The average person sends and receives more than 100 business emails each day, and the number continues to rise, according to Radicati Group. The inbox is now a battleground for attention, so it’s more important than ever to make sure our emails are being read.
Sadly, many marketers are writing engaging subject lines for emails that add a lot of value to recipients, and yet they aren’t reaching as many people as they could because they’re overlooking the importance of accessibility.
As more email service providers see low prior engagement as an indicator of spam, I’ve put together a list of tips and resources to ensure every person can access your next great email campaign:
- Make sure your email will render on any platform. According to Return Path, 55 percent of emails last year were opened on mobile devices. Design your emails so they are optimized to respond to the device and email client in which they’re opened, regardless of the screen’s width. Try testing your next email’s responsiveness with Litmus or Email on Acid.
- Words (and how they look) matter. Use a highly legible font such as Times New Roman, Verdana, Arial, Calibri or Tahoma to make your emails easy to read. To ensure your type is readable for all audiences, use headers that are at least 22 points and body text of at least 14 points.
- Don’t filter out visually impaired readers. Eight percent of men and 0.5 percent of women live with red-green colorblindness, which means you’ll lose a lot of readership if you’re not conscious of your color choices. Make sure text over images and background colors is readable to everyone, and bring attention to links and buttons by using colors that pop. However, you should avoid calling out the color (e.g., “Click the green button.”) What if your reader can’t see green? Use WebAIM’s color contrast checker to ensure your colors meet the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines.
- Make your images speak. Visually impaired people often rely on screen readers as they move through their inboxes. To ensure that your images are engaged with, write alt text that describes each image. The alt text will be read aloud to the user; without it, the impact of your email could be significantly reduced. Alt text also helps SEO crawlers and users whose email images won’t display. Read more about the benefits of alt tags over at the Marketo blog.
- Have a backup plan for when your video won’t play. Videos and gifs in email are only supported by a handful of channels, which means if you choose to include one, you’ll need an image that displays when it is unavailable. Videos and gifs also use a ton of data, so limit videos to 10-15 seconds and mobile users will thank you. If you use gifs, make sure they have smooth transitions and aren’t flashy (literally) so that you won’t hurt someone with epilepsy. Learn more about having a video fallback plan over at Email on Acid.
- Grab reader attention with engaging pre-headers. Give readers an 80-character preview of your email that leaves them wanting more by adding a pre-header into Marketo. If you omit this step, the pre-header probably won’t cause a user to act and may end up looking like a long line of code.
- Double-check your text-only version. Because HTML is often associated with spam, work phones and business email clients within industries like finance, healthcare and cybersecurity often block it. Format your text-only version with ample spacing and the strategic use of dashes or asterisks to ensure your email is still attractive and readable. Marketo makes it easy to toggle between HTML and the text-only versions of your email, but this step is often overlooked.
Consider this your last-mile checklist to launching your next successful email marketing campaign. With accessibility in mind, you can be sure that you’re maximizing the ROI of your email marketing budget while reaching more recipients across every platform and context.