Achieving Accessibility One Step At a Time!

I’ve been attending the WordPress Accessibility Day 2022. There are only a few more hours left. But don’t worry if you missed it the videos will be available soon on their YouTube channel.

I’ve learned several ways to make sites more accessible, I’ve learned more about the WCAG and the new laws, but what I learned most is that building web accessibility should not be performed in haste with “worthless plugins”. (I say this because most people who rely on screen readers and keyboard navigation will tell you these plug ins only hinder the tools people use to surf the internet.)

*Accessibility should be tackled a little at a time.

*It should be well thought out.

*Accessibility practices should be implemented during every step of the design, build and update of a website.

Most importantly, any one genuine effort to make a site easier for people with disabilities to navigate is worth more than 10 websites installing a plugin simply for the sake of avoiding legal fines or lawsuits.

There’s still a few more hours to the event but the following link will give you access to much more.

Click here to be directed to the event homepage for WordPress Accessibility 2022.


How to say NO to a client!

It can be very hard to say no to a client, especially when they are your first or only client at the time.

However you need to look at it from YOUR point of view, not the clients.

Put yourself in their shoes. Would you treat a freelancer the way they’re treating you?

We’re always advised to look at things from the other persons’ point of view. But in doing so we tend to forget about looking at it from our point of view and protecting our own interests.

You can’t expect a plumber to stay in business if he is constantly called with questions but never called out to do any repair work and never paid. Your mechanic can’t keep his shop open when people say I’ll bring it in next month. There are bills to pay.

Just because you don’t own a brick and mortar shop doesn’t mean you can operate without any payment. Your time spent on free work is time you could be spending on paid work or learning new skills.

NOTE: No one has to know you don’t have other work but consider this, you could be wrapped up working on something for free and miss an opportunity for a paid client!

Queue the song: “England Dan & John F. Coley – It’s Sad To Belong to someone else when the right one comes along!”

So how do you tell a client no?

First write down your reasons you don’t want to or are worried about working with them?

  • They don’t pay me
  • They expect free work
  • They take up valuable time
  • They ghost me.

Now take these items and write out a response setting aside any previous frustration or anger and remember that this person obviously doesn’t understand how business works so explain it in a calm but educational way.

You could say something like this:

“I’m sorry I can’t continue to help you for free, I have bills to pay and my business cannot continue without paid work. The time I’m taking to help you is pulling from other jobs from paying clients and your busy schedule keeps you from communicating for long periods of time. By the time we reconnect I have to reacquaint myself with your situation. Again this is time being taken from other clients.”

“May I suggest you search the internet for some web development groups that offer free or volunteer help. If I can be of assistance in this matter please let me know. Thank you for your interests and good luck in your future endeavors.”

You spent good time and money on your education. Now it’s time to get compensation for that time, effort and money. You have to chose if your compensation is going to be “Satisfaction” or “Money”!

Satisfaction doesn’t pay the internet or hosting bill, buy your computer or hardware or pay your course and membership fees.

By turning your point of view, it helps you to remember that although the customer is always right…if they aren’t paying…they’re NOT a customer…they’re asking for charity!


Never Post Disputes With Customers Online!

Let’s face it we all have that one customer every few years who doesn’t pay up. Just takes the merchandise or the service and runs and you just want to take them to court. But court is sooo expensive and time consuming.

That’s why in the old days the saying “The customer is always right!” was created! Nobody wanted to go to court. Right? Well no that’s not the reason it was so popular 30 or more years ago and it’s also not the reason it’s still a popular “Best Practice” today! But I’ll get to that in a moment.

Well today it seems with technology and social media, we have much cheaper alternatives to court. We have the “people’s Social Media Shame Train!” Yep I just made that up.

But the point is we have technology to use to sell our products, raise awareness of our services and even protect us from fraud.

So why shouldn’t a business person take advantage of social media as a way to combat the people who don’t pay? To get back at the deadbeats, the crooks and the online shoplifters?

One word, reputation!

Take this social media post. A business woman in a rural community is using a popular facebook group to shame a customer who seems to have taken advantage of the business woman, took the merchandise and not paid the bill.

So why do I say “seems”. Well if your read on the business woman also posts that the customer said she would check with her bank.

“after I asked her to confirm her check was in the mail. She even responded back and said she would check with her bank and send another one if need be and now nothing. Can’t even message her. Oh well. She can live with her evil Christmas spirit knowing she got ornaments without paying 🤷‍♀️ lesson learned that’s on me.”

Even though it seems this business woman has calmed down and resolved to chock it up to a “lesson learned”, her statements in the beginning are very threatening. Many people reading that post may subconsciously feel threatened. From a business owners perspective this is normal reaction and progression of response to getting swindled out of your goods or services.

However from a consumer’s prospective, we’ve all had that one check get lost in the mail, to the electric company, the phone company or even the cable company. Which is an honest miss-hap. No one likes to be accused of being a thief or a lair and as a consumer we tend to see this type of threatening response as a red flag to stay away from a business.

So after all the possible actions a business can take, be it court action, calling the bank, harassing a customer to pay up or social media shaming… is it really worth it if other consumers are going to feel uncomfortable and steer clear of your business? Should you advertise your negative response by posting your frustrations for all to see?

No you shouldn’t.

In the old days people read the paper, not social media. Anytime someone took someone else to court, often it was posted in the news paper. (yesterday’s social gossip…I mean media)

Hence the statement “The customer is always right!” was the therapeutic chant that business owners repeated and the motto that they taught to their employees to keep from getting a bad reputation for poor customer service.

Now I’m not saying roll over and let everyone take your hard earned goods or services without paying. I’m not even saying don’t take legal action to recuperate your loss.

What I am saying is keep your frustrations and collections private between you and your customer and keep them pleasant and off line.


Shock and Awe In Medical Marketing

Wikipedia defines Shock and awe, technically known as rapid dominance, as

“a tactic based on the use of overwhelming power and spectacular displays of force to paralyze the enemy’s perception of the battlefield and destroy their will to fight.”


So how can it be used in marketing? Well hold on to your hats, it’s been used in marketing for centuries, and mostly in medicine.

Starting with the old Snake Oil Salesmen who would strike fear of illness and disease into anyone who would stand and listen, followed by claims that their elixir would cure all ailments.

It may shock you, (no pun intended) to learn that before 1977 it was illegal in the U.S. to advertise professional services. A landmark case “Bates v. State Bar of Arizona” in 1977 changed everything.

In that case the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that state bar associations could no longer stop attorneys from advertising. This ruling spread into other professions, including the medical profession.

The problem with advertising at any level is there are laws against making false claims to sell a product. No doubt repercussions from the early “Snake Oil Salesmen”.

However, the case of Bates vs State Bar of Arizona was kind of a double edged sword for the medical and other professions.

You see even though advertising for lawyers opened up advertising for Doctors and other professionals, ironically lawyers began seeking “injured” individuals who had been damaged by false advertising. Creating a double edged sword for the medical profession. So advertising for medical professionals has to be carefully handled.

But how, you may ask, does this allow “shock and awe” advertising in the medical field if there are laws prohibiting false claims? Well it takes a clever and manipulative mind to put together medical advertising that scares the crap out of people making them believe they have a problem or illness, then giving them the impression that the advertised medication will solve their problem.

Again you might ask; How does this kind of advertisement help the medical professional? It might help the pharmaceutical companies, but how does it help the doctors?

First a commercial comes on listing symptoms of a particular disease, usually using an obscure medical term you’ve never heard of before. Since many diseases have a host of similar symptoms those are the ones that are listed first. So of course if you have any of those, your interest is perked. Eventually after a few lines of more serious symptoms you’re anxiety is being tapped into. Now you’re wondering if you have the disease.

The commercial continues with the “drug” used to treat the symptoms along with the many side effects, often worse than the symptoms of the disease or ailment. The commercial continues saying you need to weigh the risks of the side effects with the risks of the disease.

So I’ve given you your “shock” so here is your “awe”.

The advertisers don’t tell you your doctor will cure you, they don’t tell you your doctor is the best but they send you running for your doctor…with one brilliant (and sinister) phrase:

“Ask Your Doctor If [insert drug name here] is right for you?”

WALLAH! You’re wondering if you should make an appointment.

Next time you have an appointment “ask your doctor” how many times people come running in asking their doctor about a medication they heard about on TV or came running in asking for testing.

Yes this kind of shock and awe advertising is going on in more areas than just medicine, for example the recent pandemic has surged sales in many staples that people have stockpiled, disaster preparedness products have soared in sales, self help products and books have gone up as well.

Anxiety purchases are often returned costing the company more money. Ethical advertising results in a lower rate of returns and requests for money back.

But it wasn’t only the new vaccines that made a big profit for Big Pharma, anti-anxiety drug prescriptions have soared as well.

According to marketwatch.com, “Over the past year, U.S. prescriptions for anti-anxiety medications such as Klonopin and Ativan jumped 10.2% from 8.8 million in March 2019 to 9.7 million in March 2020, according to a Wall Street Journal analysis of data from health-research firm IQVIA.” Published on May 26, 2020.

Anti-anxiety medication prescriptions have spiked 34% during the coronavirus pandemic

The article referenced above, clearly shows how the shock and awe of a pandemic can create anxiety, depression and a host of other symptoms, boosting sales for all kinds of products, including medicines.

Now to be fair, manufacturers are not creating a false panic, Covid 19 is very real. And there is no doubt that the measures taken, quarantining mass numbers of people, is creating anxiety and hardship around the globe.

But I caution sellers against making unrealistic claims for any product they sell and holistic experts caution consumers to seek more natural and free methods of anxiety relief before turning to pharmaceuticals.

If your plan to create advertising for your clients, involves using shock and awe, then good luck.

If you’re a business looking for someone who will create shock and awe advertising don’t bother inquiring about my services.

In the end the best way to sell products or services, is to match the right person to the right product in an ethical and calm buying experience.


Problems Evolve So Your Content Should Too!

I know it may sound weird but as society evolves so do our problems. We are human and we do often have the same problems, but as our technology, textiles, goods and services evolve, so do the problems that come along with it.

For example, women in the 1700’s had completely different fashion problems than women of today. Never the less fashion problems will always be around as long as humans need to wear clothes.

Fashion problems of the 1700’s were bound by societies rules of good etiquette. Today’s women aren’t bound by those constraints. In the late 20th century women were more bound by comfort and style and what was considered popular. Today, just about anything goes, so it’s harder for designers to find something that the majority likes, but the anything-goes theory helps designers have more freedom to express themselves with unconventional looks.

With that in mind we could say that although problems usually remain the same, they are ever evolving.

If one wants to devote their life’s work to solving transportation problems for example they had better look to the future. Just as the old blacksmiths had to adapt when cars were invented, so do mechanics and manufacturers as we enter the era of space travel.

When Carl Benz took out a patent for the first automobile people never thought cars would replace horses.

Now that Virgin Galactic is selling tickets to space again it won’t be long before rich enterprising travelers start having everyday space related travel problems that will need to be solved. So if your business is travel you may want to start looking to the stars to keep up with the business.

If you own a long standing blog that’s not getting a lot of attention, maybe it’s time to do a little spring cleaning and updating. Time to dust off those old articles and polish them to a new shine.

If you need help, feel free to shoot me an email. We can talk!


Consumer Needs Dictate Sale Approach

Consumers fall into a couple of categories when it comes to sales approaches.

  1. Get to the point, is this product right for me? Buy it or move on.
  2. I have a problem but need options for solutions. I want to make an educated decision before purchasing.
  3. I’m interested but my money is worth a lot to me, you really have to convince me I need this product before I will buy.

Different products require a different approaches to selling.

For example selling food to a hungry customer falls in the first category. People need to know; is it fast to fix, does it contain ingredients I can’t eat and does it taste good? These questions need to be answered fast and concisely.

When Duct tape was invented it had one purpose, but through the years new uses have been found for Duct tape. It takes creative writing to convey all the variety of solutions duct tape can offer to a wide array of problems. This is where sales approach number 2 might fit in well.

Big ticket items like cars, homes, boats, furniture, golf clubs and many other items fall into the 3rd category and should not be obtained through impulse purchases. So a customer needs to trust not only the item they’re purchasing but the manufacturer and the dealer before they will put their hard earned money into a long term commitment.