Whether you’re selling to consumers, distributors, or businesses, accessibility should be a fundamental part of your sales and marketing strategy.
Digital accessibility focuses on making your content useful for people with disabilities, and it isn’t optional: The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and other laws require businesses to provide accessible options for consumers. However, accessibility has benefits apart from compliance. Here are four reasons to create inclusive content when marketing your business, along with tips for getting started.
1. Digital accessibility immediately expands your target audience
Let’s start with the most obvious advantage: If your sales materials reach more people, you’ll have more opportunities to convert prospects into customers. About 1 in 4 U.S. adults lives with a disability, and that ratio is expected to increase as the population ages.
Americans with disabilities have an estimated $490 billion in disposable income and $20 billion in discretionary income. If your website has accessibility barriers, you’re missing a major opportunity — and since accessibility improvements can enhance the experience for all customers, it’s difficult to overstate the size of that opportunity.
2. Customers associate accessibility with your brand
Digital accessibility creates opportunities for brand advocates by ensuring consistently positive experiences for your visitors. When brands go above and beyond to showcase accessibility features, brand loyalty skyrockets.
This isn’t a minor consideration: According to a study from global marketing agency FleishmanHillard, 65% of consumers say that brands must commit to advance diversity, equity, and inclusion (DE&I) to be more credible than their competitors.
If your customers visit your website and immediately encounter usability issues, they’ll associate those issues with your brand — regardless of whether they’re able to find ways around the problem. However, if you’re able to present a simple, functional website with an accessibility statement and disability-friendly features, your audience will respect the effort (and just as importantly, they’ll tell others about their experiences).
3. Accessible websites retain more customers
Accessible websites are easier to operate, understand, and use on a variety of devices. They provide a consistent experience to customers of all ability levels, enhancing retention efforts and improving customer satisfaction.
According to Invesp, acquiring new customers is five times more expensive than custom retention. That’s not news to most sales professionals — while acquisition is a constant priority, a company’s retention rate is one of the strongest indicators of its long-term profitability.
The top reason that people switch brands is because they don’t feel appreciated. By placing accessibility as a priority alongside security and privacy, brands can demonstrate that appreciation — and differentiate themselves from competitors.
4. An accessible checkout process means more conversions
According to Barilliance, one of the top reasons for cart abandonment is a “long and confusing checkout.” Another top reason: “Website had errors/crashes.”
Accessible checkouts prioritize the user by providing clear form instructions, simple navigation elements, and easy-to-operate controls. In other words, it’s a better experience all around. Visitors don’t have to fight with the website to order what they need, so they’re more likely to complete the process.
If your organization doesn’t operate an ecommerce store, these benefits can extend to other types of conversions: If you’re gathering email addresses with a web form, that form needs to be accessible to reduce bounce rates.
Related: Accessibility Improves Bounce Rates
Take the first steps towards a more accessible sales process
Given the strong business case for accessibility, it’s no surprise that more brands are looking for ways to focus on the experiences of real-life users. Here are a few quick tips to help you start your accessibility initiative.
- Make sure you have clear, consistent goals. The Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) is the consensus standard for accessibility; most websites should aim for Level AA conformance with the latest version of WCAG.
- Write an accessibility statement. An accessibility statement identifies your goals and provides visitors with an opportunity to submit feedback. Learn more about creating a strong accessibility statement here.
- Make all sales materials accessible — not just your website. Mobile apps, PDF sales documents, and other materials should be useful for as many people as possible.
- Get your entire sales team on board. Accessibility isn’t a one-time project that can be assigned to a single person or team. Make accessibility a core value, and your brand will benefit.
For more guidance, contact the Bureau of Internet Accessibility to speak with a subject matter expert.