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A Guide to Inclusive Marketing in Emails

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Diversity, equity, and inclusivity influence every sphere of our lives. Since email is one of the most popular communication channels, creating inclusive marketing emails is essential for marketers. Be it onboarding, minutes of the meetings, holiday wishes, festival celebrations, project discussion, emails play a key role. So it makes sense to practice diversity, equity, and inclusivity in emails to better connect with readers.

In this guide, you will learn why diversity, equity, and inclusivity is essential for your business. You will also learn how you can create inclusive emails for your marketing campaigns.

Table of contents

What is diversity, equity, and inclusivity?

Diversity is about understanding people and what makes them different in terms of gender, age, ethnicity, religion, education, national origin, sexual orientation, disability, and national origin. For example, India is a diverse country. It has people from different languages, religions, castes, and cultures.

Equity is the principle of providing equal rights to everyone. It gives everyone access to the same opportunities and rights as a fundamental human right.

A more commonly heard term associated with this is equality which is the outcome of establishing equity. For example, equity’s goal is to help achieve fairness in treatment and outcomes. It's a way in which equality is achieved. For example, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) was written so that people with disabilities are ensured equal access to public places.

Inclusivity is the practice of providing equal access to opportunities and resources for people who might otherwise be excluded or marginalized, such as those having physical or mental disabilities or belonging to minority groups. Inclusivity is the act of implementing the principle of equity in a diverse society. This is a typical instance of inclusivity seen in workplaces where people from different backgrounds and cultures might come together. Workplace inclusion ensures all employees feel welcome to participate and contribute in every aspect of the workplace.

Recently, it came to Microsoft's attention that children with specific physical disabilities or missing limbs were having difficulty playing video games with traditional controllers. So the company began working on an alternative controller which included touchpads instead of buttons and bright colors for the visually impaired. They also opened a communication channel where disabled people who still couldn't use the controller could write to them requesting customizations.

Let us understand why most brands are giving importance to diversity, equity, and inclusivity in their business.

Why diversity, equity, and inclusivity is essential for a business?

With social consciousness increasing every day, you have to acknowledge that diversity, equity, and inclusivity are essential for any business.

Why?

Because it’s the right thing to do and not just doing it for the sake of it. And any kind of discrimination can be a brand killer.

For example, for years now, Fair and Lovely had their own beauty standards for women in their ads. The name change was a result of severe backlashes from people who protested against excluding dark skin from beauty standards.

With globalization, you are marketing to a diverse audience. Inclusivity means including all people, customizing your message to include as many segments as possible.

Let us dive in further to understand the importance of diversity, equity, and inclusivity for emails.

How important is diversity, equity, inclusivity for emails?

Your emails are the mouthpiece of your organization. So if they are inclusive, your brand is also complete. Today at every step, hyper-personalization is expected by the consumers. Therefore, diversity, Equity, and Inclusivity in emails can act as a brand differentiator.

For instance, it is vital to ensure accessibility in emails so that users can access and understand your emails despite their disabilities.

You need to take concrete steps to include diversity, equity, and inclusivity in emails to help your business grow.

Before moving further, we must clarify that inclusivity and accessibility in emails may seem similar, but there is a slight difference. Accessibility is a part of inclusivity.

Inclusivity vs accessibility in emails

Accessibility in emails is just one way of making emails inclusive for your subscribers.

Inclusivity in emails is about creating emails, such as people of different ages, gender, culture, and location.

Accessibility in emails is about ensuring that everyone can access and understand your emails despite their disabilities.

Now that we have understood the fundamental difference between accessible and inclusive emails let us know how to create inclusive emails.

Major obstacles to inclusive email marketing

The major obstacles to inclusive email marketing are as follows:

• Lack of awareness

People don’t even realize non-inclusivity is an issue. Even if they do, most of them are not willing to change assuming it’d be too much hassle.

• Personal biases

Self-reflecting on our personal biases can make a huge difference in recognizing where people need to improve in regards to inclusivity.

The same is the case with emails. For example, if all your emails have images of people of the same ethnicity, it can create negative connotations like you don’t want to associate with the people from their ethnicity, you don’t appreciate their involvement in the company, etc.

Also, people aren’t aware of their own biases. They’re comfortable with people who look like them or have the same beliefs that they do.

And those biases and preferences show in email campaigns even if they're completely unintentional.

• Technical difficulties with personalization on a larger audience

When it comes to inclusivity and personalization with a large audience, it’s a different game altogether.

You have to contextualize your messaging for different ethnicities. For example, sending Diwali emails to the non-Indian audiences wouldn’t get their attention as they don’t know what Diwali is.

You also have to collect huge amounts of data to understand your audience. For example, what they like to do, where they like to travel, what they wear, etc., to fully comprehend what makes them them.

• It’s a long process

Whether on a micro or macro level, it takes time to learn each minority audience and create campaigns for them. You have to study what they eat, what they wear, what festivals they celebrate, etc. It's a must because inclusive marketing is the new growth strategy.

How can you create inclusive marketing emails?

There are some easy ways to diagnose your emails and check if they are inclusive. Allow us to tell you some standard steps to check if your emails are diverse, equitable, and inclusive.

Is your target audience limited or homogeneous? Here is a checklist to ensure that this does not happen in the future.

✅ Understand and respect your subscribers

Create an email that positively reflects the subscriber’s culture and language. Have surveys, polls, complete sign-up forms to gather more data of your subscribers. By adding support for one additional language, you increase accessibility for millions.

What else can you do? You can take diversity, equity, and inclusivity courses so they can learn how to fine-tune their language in a way that is inclusive and inoffensive to any group.

✅ Embrace gender-neutral terms

You have all been guilty of complying with the dominant discourse on gender in our daily conversations and emails like "Hi Guys", "How is it going, ladies?"

The use of such dominant speech is a bad example of inclusivity. You can start by making a conscious effort of using gender-neutral terms like chairperson instead of chairman—President instead of Women President.

Avoid these Gender Bias Terms Use these General Neutral Terms
Chairman, Lady President, Spokesmen Chairperson, Spokesperson
Good morning madam, Good morning sir Good morning folks, Good morning everyone
His or Hers Theirs
Husband/Wife Significant other or Partner
Mankind People

You can include their pronouns in their signature. and avoid using shaming language around financial issues.

Beware of toxic positivity messaging that implies people just aren't trying hard enough if they don't have an outcome they want (which ignores complicating social systems like racism, sexism, homophobia, etc. that cause real external and internal impediments). Aim for a consent-based funnel rather than scare tactics.

Read about Evolution of Email Etiquettes and Tips to Write Better Emails.

✅ Have color-inclusive and body-positive images

Let people know your organization stands against colorism and body shaming.

Ensure your emails include images of people of all skin colors and represent all body shapes and sizes when discussing statistics of a particular region, state, or country.

Ensure that your emails are accessible to everyone, as to include those who use assistive technology as well as other language speakers.

Your images and quotes matter too: Include people of color and queer couples in your campaigns, and participate in social justice movements like Black Lives Matter.”

You're perfect just the way you are.

✅ Use a warm and friendly tone

Humor is tremendous, and pushing boundaries is valuable. However, if you’re doubtful and are worrying about your copy or image choice being potentially offensive to any community, it’s better to be safe than sorry. Any time you are using any striking visual effects in your experiences, it’s best to consult a subject matter expert or just avoid it.

Below is an example of using a warm and friendly tone in an email:

Email written using warm and friendly tone

Thoughts and experiences of leaders on diversity, equity, and inclusivity

You now know that diverse, equitable, and inclusive communication is an integral part of any organization. So let us look at the top leaders who work hard to implement this daily in the professional world. These quotes result from a survey conducted by Mailmodo on diversity, equity, and inclusivity.

Linguistics / some languages are more inclusive than others: English-speakers have it easy when it comes to inclusivity in marketing. There are languages where there isn’t a generic “you” that you can use to address a man, woman, or group altogether.
- Edyta Garcia, Content & Marketing Manager, Euroflorist

Take a new look at your employment page's aesthetics. Think about including an acknowledgment of the field's privilege in your posting. Ensure that digital, audio, and visual, and all material is inclusive to a broader audience by conducting an accessibility audit.
- Chris Muller, Director of Audience Growth, Dough Roller

If one of your objectives is internal education and conversation, you may share with your audience the racial justice resources, organizations, materials your team is learning about. You can also involve your employees in community service by highlighting their accomplishments on social media. Of course, if your company is donating or spending money, make sure to convey that properly.
- David Farkas, Founder, The Upper Ranks

Something I’ve learned over my time as a business owner is that people buy based on values. If you want to expand your consumer base, -- or simply better yourself as a human being. You absolutely need to value inclusivity and diversity.
- Daviat Dholakia, VP of Operations, Essenvia

There is absolutely no reason that an email should contain a lack of diversity or inclusivity, as it is the written word. Ensure to include and accept the individual voice within the email, a hybrid between professional and personal linguistic behavior. If you are creating a workplace environment of inclusivity, this should be reflected in your emails.
- Kashish Gupta, Founder and CEO, High Touch

We have had celebrations for all different religions and beliefs in workplaces. The same can be done with emails as well. You can draft the content in a way that addresses all the pronouns and gives equal consideration to everybody. You can also add visuals that have everybody portrayed as one team. If you are sending out festival greetings through emails, make sure you don’t skip any celebration that a belief celebrates.
- Hilda Wong, Founder, Content Dog

Email marketers should keep some things in mind when it comes to email campaigns. Those things include visuals, language, and accessibility. When it comes to visuals, text size and style are important for those who are visually impaired. Language is another thing to keep in mind because of being mindful of certain words and terms relating to gender, race, and culture.
- Binet Yousuf, Founder and Editor, Crescendo

For audiences who have been traditionally left out of mainstream marketing, a 'this is for everyone' approach isn't enough to make them feel included or safe to interact with you. Historically marginalized folks will often be vigilant for red flags that you don't "get" them or their context, so thinking through one's own implicit bias and blindspots is going to be helpful.
- Isa Gautschi, CEO, M.Isa Messaging

Be inclusive in your emails

We hope this article has opened your eyes to drafting a non-biased email. It may be challenging to follow the guidelines, but let us do our best to practice diversity, equity, and inclusivity in email and make this world a better place to live in.

What you should do next

Hey there, thanks for reading till the end. Here are 3 ways we can help you grow your business:

  1. Talk to an email expert. Need someone to take your email marketing to the next level? Mailmodo’s experts are here for you. Schedule a 30-minute email consultation. Don’t worry, it’s on the house. Book a meet here.

  2. Send emails that bring higher conversions. Mailmodo is an ESP that helps you to create and send app-like interactive emails with forms, carts, calendars, games, and other widgets for higher conversions. Sign up now and send 10k free emails/month. Sign up here.

  3. Get smarter with our email resources. Explore all our knowledge base here and learn about email marketing, marketing strategies, best practices, growth hacks, case studies, templates, and more. Access guides here.

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