Five Ways to Use Images in Emails to Boost CTR

Momina Asif
Momina Asif

Last updated on

October 25, 2021

Humans process visuals several times faster than text. You only have a few seconds to catch your audience’s attention and get them to engage with your content. With the right image, you will increase the number of views of your mail while increasing clicks on your Call to Action.

You probably don’t need convincing that using images in your emails works. Yet, you might be looking for some insider tips that will help maximize engagement and conversions.

This guide will walk you through how to find the best images for your email marketing. I’ll also share a few tips on using images and even discussing some unusual but effective things you can do with images to get people engaged with your email content. Let’s dive into this guide.

How to Select Images for Your Email Marketing Campaigns

You need to consider a few common sense things when selecting images for your email marketing campaigns. Let’s quickly walk through some of the basic considerations:

  • Appropriate Images: If your email is about a special discount offer, make sure the images are of products. The images should also be appropriate for your brand and align with the branding. For example, your image shouldn’t clash with your company’s color scheme.
  • Image Rights: you should only use images that you either own or are copyright-free. It is illegal to use images that are owned by someone else/ or another company. You may be fined or face legal charges for using such images.
  • Image Quality: don’t use low-quality images where it’s difficult to make out the object. Your images should be clear and easy to
  • The Value: the image needs to add value to your email. Don’t just include images for the sake of it. Unnecessary images will detract from your messaging.

Let me give you an example of a campaign that combines those four points effectively.

Take this example from a recent email I received from Deal Jumbo below.

deal jumbo sales offer

Those graphic images are relevant to the copy. They show the type of graphics you can buy in the “Super Sale.” The company is undoubtedly legally allowed to use those images, and they are of a high enough quality that you can see details in the image.

The image works within the context of the email. It fits the branding and ticks those four boxes.

Most of those points listed above are straightforward. The issue where you might conceivably run into problems is finding suitable copyright-free images. Hopefully, that won’t be a problem. There are some great sites you can turn to if you need copyright-free images, though.

Three of the most well-known copyright-free image sites are Unsplash, Pexels, and Pixabay. The alternative to these types of sites is creating your images or purchasing images from a content creator through a site like Shutterstock.

5 Ways to Use Images in Your Email Campaigns

So now we’ve looked at some of the fundamental considerations when selecting images for your email campaigns. The remainder of this guide will look at five ways to integrate the images in your email to improve your CTR. Hopefully, there will be some new ideas you haven’t considered before. We’ll start with one of my favorite tips.

1. Personalize Your Images

You probably use email personalization in your email campaigns. For example, you might include the name of your recipient in an email. You might also run campaigns using demographic information you have about your subscribers, like their birthday.

Segmenting your audience and personalizing your content is one of the best ways to increase engagement. That’s why you collect things like first names when people subscribe to your email list.

Text-based personalization has been around for a long time. Nowadays, you can also do image and video personalization. Let me show you an example.

gif animation

Source: Nifty Images

The image above is a Gif. You can see how the name of the person changes.

Creating personalized images is straightforward. That example was created using a tool called Nifty Images. There are plenty of other online software options, for example, Hyperise, that offer similar functionality.

Creating an image with a person’s name is a nice way to increase engagement. Neil Patel used a similar tool for a while for his webinar registration email series.

You could easily use a graphic like this to wish someone a happy birthday.

There are more advanced ways you can integrate personalized images into your email marketing campaigns. For example, you can connect these online tools with eCommerce data sources to display things like the number of store points your subscribers have.

personalized image email

Source: Nifty Images

You can also use an email countdown timer to increase the urgency of an offer.

Hopefully, these examples provide you a sense of the type of things you can do with personalized images. They’re certainly something you should consider and experiment with. Most companies don’t use these tools, which means that an email featuring personalized graphics will stand out in an inbox.

You want to do as many things as possible to make your message stand out in a crowded inbox.

2. Use Images to Show What You Offer

They say an image is worth a thousand words. There’s certainly truth to the saying.

Images are one of the best ways to convey a large amount of information quickly. If you’re selling a product, it makes more sense to share an image of that product in your email than spend two paragraphs describing the product.

eCommerce websites take this approach all of the time.

Here’s an excellent example from Nike of an email that uses attractive images in an email.

product image display in emails

Source: Pinterest

You’ll notice that how the creators play around with image size. The featured products are the trainers at the top. Your eyes are then drawn to the jacket and then the shoes on the right.

People tend to follow an F-shaped pattern when taking in content. Make sure to consider how people consume content when designing your email.

3. Hyperlink Key Images

When you look at a website heatmap, you’ll notice that much attention and clicks are centered around the graphics and the prominent links. The same is true when you review email heatmaps.

The image below is a nice case in point.

email heat map

Source: Email Heatmaps

You can see that most people click on the title, followed by the primary email links, and then the graphics. To take advantage of this, make all the graphics in your email clickable.

That trick is a simple way to boost clicks to your website.

You can take things a step further by creating graphics that look like you should click them. AppSumo, a company that used to run software deals, used to take this approach.

The image below is from an old email marketing campaign. The primary image in the email is a video thumbnail. Naturally, many people will feel the need to click the thumbnail image to watch the video.

Just below the image is the button. It’s a bit like a double CTA. Many people will click the image, and those that don’t might click the button.

You should test this approach of creating clickable images in your emails.

4. Optimize Image Quality

The average size of a text-based email is just 75 kb. That’s small, which is why your emails load fast. Emails with images, though, are naturally larger and take longer to load.

How much longer?

Images contribute 61.3% of the download size of a web page. So, about 120% longer.

The larger the image file, of course, the more time an image will take to load. Some images may never load and will appear broken in your recipients inbox. It’s not a good look.

screenshot of failed image

Your subscribers will be left guessing what it was you wanted to share.

Before adding an image to your email, consider resizing and compressing the graphic. You can use tools like to resize images quickly. You should resize the width and size of the image.

The ideal size for an image is 600 to 650 pixels wide. Aim for an image size of less than 200 kb.

5. Use a Consistent Image Style

The final consideration when selecting images for your email is style. The image you use should be consistent with your brand. They should also work with the landing page where you are sending your subscriber.

The images you use must align with your brand identity and stay consistent across all your marketing campaigns. The email layout should also have a consistent look and feel. The font and the color scheme should fit with your other marketing materials.

Take this example from Flippa. Here is an email I received.

flippa email screenshot

Here is a screenshot of the site.

flippa website

You can see that the logo’s color in the email is the same as the menu bar. The type of font and color are the same. Finally, the color of the buttons, something you can’t see from the screenshot, is the same.

Make sure to set aside time to design your email. You can use a time clock app to track how long it takes to create your email.

In Closing

Including images in emails is an excellent strategy to raise the engagement levels of your audience with the brand messaging while driving conversion rates for your campaign. However, marketers cannot resort to shortcuts to achieve success.

You have to select relevant images and use the right type and size. You also need to format them and design them according to the message of your campaign. This will ensure that your email campaign delivers the desired results.

As a marketer, if you follow the best practices in this guide, you will get a high click-through rate and higher open rates on repeated email campaigns. This will help in driving additional traffic to your website and landing pages.

Author Bio

Momina Asif

Content marketer by day and book nerd by night, Momina works at Mailmunch as a Marketing Communications Specialist. Momina eats, sleeps, and breathes content marketing. Her expertise ranges from ideation to production to distribution of content, thanks to 4+ years of experience in the B2B content marketing sphere.


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