4 Reasons Your Emails Shouldn’t Be Only an Image
By Rebekah Henson November 6, 2012
Using images in your emails makes them more visually interesting
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.
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.
- Smartphone and tablet screens are much smaller than a normal computer screen, and your emails will display differently for customers reading on their mobile devices.
- Smartphone usage has spiked recently, and with the increase in new smartphone users, more of your customers are reading your emails on smaller screens.
- The iPhone automatically resizes emails to fit on the screen, but any text on a big image would be unreadable at that size. Android phones don’t resize emails. So instead, your readers are required to scroll across and up and down a large image to read your whole message. That gets frustrating really quickly on a 4-inch screen.
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:
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?