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Missing Any Markets Lately? (Or How to Quickly and Easily Increase the Size of Your Market.)

By Chris Marlow
Posted Sunday, January 2, 2005

Missing any markets lately? That’s a good question to ask yourself if you’ve never given much thought to the disabled. I’m sorry to admit that I really hadn’t, until a client gave me directions to include a TTY telephone number (for the hearing disabled) in a B2B print ad.

It’s worth considering that the Internet is a liberating tool for many disabled, and that the disabled could be a significant market for your goods and services. According to a spokesman for the World Wide Web Consortium’s Web Accessibility Initiative, these people make up some 8 to 10 percent of the Web-surfing population. That’s a big market to ignore!

In some camps, most notably the non-profit sector, Web page designers are beginning to design for easier access and navigation by the disabled. They’re taking into account vision problems, and motor skills problems. And they’re making their software compatible for the text readers and Braille translators used by the blind.

Another market that may be somewhat invisible to American e-marketers is not a group per se, but an entire country: Canada.

In the Letters to the Editor section of Business 2.0, a Canadian IT professional complained that he is forever responding to U.S. ads that push him to their Web sites. Yet when he goes there and attempts to register, the site requires his “state” and “zip code.” Not good — especially when you consider that per capita, Canada has a history of having more people online than the United States!

So whatever your product or service, think for a moment whether you’re pulling in the disabled, or pushing them away. And a few tweaks to your Web site might just increase leads and sales from our fine neighbors to the North.

About the Author
A veteran freelancer and award-winning copywriter, Chris Marlow offers business coaching to new, aspiring, and seasoned business freelancers who want to accelerate their success. She can be reached via ( or via email Publishers please respond to: © Chris Marlow, 2004 All rights reserved


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