How images can increase the impact of your email marketing

January 16, 2024

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Why use JumpStory?

- Save time:
  We've curated the best   images for you.

- Save money:

  Unlimited use from $23   per month.

Did you know that humans are able to process images 60,000 times faster than text? This means that people generally absorb and retain information faster through images.

So, how does this translate to digital marketing?

Well, with the immense popularity of platforms like Instagram and Pinterest, it is quite obvious that we live in a visual culture. From enticing snapshots of delicious food to striking imagery of dream holiday destinations, visuals dominate our online experiences.

Email marketing is no exception to this trend. From helping to break up text, create hierarchy and contrast, as well as promote your brand’s visual identity and story, images can greatly enhance the impact of your email marketing campaigns.

In this article, we will explain the persuasive influence of images in email marketing, go over the different types of images you can use, as well as best practices for harnessing their potential.

Let’s kick off!

Illustration created by EVERYDAY AI

Types of images in email marketing

As we’ve learned, images are important tools to have in your digital marketing arsenal. For email campaigns, different images are used to deliver different messages and engage your audience in a multitude of ways.

Below are some of the most commonly used image types in email marketing campaigns.

Stock photography

Using stock images is a common move in modern marketing, and picking the right visuals can seriously boost your click-through rates. But have you ever come across an email newsletter filled with those overly obvious stock photos? You know the ones — they scream “cheesy” from a mile away.

Standard stock pics are everywhere these days, and they can get pretty dull and, well, cheesy. They often look staged and lack an authentic feel. Plus, they’ve been used so much that you might end up with the same photo as another company. Not a catastrophe, but it could muddy your brand’s rep if a reader connects it to some other site.

Illustration created by EVERYDAY AI

Our tip? Steering clear of the popular stock photo sections is key. Those “Featured” and “Popular” sections are like the busy highways of stock photos — the likelihood of your competitors having already used some or all of them is quite high.

So, to keep your email content fresh and unique, explore other platforms for authentic content such as Jumpstory.

AI photography

Nowadays, savvy marketers are also turning to AI image generators to add some pizazz to their email campaigns. AI images can definitely come in handy if you’re in need of some appealing imagery that comes at a much lower price point — and with a much faster turnaround.

In AI image generators like EVERYDAY AI you simply describe your visual needs in everyday language. For instance, you could ask for: A family having dinner.

Illustration created by EVERYDAY AI

Or do you maybe need a lifestyle photo of a breakfast table with a person off-camera holding a coffee mug for your newsletter? Just type those words into the AI image generator and download the results you like best.

Illustration created by EVERYDAY AI

AI images are increasingly being used by companies to enhance their advertising efforts, and email marketing is no exception.

Best practices for using images in email campaigns

Now that we’ve seen some examples of the types of photography you can incorporate into your email marketing strategy, let’s look at some of the ways to capture your audience’s attention and convey your message more effectively.

There are, of course, many different factors to consider when developing a successful email campaign, starting from coming up with an impactful subject line to figuring out the best time of day to send your emails.

An email subject line is the first interaction your customer has with your campaign, which is why it needs to be optimized for a higher open rate. You can use a tool such as an email subject line generator to help you craft the perfect line.

In the body of the email, visuals are not only content fillers — they are the key elements that keep the readers’ attention. In the examples we will present below, images often reflect the message conveyed in the subject line. However, there are some rules to follow when designing the email campaign such as image design and visual identity.

Illustration created by EVERYDAY AI

Images are your great ally if you are raising brand awareness on multiple fronts. Incorporating the same image design and visual identity principles used in your email campaign can help maintain consistency and reinforce your brand’s message.

Image optimization

  • File size and format considerations — large image files can slow down email load times, which always leads to frustration among recipients. To avoid this, you’ll need to optimize your images by using the right file format (JPEG for photographs, PNG for graphics with transparency) and compressing them while maintaining quality.
  • Responsive design for various devices — your email recipients will open your messages on a variety of devices, from desktop computers to mobile phones. That is why you should ensure that any images you end up including in your emails are responsive, i.e. that they will adjust in size and layout to fit the screen they’re viewed on.

Balance of text and images

It is important to know how to strike a balance between text and visuals. Overloading your email with pictures can trigger spam filters and make your message less accessible. You should always aim for a text-to-image ratio that suits your campaign and keeps your emails informative.

In addition, creating emails that are entirely image-dependent can be risky. Some email clients may block images by default, leaving recipients with a completely blank screen. To avoid this, include descriptive alt text for your images to provide context and encourage users to display images.

Cuisinart’s newsletter

Brand consistency

Consistency is the key to building a lasting brand. The images you choose to include in your emails should align with your brand’s colors, style, and general messaging used across other platforms. Your graphic designer or marketing team should be instructed to maintain a visual tone that reflects your brand’s personality and story.

In short, whether you opt for playful and vibrant images or a more minimalist look, maintain this visual tone across all your messaging and email marketing materials. This consistency will help you build a recognizable brand image.

A/B testing

In order to understand what resonates with your particular readership, you should conduct a few A/B tests on different image elements. These tests are an opportunity to play around with variations in images, such as style, content, and placement. Then, analyze the performance of these tests to refine your email campaigns. A/B testing not only helps optimize your images but also helps you learn more about the preferences and behaviors of your audience.

Illustration created by EVERYDAY AI

Creative examples of image-driven campaigns

Let’s take a look at four inspiring examples of image-driven email campaigns created by popular brands that have delivered remarkable results.

Airbnb

Airbnb always sends image-rich emails featuring personalized travel recommendations. Incorporating images of destinations and accommodations tailored to each recipient’s preferences and past searches, they create a sense of exclusivity and engagement.

Airbnb’s email featuring personalized travel recommendations

National Geographic

National Geographic does an excellent job of using beautiful nature photos in its email campaigns. Doing so engages subscribers with a visual feast, encouraging them to explore more articles and continue being loyal readers.

National Geographic’s email campaign

Sundays for Dogs

Sundays for Dogs is a dog food delivery brand whose founders’ love of dogs really shines through in their newsletters. From super cute candid photos of their subscribers’ canine friends, to excellent stock photos of all kinds of dog breeds in various situations, the photos and colors in their emails help their brand stand out as an excellent choice for dog lovers everywhere.

Sundays for Dogs’ newsletter

Over to You

When it comes to email marketing, where a well-crafted message can be your ticket to a potential customer’s heart, the role of visual content cannot be overstated.

However, as people’s inboxes fill with a constant stream of promotional emails from dozens of different brands on a daily basis, the power of visual content to engage and inform is more important than ever.

Therefore, the success of your email marketing campaigns hinges on your ability to embrace the visual era. As we’ve covered here, when used properly, images can boost engagement, conversions, and brand loyalty.

We hope that the information we laid out in this article will help you start harnessing the power of visuals in your own email marketing campaigns!

FAQ

  1. What makes AI-generated images better than regular stock photos?

    AI images are a cost-effective and time-efficient alternative to conventional stock photos. They’re also more unique, which can grab people’s attention better than normal pictures, making your emails more interesting and impactful.
  1. How can I make sure pictures in email campaigns work well on different devices, especially on phones?

    To make sure your pictures look good on phones, you should make them twice as big as an iPhone screen and compress the file size. You can use a responsive email template that works well on different devices. Also, make sure your links and buttons are bigger for easy tapping. Don’t forget to check how your email looks before sending it out. This way, your images will work well on all kinds of devices.

  2. How can I figure out what works best in my emails by testing different pictures?

    Figuring out what works best in your emails through A/B testing for images involves trying different kinds of pictures to see what people like more. You’ll want to pay attention to things like how many people open your emails and click on the links. By looking at these details, you can make your emails more interesting and get better results.

About the author

Nina is a content marketing specialist, passionate about graphic design, content marketing, and the new generation of green and social businesses. Nina starts the day scrolling through her daily digest on new digital trends while sipping a cup of coffee with milk and sugar. Her white little bunny tends to reply to your emails when she’s on vacation.

Nina Petrov

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