Inclusivity in Email Marketing
Like society, business continually evolves to be more inclusive and accessible. Advertising embraces diversity in casting and messaging. Products get designed for accessibility. But email marketing remains stuck in the past, still overwhelmingly optimized for the young, able-bodied few.
This disconnect means many potential customers get left behind. Over 15% of the global population lives with some disability making accessing content challenging. Plus, as subscribers age, conditions like farsightedness and hearing loss grow more prevalent.
For these demographics, poorly constructed emails translate to frustration and barriers. But convenient excuses for maintaining status quo are running out. Both advancing regulation and morality make building inclusive subscriber experiences an emerging obligation.
This requires rethinking both creative and technical facets of your program. Adopting inclusive best practices improves life for underserved audiences while expanding your reach. Now is the time to ensure email accessibility for all.
Significance: The Importance of Accessible Emails
👉 Expanded Audience - 14% of US adults live with a disability according to the CDC. An accessible program includes them.
👉 Global Reach - Many countries legally require accessibility as part of anti-discrimination laws. Comply to tap new markets.
👉 Future-Proofing - As populations age, the need for accessibility grows. Be ready to serve this lucrative group.
👉 Reduced Liability - Lawsuits over inaccessible sites and services are rising. Avoid risk by making inclusion core to your brand.
👉 Enhanced Brand - Consumers gravitate toward brands reflecting their values. Lead with empathy.
👉 Lower Costs - Small tweaks may be needed versus expensive retrofitting if accessibility was an afterthought.
👉 Goodwill - Being an ally for often marginalized groups earns community goodwill.
👉 Loyalty - When disabled users find a compatible brand, data shows they will return frequently.
Accessibility lifts all boats - subscribers, community, and marketers alike. Bake it in from the start for maximum benefit at minimal burden.
Techniques: Crafting Accessible Content
✅ Use Clear Language
Write straightforwardly, avoiding confusing jargon or figures of speech that may be misinterpreted. Stick to common terms.
✅ Provide Text Alternatives
All images should have descriptive alt text explaining what they convey. Videos should include transcripts.
✅ Structure Content
Use semantic HTML elements like headers and lists to make pages navigable for screen readers.
✅ Contrast Text Visually
Black on white provides the best visual contrast for legibility. Avoid similarly light or busy backgrounds.
✅ Avoid Relying On Color
Don’t use color alone to convey meaning that screen reader users won’t grasp.
✅ Size Text Legibly
Body text over 12px with headlines over 18px ensures readability. Enable user overrides.
✅ Space Elements Clearly
Provide padding between elements so items don’t run together confusingly.
✅ Support Keyboard Navigation
Ensure all links, buttons and page elements can be accessed by keyboard alone without a mouse.
✅ Write Concise But Descriptive Links
Links should make sense out of context. Use descriptive text over generic placeholders like “click here”.
✅ Test Readability
Do ongoing reads of your emails using only a screen reader to catch issues.
Following accessibility guidelines may seem restrictive at first. But practices like writing clearly, structuring content logically, and providing text alternatives actually benefit all users.
Tools: Platforms and Plugins for Accessibility
✅ Accessible Templates
Start with email service provider templates already optimized for accessibility.
✅ ARIA Markup
Use ARIA roles and attributes to improve screen reader compatibility.
✅ Accessibility Checkers
Plug email drafts into tools like wave.webaim.org to scan for areas needing improvement.
✅ Image Analyzers
Automatically generate alt text descriptions of images using machine learning algorithms.
✅ Contrast Checkers
Verify foreground and background colors meet minimum contrast ratios for readability.
✅ Screen Readers
Directly experience your emails through leading software screen readers like JAWS, VoiceOver etc.
✅ Accessibility Apps
Browser extensions like Accessibility Insights make web accessibility auditing seamless.
✅ Email Previews
See how emails appear in different configurations with litmus.com to optimize inclusion.
Craft alternative content formats like plain text for non-HTML subscribers.
Between thoughtful design considerations and supporting technology, brands can remove unnecessary barriers to make email engagement seamless for all.
The Ethical and Practical Sides of Email Accessibility
At its core, email accessibility stems from a mindset of empowering every subscriber regardless of ability or age. It acknowledges differences, then thoughtfully designs inclusive experiences through that lens of universal benefit.
This foundation of doing what’s morally right matters most. But the byproduct of accessibility is also winning market advantages. Tapping into under-addressed audiences expands reach into profitable segments. Building goodwill through inclusion attracts brand support.
Accessibility is not a burden but rather a feature when made central to email marketing from the start. Ensure your team has training, processes and technology in place to consistently execute inclusive practices. Support subscribers through challenges large and small by incorporating helpful adaptations.
With care and creativity, you can craft email experiences that resonate universally across the diverse spectrum of humanity. Meet subscribers wherever they are, and guide them to wherever they want to be. Prioritize accessibility today, and reap rewards for your brand and community far into the future.
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