The first rule of marketing is to know your target audience—yet, digital marketers often overlook people with disabilities, who make up a significant portion of nearly all business’ audiences. According to the latest estimates, 19% of Americans, more than 56 million people, have a disability. What’s more, people with disabilities in the U.S. have a discretionary spending power of $175 billion, representing a highly valuable market segment.
Several prominent ad campaigns have featured people with disabilities, such as BMW’s TV commercial for the 2016 Olympics and Paralympics. Although inclusive marketing campaigns like these are commendable, they also need to be backed up by actions showing that people with disabilities are a valuable part of your customer base.
Below, we’ll discuss why web accessibility is such an important concern for digital marketers, and what you can do to get started.
The Benefits of Accessible Digital Marketing
If you were to suggest in any other context that you should exclude nearly one-fifth of your potential customers right off the bat, your career in marketing would be short-lived. Although digital marketers are constantly searching for new ways to reach out to their audience and broaden their company’s appeal, web accessibility remains overlooked and underutilized.
Less then 5% of buyers feel that companies consistently meet their expectations when it comes to customer experience. Designing accessible marketing campaigns and websites helps customers with disabilities feel included and makes it easier for them to learn about and purchase your products. By forming this connection with your company early on, customers with disabilities will build brand loyalty and be more likely to recommend you to their friends and family.
Not only does accessibility expand your customer base, but it also provides your website benefits in terms of usability and search engine optimization (SEO). Web accessibility standards such as the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0 include requirements such as:
- Having a clear hierarchical layout.
- Providing labels for form elements.
- Writing text alternatives for images.
- Using simple, concise language whenever possible.
Satisfying these requirements makes it easier for all visitors to use and navigate your website, and for search engines to find and index your pages.
What Digital Marketers Need to Know About Web Accessibility
WCAG 2.0, which we mentioned above, is the gold standard for web accessibility frameworks. These guidelines enumerate a list of “success criteria” that websites must meet in order to be considered “accessible.”
In the rush to build a eye-catching marketing website, accessibility is often left behind. Some of the most important WCAG requirements that are relevant to digital marketers are listed below.
- Every page should have a unique, descriptive title. The page’s HTML code should identify the natural language of the text on the page (e.g., English or French).
- Don’t rely solely on color to convey information. All pairs of colors in the site’s color scheme should have a contrast ratio of at least 4.5:1.
- Avoid fonts that are highly elaborate or decorative.
- Pre-recorded videos with audio content should provide closed captions and transcripts.
- The site should be usable and navigable entirely via the keyboard, without the use of a mouse.
Want to know whether your marketing website is up to snuff in terms of accessibility? Check out our free automated scan of your website according to the WCAG 2.0 criteria. You can also schedule a free 30-minute consultation with our web accessibility experts.