Don’t Unintentionally Limit Your Audience

Inclusivity and Digital Marketing


When we talk about inclusivity, we are not just talking about diversity in your images! (Though, it does mean that, too.) Small businesses owners and entrepreneurs need to think about inclusivity as encompassing diversity as well as accessibility. Don’t unintentionally limit your audience by having a website or social media profiles that aren’t accessible to all your potential customers.

Since 2016, there have been numerous lawsuits filed against businesses for their websites violating the Americans with Disabilities Act. Even Beyonce was sued for website violations! In the fall of 2018, the U.S. Department of Justice reaffirmed that the ADA covers websites: “The Department first articulated its interpretation that the ADA applies to public accommodations’ websites over 20 years ago. This interpretation is consistent with the ADA’s title III requirement that the goods, services, privileges, or activities provided by places of public accommodation be equally accessible to people with disabilities.”

But even beyond a fear of lawsuits, you should strive for accessibility and diversity in your digital marketing efforts in order to better serve all your customers.

So how can you make sure your websites, social media profiles, and paid and organic posts are up to par? Here are a few areas of focus for inclusivity:

Images and Image Descriptions: Representation matters, so make sure you include all colors, ages, genders, orientations, abilities, etc. in your images. This is an easy way to make sure all of your customers can see themselves using your products or services. To help with accessibility, include image descriptions on your website so visually impaired customers are able to easily navigate and understand your content. At the bottom of social media posts, include an image description in brackets. For example: [Image: Humble & Hustle Studios Founder and CEO, Chrisella, standing on a stage with her arms raised giving a speech.] These image descriptions in your social media posts allow visually impaired customers to enjoy your visual posts through screen readers.

Also, when you use hashtags, make sure you use camel case (where the first letter of each word is capitalized) so that your visually impaired audience can better understand your hashtags when using screen readers. For example: #RepresentationMattersInMarketing. Camel case in hashtags is quite frankly good for everyone.

Website Readability: This goes along with image descriptions. Make sure that you are using correct (and consistent) headings on your website, that you are leaving space between your paragraphs, and that navigating your website isn’t dependent on visual cues. If you are unsure of how readable your website is, there are a number of apps and plugins that test website readability.

Color Choices: Busy backgrounds, light colored text, or even bright white backgrounds can make your website hard to read, even for people without any visual impairment. On top of this, color blindness, especially in men, is not all that uncommon. Staying away from red/green and blue/yellow color combinations is also a good idea.

No Flashing Lights: There’s a good reason that whenever a movie, video game, or even haunted houses have a scene with flashing lights there is a big warning. Flashing lights can cause seizures in some people with epilepsy. And even though epilepsy isn’t as common as, say, color blindness, it is definitely a more severe reaction than just not being able to read your copy. Flashing lights can also cause headaches or migraines. (Plus, it’s quite frankly just annoying.) Keep your customers safe and just don’t use them.

Inclusivity isn’t just performative — it’s great for your business all around. Don’t unintentionally limit the growth of your business by not being inclusive! By focusing on inclusivity in your website, social platforms, and overall marketing, you are showing everyone that they can and should be using your products or services and engaging with your content. Especially with e-commerce and digital marketing, the entire world is now open to your business. Show the world that they belong in your community.

If you need help with your digital marketing, check last week’s blog on Tips for Successful Digital Advertising, or schedule a free consultation call.

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