The Big Picture: 4 Reasons Your Emails Shouldn’t Be Only an Image

Using images in your emails makes them more visually interesting and can even boost your sales, clicks and engagement while grabbing your readers’ attention.

But are you using them correctly in your campaign?

Plenty of major retailers send emails that are just a single image with no additional text. But is this really a good idea for you to do?

Let’s look at some important considerations before you upload that large image into your email message and click “send”.

Slow Loading Time

An image that’s too big will take a longer time to load when your customer opens your email. The file size of your image impacts its loading time, and big images with large file sizes will always take a longer time to fully load. Your customers may not want to wait around for your image to load so they can read your message.

If your entire message is contained in the image, then your readers on slower Internet connections will miss the information you’re trying to share. It’s best to re-size your image to speed up loading time.

Image Blocking

Most email clients block images in emails by default for security reasons, and just under half of consumers don’t adjust these settings.

Much like the loading time problem, if your customers have images blocked in their inboxes, they won’t be able to read your message if it’s all contained in just one image.

Mobile-Unfriendly

If your message takes too much work to read, your customers may be less likely to open your messages on their mobile devices. I always delete promotional emails without even opening them when checking mail on my Android phone, because so few of them are actually optimized for easy mobile reading.

Times When Sending an Image Makes Sense

For some businesses, sending an email that’s just an image makes more sense than typing out content. A grocery store with a weekly circular might want to scan and email the circular to their customers instead of typing out the weekly specials. A restaurant might want to email a copy of their menu. Photographers and designers can book more clients by showing their work, not writing about it.

If your business depends on visual content, your email subscribers will likely expect highly visual emails from you. If that’s the case, you’ll still want to consider the tips below to make sure your customers get the most from your single-image email.

What You Can Do Instead

Balance Text and Images

Instead of using a single image to convey your message, try balancing text with smaller images. Depending on one image to tell your message often means that your message won’t get across. Including text in addition to your image means that customers who are reading your email on a smartphone or use image blocking will still get your information without viewing your image.

Use Descriptive Alt Text

Any time you use images in your email, make sure to include descriptive alt text for your readers who have images blocked by their email clients. The alt text displays when the image is blocked. Make sure your alt text reflects any text component in your image. This is easy to do with the drag-and-drop editor:



Use Smaller Images or Thumbnails

If you send a weekly circular or menus or coupons or similar content to your customers, send a smaller version of your image to your customers’ inboxes instead of uploading the full-sized image. You can link the image to a larger version on your website and include a note in your email for customers to click through for the whole image.

Optimize for Mobile

Finally, to make sure your images are mobile-friendly, make sure they’re not wider than 600 pixels. You can resize your image in the message editor by clicking and dragging the sides of your image. You can also use image editing software on your computer to re-size your image before uploading it. A free online tool like Pic Resize can also help you quickly resize your images for better mobile viewing.

How do you make your own emails more user-friendly?

Become a Better Email Marketer

Subscribe to This Blog by Email
Why Subscribe?

3 Comments

  1. Image blocking from various email providers is one key reason why I don’t use images in my emails. They’re off by default from the email provider, and most users dont even know how to turn this setting off! The rest of the reasons are great points, and are things that i never considered before. – especially being mobile unfriendly.

    11/6/2012 3:53 pm
  2. FNF

    Very Informative Post. I will certainly follow your instruction to improve my campaign’s CTR. Thanks !

    11/8/2012 8:02 am
  3. Don’t forget about accessibility. Many users simply can’t see images — on your website or in your emails. Image-only email messages can be a real challenge even for those with moderate vision impairment.

    11/8/2012 2:58 pm