Is digital accessibility part of your business’s marketing strategy?
If it isn’t, you’re missing out. As we’ve discussed in previous blogs, brands lose billions each year by neglecting digital accessibility. About 15% of the world’s population lives with some form of disability, per estimates from the World Health Organization, and an accessible approach can help your organization find more prospects, close more sales, and retain more customers.
Digital accessibility benefits your entire audience, regardless of their abilities, and the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) provides the necessary framework to build your own accessibility initiative. In this article, we’ll look at some of the ways that an accessible mindset can enhance marketing, sales, and customer retention.
Top-of-funnel marketing efforts can be much more effective when accessibility is a priority
Marketing and advertising sit at the top of the sales funnel, and for many business-to-consumer (B2C) enterprises, they’re the most expensive component of the process. According to Statista, brands spent about $378 billion worldwide on digital advertising efforts in 2020; that number is expected to grow to $645 billion by 2024.
The goal of marketing is to identify the customer’s needs, then create awareness of how the brand’s identity addresses those needs. Those goals are much more achievable when messaging is clear and concise. Digital accessibility can remove barriers that prevent potential customers from receiving targeted messages. If a promotional website operates predictably, the prospect will understand how to take the next steps—but if the website has poor structure or inoperable controls, the user will typically become frustrated and look for another option.
Accessible website design can improve marketing efforts in various ways including:
- By creating accessible videos with accurate captions, you can engage people with hearing and cognitive disabilities — and make your content more appealing to people who’d simply prefer to browse without audio.
- Accessible social media practices improve the reach of your posts while providing people with more options for engagement.
- Since the best practices of accessibility overlap with the best practices of search engine optimization (SEO), many brands enjoy higher search rankings by prioritizing accessible design.
The goal of every marketing plan is to reach a large, relevant audience. To meet that goal, accessibility isn’t optional — accessible practices have benefits for everyone, not just people with disabilities. Brands that prioritize accessibility can create more engaging, natural conversations.
An accessible sales process can determine whether a prospect becomes a customer
When a prospect is interested in a product or service, they’ll expect a simple, straightforward sales process. At scale, any minor issue can become costly. For example, if a prospective customer can’t understand how to complete a checkout process, they’ll rarely contact your customer service team to find a resolution — they’ll simply move on to another vendor.
Website accessibility can reduce bounce rates and improve usability, enhancing the on-page experience for real users during the most crucial phase of the sales process. By nature, accessibility provides users with more ways to interact with your content, which often results in immediate improvements in conversion rates.
Accessibility is crucial for customer retention
After attracting new prospects and converting them into customers, your brand needs to retain them. Practically, retaining customers affects your bottom line: According to estimates from Bain & Company and Harvard Business School, improving retention rates by 5% can increase profits between 25% and 95%. Satisfied customers are a powerful resource for new marketing efforts, and accessible content can keep consumers coming back.
Brands that ignore accessibility will create unnecessary barriers that impact customer retention. For example, if a website doesn’t have accessible help options, many customers won’t attempt to resolve issues on their own. That’s especially true if a competitor offers accessibility resources.
Building accessibility into your marketing plan is effective — and essential
The sales funnel is a popular concept because it simplifies the complexities of a well-crafted marketing strategy. Accessibility fits into every segment of the sales funnel, and successful brands recognize the importance: One research study of Fortune 100 companies found that disability inclusion is a common practice among high-performing businesses.
Accessible web design is both practical and necessary — in recent years, a rising number of accessibility lawsuits have prompted many brands to build accessibility initiatives. While legal compliance continues to play a role in accessibility adoption, organizations have discovered that accessibility results in a tremendous return on investment, particularly when prioritized early in the web development process.
To incorporate digital accessibility into your marketing plan, make sure you understand the basics. Our free website accessibility checklist provides an excellent starting point.