Even with great digital content, the right targeting, and a well-strategized consumer journey; you might be missing out on a large group of potential customers. “How so?”, you might ask. Well, it’s because most digital marketing strategies forget to take into account a large section of society: people with disabilities. Content is seldom created for this group and rarely adjusted to be accessible to them as well.
Research shows that not accounting for people with disabilities in your marketing strategy equates to losing out on over 61 million customer conversions in the United States alone. Not only does this mean that your marketing reach can increase immensely if you adapted for better accessibility, but also that the future necessitates accessible marketing.
What Does Inaccessible Marketing Look Like?
To put it simply, inaccessible marketing is that which cannot reach people with physical or cognitive disabilities. But what does this really mean in practice?
Consider the example of the use of color in marketing. Today, although a lot of research has been done on color psychology in marketing, most brands fail to accommodate the color blind in their content. Brightly contrasted color schemes may be eye-catching, but for the color blind, they may confuse or appear muddled. As digital marketing continues to be a visual-heavy medium, no brand can afford to create visuals that color blind people cannot access. Not only is this unfair to the entire color-blind population, but it is also a missed opportunity for marketers. Color is one of the most important factors that determine the perception of visuals and ensuring they can be perceived by all should not be optional. It is thus essential to choose the right colors and combinations to make your content accessible to the color-blind population.
This is just one example of the kinds of problems that are deep-rooted in marketing activities. Inclusive digital marketing should focus on creating content that works for everyone, irrespective of their abilities or disabilities.
Accessible Marketing in Practice
So how do you go about creating a marketing strategy that is inclusive of everyone? Here are some ways to empower your content with accessibility:
Keep It Real
The first part of your strategy should be to be real. Real people make marketing relatable and believable, in turn making the brand trustworthy. After all, not everyone believes a brand, but more people are likely to believe real people talking about the brand. This is also the reason customer feedback and reviews are important.
The Simpler the Better
The second step you can take is to ensure your content is actually accessible. This means optimizing voice search for people with sight impairments, incorporating subtitles for those who are deaf, and so on. An important change you will need to make comes by way of the language of your content. Jargon can further inaccessibility of already difficult marketing content for the differently-abled.
To avoid this, replace difficult words with simpler ones, change from passive to active voice, and test out easier ways to communicate the same message.
While the general rules for good communication apply here, it’s good to go the extra mile to ensure that your communication is also simple. Often, the simplest content can cause the most impact. This sort of simple content also helps second-language users in understanding your product.
Use Interactive Marketing
Getting consistent interaction and engagement from your audience is possible on digital platforms. Therefore, a large focus of your marketing should be on making content interactive. Social media platforms keep developing interactive and inclusive tools that help businesses get real feedback and also understand who their customers really are. The latter is extremely significant in promoting inclusive marketing efforts.
Consider Connectivity Issues
Even today, many global areas struggle with fast web connectivity because it is still not recognized as a necessity. As such, web content should be created in such a way that it can load even when an advanced or high-speed internet connection isn’t available. As reiterated by specialists at High Speed Internet Deals, “Accessible web content not only provides equal opportunity to users, but reaches a broader base in doing so — placing it ahead of competitors who lack accessibility features.” While you cannot guarantee high-speed internet availability to customers, there’s a lot you can do to ensure that your website is optimized for maximum accessibility. This includes avoiding automatic media, including “alt texts”, and allowing for keyboard navigation on your website.
Group Testing for Reviews
Before you go live with changes to boost accessibility, it is recommended you test these changes on diverse groups of people. Testing your marketing content and getting feedback from people of different abilities, economic backgrounds, genders, and communities will help you arrive at inclusive marketing tools and filters. The insights will help you for years to come. That said, remember that technology is constantly evolving. So, it’s good to stay current with new technological developments that may lead to increased inclusivity.
Unfortunately, exclusivity in marketing goes deeper than what is generally perceived. There is a large section of the population that can just not access content being created due to their physical or cognitive disabilities. Not only does this further marginalize those that have common disabilities, but this is also a missed opportunity for businesses to convert a large section of the population into loyal customers.
While marketing strategy looks different for every business, accessibility should be a priority no matter what your chosen strategy is. Thankfully, today several tools can help create content for people with disabilities that make web navigation difficult. With these advances in technology, it is possible to ensure that digital campaigns craft user experiences in a manner that enables accessibility for all.
Guest Article by Ainsley Lawrence
Ainsley Lawrence is a freelance writer that lives in the Northwest region of the United States. She has a particular interest in covering topics related to good health, balanced life, and better living through technology.
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