The Secret Best Practices to Using Images Successfully in Email Marketing
is the Head of Marketing at Lean Labs. His experience ranges from higher education to SMBs and tech startups. When not doing digital marketing, he's sure to be enjoying some kind of nerdy pastime.
An image is worth a thousand words.
They communicate feelings, increase brand awareness, and visually reinforce the message of your email.
So, how do you take full advantage of images in Email Marketing?
Let's take a closer look at the what, why, and when of image use in the Inbound Marketer's great tool: The Email.
Using Images in Email Marketing
The bottom line is that images sell your products and services.
Ever seen a great beach shot of a tropical hotel? Those compelling images act as a Call to Action for prospects, visually shouting, "This is where you want to be on vacation!"
With a great image, customers instantly absorb the benefits of your products and services. That split second is all that's required to pique their interest and keep them engaged.
When used according to best practices, images are critical to the success of the email. On the flip side, the wrong image in the wrong setting can be a big turnoff. There are two components to consider in this discussion: Marketing And Deliverability.
Let's review when images work and when they don't as a marketing component. Read the tips below to help you make the right decision in your next email. Remember, images should enhance the content of your email.
Images work when they:
- Reinforce the Brand: Often the brand reflects a lifestyle and your image can appeal to that need.
- Satisfy the need for Speed: Images work well in a fast-paced society trained by Instagram and Twitter for split second decision making.
- Communicate what can't be put into words: An image is the perfect tool for connecting your product to the feeling a buyer receives when experiencing it.
- Broadcast a Simple Message: For a big coupon giveaway or a special sale for an e-commerce or retail store, images can make the bulk of the email. After all, an image is worth a thousands words.
When Images Don't Work
In some instances, images can distract from the relationship. Marketing emails, for the most part, should feel like a personal letter to your customer, not just a bunch of pictures. Image-heavy emails only work for special instances, but they can sure damage your click through rates if used the wrong way:
- Do they overwhelm the reader? Too many bright lights and loud noises can be overwhelming, just like too many images in an email.
- Do your images support the message? Email is a tool to drive results. Results are clicks and conversions. Keep them on point.
Images and Email Deliverability
Now for the second half of the equation—the technical side of email deliverability.
Bottom line, an amazing email bursting with great personal content with the perfect balance of content and images is worthless if it isn't delivered, opened, and read.
By following the best practices for image inclusion in email, more of your emails will be delivered AND read—and that's half the battle.
Navigation & Engagement
Can the user read the email? Don't over design the email. The #1 priority is always an email that can be delivered and seen by the user. Test, test, test. Try different browsers and email clients and take a close look at exactly what the email will look like when it arrives in the inbox.
Emails with massive images or a high quantity of images can be spam traps. Limit the use of large images. A good general rule of thumb is that 25-30% of each email should be images, no greater.
What if your images aren't displayed?
Not all email clients will display your images and some users turn the images off. So, what will these users see if the images aren't displayed? Give your subscribers information about what's missing by including alt & title text for every image.
Put your critical messages in text
Here is a good rule to always follow—no trapped content in images. If the critical Call To Action is only communicated in an image and the image disappears, the user has lost the ability to do what you want them to do. Click! Read more! Buy! Keep all critical messages as written content.
When in doubt, offer an online version.
Messages should rely primarily on the strength of the text you provide and be supplemented with graphics to make them more readable. The goal is compelling content that invites subscribers to click through, see more, and learn more about your offering.
Remember, the more emails that are successfully delivered and read, the better your overall results.
Keep Deliverability and Readability at the forefront and let the images be the icing on the cake.