Visual Content in Email Marketing: Do’s and Don’ts

By  //  July 7, 2020

Visual content plays an important role in email marketing. In can grab the recipient’s attention, influence their decisions, and convert prospects more effectively. However, marketers should use it carefully so that it enhances, not worsens email campaigns.

In this article, you will find several great tips for best practices of using visuals in email marketing, which can help your emails stand out and capture people’s attention.

DON’T use too many visuals

Although images are great for email campaigns, none of your recipients want to be bombarded with “heavy” emails with lots of visual stuff. Remember that a good, properly designed image should communicate the message in a matter of seconds. If you use too many unnecessary images, chances are your content will be simply ignored.

Of course, we can’t tell you a specific number of pictures you can use in your next email campaign to improve your click & conversion rates, but you might stick to the industry standard set by most businesses. It is 1-3 images per email.

However, always preview your emails to make sure the images enhance them. If your eye is drawn to too many visuals, it is better to remove an image not to distract your recipient from the message you want to communicate to them. 

DO create minimalistic templates

As an email marketer, you can and should stand out in people’s crowded mailboxes with minimalistic email designs. If you want to make your email campaign visually appealing, it is very important to keep the balance and not to overdesign the email. Create and use the template that is easy on the eyes with some white space to make it scannable and reader-friendly. 

DON’T make sales offers in plain text

Plain text emails work great for personalized conversations. However, in the modern digital world, high-quality visual content has been proven to be more efficient compared to plain text content.

This is especially true when it comes to promotional emails. Such emails with visuals are usually designed just like web pages, which makes them very digestible for recipients.

Most businesses now prefer to send wisely-designed sales offers as they receive a better response and click-through rates using this format.

DO use email signature to implement CTAs

When your email readers are interested in products or services that you promote, they want to access them with little effort. That is why you need to make their life easier by using a call to action (CTA) buttons that allow them to click on a link and land on the desired page right away.

A professional email signature is a perfect place to put your CTAs. Even if the email you send isn’t promotional, it always has the email signature at its bottom. So, even if you don’t try to sell something with every email, people can still see your email signature with a CTA that says “Visit our shop,” or “Check out our updated app.”

Here are our favorite examples of email signatures with CTAs.

You can create your signature fast and easily using an email signature editor. No coding and designer skills required.

DON’T attach image files

It is better to embed images into the body of your email. If you choose to attach them, you increase your chances of getting to spam. Also, many corporate email accounts set restrictions in MB (for example, all emails larger than 15MB never get to the recipient’s inbox).

DO make them as small as possible

Uploading too many “heavy” images in your email can negatively affect the load time. And if the recipient can’t see the content of your email immediately after opening, chances are they will simply close the email. If you wonder why you need to think about the load time, remember the moment when you are not on Wi-Fi, and images load for ages. So, try to keep the images as small as possible. 1MB should be just fine. 

DON’T add too much text

People prefer visual content over long texts because it is easy to digest. If you add too much text on your pictures, you will only make everything more complicated.

The right image is worth a thousand words — and in a modern world where people’s attention spans last just a bit more than a hundred characters, it is critical not to overwhelm your audience with too much text.

Be concise and let your images do the talking for you.

DO use white space

White space, the area between your design elements that is left blank, is the thing you should rely on if you want to make your messages look good.

We know how tempting it is to fill up all the available space with valuable information, but that clutter can turn your recipients off — especially if they are reading your message on a smartphone.

In the email below, all the white space is intentionally included to emphasize the individual sections, headline, and the images, as well as lead readers’ eyes to important links. 

DON’T send images without text

For every image that you add to your email, write at least two lines of text. This will help you pass through spam filters. 

DO include alternative text

Many users turn images off in their mailboxes, which means that some of your email recipients won’t see the visuals that you sent. That is why it is better to include alternative text, which shows up in place of the images. Try to explain to people what your email is about, not what the missing image is.

Final words

Using visuals to spice up your emails can be an excellent idea. If you know how to do it properly, they can help you create the right impression, increase subscribers’ loyalty, and complement your brand style.

In this article, we gathered dos and don’ts of using images in emails. We talk about the importance of white space, ideal image size, number of images per one email, alternative text, CTAs, email signature generators, and more.