How to Use Images in Your Email Marketing Campaigns


Images are the single most crucial aspect when it comes to selling physical products online, and that doesn’t change when you go from browser to email. We recently did a webinar with Ben Staveley, VP of Operations at dotmailer, on the impact professionally-edited product images in your email marketing campaigns and how images can increase email sales

We don’t want you to miss out, so we’ve condensed it down to some quick, actionable tips on using images to send better emails to your customers. 

Images are essential for a couple of reasons, one more obvious than the other. First the obvious one: A picture is worth 1000 words. Great product images tell buyers most of what they need to know to help them make a purchase decision. In fact, some shoppers won’t even read a product description if the image tells them what they need to know.

Secondly, your product images convey a lot of information about your business. People want to buy from likable, professional brands. Everything you do sends a message about the kind of company you are, the kind of people you are, and the type of customer you want to attract.

But, why are images the most critical part? Because they are the first impression a customer gets of your brand. They are noticed and processed before your first words are ever read. In an email, the design environment has even fewer distractions, so images stand out even more than on a website or social media.

The importance of images in your email marketing campaigns

As the eCommerce industry continues to evolve, having images that stand out becomes increasingly essential. With the rise of platforms like Instagram, Pinterest, and Youtube, we are bombarded with visual content on a daily basis.

Buyers expect images. They expect to have that quick hit of visual information to set the scene and create a framework for who and what you are and what the email is all about.

High-quality, well-formatted images tell the person reading the email that you care about helping them make a good purchasing decision. They convey a different tone and higher level of professionalism than text-only emails.

Using images in an abandoned cart recovery sequence increases conversion rate by 30-60% on average. That’s a huge difference, and if done correctly, can drastically improve the ROI of your email marketing and increase email sales.

Image quality in your emails

High-quality images see 10-30% higher conversions from emails than lower quality images. High-quality images in an email campaign should meet the following criteria:

  • On-brand unique photos unique – NOT stock images
  • High resolution, clear images that convey lots of information about the product
  • Well lit and a clean background, without any distractions
  • Attention-grabbing, engaging and direct readers to further action
  • Sized correctly for email and used in a responsive design so that they look great on any device screen size.

What to avoid when using images

There are two big things you should watch out for that could end up hurting the effectiveness of email campaigns.

Too many images

Email service providers want to keep inboxes as useful as possible for their users. Because of that, too many images will get your messages filtered to a spam folder or separate inbox for promotional emails. You want images to comprise no more than 30% of your total campaign content to keep your deliverability high. You can also ask recipients to whitelist your emails so that they will always make it to inboxes rather than being filtered.

The same images

You don’t want to send someone the same images over and over. It’s easy to end up sending the same win-back email to a buyer repeatedly because their behavior keeps triggering it. Sending someone six win-back emails in a year is okay. It’s not so good to send the exact same email each time. Either set up your email automation system to rotate a series of images, or change out which images you use in a given email type every 60-90 days.


Sending the right emails and imagery

1. Personalize

If you want to increase email sales, you need to start by sending relevant emails. Use offers and images that appeal to the person receiving them. Men rarely bikinis, and women don’t often buy beard oil. Segmenting emails and tailoring them to the audience as much as possible will get your best results.

Think carefully about what you want someone to do after reading an email and viewing an image. Do you want them to finish an abandoned cart checkout or follow you on Instagram? The context of the email matters when it comes to the placement of images.

2. Responsive

Next, send responsive emails. Images should scale to work on any device size. Massive numbers of people will open your emails on a mobile device. The images should scale to the correct size and not break the structure of the email. If it doesn’t work on some obscure and rarely-used email platform, fine. If it doesn’t work on the platform where 30% of recipients open it, then you’ve got a problem.

3. Technical

Lastly, think about the technical aspects of an email. Images should be 500-600px at the largest for best results, and make sure all your images are uniform in shape and size. Differently-shaped images are off-putting to the eye and can break the structure of the email, shoving everything out of its intended place.

Alt-text is also incredibly important. Many emails providers don’t display images until the recipient tells them to. Alt-text will be shown in the place of those images, so it should be relevant and interesting to real humans. Good alt-text may just cause more people to actually look at your images.

Email marketing is proven to be one of the most effective marketing strategies for any online business. If you want to optimize profits and increase email sales, then using the right imagery is a must. Great images pair beautifully with well-crafted emails. Pixc helps you create beautiful, high-quality product images quickly and easily, and dotmailer lets you send great emails. Go forth, and send better emails!


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