Are Image-based Emails Cool For Email Marketing?

Icon 4 min read

Take a look at these e-newsletters, which of them do you like more?

These are emails from the ReallyGoodEmails website “Apps&Services” category

There are two types of email marketers: those who prefer to follow the MailChimp recommendation about the 20% to 80% text-image ratio as a standard, and those who don’t.

Does it mean that the latter makes a mistake?

But don’t judge too soon.

In this article, we will analyze all the pros and cons of the image-based emails and tell how to avoid problems using this newsletter type.

What is image-based newsletter?

Image-only email is a message with almost purely visual content and little percent of the text.

Approximately it is the opposite of the recommendation above:

You may say it’s a crazy idea to send such messages, however, I’m not alone in my sympathy to these email campaigns type.

After three years of careful analysis of the best email marketing practices for the AtomPark Software clients and blog readers, I’ve noticed that email subscribers really love bright emails.

And I have a list of coherent arguments on this:

  • People prefer to click on images, so eye-catching newsletters have a 42% higher click-through rate compared to text-only one.
  • Visual elements help to underline the main idea of the message.
  • Use of illustrations improves brand awareness.

There are no limits for a designer’s imagination here. Moreover, when email subscriber opens this newsletter she/he sees that it was done with love, and the brand really cares.

Anyway, there is a reason why email marketers avoid using it.

Why image-only emails are risky?

Litmus says:

And it is right because there is a danger to repeat the next failure:

Actually, here is how it looks when it isn’t blocked:

Let’s talk about the reasons that could lead to this situation:

  • Earlier this newsletter type was associated with spammers because spam filters can’t read images, and spammers use this trick to send unwanted, forbidden offers. Now, image-only emails are still under suspicion, so email clients quite often block such messages by default and send it to the junk folder.
  • Subscribers disable images on their end to the traffic economy, thus they won’t see the major part of your offer.
  • Screen readers for the blind aren’t able to read text on the illustrations.
  • It is a real challenge for email subscribers with a 2g – 3g mobile connection to open image-heavy newsletters.
  • Such emails are hard to find in the mailbox when you need them because the search operator uses text – the limited element in the newsletters we are talking about.

Nonetheless, brands like J.Crew, REI, Taco Bell, etc. successfully use it and have their campaigns reach the inbox. Do their marketers have the knowledge, inaccessible to simple muggles?

Maybe, but I’ve analyzed their email tactics and found this secret.

How to avoid problems with the image-based mass mailing campaigns

  • If you don’t want to use text in the main body of the email, add it to the footer part as the MOO, online print and design company did:
  • Use background images with HTML text and buttons over it. This would help your subscribers to understand the main idea of the offer in a case when images won’t display.

Here is a part of the Coffee Trade newsletter:

  • Use the power of Alt Text for email images to describe the main idea of your offer. For example, the Taco Bell newsletter with the disabled images on the phone:

  • Don’t make your CTA as button image because it could be hidden from the subscriber along with the rest of the images from your message. It is better to use bulletproof buttons: they are made with the help of HTML and CSS code, so they don’t disappear from your email when the images are off.

Have a look at your email now. Make sure that people understand your message even when pictures are turned off.

That’s all, but before testing your campaigns be sure you don’t forget about the basic tips of the newsletter content:

  • Add Unsubscribe link
  • Avoid spam words
  • Think twice over the subheading and pre-header of your campaign
  • Use lightweight visuals (no more than 5 Mb)
  • Add a link to the newsletter web version.

So the answer to our main question today is yes, image-based emails are cool. However, you must be very careful with the design of such a campaign to keep it visible for subscribers.

Now you know the secret knowledge and can impress your clients with the bright newsletter design in their inbox folder!

Get the best Email Marketing content straight to your inbox

Join and get the latest Email Marketing tips, tactics, and news.

About Author

Anastasia Suhareva

You May Also Like

Writing Welcome Series Subject Lines That Actually Convert

Your welcome email series flow is the first email your customer receives from you -- It’s a friendly welcome message for customers that will...

Email Popup: A Complete Guide with 40 Examples

Email popups sometimes called email capture popups or opt-in popup forms, are a great tool to use to capture email addresses from your website...

7 Revenue-boosting Halloween Email Campaign Tactics & Examples

When most marketers and businesses think of holiday marketing campaigns, they think of Black Friday, Cyber Monday, Christmas, etc. Why? Because...

Let Us Help Take You To The Next Level Of Email Marketing

Get in touch to start a conversation.

Get in touch

Multi-ESP Support

We support 50+ ESP vendors. Be it enterprise platforms such as SalesForce and Oracle Marketing Cloud or small and medium sized business platforms such as Mailchimp, Klaviyo, Aweber, and ActiveCampaign, we’ve got you covered.

Inbox Army