Adding images to your emails can help strengthen your message, make your content easily digestible, spark visual intrigue, communicate a narrative, evoke emotion and the list goes on. However, they can also just as easily harm your email campaign success if you’re not choosing the right ones.
All too often we see brands miss the mark by opting for images that distract the readers from the call to action message. So we’re serving up eight different types of visuals and showing you how to effectively work them into your emails to encourage more clicks.
Email Marketing Stock Images
Not everyone has a big budget to splurge on professional photography, and that’s okay. Many industries still heavily rely on stock photos for their marketing collateral. However, if you want to deliver an authentic experience and reinforce brand credibility you need to stay away from the cheesy, over-the-top, staged photos.
Instead, choose images that create depth and capture a more realistic setting. For example CUA have chosen images that match their brand’s style and tone, whilst also making sure they’ve kept their colour palette consistent. The chosen images complement the text and overall work together to drive their messaging home.
When you go about selecting images for your campaign make sure you select an image that hasn’t been overused. Check out TinEye, a handy tool where you can search your chosen image to see how many times it’s been used, where it’s been used and how it’s been used.
To save you from jumping from platform to platform to find professional photos for your emails, Vision6 has teamed up with Unsplash to give you access to over 2-million high-quality stock images all royalty-free! You can even use our image editor to resize them to your liking without ever leaving your Vision6 account!
Personalisation has become a staple ingredient in email design. But with competition becoming more and more fierce, sticking to “Hi First Name” just isn’t going to cut it anymore. If you really want to impress your subscribers, inject some personalisation into your hero images.
We teamed up with Nifty images so you can create real-time personalisation which draws data from any field in your contact list, not just the first name. You can even incorporate dynamic count-down timers that signify an end of trial period or an expiry of a special offer that’s unique to each individual.
This advanced personalisation technique draws from any data in your contact list to create different variations of the one email. These rule-based emails can be based on a subscriber’s preferences, geo-location, gender or even account activity – the possibilities are endless. Take the example from Adidas below, where the contact’s gender determines what type of fashion-related material they would receive.
Email Background Images
Unlike many hero images which are designed to stand out, background images are used as a subtle design element to elevate your email’s foreground elements like additional images, copy and call-to-actions. While embedding background images into HTML emails can be more time-consuming, there are so many design possibilities that will help set you apart from your competition.
Here’s a great example of how you can use the HTML editor in Vision6. Rolls Royce embeds their background image to showcase their product, however using image and text overlays to create a flawless appearance. This seamless transition and layering effect invites the reader’s eyes to pan down without any disruptions like page breaks or dividers.
If your planning on using animated images or Gifs in your emails, position them above the fold. Adding motion to your email images will instantly draw attention and encourage readers to scroll further to find out more.
Unfortunately, not all email servers have the capacity to display Gifs in email. Instead, these animations will often default to the first frame displaying as a static image. So if your animation has an important message like a special offering, make sure it’s displayed on the first frame if you want your subscribers to see it.
When inserting animated images it’s important to make sure the file size isn’t too big. Opting for a simpler colour palette and smaller animations with fewer frames will still be just as effective at building intrigue.
Once a thing of the past has now emerged as one of the major design trends hitting our inboxes. More and more brands are implementing clever shadow implications into their imagery to help showcase a product and make it stand out amongst its 2D surroundings.
Apple is renowned for this technique. In the example below, Apple have used photorealism to give their subscribers the opportunity to experience the product’s tangibility. This helps consumers imagine what it would be like to own one of these Apple watches without having to head in-store to make a purchase.
If you’ve got access to first-party data then don’t let it go to waste. Complex data like this is hard to interpret, and isn’t as compelling a story when it’s in written form. By combining your data with engaging graphics, you give your reader’s more context but in an easily digestible manner. It’s also a visually appealing alternative that is more likely to increase click-throughs.
While it’s a design-heavy project, there are many different graphic designs you can use to create a compelling story including:
- Bar graphs
- Bubble charts
- Line charts
- Pie charts
- Scatter plots
Avoid cramming as much information as possible into your graphics – this will only overwhelm your subscribers. Remember the whole point of using data visuals is to help your subscribers grasp the message a lot quicker.
Screen Captures & Screen Records
Don’t have the time or budget to create tutorial videos? Taking screenshots or screen records are a great alternative. While it may not be as flash as a professionally-made video, it effectively presents the information in a way that will be easy to understand. However, don’t use your screenshots and recordings to replace your informative copy. Unfortunately, there are still many well-known email clients that block email images by default.
Email Icon Images
Using too many images in your emails can be overkill and end up distracting your readers from the main message. But without them, your emails can look quite dull and content-heavy. Icons are a great substitute for images not only because they are smaller in size but they are great at highlighting key features of a product.
This email by Lending Tree is proof that icons are just as effective at organising the content in a way that is satisfying and easily scannable for the reader. Another advantage to using icons is their simple design which helps keep your emails looking clean and the colour palette consistent.
To save you the hassle of sourcing your own icons, Vision6 provides free icons in all accounts!
If you want to know more about images and all the design elements that go into creating an email masterpiece check out our design tips blog.