Though you may be seeing image-only emails all over your inbox, don’t let it fool you into thinking visual overload is the new best practice in email marketing. Though a picture is worth a thousand words, image-only emails can be extremely detrimental to your brand because you run the risk of creating a poor user experience.
Why are image-only emails so dangerous for your brand? Because they are not practical for all users. Consider users that have images disabled either by default or personal preference. Blocked images will result in emails that communicate nothing, or even worse, look to be broken. In other instances, users may be trying to read your image-only email with slow internet connection, which may cause your image to never load or to load too slowly to grab their attention.
It’s also important to remember that image-only emails are not searchable. When subscribers need to refer to an earlier message, their search results populate only from live text, thus rendering your message essentially useless.
All of this is not to say that visual content isn’t vital to an email. The right image can immediately catch a reader’s attention, set the mood, and help convey the essence of your message quicker than any text could. Visual content helps establish a brand’s personal style. Email marketers should strive to strike a healthy balance of visual content and text to create a unique, memorable, and positive email experience.
If you want to give your subscribers a visual-heavy email experience, include background images with live text so your core message is accessible to all readers, even those with slow internet connection or disabled images. You will also want to make sure alternative text is in place so that your readers have the information they need should images not display correctly or if they rely on a screen reader.
Most importantly, only include visuals that truly represent your brand. Avoid stock imagery that indicates a lack of imagination and unoriginality. Instead, invest in brand-specific, high-quality photos or even coordinate a photoshoot of your products or services that can provide you with a library of assets for many campaigns to come.
Because the average reader processes visuals much faster than text, look for ways to incorporate more imagery into your email campaigns without going overboard. Let these two elements complement one another to immediately immerse your readers and keep their attention.