How to Use Images in Email Marketing

Sania Khan
Sania Khan

Published on

July 8, 2021

Email marketing is a great way to engage a large audience, turn customers into prospects, and generate more sales. Email marketing, however, needs to be done the right way. You need to get your messaging and images right if you want to generate a response.

This guide will discuss how to use images in email marketing. Through reading the post, you’ll pick up useful insights and gain knowledge about best practices. With that in mind, let’s kick off this guide on how to use images in email marketing.

Why should you use images in email marketing?

The ultimate aim of every email marketing campaign is to generate conversions. No campaign, however, will succeed with poor visual elements. Humans, after all, are naturally visual creatures. Wherever they look, they want to see images, not just pure text.

With unique visual email content, you add value to your message and convey important points fast. Just as importantly, you can use images to break up text and show people the products or services that you are offering. For example, it’s a lot easier and more effective to share a photo of a new brand of trainers you are selling, than to spend five paragraphs describing the shoes.

The result? You engage the reader and increase the chances of your subscribers taking your desired action, too. That’s crucial, after all, because email marketing is about generating results.

Five tips you can effectively use images in email

Now that you know images are a must in your marketing emails, let’s talk about how to use them effectively. Complement these tips with excellent text and a great product, and your email marketing campaign will generate your desired results:

1. Be consistent with your brand identity

People prefer brands with identities that align with their values and ethics. It’s not enough, however, for you to have a brand identity. The brand identity should shine through in all your marketing assets. That includes the images you use in your marketing emails.

So, if your brand is fun and quirky, don’t use serious-looking images in email. Use dynamic pictures that reflect your brand. Use your visuals to represent your brand.

Let me illustrate my point with an example.

email from glossier

Source: Mention

Glossier offers skincare and beauty products. The company is known for its preference for simplicity and authenticity. All its marketing assets - its website content, social media posts, and marketing emails - reflect just that. The images in the email above, for instance, are candid shots of natural things and people that are in line with Glossier’s brand voice.

2. Pay attention to image size and format

Choosing the right image size and format for your email marketing campaigns is important. When you use too many big images and the wrong format, you can expect a slow page loading time. That, in turn, will negatively affect user experience.

The result? Your emails will get deleted. Worse, you can even end up with content in the spam folder.

So, what is the right image size?

Ensure the height of the images in your emails is less than 200 kb each with a width of approximately 600 pixels. Use the right tools to resize and crop images if you have to.  

As for the image format, well, there are many you can choose from. Some standard image formats are PNG, JPEG, and GIF. Here’s an overview of what each image format is all about:

  • PNG: If you have images with text, go for the PNG format. The format works well with vibrant images and logos.
  • JPEG: Images of this type are the most compressed and occupy the least amount of space in your emails. So, when you use JPEG in your emails, you benefit from quick loading times. You also get the slightest chance of getting blocked by spam filters.
  • GIF: Animated formats without videos are called GIFs. As most email clients don't allow videos, you can use GIFs to showcase your creativity.

It helps if you test your marketing emails first before you send them out. That’s the only way you’ll know if the images in the email load quickly by standards as they should.

3. Ensure images are optimized for different devices

Here’s the thing. Your subscribers won’t access their emails through their desktop computers alone. Just look at the statistics: About 3 in 5 people will check their inbox on the go using their mobile devices. That means the images in your emails should not just look good when seen from a desktop computer. They should be optimized for mobile phones and tablets, among others, as well.

The good news is, optimizing your images is easy. Compressing images, as I mentioned before, is one tip to make your images mobile-friendly. Here are other tips you should follow:

  • Make sure your images are high-quality. They should have a resolution of at least 72 DPI.
  • Use the right amount of images: There’s no hard-and-fast rule here. Just make sure there’s a good balance between text and photos, so your emails will load fast.

You can send a test email to check what your message looks like across different devices. You can then make the necessary adjustments before you send out an email. You should also compare the appearance of an email across different email providers. For example, the way emails are formatted in Gmail and Outlook through your browser are slightly different. Equally, some people use the Mail app on a Mac to access emails, again, the appearance of your email can be different.

4. Images should be relevant

Remember when I said you shouldn’t include too many images in your emails? Well, this tip is related to that.

Be selective when choosing which emails to include in your message. You should only use images that will help you get your message across. There are a couple of reasons why this is good practice.

For one, as much as people love images, they don’t love it when there are just too many in one place. For another, well, images can take too long to load. When that happens, you can say goodbye to providing your audience the best user experience.

So, what exactly are relevant images?

Those will depend on your marketing email goal. Say, for instance, that you want your subscriber to purchase after reading your email. In that case, all your images in that email should help you reach that goal.

There are various ways you can do this.

You can, for instance, show great pictures of your product. You can even include user-generated images that serve as social proof. In other words, all your images should help you nudge your subscriber into taking that desired final action.

email from Uber

Source: Mail Bakery

Check out this example from Uber. Notice that this marketing email aims to get subscribers to “grab a pass”. So, all the images used in the email revolve around that one goal.

There’s an image of the pass and then the two happy customers who availed the pass. Uber got its main message across with only three images. That’s because the images were relevant to the marketing email’s goal in the first place.

5. Personalize the images

Personalization is key to the success of your email marketing campaign. If an email is not personalized, after all, 52% of consumers say they will go somewhere else.

The thing is, you can’t personalize images the way you can personalize, say, an email subject line. Well, you can, but you’d have to spend a lot of time creating one email for every one of your subscribers. Something like this:

Personalized email with the name of the recipient

Source: Email Design

So, what’s the best sustainable way to personalize images in email, then? Simple. You personalize your subscriber’s email experience through those images.

For example, if you’re an eCommerce store, you can analyze your subscriber’s behavior on your website and see the product pages they frequent. Once you have an idea, you send them marketing emails with images of those products they seem to be interested in.

Or, if your subscriber purchased something from you and you’re looking for repeat purchases from them, you send them marketing emails with images of products that complement their previous purchases. So, something like this:

email from Dollar Shave Club

Source: Smartrmail

That’s the email Dollar Shave Club sent a customer who just purchased a shaver cartridge.

In other words, the images in the email should also be based on your subscriber’s previous interactions with your brand. Don’t send a guy pictures of children’s apparel. Because unless that person has a kid, they won’t be interested in the message.

In Closing

Email marketing is critical to the success of your business. You can build and nurture relationships, promote your products and services, and simply inform subscribers about your brand.

But for your email marketing campaign to be effective, it shouldn’t just rely on text. Images are a great addition to your emails because they can quickly grab your subscribers’ attention, sustain it, and ultimately help you achieve your campaign goal. The key is to use images in an email the right way.

I have shared some tips with you in this article on how to do that. Be consistent with your brand identity and look at the image size and format. Make sure the images you use are personalized and relevant. Finally, they should be optimized across different devices.

Follow these tips, and your email marketing campaigns will be a success. The result? You’ll see those conversions.

Author Bio

Sania Khan

Sania Khan is a content creator who has been writing for the past seven years. A content marketer by day and a poet by night, she previously worked for a large multinational and left it to pursue her passion for writing. She enjoys a good read with wit and tea to get her day started.

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