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If you’ve been considering focusing your marketing efforts on a new customer base that you haven’t targeted before, the LGBTQ community might make a good choice.
Putting your brand in front of new audiences is an essential part of expanding your customer base.
Nielsen research reports that LGBTQ households, in general, outspend non-LGBTQ households by about 7 percent, and members go out on shopping trips 10 percent more often.
A different study notes that people who identify as LGBTQ in the US are responsible for nearly $1 trillion of consumer spending each year.
Aiming your business at the LGBTQ community would make business sense. How do you do it?
Is it a Fit?
First, make sure that the LGBTQ market is a fit for your targeted marketing. Of course all businesses should and will serve the community in general. And real estate agents work with everybody regardless of race, age, familial status, and sexual orientation.
The first question that you need to ask yourself, heading into LGBTQ marketing, is if it’s a good choice for your particular business.
You might consider how large the LGBTQ community is in the area that your company serves. If there are many, demonstrating your support for the community will likely bring you a competitive advantage.
However, it’s essential to understand that for your support to bring you a competitive advantage; it needs to come from an authentic place — from a genuine appreciation of the community and a desire to serve them.
You need to ask yourself if you and other business members do feel a decent level of comfort with the LGBTQ lifestyle.
If your comfort level isn’t very healthy, and you aren’t personally very comfortable with the idea of aiming the business at the LGBTQ market, it would be better to address the discomfort first before you consider expressing support for the community.
It’ll make a difference in the way your efforts bring in more business.
Take a close look at your company’s internal policies.
The LGBTQ community, in general, tends to be keen to support businesses that demonstrate values that align with theirs.
Your company’s internal policies need to align with the marketing messages you may put out there.
Before you focus your marketing on members of the LGBTQ community, you need to make sure that you have an equal-opportunity employment and advancement policy at your company.
Many people in the LGBTQ community consult the Human Rights Campaign Corporate Equality Index findings when making decisions about where to spend their money.
While it only lists large corporations, it can help look at the criteria that the Index considers to rank companies.
These criteria can help you understand how to get your business in line with the community’s values that you wish to market to.
For instance, you might notice that Subaru and the retailer Target have successfully courted the community by extending benefits to partners of all LGBTQ employees.
This observation might motivate you to do the same at your company.
Understand that the LGBTQ community isn’t homogeneous.
You wouldn’t think of all people over the age of 30 as parents of children: you would know that different individuals make different choices about having children.
The over-30 group isn’t monolithic.
Similarly, it wouldn’t be right to see the entire LGBTQ community as a homogeneous unit. Members of the community are individuals with different preferences, tastes, and opinions, just as any other group members are.
Even once you do decide to target the LGBTQ community with your marketing, you need to do further research to make sure that you target the people with the right qualities for your product — age, marital status, interests, and so on.
Work together with charitable organizations.
If you aren’t adequately familiar with the LGBTQ community and feel unsure about proceeding with marketing to them, it could be a good idea to partner with a well-recognized LGBTQ group or organization in your area.
Planning your activities with philanthropic intent can help, as well.
For instance, you may get your business to contribute to a college scholarship in your city or volunteer its personnel to local Pride events.
Make sure that your Pride appearances aren’t the only times that the LGBTQ community sees you.
Many businesses new to LGBTQ marketing make the mistake of only engaging with the community through Pride Month by participating in a few events.
They invest in a little advertising, get a booth at an event, and so on, but once Pride Month ends in June, they don’t think about marketing to the LGBTQ community anymore until the following year.
A business’s reach into the LGBTQ community is likely to be limited if it only engages with it over a couple of events.
Instead, your marketing efforts should begin with Pride Month and maintain momentum with an overall, year-round LGBTQ strategy with multiple touchpoints.
Aiming your business at the LGBTQ community may be the right thing to do, but it also makes sound business sense.
The LGBTQ community boasts high-income levels, and informed spending behaviors.
Members of the community don’t like to spend with businesses that hurt their cause. Making sure that your business is on the right side is only the logical thing to do.