Accessibility is a type of inclusion that focuses on meeting everyone’s needs. For marketing, potential customers experience your business anytime they interact with it online, on social media, through email inboxes, etc. Thus, making your marketing more accessible is incredibly important; otherwise, your business is shutting the door on 15% of the world’s population.
This article discusses what accessible marketing is, how marketing teams can prioritize making their marketing accessible, and the benefits it will bring to their business.
Do you know how many of your customers are living with a disability? Do you know if or how your content, website, and other marketing materials align with their needs? If your answer is no to both questions, you should be alarmed. But you aren’t alone.
Although millions of people report living with a disability, businesses still aren’t making accessibility as much of a priority as it should be.
Regardless of ability, background, or experience, people should be able to easily interact with a brand, particularly your marketing. That’s where accessibility comes in.
There are excellent benefits for any business prioritizing accessible marketing. However, making your marketing more accessible goes beyond a few design tweaks here and a couple of diverse photographs there.
Accessible marketing requires a true understanding of accessibility, where it fits into marketing, and how it impacts your target audience, among other things.
Before giving your marketing team tips for making their marketing more accessible, here’s a definition of accessible marketing and its benefits to businesses worldwide.
Accessible marketing is essentially marketing that prioritizes meeting everyone’s needs. To further explain, making your marketing more accessible means using inclusive design practices, and implementing functions and features that allow users with varying abilities and backgrounds to have an equally fantastic brand experience.
With an understanding of what accessible marketing is, let’s look at some of its benefits.
A significant advantage of accessible marketing is broadening your reach. Millions of people live with a permanent, temporary, or situational disability. So, when your marketing channels, content, and communication aren’t inclusive, you’re essentially shutting the door on a massive part of your target audience.
The world is diverse. So, your marketing should be just as diverse to reflect the real world accurately. And when representation is at the forefront of your marketing, you’re more likely to make genuine connections with your target audience and learn how to accommodate their needs better.
Prioritizing accessibility in your marketing also improves your chances of retaining customers. Consumers these days are quick to turn their backs on brands that don’t value and showcase diversity and inclusion in all that they do.
All in all, recognizing and empathizing with a diverse customer base in your marketing will improve your brand reputation, broaden your reach, and distance you from the competition.
Now, let’s look at how you can make your marketing more accessible to reap the benefits above.
Ready to make your marketing more accessible? Here are four tips for doing so effectively:
There is so much focus on design and development in the accessibility conversation. But marketing is hugely focused on content. From what you post on social media to the messaging on your website to your email newsletter to your radio spots and so on, content is crucial to successful marketing.
Focus on inclusivity in your content to be at your best with accessible marketing. For instance, experiment with different media types to accommodate the needs of a diverse audience. In addition, you should be telling diverse stories about your customers, internal teams, and leadership. Also, represent people of all backgrounds and abilities in your visuals to further connect with individuals in your target audience living with a disability.
Next, keep visual elements consistent and in alignment with accessibility guidelines.
Consistent visual elements that align not just with your brand but with accessibility standards also are critical to accessible marketing.
Color schemes, typography, white space, contrast, captions, alt text, and animation are just the beginning of visual aspects to consider when the goal is to be more accessible.
Weigh all of these visual aspects and any others you include in your marketing materials against accessibility guidelines to ensure everyone in your target audience has an exceptional visual experience with your brand.
Another tip for prioritizing accessible marketing is to implement simple, effective navigation.
Navigation is one of the most critical design elements to address when prioritizing accessible marketing. Whether it’s your website navigation, how users work through your social media platforms, or how they navigate your content generally, visitors should be able to find what they’re looking for without issue.
Study how your target audience works through your marketing channels and engages with your content. You can then mirror their navigation patterns in your marketing materials. However, simple, effective navigation is a general rule no matter where you address navigation.
Lastly, ask users living with a disability to test your marketing.
Enlist the help of individuals living with various permanent, situational, and temporary disabilities. Have them gauge the accessibility of your website and other digital channels. Ask them to give you feedback on your content’s tone, language, and messaging. Also, see if what you’re trying to communicate about your brand and business is actually what’s coming across.
You can then adjust your entire marketing strategy based on what they share to make it more accessible.
Ultimately, you can make faster and more insightful adjustments to your marketing to make it more accessible with the feedback and help of persons living with a disability.
Accessibility can’t be an afterthought in your marketing. If you want a better brand reputation, target audience reach, and customer retention, approach accessible marketing like you would any type of marketing, with patience, strategy, and intention.
You can start by including accessibility in marketing conversations and creation early on. In addition, focus heavily on inclusive content, consistent visual elements, and effective navigation structures in your marketing. And finally, ask users living with a disability to test your marketing channels and content to ensure your accessibility efforts are on point.
illustration by Storyset