Things to consider when marketing a brand to people with disabilities

Marketing your organisation’s products and/or services to people with disabilities offers the opportunity to raise awareness of your brand among a substantial portion of the UK population. Indeed, research by the Disability Rights Commission shows there were more than 10 million Britons with a disability in 2008. For many organisations, this represents a huge potential market.

However, many companies often avoid this demographic in their advertising initiative or promotional events due to concerns they will somehow make a mistake and cause offence. Here are some things to consider when marketing a brand to people with disabilities:

Be sensitive

The range and extent of disabilities varies enormously, but no matter what condition your target audience has it is important you go out of your way to ensure your marketing efforts are sensitive and cater to their needs. Making this special effort is likely to be particularly appreciated by those with disabilities, as well as their relatives and carers.

Ensuring customer-facing staff are trained to help people with disabilities access information – for example, reading a menu out loud to someone who has a visual impairment – can improve your target audience’s perception of your business. No matter the nature of a person’s disability, it’s important you do not assume what they can and can’t do – instead, you should always ask the individual what, if any, assistance they require.

It’s always important to ensure customers feel comfortable using your services, but even more so among those with disabilities. By asking for feedback on a regular basis you can learn more about how accessible your organisation is and establish what areas could be improved upon.

Ensure your website is user-friendly

Data from US organisation Solutions Marketing Group reveals people with disabilities tend to spend more time online than able-bodied internet users. Research by the Department of Work and Pensions reveals an insurance company saw a 90 per cent increase in online sales after it upgraded its website to make it fully accessible to disabled people.

One way to improve your website is by having text context to support every non-text element (such as videos and audio files) of your site. Of course, people who are deaf cannot listen to things like audio interviews or podcasts, so it’s a good idea to provide links to text transcripts so they can understand the points that are being discussed.

Those with impaired eyesight will struggle to read words that are in a small font so it’s worth giving them the ability to adjust the size of text to enable them to read it easily. Making sure your site is compatible with talking browser software packages, meanwhile, will provide visitors with an audio accompaniment to the text they read.

Provide useful promotional products

Distributing promotional products has long been an effective way for businesses to raise awareness of their brand among a target audience.

Of all the promotional products available, it’s worth going for items that offer real value to recipients, something that is particularly the case when using promotional flash drives. USBs offer handy storage space for users to save their own documents, but they also allow you to provide your target audience with useful data about your business that can be read in their own time.

Remember that people with certain disabilities may struggle to take in large chunks of information at once. But if you upload data to promotional USBs, recipients will be able to read about your company in the comfort of their home and at a pace that suits them. Just remember to include contact details so that recipients can get in touch with you!

What steps is your organisation taking to target people with disabilities in a sensitive, yet effective, manner? Leave a comment and let us know.