Images are an essential component of nowadays email marketing. Apart from making an email look beautiful, they perform a number of other strategic functions.
Images give your product or service a better display. It’s no secret that it’s better to see once than to hear a hundred times. A good image replaces a long text description and delivers the information faster: instead of writing women’s heeled shoes in red leather for or all-season wear you simply show the corresponding image.
Visual content is more user-friendly and is easier to digest. Today, people’s attention span varies from 8 to 5 seconds and images help make the best of these seconds.
Images tell stories. Sometimes, a single image replaces the entire paragraph of text which is especially up to point when you have a limited email copy space.
Images are emotional. This functionality of theirs helps promote services that thrive on delivering a good mood. Traveling, entertainment, events, audio and video businesses often use images of happy/smiling/chilling/energized people and the user subconsciously credits their positive emotions to the characteristics of the service itself.
Images create brand recognition. If you have your own style of image design and illustrations, your email campaigns will be always recognized and associated with you even without a logo or other corporate elements.
Also, keep in mind that when I say “image” I mean all visual content that can be added to the email. Product pictures and photos of models wearing your product aren’t the only available options. Animation, banners, background images, collages, drawings, doodles, painting, cartoons, infographics and charts also belong to visuals that can make your emails appealing and dynamic.
And since I believe you need no further proof of the profit images generate for your marketing, let’s get closer to practice and see how to embed images in emails the right way.
1. Show your product.
The primary purpose of images in the email is to display the product. Depending on the type and task of a particular campaign, you can use pictures to:
show a product from different angles;
show how it looks like in real-time settings;
show available colors and patterns;
explain how to use the product;
give more technical details.
When introducing their new slippers, Bombas first shows them in different colors and then places an animated image to additionally display how they look from the bottom. Text description also adds useful details (anti-slippery grips) but you get the idea of the product even without it.
There are some non-physical services (banking, logistics, analytics, automation, etc.) which you can’t take a photo of. Nonetheless, it’s quite possible to create illustrations or animation that explain the process behind complex tools.
2. Show what your product gives to a customer and why to buy it.
In other words, show the benefit people will have from using your product. e.l.f.Cosmetics places the photo of the model wearing a new blush at the top of their promo campaign showing its benefits without saying a word.
You don’t need to read further details to know that this blush will even your face color and make it look more natural, eliminating that greasy finish. By reading the below text details, you also get that the blush contains argan oil and Vitamin E, but it’s still the image that conveys the main idea – Our blush will make you this good-looking.
3. Use images as a background.
A background image is an image you set as a background by using special attributes and/or CSS styles within your HTML code. You can layer upon them blocks and containers with other elements like text, video, CTA, countdown timer, signature, social icons, etc.
4. Use images to create a CTA.
A CTA is one of the most classic email elements. While you can experiment all you want with color and text, its form remains pretty the same from campaign to campaign: typically you choose between an oval, rounded or square button.
But if you want to come up with an original custom button, a proper image can help you avoid dealing with the code. Just insert the necessary picture and add a link to it. It will work exactly as a regular CTA directing people to your website or other platforms you specify.
5. Add complementary text to images.
When you promote basic everyday things, it might be hard to take an original image. You either need to come up with really unique settings or come up with a good piece of storytelling and put this piece in the center of it.
However, Food52 chose the third way. They took a simple image of the apron and complemented it with short descriptions that reveal how useful this seemingly ordinary piece of kitchen apparel may look like.
6. Use User-Generated Content.
User-generated content (UGC) is the latest marketing trend and emails are no exception. Brands include users’ photos and feedback in their campaigns to give them a friendly touch and make them more personal-looking. An image of the person next door wearing the brand’s cloth can turn a regular bulk promo into a friendly message you’d perceive from a friend or workmate.
Images are an important component of your emails. Whether you send a welcome, holiday promo or event invitation, a couple of well-designed quality pictures will definitely make it more appealing and pleasant to browse through. They will also give people a better idea of the product you’re selling. Additionally, since there are no rules (thankfully) that regulate image usage, you can get creative with the design of your emails and each time surprise your subscribers with original visual content.
Iuliia Nesterenko is a technical writer at eSputnik.
Her focus is on exploring current digital marketing trends and describing new strategies for email marketers.