They say a picture speaks a thousand words. That’s not to say that you can replace each of your marketing emails with a single picture: obviously, your audience will need a little bit of context in most situations to piece together the message. Still, adding images to your email marketing can make a “good” email a highly actionable email.
There’s a Reason Why Images are Important…
People love pictures. They can set the mood for your email, demonstrate a point in your explanation, and even help you establish your brand identity. They add color and interrupt big blocks of text, which can actually help your audience pare down and appreciate what you’re saying to them.
Marketing emails can absolutely benefit from images, but there are a few things to keep in mind when it comes to adding images to your emails. You can’t just slap the first stock image that shows up in your search in your email and go on with your day.
Here are 3 tips for using images in your email marketing to ensure your message comes across clearly and your customers are both entertained and informed.
Use the right image. This may be kind of a no-brainer, but this rule goes a lot deeper than you think.
First, you need to make sure the image really reflects what you’re trying to say. Take some time to really look at the image. Does it match the feeling or emotion of the text? Does it align with the message of the email? If you’re emailing your audience about a winter sale, it wouldn’t make sense to include a picture of people frolicking in spring or summertime weather.
Likewise, if you’re trying to take a serious tone with your email, plastering goofy images amidst the text is going to counteract your message.
Next, consider the image source. There are dozens of free stock photo and image sites on the internet, but they are not all created equally. Do a little homework to make sure that the image you select isn’t violating copyright regulations, either by doing a Google image search, or by doing a little extended hunting for the perfect image.
You may even wish to hire a photographer to take a few professional pictures, if you lack the talent and equipment yourself. Many people are able to get great shots of their products, team members, and events with their cell phone, but if you have a habit of taking blurry pictures, have a very dark office space, or tend to do that thing where part of your finger sneaks into every shot, it will be more than worth it to hire a professional. A bad picture is bad PR, period.
Another thing to consider is illustrations. Again, if you’re not artistically inclined, you might delegate a professional to take care of the actual drawing. However, simple sketches or illustrations can help drive home things like instructions, “how-to” tips, and more.
If you feel you don’t have this kind of skills yourself, you can hire one of the freelances here below for a reasonable price, and have the work done in just a couple of days.
Use the right image Type.
One very, very important thing to remember is that not all devices are going to load images the same way. Images can look very different on a laptop, a tablet, and a cell phone; in fact, they can be skewed simply by different operating systems.
The most commonly used file types for marketing email images are .GIF, .PNG, and .JPEG. The differences between them are many, but here are the basics:
- .GIF files are animated, which can be a great way to have a mini-slideshow in your email
- .PNG files can capture fine detail and amazing colors, but they tend to be larger, which can make emails slower to load
- .JPEG files don’t have as much detail as .PNG files, but they tend to be smaller and load quickly
Most email software like Sendinblue (review here) or AWeber (check it out) allows users to drag and drop files or images into certain blocks or sections. Consider setting up several different versions of each email and test-sending it to as many different devices as you can find. That may mean sending it to coworkers or friends at first to see if it’s legible on their devices. Or alternatively, If your email software allows it, you can set a split testing campaign towards your real audience and try out to send the same email with a different set of images, and see which one converts better.
Another thing to consider is ALT text. This HTML attribute allows you to create a caption or description of the image. While the intent of this option is to allow for sight-impaired recipients of email to receive a description, it can also be helpful for those whose devices cannot load the pictures. Seeing a blank space can be discouraging for customers. Seeing a spot that says “man looks over water into sunset” helps them understand what was originally meant to be, which can also drive home your point.
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Make it important.
Don’t throw images into your email just to make them pretty. That will translate to your audience as clutter. They’ll find themselves wondering why they’re looking at a man and a sunset, instead of focusing on the message at hand.
Most experts agree that your images should comprise around 20-50% of the email itself. Your niche and the purpose of your email will dictate whether you should aim for the high end or the low end. For example, if you’re running a special on printer ink cartridges, you might not want to make half the email pictures of printer ink cartridges. On the other hand, if you’re introducing a new line of summer dresses, you’ll want to include plenty of pictures to entice shoppers to click to learn more.
Images can also be interactive. Chances are high that your customers have taken pictures of your product, or pictures of themselves using your product. Encourage them to do so: consider creating a hashtag that they can add to their photos on social media for a chance to see their photos on your site. Not only will this give them the satisfaction of being featured in an upcoming email, blog post, or ad, but it will make finding their pictures of your product so much easier.
You may also wish to run photo contests amongst your audience on social media. You’ll get free images to use in your marketing emails, but they’ll feel like they’re part of the brand, contributing their art to your business. If you want to have more ideas on how to attract and engage your audience, read this article.
Read also: Building an Email List: 5 Simple Tips
And now, let’s start mailing!
While we advertised three tips for using images in email marketing, you might notice that those three tips each have a handful of “sub-tips.” The importance of great images in marketing can’t be emphasized enough, as centuries of advertisements and commercials have demonstrated. Take your time when adding pictures to your emails: you want to be sure that those 1000 words are exactly the right words to help your business flourish!