The Importance of Digital Accessibility for Marketing and Sales Teams 

By: Niamh Fox, Chief Marketing Officer, Texthelp

It is no secret that barriers exist in the digital world. One billion people across the world live with a disability. However only 2% of websites meet accessibility standards. As more information and services go online, millions of users are struggling.  

For marketing and sales professionals, addressing digital accessibility is, simply put, good business. Not is legally required but more than that, it’s the right thing to do. Accessible and easy-to-read digital content can generate more business leads and drive revenue as it reaches more people. In addition, many people are more likely to buy from brands that align with socially responsible actions.  

In most cases, responsibility for a company’s website, external communications, and brand reputation sits with the marketing team. This makes digital accessibility a must-have for sales and marketing pros.

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How Digital Accessibility Impacts Your Company 

Digital accessibility is about creating an inclusive experience for all users. By improving digital inclusion, companies improve their reach and protect their brand reputation. 

Prioritizing digital accessibility is the right thing to do — both socially and economically. Over 61 million adults in the U.S. live with a disability, such as vision loss, hearing loss, and learning disorders. Also, more than 15% of the world population has some of the symptoms of Dyslexia. These include difficulty reading, poor spelling and writing, or mixing up similar words. This means that many websites, campaigns and social media posts are not easily accessed or understood by many users.

Accessibility is also a legal requirement. In recent years, the number of web accessibility lawsuits has grown rapidly. In the U.S. alone, there are thousands each year. In fact, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) requires all companies to offer and maintain websites that people with disabilities can use and access.  

It’s also important to recognize the impact that prioritizing accessibility can have on brand reputation. For marketing and sales professionals, there are few things more important than driving and protecting brand reputation.  

Organizations that demonstrate a clear commitment to accessibility and embrace good Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) reap the rewards. 62% of consumers prefer to buy from brands that support issues that matter. 56% of people are willing to pay more if a company is known for its commitment to social values. Companies are now expected to use their resources to support causes they believe in and support. Demonstrating a commitment to inclusion has proved to be a huge differentiator for many companies in competitive industries.

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Three Steps to Enhancing Your Business’s Digital Accessibility 

Enhancing your company’s digital accessibility is an ongoing process, but getting started doesn’t need to be hard. 

1: First, do your research. Understand the problem. Put yourself in the shoes of your users. It is important to recognize exclusion and its impact. Educate yourself on users who may face challenges and what issues they experience online as a result. Try to speak to these users if possible. Ask them where the barriers on your website lie and how easy they find it to consume your content. Tools such as ReachDeck can help automate this process and flag many of the issues.

2: Second, make sure you have internal support. Improving digital accessibility is about more than fixing a few errors on your website. Changes need to be made across the business. Consider developing a cross-departmental team to ensure accessibility is always a priority. The team can include people from content, design, sales, and development. A cross-functional team will be able to build processes where:

  • Monitoring for accessibility is carried out on a regular basis and any issues are quickly resolved
  • Content is readable and accessible, without jargon where possible
  • Everything is truly user-led with decision-making and design
  • Accessibility becomes a priority as new initiatives are planned

3: Third, it’s a marathon, not a sprint. Identify your biggest issues and address them first. Create an action plan to reach your objectives. Most importantly, recognize that accessibility is not a one-time fix. It’s an ongoing process that should be built into the heart of your marketing and sales teams and embraced at all levels of the organization.

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