Email marketing is a wildly powerful tool for cannabis businesses and brands due to its more flexible rules and regulations. Unlike social media, which has all but declared war on the industry, email platforms can be a lot more cannabis-friendly.
For this reason, you can capture and reach a larger audience than most other platforms – and with it, comes some responsibility.
In addition to all the general best practices around creating and sending newsletter campaigns, accessibility is a key component of successful cannabis email marketing. Just as social media accessibility is essential to show your customers that you care about them, so is accessibility in email.
If your business communicates with current and potential customers in their inboxes, you want to be able to put your best foot forward, especially for those using screenreaders or other devices to help with accessibility.
The bottom line is that you want everyone to be able to interact with your messaging as a brand in a meaningful way.
What is email accessibility?
Email accessibility is the process of making sure your emails can be understood and read by any subscriber, including those who may have some type of audio or visual impairment.
Digital accessibility is so much more than avoiding lawsuits or complying with regulations. It’s integral to creating and holding space online in an ethical way.
Making your emails more accessible makes connecting with your brand a wonderful experience, regardless of ability. It means someone who is visually impaired and using a screen reader, someone who has broken an arm and can only use one hand to zoom in and out of the screen to read small text, and someone who is neurodivergent can all still consume your email marketing content.
Email accessibility for cannabis businesses also comes into play when there are technical issues (think: bad wifi, etc.) that make your emails difficult to read or load improperly.
Why should you be worried about cannabis email accessibility?
First, it’s the right thing to do. Making sure that everyone in your audience can read and understand your messages is essential to your brand. In fact, it is likely that you already have individuals on your subscriber list that could greatly benefit from accessibility in emails.
Some of the benefits of accessibility in email include:
- Expands the reach of your brand’s messaging
- Creates a welcoming and ethical environment for all your existing and potential customers
- Improves the credibility of your organization
- Differentiates your brand from the competition
- Minimizes risk of legal issues
What should you keep in mind when making your cannabis emails accessible?
There are two main factors to consider when making your emails accessible: human disabilities and technical limitations.
You may be surprised to find out how common disability is. In part, this is because we live in an ableist society where no disability is the supposed norm. To reframe that perspective, here are some statistics from leading health authorities on disability rates:
- According to the World Health Organization, over one billion people live with some form of disability. And almost everyone is likely to experience some form of disability – temporary or permanent – at some point in life.
- Globally, at least 2.2 billion people have near or distant vision impairment.
- Color blindness affects 1 in 12 men (8%) and 1 in 200 women (0.5%).
- As many as 15-20% of people have dyslexia, a condition that causes issues with reading.
In addition to human disabilities, technical issues can always become a challenge if you are not prepared. Technical limitations can come in a few forms:
- Email Client Support: There are 55+ email clients, or inboxes (e.g. Google, Outlook, Apple, Yahoo, etc.). With that many hosts, there is bound to be some manipulation of your code as it enters the inbox. In other words, your email may vary based on which email hosting service your subscribers are using. Certain elements and codes can be impacted by either being stripped out or altered in some way.
- Browser and Operating Systems: There are numerous operating systems and browsers where your subscribers may view and interact with your emails. Each of these may display your email in a different way. For instance, Gmail on an Apple device may look or load differently than Gmail on a Samsung, and it will certainly look different from Outlook or Yahoo. Each operating system and browser can present different challenges to your email performance. This can be tracked in email platforms like Klaviyo.
- Devices: We have all seen an email that looks great on the desktop but blows up when it hits your mobile inbox. Not all your subscribers will be accessing your emails from the same device every time, so it’s important to keep this in mind when designing your email marketing campaigns.
Many technical limitations can be prevented by choosing a really good email marketing platform. From having mobile-friendly and desktop editors to giving you the flexibility to edit accessibility functions, different platforms may have different features, not to mention the rules and regulations around cannabis.
See our reviews on cannabis-friendly email marketing platforms to decide which software is the best fit for your brand.
How can you make all of your emails accessible?
There are plenty of ways to increase the accessibility of your cannabis emails. Consider designing every campaign with these factors in mind.
1. Subject Lines
Your subject line is a make-it-or-break-it handful of words. Regardless of accessibility, it is arguably the most important piece of text in your email.
Ensure that your subject lines are accurate and descriptive to help readers quickly understand what to expect inside.
2. Structure and Headers
We know how tempting it can be to get creative using software like Canva or Adobe to create a giant, image-only email. However, we urge you not to be that brand.
By breaking up your images and text within your email platform using well-organized headers and clear breaks in content, you can increase your email accessibility, and as a bonus, improve your sender reputation. Win-win.
3. Fonts and Formatting
To make your cannabis emails more accessible, use easily legible fonts. Email and web-safe fonts will keep your formatting consistent no matter what device or operating system the email is being viewed on.
Additionally, try to avoid all-caps or replacements for letters such as @ for A or 0 for O, as this will make for a very unpleasant experience for users with text-reading applications, like screen readers.
4. Contrasting Colors
Colors are a very important element in design, and it can be easy to get carried away. However, remember that design adds to your messaging.
Be sure your text is easily legible by using contrasting colors for backgrounds and text. Certain colors can be hard to read for those with color blindness, and not enough contrast between your text and background will have people squinting at their screens – and probably exiting out of your email.
5. Link Text
Links and buttons are your call-to-actions, which means for both strategy and accessibility purposes, they need to be well-thought-out.
In addition to being clear about where links are directing subscribers, be thoughtful about button text and hyperlinking words correctly. For instance, instead of “Read our blog here.” and hyperlinking the word ‘here,’ get more specific by naming the blog: “Read our blog on How to Make Your Cannabis Emails Marketing Accesible.”
6. Alt Text
Alt text, or alternative text, is used to describe the content pictured in images.
As you can imagine, those with different levels of accessibility may not be able to see or interact with your images. In these instances, you want to be able to describe the image for their screenreaders to pick up on so they don’t miss out on anything.
Not only does alt text help those with disabilities, but it also helps when technical issues arise and images don’t load in your email.
Make your cannabis emails more accessible today.
As you can see, incorporating accessibility into your cannabis email marketing isn’t just good for business, it’s the right thing to do. In such a digital-heavy world, there are all sorts of users and varying levels of ability or neurodivergence.
Email marketing for cannabis businesses is hard enough as it is, so we understand that this can be an added layer of overwhelm. However, as the industry continues to grow rapidly, these human-centered touches to your marketing efforts will help you stand out from the crowd.
To work with our team of cannabis marketing professionals on an email marketing campaign, contact us and we’ll get started with you today.