This morning, I just met with a client to go over a proposal for web accessibility remediation services for a small fast food service provider who was sued for having an inaccessible website.*
What was the issue? Website was inaccessible to those who were visually impaired. (during the audit, we found other issues, but that was not the main reason of the lawsuit.)
This is not a large fast food service provider like Chick-fil-A. This is a food service provider that has several locations.
The time is ripe for Web Design and Development Agencies to offer additional value to their clients. Agency owners can add web accessibility audits, web accessibility remediation services and accessible web design services as part of their additional value-add. As a matter of fact, it could become your agency’s new superpower for 2020.
Walk the Talk, Talk the Walk of Web Accessibility
So, how do you, as an agency owner begin to talk with your clients about web accessibility?
It begins with you, the owner and your top designers and developers. Everyone can begin by getting knowledgeable about web accessibility.
- Get knowledgeable about it. You can’t get comfortable talking to your clients about it until you understand it, can speak the lingo comfortably about it among yourselves and to your clients about it. It is also the only way you will be able to get the “buy-in.” If your clients hear you talking about web accessibility like it is the back of your hand, it is the only way they will be convinced of its value. There are many experts – especially in the LinkedIn Network – use the #accessibility hashtag to find them. You can find articles, and blogs online about Web Accessibility. If you are in the WordPress Community – on WordPress.TV – there are a lot of speakers and talks on this topic.
- Make it your company mission. Accessibility is a mindset. Web Accessibility also needs to be part of the design process. Once you understand the web accessibility requirements, then you will understand that accessibility is not effective as an afterthought when it comes to designing new websites. This also applies to landing pages. By making it part of your mission and vision, by that I mean is by becoming more inclusive. Taking the inclusive mindset at every customer touchpoint within your organization will have a tremendous impact. How your office answers the phone. How your technicians handles tech support. How your social media postings are generated and shared. How you deliver your content – all of it – print to video to your fans or prospects. Every touchpoint. You will see improved customer satisfaction and increased revenue. That you can take to the bank and share with your clients too.
- Add it as part of your web design and development services. When your clients – new and existing clients – see it as part of your service offerings, it is bound to be part of the conversation. For those who are curious about it, may bring it up. Add it to your proposals. Publish it on your website. Get the dialogue going. Send your web designers and developers to school if necessary, so that they will learn how to remediate websites. Or partner with other agencies, designers and developers who are experts in web accessibility.
- Show them the money. Instead of coming from the alarmist point of view (i.e. rising ADA lawsuits), why not show them the money that they could be potentially leaving on the table? Or the number of potential leads that they are not getting to their website. Your clients, first and foremost, are concerned about making more money or getting more leads. Statistics are out there to prove your point to your clients. The spending power of those who are disabled is bigger than Latino, LGBTQ2 and African American. The demographics of whom would benefit from accessible website design is a lot larger than you think.
Agency owners will see that web accessible or ADA compliant websites has its benefits such as improving user experience, search engine optimization and their clients will be capturing more (leads) demographics to their websites. It will enhance your client’s brand if they were to publish that they were striving to be accessible and inclusive. Individuals with disabilities are most loyal to organizations who invest in efforts to be inclusive. Perhaps, finally, the best reason may be that it would reduce the risk of a lawsuit.
This added value of offering web accessibility services will provide additional growth of your agency. It will also help your clients grow as well. Thereby creating a win-win for everyone. Are you ready to make 2020 a fantastic year of growth? Let’s do it! If you have any questions, do not hesitate to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org
*Names are protected here for legal reasons.
About Christine Laikind: Christine is founder of SCS Digital Marketing, a virtual digital marketing agency based in northern Georgia. Born deaf and self-employed since 2003, she has been providing traditional and digital marketing services for many clients in B2B and B2C sectors. Today she caters to her favorite niche – professional keynote speakers and affiliated industry partners. Christine is also active in the WordPress community as a co-organizer, and as a speaker at Meetups, at WordCamps as an advocacy speaker on web accessibility as well as business related topics.