“I want to be more accessible in my email strategy. What are the accessibility fundamentals in the email marketing world? Are there any tools I can use to help my content be more accessible?”
Accessibility, in the context of email marketing, refers to the practice of creating products, services, and environments that are usable by as many people as possible, regardless of their abilities or disabilities. The goal of accessibility is to ensure that individuals with disabilities have equal access to information, communication, and services, and that they can fully participate in society. Making your email marketing strategy more accessible involves ensuring that your email content and design are inclusive and usable by people with a wide range of abilities, including those with disabilities.
Here are some ways to make your email marketing strategy more accessible:
8 Elements of Accessible Email Marketing
1. Use a Clear and Readable Font
Choose a font that is easy to read and has good legibility. Avoid overly decorative fonts, and use a font size that is large enough for most readers to comfortably read. Incorporate good design practices to provide a great user experience and bring positive awareness to your brand. Friendly reminder that a/b testing can be of great help in deciding which fonts and colors are best preferred by your audiences making your email content more accessible.
2. Ensure Sufficient Color Contrast
Make sure there is sufficient contrast between the text and background colors in your emails. This helps ensure that the content is readable by individuals with visual impairments, including those with color blindness.
3. Provide Alternative Text for Images
Include descriptive alternative text (alt text) for images in your emails. Alt text is read by screen readers and provides a textual description of the image for individuals who are blind or visually impaired.
4. Use a Logical and Simple Layout
Organize your email content in a logical and straightforward manner. Use headings, bullet points, and short paragraphs to break up large blocks of text and make the content easier to scan and understand.
5. Use Clear and Direct CTAs
Use descriptive and meaningful calls-to-action (CTAs) that clearly indicate the purpose of the link. Avoid generic phrases like “click here” or “learn more.” Instead, use link text that describes the destination or action, such as “Read our latest blog post” or “Register for the webinar.”
6. Ensure Keyboard Accessibility
Make sure that all interactive elements in your email, such as links and buttons, can be accessed and activated using the keyboard. This is important for individuals who use keyboard navigation or assistive technologies.
7. Provide an Accessible Web Version
Include a link to an accessible web version of your email. This gives recipients the option to view the email in their web browser, where they may have additional accessibility tools and settings available. (Ex. add a “view in a browser” link option as above email’s header)
8. Avoid Flashing or Rapidly Changing Content
Content that flashes or changes rapidly can trigger seizures in individuals with photosensitive epilepsy. Avoid using such content in your emails.
By implementing these accessibility practices, you can create email marketing campaigns that are inclusive and accessible to a wider audience, including individuals with disabilities. This not only helps you reach more people, but also demonstrates your commitment to inclusivity and accessibility.
#MobyTip: Remember, accessibility is not only a matter of social justice and inclusion but also a legal requirement in many countries. The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) in the United States and the Equality Act in the United Kingdom are laws that prohibit discrimination based on disability and require reasonable accommodations to ensure accessibility.
When in Doubt, Test Your Emails
Use accessibility testing tools (view below for some suggestions) to check your emails for accessibility issues. Additionally, consider testing your emails with a screen reader to ensure that the content is accessible to individuals who are blind or visually impaired.
Here are some email accessibility testing tools/resources to consider incorporating into your future content creation processes:
- Email on Acid: A platform that tests email accessibility and provides previews of how emails will appear in various email clients.
- Litmus: A tool that tests and previews emails across different devices and email clients, including accessibility checks.
- Knowbility, Inc.: A nonprofit organization that provides accessibility resources and training, and collaborates with communities to raise awareness and improve skills around digital accessibility.
But remember that these tools do not replace the great significance of testing and getting user feedback. Planning and sending out a routine retention email to gather feedback or to win back subscribers’ engagement benefits your organization’s overall email strategy. More importantly, involving individuals with disabilities in the testing process is essential for ensuring that web content and emails are truly accessible to all users.
Accessibility Benefits All
Accessibility benefits not only individuals with disabilities, but also society as a whole. Accessible design can improve the user experience for everyone, including older adults, people with temporary impairments (e.g. a broken arm), and people using different devices (e.g. mobile phones). Additionally, accessibility can lead to innovation, and open up new markets and opportunities for businesses.
Interested in finding out more about accessibility tools, email marketing, and more on digital marketing strategy? Check out our Nonprofit Guide to Email Strategy and explore the courses at Whole Whale University to learn more.
The Nonprofit Organization’s Guide to Email Marketing
From lead generation to email segmentation to A/B testing, this guide is a one-stop-shop for bringing your email marketing strategy to the next level.