Images of people with disabilities in the media are few and far between. One tactic many marketers use to appeal to their audience is the use of images the target audience can relate to. Take TV commercials for paper towels for example. Are you a stay at home mom who is busy running her household with no time to bother with big spills when things get messy? If you can relate, then marketers already have you hooked by appealing to you through images (another stay at home mom as the main subject of the commercial) and situations (running a busy household with little time to clean up after everyone) that are familiar to you. That’s how they get you to buy their product and cash in big.
But what about our market? Why don’t we see more companies and businesses appealing to us and competing for our business? We have money to spend just like any other consumer, but images that we can relate to are not as visible.
Sure it’s easy to appeal to consumers with disabilities, if the product being sold is used largely by specifically related markets, (i.e. at home adaptive equipment, wheelchairs, prescriptions, etc.) but what about appealing to customers with disabilieis for main stream products and services?
Below are some ideas to market to and gain the business of consumers with disabilities.
1. Ensure your place of business is accessible.
- Are your entrances wheelchair friendly?
- Do you have handicapped parking close to the door?
- If you live in a harsh climate, ensuring that you keep the door free from snow and ice will encourage more ages and people of all abilities to enter safely and without hassle.
- Are items for sale placed within easy reach for all your customers?
- Do you have accessible facilities?
2. Target the market by advertising in journals, magazines and websites that target that same audience. Run ads through those same outlets as you would in mainstream media outlets.
3. Consider using subjects, actors or models of various abilities in your advertising. Consider broadening your demographic for ability just as you if you were interested in broadening your target audience based on race, religion or sexual orientation.
4. Reach out. Study trends. Survey local disability organizations and talk to members of the disabled community in your area. What are they interested in? What are they willing to spend their money are? What products or services can you offer to fill that niche?
5. Intrigue us! Many people with disabilities are thrilled to see more representation and be targeted to. The more you market to that target audience, the more likely the community will be to check out your business or services just to find out more.
Word of mouth is very powerful! Positive representation can earn the respect and trust of consumers with disabilities. A customer gained can turn out to be a loyal customer for many years to come!
*photo from Flickr’s Creative Common