9 Ways to be More Gender-Inclusive in Email Marketing

Email marketing video library

What is one way to make your email marketing strategy more gender-inclusive?

To help you create a more gender-inclusive email marketing strategy, we asked DEI leaders and email marketers this question for their best insights. From avoiding generalizations to using a mixed gendered content team, there are several ways to update your email marketing strategy to be more supportive and inclusive to all genders. 

Here are 9 ways to be more gender-inclusive in email marketing:

  • Avoid Generalizations
  • Don’t Focus On Just One Aspect 
  • Focus On Behavior Instead of Gender
  • Expand Your Range of Photos, Icons, Emojis
  • Design Forms that Acknowledge Gender Inclusivity
  • Provide Multiple Options On Email Sign-up Pages
  • Use “To Whom It May Concern”
  • Go Neutral
  • Use a Mixed Gender Content Team
9 Ways to be More Gender-Inclusive in Email Marketing

Avoid Generalizations

Your email recipients are likely a wide range of individuals of different races, genders, cultures, sexualities, abilities and so many other characteristics that make them unique, so your email campaigns should never try to fit your customers all into one neat little box. The language you use in your emails should never be presumptuous or niche in language but instead, should be general and address the different needs and interests of your readers. Use gender-neutral pronouns and rely on behavior metrics of your customers rather than gendered stereotypical assumptions to ensure that your emails remain inclusive to each group.

Saneem Ahearn, Colorescience

Don’t Focus On Just One Aspect 

When thinking about making your email marketing strategy more gender-inclusive, don’t just focus on one aspect. It can be easy to focus too narrowly on your email copy or images when trying to be more gender-inclusive. This can cause issues with the other aspects that are not getting as much attention. You should be giving the same amount of attention to each aspect of your email marketing strategy in order to be truly authentic and inclusive.

Maegan Griffin, Skin Pharm

Focus On Behavior Instead of Gender

Avoid segmenting your email lists by gender. Many consumers have interests that don’t conform to traditional gender roles. Instead of focusing on the gender of your customers, focus on their behavior instead. Their likelihood to open your emails provides more applicable data for you to analyze than their gender does.

Jean Gregoire, Lovebox

Expand Your Range of Photos, Icons, Emojis

Images, icons, and emojis are an integral part of email marketing campaigns today, so ensuring that these visual assets follow the rules of gender inclusivity is essential. Although representing every gender in a single campaign is not often possible, a healthy mix of different genders turns out to be a way better approach than only including one. Doing away with stereotypical visuals and putting in efforts to source the right images go a long way in promoting inclusion and painting your marketing campaign in gender-neutral colors.

Jerry Ford, 4WD Life

Design Forms that Acknowledge Gender Inclusivity

If you include a form in your email marketing campaign to collect opinions or feedback, make sure that every element in the form sticks to the rules of gender inclusivity. Collect information related to gender only if it is essential to your campaign. Even when doing so, it is preferable to ask a question on the lines of who the respondent identifies as instead of only offering them the usual traditional options. Also, do away with the now redundant title section that asks respondents to choose their preferred one.

Azmaira Maker, Ph.D., Aspiring Families

Provide Multiple Options On Email Sign-up Pages

For your email sign-up portal, make sure you have options not just for “male” or “female,” but for “non-binary,” “other,” and “prefer to withhold.” When you send emails, make sure you either aren’t using gendered pronouns at all or using the increasingly more standard “they.”

Michael Williamson, Hoist

Use “To Whom It May Concern”

Public perception of gender as a spectrum rather than a binary is becoming more and more acceptable by the majority. There are a few bureaucratic issues that appeared, such as coming up with a better and more inclusive language in a promotional/professional setting.

If you’re trying to keep up with the times, which you should, it is time to retire the old “Dear Sir/Madam” at the beginning of your emails. With the advancements in technology, there’s a high chance that your tools know the name of the recipient, in which case your email can start with “Dear <Name>”.

If by some chance you don’t know the gender/name/pronouns of the recipient, you may address them as their department/title in the company, or if it’s a customer you may just say “Dear Valued Customer”. It may be better to be awkwardly formal and write “to whom it may concern” rather than assuming someone’s gender and their pronouns.

Gosia Hytry, Spacelift

Go Neutral

One easy way to make your email marketing methods more gender-inclusive is to simply omit gendered content altogether. If you tend to reference women in your emails, as an example, a gender-inclusive practice might entail shifting to a second-person perspective or using only gender-neutral language. Naturally, this tactic won’t work for every brand or business, but thinking about how you can achieve a gender-neutral approach can still be productive.

Consider your current use of language, images, and even colors. Identify if there are any areas where you can make small changes to reduce unconscious bias. For example, be mindful of the language you use; even when not explicitly gendered, many words have gendered connotations that can alienate some of your leads and dismiss others. At the end of the day, evaluating your current strategies and honing in on areas that promote a gender binary or fail to include diverse genders can help you identify areas of improvement.

Sydney Fuhrman, Conklin Media

Use a Mixed Gender Content Team

One surefire way of delivering a more gender-inclusive email marketing strategy is to infuse your email content team with multiple perspectives. If you already utilize a team approach to running your email marketing campaigns, ensure you have at least one male and one female on the team. Likewise, if you currently just have one person managing your email marketing, consider adding a second person to the team, or at the very least seeking input from another person on the broader marketing team of a different gender. 

For gender-inclusivity it all starts at the top with the people that create the content. Thus, the more that you can create a campaign based on an amalgamation of views and opinions, the better off you’ll be. Even if we think we are unbiased and can incorporate gender-inclusive views into our content, the truth is that everyone has unconscious biases. Not to mention, we simply lack the life experience of the other sex to connect fully with them.

John Ross, Test Prep Insight

Terkel creates community-driven content featuring expert insights. Sign up at terkel.io to answer questions and get published. 

Recommended Posts