Email addresses are precious. When (potential) customers share their email addresses and voluntarily sign up for your newsletter, they expect quality content. Don’t ruin this chance by sending them boring and drab email newsletters. 

Considering the deluge of content people are bombarded with and the number of emails they receive in a day, you need to make a conscious effort to make your newsletters stand out.

One way to do that is by using powerful visuals to support and accentuate the content. Use an email maker to create visual emails that capture attention and keep readers engaged. 

Here’s a look at seven types of visuals you can use to add life to your email newsletters and increase click-through rates.

1. Infographics

Thinking of sending an information-heavy email? Stop. 

Pause and revisit the email design. Does it communicate the information in an engaging way? If not, your email is likely to cause eyes to glaze over.

What can help you instantly grab attention and communicate the message effectively is using responsive email infographics.

They are compelling, engaging, and present information in a manner that’s easy to understand and digest. The key is to keep it simple and not cram too much information in one email.

Here are some ways to use infographics to create visual emails:

  • Demonstrate product features
  • Compare products, services, or concepts
  • Share data in the form of user stats, company milestones, etc.
  • Highlight a complex process
  • Share chronological information (event timeline, etc.)
  • Boost interactivity with interactive infographics

Take a look at this email infographic example. It uses succinct text and illustrative icons to communicate the dos and don’ts in the form of a comparison infographic.
infographic

Source: Venngage

2. Original images

Let’s say you receive an email with the below image.

You’ve seen it multiple times before and it does nothing to evoke interest. 

While you should include images in your email newsletters, overused stock photos are of no value. If you want to make static images work for you, use original images that strengthen the communication without distracting the reader.

You can use original images in the form of:

  • Product images
  • Lifestyle shots
  • Screenshots
  • Photos of real people 

These images can be used as the background, header banner, or across the email newsletter content. 

Look at this newsletter by Brooks. It shows the product in action and follows it up with product close-up shots.brooks email

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If you have no other option and have to use stock images, make sure you’re smart about it. Use stock photos that are realistic and relevant to the communication. You can also crop them and add filters to make them your own and align them to your brand guidelines.

For example, here’s a snippet from Grammarly’s newsletter. Notice how they’ve tactfully combined a stock photo and product feature screenshot to emphasize the core message.grammarly email

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3. Charts and graphs 

Let’s say you want to share survey results with your subscribers or present user stats. Instead of relying on words alone, why not present them with the help of visuals?

You can use charts and graphs to convey complex data without leaving readers overwhelmed with all that data.

Apart from being engaging visuals, charts and graphs also help you add context, reveal patterns, and tell a persuasive story. 

What’s important is selecting the right type of chart or graph that best suits your data and communication goal. Here the different types you can choose from (and their goals):

  • Convey a single data point: pictograph, donut chart
  • Compare different categories or show composition: bar chart, pie chart, bubble chart
  • Show change over time: timeline, area chart, map chart
  • Organize groupings: Mind map, flowchart, tables
  • Reveal relationships: Scatter plot, histogram

Harvest does a good job of presenting user stats in the form of a bar chart. One glance at it is enough to get an overview of the open and paid invoices in the year.harvest chart

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4. GIFs

You open an email and see some movement. It instantly captures your attention and compels you to read the entire newsletter. 

That’s the power of using a GIF in an email newsletter. They are a great way to convey emotion, show products in action, or even tell a quick story. 

That being said, you shouldn’t make the mistake of adding meaningless GIFs or using too many of them in the newsletter. That may end up distracting the reader. 

Include GIFs that serve a purpose and add value to the email communication. You can use tools such as Giphy and Ezgif to create GIFs that can be directly embedded into your email.

It’s important to be mindful of the size of the GIF too. If it’s too large in size, it will impact the load time of the email and impact readability. It’s best to limit the file size to 1 MB. 

Here’s a GIF newsletter from Adobe that features a subtle animation and drives the message home.

adobe email gif

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5. Videos

Adding videos to email newsletters can increase click-through rates by 300%.

That isn’t surprising because videos are considered to be one of the most engaging content formats. You can create videos to announce a new product, promote an event, share customer stories, or offer product tutorials. 

Here are some best practices for embedding videos in email newsletters:

  • Add the word ‘video’ to the subject line
  • Place a screenshot of the video with a play button to attract clicks
  • Alternatively, you can also use an animated thumbnail to capture the attention
  • Add captions in the video so viewers can watch it on mute
  • End with a powerful call-to-action

For example, Marketo ran a personalized video email marketing campaign in 2018 to promote the Marketo Summit. The campaign generated a 36% increase in open rate and a 144% boost in click-through rate compared to the other emails they sent to promote the event.marketo video screenshot

6. Illustrations

Another original visual you can use to add life to your email newsletter is illustrations. 

There might be instances when you want to explain an abstract concept or when a product image, GIF, or video is unable to do justice. At such times, consider using icons and illustrations to communicate your message.

Not only do they add visual appeal and break the monotony of text but they also make the key takeaways memorable and illustrate information in an engaging way. 

Toptal suggests aiming for an illustration style that is “distinct yet flexible.”

The article states, “It should evoke emotions that make it memorable. But ideally, the images you create will reside seamlessly alongside text, photography, and other graphic elements without overpowering or confusing the message being presented.”

Take a look at how Harry’s uses illustrations in their newsletter to offer an engaging step-by-step walkthrough. newsletter

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7. User-generated content

User-generated content isn’t something that should be limited to your Instagram feeds. You can also include them in your email marketing campaigns to build trust and credibility.

User-generated content is effective because it is authentic, original, and engaging. It serves as social proof and has the potential to influence purchase decisions. 

Here are some ways to share user-generated content through your email newsletters:

  • Feature product shots along with customer reviews
  • Share a series of customer testimonials in the form of images or videos
  • Curate a list of best-selling products
  • Share images of customers using your product

Take a look at how Cladwell features customers and their reviews in their email newsletters. cladwell email

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The takeaway: create visual emails to boost CTRs

Whether you’re nurturing leads or generating conversions for your e-commerce store, creating visual emails will certainly help you drive engagement and clicks.

However, it’s important to not send emails that are only made up of visuals. They might get caught in spam filters or take time to load.

It’s a good idea to maintain a healthy text and image ratio in your newsletters. Industry benchmarks suggest a 60:40 to 80:20 text to image ratio. 

About the Author

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Simki Dutta is a content marketer at Venngage, a free infographic maker and design platform. She writes about all things marketing and communications. Find her on Twitter and LinkedIn.

 

 

 

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