3 Common Mistakes You’re Probably Making When Marketing Your Business to People That Aren’t You...and How to Avoid Them
We’ve really been plugging our Diversity & Equity Business Audit a lot lately because it’s super important to us as we begin to pave the way for our diversity curriculum launch in July. If you haven’t gotten it yet, click here to get your free copy!
With that audit in mind, a lot of folks have been asking where to start when it comes to reaching a wider audience with their product or service.
Regardless of your industry, if you’re wanting to market to a wider and more diverse audience, there are several adjustments you can make to your social media and marketing strategies that will benefit both your business and you as business owner extraordinaire. Here then in no particular order are three ways to set you and your business up for success when it comes to marketing your business to people that aren’t you.
Refresh your branding.
Okay, this one is a little more broad but it is one of the surest ways to cast a wider net when it comes to diversity in your business. I can’t tell you the number of times business owner friends have reached out wondering why they aren’t getting leads or customers from diverse clients. The scenario goes something like this:
Biz Friend: “I work with/sell to diverse people but so far this year, all my bookings/sales have been with [insert white, heteronormative, cisgender, affluent, description here].”
Me: "Let's take a look at your Instagram feed and website imagery."
Biz Friend: "Eek, yeah...literally every human featured is the opposite of diverse."
So now is when I’ll ask you a question:
If the above scenario describes you, is there a reason you’re holding back from including your diverse customers in your Instagram feed, website, or marketing materials? Think about it and let me know what comes up for you. I’d be honored to share in this uncovering process with you. Send me an email (firstname.lastname@example.org) and let’s keep that conversation going.
If there isn’t a deeper reason and you just need to dedicate an afternoon to refreshing your content -- post those images, friend! Customers and clients like knowing their product is for them and imagery is a powerful way to get that message across.
Now, If you don’t currently sell to diverse markets and are wondering why your reach falls short, I would encourage you to step outside your ‘normal’ marketing parameters. There are a ton of ways to gauge your market by using online survey tools like the Instagram stories survey feature or by simply sending out a quick questionnaire to your e-newsletter list. Find out how your business speaks to your current customers and consider if those same practices are accessible to a wider market. As an example, if you consistently refer to couples as man/woman or husband/wife and wonder why you’re not selling to the LGBTQ community, switch up your language to be more inclusive of the gender and sexuality spectrums. And if this is confusing, don’t stress. Rad Business Co. is 10000% for you so stay tuned for all the diversity curriculum content in July where we cover alllll of this and more.
Remove money from the equation entirely.
Yeah, I know. You think I’m bananas. However, you’re not going to convince anyone of your diversity and inclusion practices if you’re completely entranced by your bottom line rather than the people you’re reaching. If you don’t actively care about the communities you’re wanting to serve, your attempts will very visibly fall flat. I get that money keeps your business going but consider this,
Short and sweet: consumers have diversity in mind when they spend their money. And it’s pretty easy to spot a business that’s diversity minded and MEANS it. They consistently show up, they promote other diversity owned businesses, they feature diverse communities in their branding and marketing, and they are true champions for equality who aren’t afraid to show it. The days of worrying about mixing business with politics are over. I promise, you WILL receive support for standing up for disenfranchised and underserved communities in your area because minority communities as a group now make up the majority of the population. Diversity is everywhere, and as consumers, they (and we) are ready to support you.
Read up, suit up, listen, get messy -- and be ready to grow.
A lot of well-meaning, seemingly business savvy folks will encourage you to simply read up on diverse communities to serve as your “fixing the problem”. I say, that’s a sure way to stay stagnant in your business and your life. Reading two articles on a diverse community won’t make you a professional overnight. But fully absorbing those two articles along with a few books and podcasts by members of the community you’re attempting to reach, and thinking about your role in all of it is an awesome start.
The next step from there is putting that newfound knowledge and thought into action by becoming an active participant in the community. Be a warm body at rallies, engage in community conversations, simply show up and listen to the diverse populations surrounding you. If you’re white and only surround yourself with other white people, you’re going to stay stuck in that thought cycle. If you’re straight and cis-gender and only hang out with other straight cis-gender folks, that will remain your frame of reference.
I'll pause here and say, avoid singling out the person that’s ‘different’ from you and, on the same side of that coin, actually care about the folks you’re reaching out to. Don’t just hang out with people because you think they’re going to turn you a profit or eventually lead you to your future clients within that community. That’s called manipulation and nobody enjoys hanging out with that type of person. At least not for long.
And lastly, take a deep breath and know this is a process. Because let’s face it, none of us are perfect. We’re all human. We occasionally stick our feet in our mouths or make an inappropriate comment or two. If we’re lucky, we’re met with a bit of grace and we apologize, right our wrong and continue on our journey. But we MUST be willing to get messy AND keep going from that place of love that drives us all at our core.
I can’t stress enough that this growth isn’t going to all take place overnight. Continued research, education and information gathering is imperative. Pair that with active engagement within those very communities you’re wanting to reach and you’re well on your way to truly being a business that serves diverse humans and that, my friends, equals the ultimate business sustainability.