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 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 article, 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.

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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.

Unlike diversity and equity, inclusivity is a conscious act by a brand, business, or individual. Thus, a brand’s message can be inclusive or exclusive.

For example, 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 non-Indian audience 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 TermsUse these General Neutral Terms
Chairman, Lady President, SpokesmenChairperson, Spokesperson
Good morning madam, Good morning sirGood morning folks, Good morning everyone,
His or HersTheirs
Husband/WifeSignificant other or Partner
MankindPeople

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.

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.”

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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:

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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.

I am a Polish speaker, and in our native language, just like in many others, some verbs will have a different form, whether we address a man or a woman, which adds a level of difficulty.

Edyta Garcia, Content & Marketing Manager, Euroflorist

Businesses are increasingly making a case for equality of the sexes, diversity, and inclusion. However, some impediments inhibit firms from tackling gender and race equality and identifying ways to establish a better, more inclusive workforce.

Here is one of the best advice on views on Diversity, Equity & Inclusivity in Emails. 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

A business statement informs your audience about your beliefs and plans. A long-term social media approach demonstrates to them what your brand delivers. It goes beyond announcing a gift or new diversity targets to highlight how Diversity, Equity, and Inclusivity is a long-term brand commitment. You should plan to showcase your workers' and your brand's continuous efforts on social media.

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.

This allows you to promote charities and show the world who your team is and what they stand for. Of course, if your company is donating or spending money, make sure to convey that properly. All of this can be obtained using emails. Be careful of the pictures you use.

David Farkas, Founder, The Upper Ranks

I have over nine years of experience in the marketing industry. I would like to provide some inputs in response to your interesting query.

E-mail marketing is one of the most effective marketing campaigns used today. But the consumers or the receivers consist of various demographics.

Before doing anything, the diverse data is to be compiled together. This explains the diverse nature of the e-mails.

Every receiver of those E-mails should contribute equally defines the equity nature of the e-mails. And, the last part, when the received email, provides equal opportunity to all its recipients defines the Inclusivity of emails.

Nathan Hughes, Marketing Director at DiggityMarketing

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

An email is written, and blind. 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 email, a hybrid between professional and personal linguistic behavior. If you are creating a workplace environment of inclusivity, this should be reflected within your emails.

If you are seeing an intentional attempt against inclusivity, then it is something you need to address on a larger level within your business.

Kashish Gupta, Founder and CEO, High Touch

With the pandemic, hiring priorities of the companies changed and things like diversity and inclusion were probably left last in the list. We know for sure, women and non-binary people were highly affected.

With emails especially, make sure you use proper pronouns while addressing your colleagues. It has also been found that there is an overall disconnect among people since there are no after-work activities that normally allow people from different spheres to connect.

Robert Stevens, Founder and Chief Editor, Which Mount Subwoofer

We have all seen how diversity, equity, and inclusivity are being administered in workplaces across the globe. People are becoming more aware and welcoming towards the ideas. The same now goes with various communications as well.

With work from home being a prominent method of companies now, emails need to be diverse and inclusive as well. Emails can still have images that make them a little bit more catchy. These visuals can have the message of diversity and inclusivity.

There can be images with everyone in one frame symbolizing unity. It will send out a strong, positive message to all the receivers. The power dynamics shall be highlighted with the words and visuals of the email. This is something all companies shall keep in mind.

Christian Velitchkov, Co-founder, Twiz LLC

Having experience in email marketing, I would like to share my views on this topic. As we are in the decade of implementing excellent communication platforms for our needs, email marketing serves the best for all organizations.

Diverse, equity and inclusive styles are necessary to create content for email marketing. Video storytelling has taken a different shape to promote business brands online. Every phrase we use in our marketing space is crucial and carries more meaning to the viewers.

Likewise, the pictures and images showcase a wide range of ideas to observers. A diverse and inclusive approach in creating email marketing content makes your promotion stand unique.

A diverse idea is encouraged by keeping in mind the target audience is essential in email marketing. Every word carries responsibility while promoting the content of Email marketing.

Harriet Chan, Co-founder, and marketing director, CocoFinder

Diversity, equity, and inclusion are an important part of the work culture now. It allows the firm to grow and diversify with an equal opportunity for everyone. People have done an amazing job with making changes in recruitment patterns and inculcating diversity by respecting everyone.

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 portraying as one team. If you are sending out festival greetings through emails, make sure you don’t skip any celebration that a belief celebrates. Give everyone an equal celebratory email to promote diversity and celebrate with them.

Hilda Wong, Founder, Content Dog

For many, social networks are a way to keep in touch with friends and family. When people log into their social media accounts, they see photos and updates from people they know and care about.

On the contrary, email is a very professional method, and people expect to get information about products and services. That channel. In the last few years, many brands have invested millions of dollars in buying more fans in the community to connect and engage with the audience.

But while businesses are investing in various social media platforms, Facebook regularly updates its system to reduce the number of followers who will see product posts unless those posts are paid ads.

It is an open communication platform and has several services that provide access to sending and receiving emails. The variety of companies involved in email marketing ensures that no one can make changes that have a widespread impact.

Unlike Facebook or Twitter, your subscriber list will do just that if you invest time and money in building and developing a good email list. Be the property you own. That way, you will be able to use your list without the threat of someone limiting its effectiveness.

Jonathan Tian, Co-founder, Mobitrix

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusivity are the hottest topics in the marketing industry because everyone cannot deal with them. They are unaware of these three terms. But, these are some essential terms that are helping marketing agencies to target, search and contact the audience. I am sharing some of its related examples to be easy to use and understand what it is and how it will help in the Marketing field!

Let's take an example of employees and how the diverse nature of employees helps the organization. Employees with diverse backgrounds are more likely to develop innovative solutions to difficulties at work. Many minds are at work, hacking away at the problem from different perspectives. It's not one collective mind striving to brute-force a problem into submission.

Digital marketing teams benefit from the inherent agility and adaptability. Whereas impediments or barriers may hamper homogeneous teams, diversified teams are already determining which path makes the most sense for getting around them.

Equity is also a critical term because brand equity is a marketing phrase that refers to the worth of a company's brand. Consumer perceptions and interactions with the brand determine its worth... This equity can be transferred to line extensions, which are related to the brand but do not include the brand name, allowing a company to profit more from the brand.

Inclusivity of email is an Employee engagement and a sense of belonging, and it is boosted by inclusion. But for that, Organizations must have to ensure that they are diverse and have an inclusive atmosphere and employee engagement. Employees must feel that they are a part of the team.

Steven Walker, CEO, Spylix

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 is important for those who are visually impaired. Language is another thing to keep in mind because being mindful of certain words and terms relating to gender, race, and culture. Making email campaigns accessible for those with physical limitations is also key. Designing your email campaign where, for instance, reduce the distance between interfaces elements.

Binet Yousuf, Founder and Editor, Crescendo

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.

Daniel Saccardi, Campaigns Manager, Preply

DEI efforts in email are critical to brand and campaign success for many reasons. While the most obvious reason is brand representation, and the priority on today's brands to represent all types of customers, email campaign results are also drastically affected by these efforts.

Mary Ann Pfeiffer, Principal, 108 Degrees Digital Marketing

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. They need to be specifically spoken to, specifically invited.

Email marketers should make every effort to signal inclusivity- not just claim it. 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.

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