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What is accessible marketing and why should it be part of your strategy in 2023?

January 2023 4 min read

What is accessible marketing? 🤔


Accessible marketing is the use of inclusive practices to ensure your entire target audience, of all abilities, can fully experience your brand and engage with your products or services easily. As a result, you’re more likely to form genuine connections that evolve into loyal customers over time.

There are so many touchpoints online where your audience can interact with your brand. From your website to email campaigns to your social media presence – and that’s just a handful.

If your marketing campaigns aren’t fully accessible, you’re excluding up to 1+ billion people with disabilities worldwide – a massive chunk of potential customers.

Group of people sat around a laptop

Why is it important?


Designing your digital assets to be accessible and inclusive to everyone is simply the right thing to do.

Not only does it help you gain trust and customer retention, but it also provides a better user experience, creates jobs, and ensures your business doesn’t have to pay any hefty fines.

And when it comes to marketing, accessibility really is more important than ever – in fact, it’s practically essential in 2023.

Brands that market accessibly are able to expand their reach as well as build a reputation. Accessible brands are seen as more socially conscious and innovative – look at big brands like Nike and Tommy Hilfiger, using awesome examples of accessible design and marketing.

Let’s take a look at some best practices for killer accessible marketing.


Content Marketing

When it comes to digital content, there are several ways to make consumption easier for all.

  • Readability – Use short sentences and break text up into paragraphs. Avoid using ALL CAPS where possible, and stick with a simple sans serif font. Never go smaller than a size 12 text – nobody wants a headache from squinting too hard at the screen!
  • Don’t use jargon! It’s always best to write in plain, simple English. It’s not a novel you’re writing.
  • Label your Calls-to-Action (CTAs) clearly – For example, if your button says ‘Submit’, is that enough to explain what happens once clicked? Or could ‘Sign up to the Webinar’ work better?
  • Hyperlinks – Avoid terms like ‘Click here’ as this isn’t ideal for those using screen readers. Tell your user exactly where the link will take them.
  • Images and video – Don’t forget closed captions, audio descriptions, and alt attributes. And please, for the love of everyone, avoid autoplay! It’s not just an accessibility issue, it’s annoying!


Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)

Lots of businesses overlook the impact accessibility has on their SEO efforts! Did you know that Google ranks accessible websites higher than non-accessible ones? With straightforward, crawlable content and solid use of features like alt text and header tags, you can guarantee better results and more traffic to your site. 

Two men looking at data on a laptop


Forms

Forms are an essential part of most websites, but there’s a fine line between a great form and one that makes you want to tear your hair out.

Be sure to take time to design your forms accessibly – for example, be aware that not all screen readers can read placeholder text out loud. Ensure your form supports keyboard navigation and use labels with form fields and inputs so fields are easily understood. 


Inclusive Campaigns

When planning a marketing campaign, representation and inclusivity are critical from both an ethical and practical standpoint. You want everyone to feel included, and this means considering those with disabilities, but also a whole spectrum of identity markers, including gender, BIPOC, LGBTQ+, age, or religion. Failing to recognise intersectionality in your brand comms can alienate potential customers.

Don’t stereotype, avoid cliches, and don’t make assumptions – you know what they say about those that assume…! A phrase we live by at Cantarus is ‘nothing about us, without us’. It’s not about designing for your users; it’s designing with them. Representation without research is not a design made for your users. 


Social Media

Many aspects of social media are visual, and overall, social media platforms do well when it comes to accessibility.

TikTok has a great photosensitive epilepsy toggle warning for videos using certain effects and has auto-captions transcribed for those hard of hearing or deaf. On Instagram, you can adjust the text size to your liking and add and view alt text on images.

When using hashtags, always use CamelCase capitalisation to help screen readers easily distinguish between different words (for example, #digitalagency vs #DigitalAgency).

We love an emoji as much as the next person, but they can be a little distracting sometimes, especially once you start throwing them between words and sentences. Text-to-speech software reads all elements of a social media post, including emojis, so try to limit your emoji usage to 1 – 3. If you want to test out what those with a screen reader will hear when you use an emoji, a great resource is Emojipedia

Screenshot Auto Captions Feature on TikTok


Emails

Nope, email is still alive, even in 2023! So here are a few top tips for ensuring your email newsletters are accessible to all your mailing list:

  • Use brief, but descriptive subject lines.
  • Make use of HTML headings attributes.
  • Use appropriate colour contrast – white text on a yellow background is not the one!
  • Include a plain-text version.


Wrapping up…

Accessible marketing helps eliminate barriers that might stand between you and your audience.

By ensuring that your content and campaigns are accessible, you’re showing your audience that you actively care about their experience and want to guarantee an equal experience for everyone.


Want to learn more about accessible marketing?

Our specialists would be more than happy to help. Reach out to [email protected] or get in touch to find out more.


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Written by Tabby Duff Senior Content Marketer

The views expressed in this article are solely those of the author unless explicitly stated. Unless of course, the article made you laugh, in which case, all credit should be directed towards our marketing department.