I am partially deaf. It doesn’t require any particularly special treatment with regards to email marketing but when I’m buying at a counter I can experience difficulties. Those companies which invest in special facilities for those with hearing problems generate gratitude and a lot of loyalty.
It is probable that many of those on your email marketing lists have sight problems. There are, after all, over two million sight-impaired people in the UK. Whilst many will opt for text-only emails, some will not as there are a number of screen readers available that will do what it says on the tin.
Images can be a particular problem for screen readers but there is a simple solution: alt tags. These provide a text explanation of the image that is invisible to other customers but is read by text readers. If you don‘t use them then the sight impaired might go elsewhere.
The words you use are critical, as you would assume. Any time taken by you to ensure that what choose is what the reader will want is repaid. For instance, some email marketing companies choose to merely repeat the caption, meaning that the customer will hear it twice. This can be extremely irritating I’m told.
We have special problems. For instance, images are often used as a link in marketing emails. There’s little point in describing what one looks like. What you need to do is describe the landing page.
Another time when there will be no need to describe what the image shows is if it referred to in the text. If, for some reason, you have included an image for decorative purposes such as a banner, then again no description is required.
Whilst walking around with your eyes shut gives no real idea of what it is like to be blind, using a screen reader will show if your alt tags are fit for purpose. Better still, ask someone who has no idea what is in the email to give their opinion.
Universal access is a worthwhile target in itself, but get alt tags spot on, or even near, and you will generate gratitude and loyalty.