The Key Role Accessibility Plays In Effective Marketing and Communications

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Effective marketing and communications platforms are, fundamentally, all about making that essential human connection. However, if you are not crafting your communications strategies with an eye toward accessibility, then you’re going to find it impossible to connect with large segments of the target audience.

Indeed, accessibility is essential to effective marketing and communications. However, it is also an issue that is far too easily overlooked, even by the pros. This article examines the pivotal role that accessibility should play in your marketing and communications schemes.

What Is Accessibility and Why Does It Matter?

In essence, accessibility refers to the ability of every member of your audience to access, consume, and equitably experience your content.

This includes ensuring that end-users with physical, cognitive, or sensory impairments will use, benefit from, and experience your content in a manner that is equivalent to that of a “typical” user. 

For digital marketing and communications, this means ensuring complete web accessibility in your content, using the principles of universal design to craft your online content.

Web accessibility encompasses an array of strategies to ensure that visitors to your website or social media pages can navigate your content easily. They should be able to consume the information you provide with ease. They should also be able to fully engage with your platform, including making purchases, asking questions, contacting online customer service, or posting reviews on your platforms, regardless of any physical impairment. 

Without providing end-users who have impairments with alternative means to access and use your digital content, you are almost inevitably excluding a large sector of your target market.

In addition, you are missing out on a vital opportunity to enhance your brand as one that is inclusive, diverse, and attuned to the specific needs of your audience. 

Expanding Market Reach

One of the most important benefits of accessible design in marketing and communications is the capacity to dramatically expand your market reach. Providing multiple modalities for allowing your target audience to consume your content helps to ensure you aren’t unwittingly excluding key market segments.

Without accessible design, you risk leaving behind those who may benefit from or be interested in your product or service simply because an impairment prevents them from accessing your content in the “typical” way. 

However, it is not only audience members with impairments who can appreciate and benefit from a more diversified communications platform.

Studies have shown, for example, that accessible design functions, such as closed captioning and subtitles, are routinely used by audience members who are not Deaf or hard of hearing.

Audiences without hearing impairments frequently use these resources for myriad reasons. Many, for example, enjoy having the ability to access content even in environments or circumstances where audio would not be appropriate, such as in a cafe, on the subway, or in another public place.

When you provide your content in such diverse forms, you are ensuring that you’re both reaching the largest target audience as well as making your content accessible regardless of the context or environment in which your consumer is using it.

Whether your target audience is Deaf or they simply cannot listen to an audio file, your audience will still be able to access your content, anytime and anywhere.

Promoting Customer Acquisition and Loyalty

No matter what your particular business, you will never win the business, let alone the loyalty, of your target audience if your marketing and communications strategies are inaccessible to them. When conducting marketing for eCommerce and software as a service (SaaS) businesses, you must use accessible design strategies to ensure that the content is open to audiences with special needs. 

These communications should illuminate and underscore the functionality, benefits, and ease of use of these products and services by persons with impairments. 

This requires marketers to craft audience-oriented content based on an in-depth understanding of a diverse audience and their varied needs, requirements, concerns and wants.

Don’t Forget About Social Media

When you are cultivating an accessible marketing and communications platform, it can be easy to forget about social media. However, because social media is playing an increasingly important role in building and growing businesses in today’s global marketplace, anyone who dismisses the issue of social media accessibility does so at their peril.

The good news is that accessibility in social media is not all that difficult. The major platforms, including Instagram, TikTok, and Facebook, all offer accessibility options. These include closed captioning, which digital marketers and page administrators can capitalize on.

The Takeaway

Accessibility in marketing and communications is essential to survive and thrive in today’s increasingly competitive and profoundly diverse marketplace.

Without prioritizing accessibility, you are inevitably marginalizing a large segment of your target audience. Not only this, but you are also missing out on an important opportunity for enhancing your brand as an inclusive, customer-focused enterprise.

The good news is that ensuring accessibility is not terribly difficult. Above all, it requires you to provide multiple modalities for audiences to engage with your content.

Luke Smith
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