email accessibility

Best Practices to make your Emails more Accessible

With the rising competition in the marketing industry driven by digitization, marketers are under constant pressure to reach out to more potential customers. Though email marketing is the most impactful form of digital marketing and can offer marketers a huge relief, not many understand how optimizing email accessibility according to industry best practices can benefit the organization’s marketing goal. Designing an email is not just about making it pretty. Rather it is about making it more functional and with improved accessibility for all your intended audiences. 

Thus, the best-practiced way to draft an email for a successful digital marketing turnout is to create an inclusive design for all your emails.

An email that has the potential to include more customers irrespective of their physical, visual, and cognitive disabilities will automatically increase your user, subscriber, and customer diversity. This method of adding an inclusive design to understand user diversity enables the marketing team to address different capabilities, needs, and aspirations. Optimizing email accessibility by putting yourself in the position of different categories of customers ensures all your target email receivers understand the email content exactly the way you intended to explain it. Email accessibility ensures people who use assistive technologies don’t miss out on key information in your emails.

Email accessibility enables customers with visual, auditory, cognitive, mobility, or other disabilities to comprehend email content easily. Not being able to optimize your email for accessibility makes you miss out on a large number of potential customers as your marketers are unable to effectively communicate with them. To engage and build emotional connections with each and every one of your subscribers, you need to provide them with easy access to your digital content.

To help you get a better idea on how to make your email accessible, here is a list of some industry best practice guidelines to implement in emails for inclusive design:

Balance text with images

A continuous flow of text in an email can get boring to read, and at the same time, using just images in your email might not be very impactful. Instead, try breaking up long chunks of content with images to keep your readers engaged and to make it easier to understand.

Add captions and transcripts to your videos

As important as it is to consider your subscribers and potential customers who are blind, it is equally important to keep in mind that some of them can also be deaf. Thus it is important that you integrate codes that will enable the screen reader to narrate the video for the visually impaired and add captions for those with hearing disability.

Include ALT tags for your images

ALT tags for images are important not only for screen readers but also if the user has their image display setting off or with a bad internet connection. If you fail to add ALT tags, the images in your emails might not always be visible for your subscribers. 

Also, if your image contains important information and is not visible or readable by screen readers, then your entire email marketing effort will go to waste. Wherever you have a <IMG> tag in your email code, make sure to set the ALT tag and ensure that the text matches the text on the image. At the same time, if you have empty ALT tags, make sure that there isn’t any text on the image. Otherwise, the screen reader will read out the URL of the image, creating a disruption in the email content. You can use different kinds of tools available to test your alt text.

Add an engaging subject line

Email allows you to generate an 80-character preview of your email. You should utilize this power of email creation to grab readers’ attention and use this subject line as a teaser to your email to increase the open rate. Also, forgetting to add the subject line might push the screen reader to read out loud a long line of code.

Use semantic elements to structure your content

To highlight content hierarchy, you should use semantic elements <H> tag and <P> tag. This not only makes your email easier to navigate but also helps the screen reader to emphasize on the headlines and not confuse with the sub-heads and paragraphs. Ensuring headline-worthy copies are enclosed within <H1>, <H2>, <H3> helps you create a clear email body.

Use impactful and clear hyperlinks

The age-old practice of writing “Click Here” no more creates the same desired interest to click on it. With the increasing need to personalize and be creative in your emails, if you want to increase the click rate of the links you are adding in your email content, you need to use impactful and clear hyperlinks. Besides adding hover effects to it, you also need to make the hyperlinks clear, easily visible, and with a descriptive copy that creates the desire to click on it. 

Moreover, a descriptive copy enables the screen reader to read out what the link is all about, which otherwise will just read aloud “Click Here.” You can use the full title of the destination page or just a brief, impactful copy, which will help the receiver decide if they want to engage further. And don’t forget to make the link text bold.

Optimize for various devices

By optimizing your email content for every kind of device, your email gets properly displayed no matter if the reader is using a desktop or smartphone. This process of creating design responsive emails helps the content display optimally.

Add language code to your <HTML>

Considering the fact that some of your target audience can be visually disabled and use screen readers to read emails, you should add language code according to the marketing region. To make sure that the pronunciation is right, you will need to add a simple snippet of code that specifies your email’s language to let screen readers know what language your email is written in. Localization setup within your ESP helps you populate the language code dynamically.

By not optimizing your email accessibility, you not only ignore a large number of audiences who have the potential to become your customers by sending the wrong kind of emails but also your email marketing campaign can be illegal. Making emails accessible improves your email marketing by reaching a segment of the audience that most organizations often forget to target.