By: Anya Willis of Fitkids.info
Is your website accessible to visitors who are living with hearing impairments? Not sure? Well, you could be missing a major opportunity to drive profits, service an underserved population, and create more trust in your brand and business. By making changes to your website, social media, and email marketing efforts, you can make your website fully accessible to all customers, and these updates don’t even require a wealth of time or funding. You just need to know why accessibility for customers with disabilities matters and how to effectively implement needed accessibility updates into every aspect of your small business.
Some Features May Be Legally Required
When entrepreneurs think about starting a small business, they don’t often consider adding provisions for the hearing-impaired. Adding these small features, such as subtitles, allows website visitors and potential customers to read otherwise inaccessible content included in audio or video files. There are even subtitle services that can take care of transcriptions for you, so you do not have to spend the time doing so yourself. Some of these services even offer a one-day turnaround and near-perfect accuracy.
In addition to being considerate, these changes may also be required by law, so including them can help you avoid issues. Speaking of avoiding legal issues, if your business has a physical storefront, you may also want to check into adding accessibility features to your business spaces so that other customers who are living with disabilities can easily access your products and services.
Accessibility Can Help Boost Engagement
Legal requirements shouldn’t be the only motivation for adding accessibility features to your business’s website and online marketing efforts. Creating more accessible content can also help establish more connections with potential supporters and customers, which could make your business more profitable. For example, inclusive social media posts that include subtitles or other accessibility elements receive more interactions than those that do not. Because not only are browsers with hearing impairments more likely to interact with these accounts, but other consumers are also more likely to connect with more inclusive small businesses. As you develop your social media marketing and usage strategies, be sure to include adding accessible content to all accounts, posts, and marketing ads.
Customers With Disabilities Are Often Overlooked
If you haven’t thought about making your online content more accessible for those with hearing impairments, or other disabilities, know that you’re not alone. Online consumers who are also living with disabilities represent one of the most underserved segments in business, especially when it comes to small businesses. You can set yourself apart from the competition by adding features and elements to your website that make it completely user-friendly for all customers. This includes functional elements, like audio/video transcripts, but can also extend to other aspects of your online business, such as marketing. Because representation in marketing can make consumers feel more included and more invested in those small businesses.
Accessibility Updates Do Not Have to Cost a Fortune
When you’re running a small business, ROI is always important. You will be happy to know that creating accessible content doesn’t have to be extremely expensive or even very time-consuming. By using online services, like the subtitle services mentioned above, you can reduce expenses around adding accessibility. Unless you decide to completely overhaul your website and hire a developer, you won’t need to worry about finding additional funding to cover project costs. If you do need a little help with funding online accessibility changes or even structural changes to your store or office, you can look for small-business loans or even try crowdfunding for major innovations.
If you want to help your business succeed, you can’t miss out on major opportunities to connect with potential customers and elevate the reputation of your brand. Take the time and effort to make your website, and other online presences, user-friendly for everyone.
Anya Willis is a mother of three and has been a yoga instructor for the past 12 years.