Image-only emails; is it a good idea?

Balance between images and text

Image Only Flyers may seem like an easy way to send an email (no coding or copywriting required) but there are a few key things to remember when putting one together.

Email is fairly limited these days in terms of what you can send and what your customers can receive. For example, you can’t send an embedded video or song – not for lack of trying, it just isn’t compatible.

Most email clients these days will block images by default as a security setting (for e.g. Gmail). You may have noticed the ‘click here to view images’ link in the last image-heavy email you received. This an important factor to consider when creating your emails, especially if they’re image-only or image-heavy.

Emails are intended to make the recipient want to open it and  engage with your business – this starts with a catchy subject line. If an interested recipient were to open up an email and find a blank message (due to the main image being hidden), the likelihood of them clicking to view images decreases. You want to ensure you customers can access your promotion easily without too much of a step by step process involved.

Another thing to remember is that these types of emails generally trigger spam filters.

We recommend that you maintain a balance between images and text when creating your email, to achieve a greater delivery and opening rate. Never assume that your recipients have added you to their safe sender list, and do your best to make sure your communication lands in their inbox.

Although balancing images and text is the best practice, there are times when you just can’t avoid using graphics to create a beautiful and modern look.  In this case, make sure you follow these guidelines:

  • Make sure you use ALT tags to describe your images.  Recipients will always see the content of ALT tags when images are turned off.  Always specify the width, height of the image as well. This will help keep your layout consistent even if images are not being displayed (blocked by recipient)
  • Use CSS to style the content of your ALT tags.
  • Avoid using a single image. Break it up into several smaller images and assemble them again using a table. This will allow for several ALT tags to describe each part of your image. Smaller images also load quicker than one big image.
  • Avoid using big images. The latest versions of Outlook have trouble displaying long images. This results in images not being displayed at all, or sometimes images are broken up by big white gaps. Try keeping each image to a maximum height of 500px.
  • Don’t forget to add the following inline CSS style=”display:block;” to images. This will eliminate gaps between them when the email is viewed in Hotmail and Gmail.
  • If a link is attached to an image, please ensure that the border attribute is set to 0 (NOT the style). Otherwise, Internet Explorer will automatically add a blue border around that image.
  • And as always, test, test and then test some more.

So image-only emails…is it a good idea? No. However, by following the guidelines above, you can still use nice graphics to create beautiful emails while considering what your recipients see and avoid spam filters.

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