Photos in Email: Get More Subscriber Action

Over half of email readers turn on images in the

photos in emails

Over half of email readers turn on images in the emails they receive. Surprised? Don’t be. People love images. And, when used well, they can be a very effective part of your email strategy

If you’re ready to start incorporating more images in your emails, you’re in luck. First, AWeber offers image hosting so you can easily upload any of your photos to use in your emails. And second, we love to share ideas that will help our readers’ with their emails.

So today, we have several examples of businesses using images in ways that make sense while also being fun and effective. Take a look, get some ideas, and use the image hosting option to upload your own images.

Indigo Wild – Showcase Your Products

images in emails
Here is a colorful email from Indigo Wild, a natural products store. The first image is a lot of fun; anytime you can incorporate a pet into your images it’s guaranteed you’ll get some smiles.

But Indigo Wild also gets down to business with photos of their actual products for sale. When people are making a decision on whether to buy or not, consumers prefer to see what it is they’re buying before clicking that “Purchase” button.

Dr. Susan Rubin – Share a Cartoon

pictures in emails
This email is entertaining. Dr. Susan Rubin does something similar to Indigo Wild with the fun, personal photo at the top. She also included a cartoon, which is very eye-catching and amusing.

Surprise your readers with something purely for entertainment. You can find and upload something you found to be funny (make sure you give proper credit by including your source) or use Apple app Paper by FiftyThree or to make your own cartoon. You can also use a program like Skitch to mark up images.

Mazzone True Value – Share Event Photos

using images in emails
Mazzone Hardware sent this email out to let people know about their PumpkinFest. Hosting events such as these are an effective way to establish customer relationships and also attract new customers.

By sharing pictures of the event, Mazzone is establishing themselves as a people-friendly business. Those that attended the event will be excited to see if there are photos of themselves while others will enjoy the candid, non-stock images.

Chef Tony – Tantalize Subscribers’ Tastebuds

email using pictures
Chef Tony wants to get people to eat in his restaurant. So what does he do? He sends coupons with photos of his food and restaurant. This makes sense – it’s a way to show off his product – and it’s also highly effective in getting tummies rumbling.

All Chef Tony had to do was snap some photos of the delicious creations he was cooking up and upload them into his emails. Subscribers who have eaten at the restaurant may think “Yes, that was the best dish I ever had. I must go back!” while new customers may think, “That looks like it will be the best dish I ever had. I must try it!”

Get Images In Your Email

Follow these instructions to easily start uploading your own photos and using them in email. You can also check out Smashing Magazine’s “How To Use Photos To Sell More Online.”

What do you think would be good to share?


  1. Randall Magwood

    11/5/2012 9:45 pm

    I had no idea that over half of the people actually turn on their images in emails. I wonder why email providers have them disabled by default. However I am seeing more and more reasons why I should switch to HTML email format. Just might increase conversion rates – while also making me look professional.

  2. Jason

    11/6/2012 2:40 pm

    great article. about time people stopped believing dogma and actually practiced marketing which is testing — and testing again.

  3. Silke

    11/6/2012 2:51 pm

    Now that you guys offer the image hosting it will be so much less time consuming to set up emails with fun photos (in my case it will be lots of shoes :). Thanks guys.

  4. Patricia

    11/6/2012 3:02 pm

    I loved the subject matter here and I suggest this to anyone who asks. My own blog actually picked up more interest years ago after I tagged each post with an appropriate photo.

    However, if I may say so, I would like to see you hit this topic again but this time with more of a slant toward industries using photos in email that might be unexpected. We all expect restaurants or foodies, for instance, to include photos in their newsletters and blogs. But what about financial experts, life coaches, etc.? Those are the ones that struggle sometimes with what kinds of images they should be using to promote their messages. If you’re selling products or catering to kids or diners, that’s easy – let’s see some answers to the touch visual sell points!

  5. Johnn Four

    11/6/2012 3:18 pm

    Great ideas for pics. I’m going to try the pet and event ones.

    I also recently came up with a great solution for my image needs.

    I run a newsletter for fantasy RPG enthusiasts. But most clip art and royalty free art available does not suit the theme or style of my content.

    So I put a callout to my readers and asked artists to contact me. To those who responded, I asked if I could use art from their online galleries at no charge in exchange for a mention and link in the credits section of the newsletter.

    Over 80% said yes – they agreed it was a great win/win.

    So now I have access to lots of thematic imagery and am helping my artistic readers promote themselves in an easy and non-intrusive way at the same time.

    Hopefully my subscribers like the improved imagery in their emails.

  6. Jason Diller

    11/6/2012 3:30 pm

    @Randall. You should def. switch over to html…be confident people will see your images.

  7. Big Jason

    11/6/2012 4:01 pm


    it could simply be a picture of yourself, a picture of you and your family. great way to add trust, build rapport, relationship, etc.

    perhaps it could expand to proof elements (stats, infographics), raving fans, etc.

    lots of possibilities for those particular industries and others…

    big jason

  8. Michael

    11/6/2012 5:18 pm

    This is so true! I have been using them for a while (see an article Crystal wrote about my success with images – 215% increase).

    Although images are great make sure you use YOUR images. Stock will get boring really fast for your readers. Use your phone, camera or iPad and take fun shots. Better yet, hire a local photographer to spend a few hours with you and your team and just make it a fun photo day! That will get you a ton of great images unique to you and your business that you can use over and over again and never risk the email before yours having the same shot! (ouch)

    And if you are local to Philadelphia or the surrounding area, hire me! Yeah I am bias but Crystal is 100% right, images make all the difference in the world!


  9. Heino Henniing

    11/6/2012 7:35 pm

    I am flabbergasted, it took so long time till some one finally discovered the most effective communication method in internet. The old proverb: “one picture is thousand words.’ It has arrived. The use of it will revolutionize and beautify sending e-mail.

  10. Derek Traynor

    11/7/2012 4:19 am

    Good article guys. It backs up the approach we’ve been taking to emails for a while now – make the top image personable to engage interest levels and gently introduce products/services afterwards.

    Do you have any test results from testing different types of images?

  11. Crystal Gouldey

    11/7/2012 8:28 am

    Patricia – Jason’s suggestion was a good one. Pictures for those industries could focus on the relationship-building aspect so people choose you for their financial planning, life coaching, etc.

    For those interested, the article Michael referenced can be found here.

    Derek – I haven’t found any studies on different types of images (I’m assuming you mean something like a stock photo vs. a photo you personally take). That would be an interesting test though – there is lots of evidence that HTML emails with images outperform plain text versions, but not a lot on types of images. If you test this, I’d love to know the results.

  12. Elaine

    11/9/2012 8:03 am

    About the other 50% who don’t choose to view images.
    I am a frequent internet user and have been for many years. However it is only earlier this year that I realised the empty emails I was receiving from a local store actually had any content at all!!
    I finally noticed the link which says “Display images”, and tried it for the first time this year.
    I realised that actually they were saying something in their message but that without images enabled the message said nothing at all.

    I wrote to them to say that they should include some actual text to say “Great offer enclosed – enable images to view this email properly”, or “Go to this link to view the email in full”.
    They never got back to me …

    But surely this is very important otherwise 50% of your customers will wonder why you bothered to send an empty email in the first place.

  13. D

    4/11/2013 2:05 am

    It backs up the approach we’ve been taking to emails for a while now

  14. Shiloh Meidl

    3/12/2014 2:19 pm

    Nice to know that Atish! 🙂 Read more of BJ!