Did you know that small businesses make up 23% all business in the U.S., but they employ 50% of the working population? In an environment where companies – large and small – are trying to be heard and seen in a crowded marketplace, small businesses have an opportunity to stand out when reaching an untapped consumer group – people who have disabilities, their families and friends.
The truth is that people who have disabilities and their family and friends need the same products and services as non-disabled people. So if you own a carpet cleaning business, a service station, beauty salon, or dry cleaner, there are some things you can do to connect with this market to build a life-long relationship with them. The payoff is big and can result in increasing impact and your company’s income. We suggest small businesses consider micro targeting the disability market so the impact can be measured and you understand what works.
Here are a few tips to get you started:
Define your Ideal Audience
One in 5 people have some sort of disability or chronic health condition, according to the US Census. It’s safe to say that many people are your email list, or that come into your business are, or have someone in their lives who has a disability. Find out which of your existing customers is impacted by disability. Find out what’s important to them and zero in on creating your product/service offering on the right niche of consumers. It may be parents who have a child with a disability, or adult children who are primary caregivers for aging parents. We suggest you get as specific as you can and target your ideal customer.
Determine How to Find Them
Once you’ve identified your ideal customer/s, it’s important to know where they hang out or congregate. One tip is to identify many disability organizations in your city or region and contact them. Or, you may consider contacting the school districts where you live and building relationships with the Special Education department to begin the process of being a trusted company for families to rely upon. This process may take time to nurture, but it’s the best way to build credibility, by gaining access to your ideal customers through a trusted organization.
Provide Unique Value
Nobody likes to just be sold to. Determine what your company can do to provide unique value for customers who are impacted by disability. You may include information on your website, or host a day for them where they can obtain value-added information that is unique to their circumstances. Whatever it is, be sure to provide content (on your website or your email list) or an additional service that is life enhancing. For example, if you are a dentist and you specialize in providing caring services for kids with developmental disabilities and oral aversions, you may provide an email that includes dental hygiene for the kid who doesn’t want a toothbrush in his/her mouth.
Or, if you own a hair salon you may consider targeting Mothers who have kids with autism or other developmental disabilities. You know that these women want to be pampered like Moms of typical kids. You could reach them through schools, or local disability organizations and dedicate a Saturday each month where they and their kids can come in and get their hair cut in a safe environment where they won’t be stared at, and any behavioral challenges are handled well.
Lastly, the key to successfully reach and serve customers with disabilities is to be consistent by creating a schedule that keeps your efforts on target. Start by adding value and building the relationship. Once customers have a good experience with your company, they will tell their friends.
Gaining a new customer base doesn’t happen overnight. But with just a little effort, your business can gain a new, loyal customer base. Ready to get started? Contact Celeste Beaty at firstname.lastname@example.org to schedule a 30-min consultation with Solutions Marketing Group.