The vast majority of websites are inaccessible. According to DDIY, 97.4% of websites don’t offer full accessibility as of 2022. This is a shockingly high amount considering one in four Americans has some form of disability, which means most people either have a disability or know someone who does. And yet, many companies treat accessibility like an optional feature for a niche group of customers.
If you have put a significant amount of effort into making your online experience accessible, congratulations. You are part of a tiny percentage of companies that prioritize web usability for customers with disabilities. It’s time to shout your efforts from the rooftops and let your users know about these features. Here are a few ways to market your accessibility efforts.
7 ways to market your accessibility efforts
Your marketing will vary depending on your business model. An eCommerce retailer will have a different promotional budget and strategy than a SaaS provider. Here are a few marketing tactics you can consider to reach users with disabilities and the people around them.
Add tabs, pages, and buttons on your website
What is the first thing people notice when they land on your website? How long does it take them to find key information?
All users go through a period of learning how to use your website and navigate its features. If you have accessibility tools, display them on your website prominently. This could include adding a tab to your top navigation or building a button near your logo.
Check out sites like CrazyEgg and Mouseflow to see how your customers view your website – and why they keep getting lost on your pages.
Build accessibility into all of your marketing efforts
How can you boast about your online accessibility features if you can’t reach users with disabilities? Ensure your social media, email, blog, and marketing content is accessible to people – especially those engaging with your brand for the first time. It doesn’t take much longer for your social media team to add alt text descriptions to their posts or for your video team to ensure every upload includes captions.
These accessibility efforts also signal to users that your company cares about customers with disabilities, making them more likely to engage with your brand.
Create content related to your new features
Work with your content team to provide clear information on your website’s accessibility features. This content should be in multiple formats and available in different places across your digital footprint. A few types of content to develop include:
Social media updates
Tutorials for your learning center
Dedicated website pages
Accessibility isn’t something to bury deep in your web index. The more you talk about it, the more people will find your tools.
Develop accessible chatbots and auto-responders
Make sure customers with disabilities can use the chatbots that you set up to provide customer service to your buyers. You can also build accessibility into one of the frequently asked questions on Facebook Messenger by prompting users to learn about your accessibility features. These tools often facilitate the first communication a customer has with your company and you can use them to reflect your values. Now is your chance to start your relationship off on the right foot.
Include accessibility in your sales pitches
If you run a B2B organization, evaluate your lead generation efforts and consider how you can talk about your accessibility features. Work with your sales team to build accessibility into your pitch decks and conference presentations. Instead of waiting for clients to ask about accessibility, make it one of the top reasons you are worth hiring.
Promote accessibility ahead of events
This is another top tip for B2B companies, but it might apply to B2C brands as well. Before holding a Facebook live, webinar, conference presentation, or another event, highlight which accessibility features will be available. For example, will an ASL interpreter attend your presentation? Will you release recordings of the content with accurate captions after it goes live?
By directly communicating your plans before an event, you can assure people with disabilities that they won’t be left out during the presentation.
Train your customer service staff
All staff members should receive some training on how to recommend and use digital accessibility features; however, this knowledge is especially essential for your customer service team. Your representatives need to be able to direct customers to accessible resources and understand the different tools available to them.
Make accessibility a key part of onboarding and training refreshes with your staff.
3 reasons why you should promote your accessibility efforts
It’s time to stop thinking of digital accessibility as an expense and start thinking of it as an investment with a tangible ROI. There are several ways that your website improvements can attract new customers and create better experiences for buyers who land on your pages. Here are a few reasons accessibility is worth investing in.
You can win over the disability market in your niche
Shoppers with disabilities spend $1.2 billion annually. This is a powerful consumer base that can drive up your profits and grow your business. However, many shoppers with disabilities have negative online shopping experiences.
One survey, sponsored by Microsoft, reported that 65% of people with disabilities feel their purchasing choices are limited daily. Furthermore, 43% of those shoppers report abandoning an online or in-person shopping task.
Let your customers know they can find accessibility features and support on your landing pages. If your website becomes a haven for shoppers with disabilities, you can grow a highly loyal and profitable customer base.
Consumers care more about brand values than ever
Yes, your product is important to consumers, but so is your company. Research shows that 82% of shoppers want to buy from companies that align with their values.
Marketing your accessibility efforts is a great way to communicate your values while proving that you put your money where your mouth is. It’s one thing to say you support customers with disabilities – it’s quite another to invest time and money to make your pages accessible. You might attract more customers with values similar to your own who want to support your business because of your accessibility efforts.
Your customers might not know about your new features
Whether you run an eCommerce business or provide a software tool to customers, education is a key part of marketing. As you launch your accessibility tools, make a point to market new systems and processes throughout your channels. This is the best way to increase your chances that they get used.
Also, it’s important to talk about your state of accessibility regularly. Whenever you are in front of a new audience, make accessibility a key part of your communication strategy. How are people supposed to know about your hard work if you don’t tell them about it?
Don’t let your accessibility efforts go to waste. Market your new features and use them to grow your leads and customers. Not only will this grow your business, but it will make your development efforts worth it.