Inclusivity VERSUS Accessibility in Emails: Are You Mixing up the Two of Them?


Email accessibility has been one of the most prominently growing trends in the email marketing industry. Making their emails accessible is the top priority for every marketer. And why not? It widens the appeal of the entire email marketing campaign. However, when you are done with everything, there’s mostly one hidden elephant in the room: offering a truly inclusive email experience to your subscribers.

Accessibility and inclusivity are often misconceptualized and mixed. Today, we’ll learn about the thin line that separates these two subtle yet crucial aspects of email marketing. Not only that, but we’ll also go through some peculiar practices to maintain inclusivity in your emails. So let’s get cracking!

How do email accessibility and inclusivity differ?

Well, on a general note, accessibility is the science behind building an email campaign. It measures an HTML email’s functional aspects to determine if people who use assistive technology such as screen readers can understand the emails effectively. Contrary to popular belief, email accessibility is more about the ‘behind the scenes’ code than the visual design aspects.

Whereas inclusivity is the practice to accept, acknowledge, and embrace the diversity of human differences that your subscriber base experiences. As opposed to accessibility, inclusivity relies more on strategy, content, and overall subscriber experience as compared to code.

For a more precise understanding, here’s how Litmus has defined these email marketing parameters:

Accessible: An email is accessible when its content is available to—and functionality can be operated by—anyone, regardless of ability.

Inclusive: Design that embraces the full range of human diversity, with respect to ability, language, culture, gender, age, and other forms of human difference.

They go hand-in-hand, but they are very much a “tactics vs. strategy and content” relationship.”

Now, once we have cleared the air around these two concepts, the challenge lies in how to create a more inclusive email experience?

To do so, it’s crucial to devise an email marketing strategy from scratch. And seeking professional help from Mailchimp email experts or Marketo certified associates is the best thing you could do to offer industry-leading levels of inclusivity to your subscribers. Not only this, they can take care of every aspect of your email marketing campaign.

While you get the professionals on board, here are some of the critical steps that you need to take yourself to provide a more inclusive experience to your subscribers.

Know your target audience better

It’s a no brainer that the better you know your customers, the more precise and relevant your email marketing campaign gets. For instance, if you know that most of your customers hail from one country, then you can customize your campaigns around their national holidays and create a personalized (and closer) bond. You may derive insights by featuring questionnaires, Twitter polls, and comprehensive sign up forms to gather more data about the customer base’s demographics and fine-tune your marketing strategy accordingly.

Here’s a thoughtful survey email from Skillshare to offer customized courses as per each subscriber’s sentiments.

Refrain from generalizing

Given the diversity of any given demographic, it is a strategic blunder to consider your customer base as a homogenous group. Irrespective of the industry, they would have different needs and interests. If you want to penetrate a new market, you have to let go of that particular demographic’s preconceived notions. Chalk out your strategy based on the first-hand encounter with the target group.

There have been many instances where stereotyping has led brands into problems with their marketing campaigns. They might seem fair from a general perspective, but a specific demographic may find them offensive leading to out and out boycott of the brand. Hence, it’s crucial to know the waters deeply before diving in.

Choose the images wisely

Images play a vital role in email designs, and hence, it is of utmost importance to pick them sensibly. Inculcate a sense of diversity in your visual messaging. It’s better to feature an image consisting of a diversified crowd. It might sound strange, but the more diverse your images, the more inclusive your campaign would appear.

If you find it challenging to accommodate all the tips by yourself, using templates such as Mailchimp email templates or Pardot email templates would be the best thing for you.

Embrace everyone

Inclusivity is all about accepting and embracing whatever your demography has to offer. One great way to exhibit your acceptance is by taking part in as many region-specific celebrations as possible. You can count on the emotions behind events such as International Women’s Day, Pride Month, Black History Month, etc., and create campaigns around them. It’s a great tactic to channelize the positive sentiment and emotions towards your brand while making your campaigns much more inclusive at the same time.

Here’s what Peloton came up with to sync their branding with Pride Month. The email carried the subject line, “It’s time to kick off Pride month and #RideProud,” which rings just the right bell with the subscribers.

Wrapping up

This was all about drawing the line between accessibility and inclusivity and enhancing the latter in email marketing campaigns. Follow the steps mentioned above and strike the right chord with all your subscribers, no matter where they hail from.


Author Bio

Kevin George is the head of marketing at Email Uplers, that specializes in crafting Professional Email Templates, PSD to Email conversion, and Mailchimp Email Templates. Kevin loves gadgets, bikes & jazz, and he breathes email marketing. He enjoys sharing his insights and thoughts on email marketing best practices on email marketing blog.