical strategies are used. If your messaging is inauthentic and exclusive, your audiences will feel that.
The solution? Your business has to truly be authentic.
This goes back to your small business’ roots. What are your brand’s values? The majority of consumers (70%) believe it’s important for brands to take a public stand on social and political issues, and 64% of them took an action after seeing an ad they considered to be diverse or inclusive. Small businesses must pivot to align with these shifts in consumer behavior.
Frankly, inclusive marketing is more than effective–it’s a good business practice. Your customers are diverse and your marketing strategy should reflect that by equitably amplifying their voices in the stories you tell.
The Biggest Takeaway
At the end of the day, the biggest thing we recommend for your small business marketing strategy is to let the voices of your potential and existing customers be heard within your small business marketing campaigns. Let their language be infused into yours, so you can truly and accurately represent them while also standing out amidst your competitors. Making space for diversity and inclusion means not just listening, but also building an awareness based on your audience’s feedback that can help your brand produce messaging that is relatable, authentic, and effective.
When it comes to marketing as an industry, things are always changing–just like the world around us is. It’s imperative to have a marketing team by your side that is nimble, adaptable, empathetic, and skilled to keep your marketing campaigns inclusive and successful.
All of us here at Red Egg Marketing work day-in and day-out to make this happen. If you’re looking to change up your marketing strategy, look no further–we can help.