When designing an email, making images the focal point of your message can seem like a risky choice. After all, there is always the chance that your recipient could have their images turned off, rendering your email dead on arrival.

Fortunately for your, the truth of the matter is far less dramatic…

Only 2% of advisors have images turned off on desktop and 15% on mobile.

Source: StoneShot Digital Marketing Survey

While 15% is nothing to scoff at, this is down from 29% in 2015. This trend exemplifies the increase people’s overall trust in email, possibly a result of the protections allotted from the 8-year-old CAN-SPAM Act.

The point is people’s attitudes around images in emails is changing so why shouldn’t your approach to email design? After all, 73% of advisors agreed that more graphics and visually appealing communications would make fund groups’ emails more effective.

Here are some helpful tips on how to save yourself a thousand words with the effective use of images in your email.

1. Don’t Neglect the Text

While the data shows that people are warming up to images in their emails, this isn’t to say that you should cut out plain text altogether. After all, even if it is only 15% who have their images turned off, you still want that handful of people to understand your email.

The best way to think about images when you’re putting together your emails is they’re there to support your central message. They catch the reader’s eye and draws them down the page so they will read the text and understand the purpose of your message. 64% of advisors say they skim an email from the outset so including visually appealing images could mean the difference between your email getting saved for later or ending up in the trash folder.

2. Image Size Does Matter 

It’s easy enough to drop images into your email, but you should take care to use images that are the right size. If your image is too big or small or being squeezed into a predefined space, the intended effect the image would’ve had is totally lost.

To ensure they display perfectly, you need to make sure your images have a determined width so they don’t unexpectedly grow when they arrive in the inbox.

Also, when it comes to the size of your image, height and width aren’t the only aspects to consider. The size of the image file is also an important situation since it can affect load times and even spam triggers if the file is too big. TinyPNG.com is a super helpful site that can compress your files as much as possible without sacrificing quality to optimize your email efficiency.

3. Link Up

Adding a link to your image is a good way to make your email more dynamic. Since images take up a lot of real-estate in your email, capitalize on that space by adding the same link you use in your CTA.

Take advantage of every image in your email. Images of logos, thumbnails, graphics can all provide a purpose beyond looking pretty. The easier it is to click, the more likely you’ll have increased engagement.

When it comes to images with a lot of text or data, like an infographic, have the link lead to the image file so people can zoom in in case the text is too small on their mobile devices.

4. Alt and title tags

Alt tags are lines of text that show up in place of an image when an image is unable to load. These tags are used as a fail safe for your image since they provide some bit of context to a broken or blocked image that would have otherwise been blank and meaningless.

This is especially relevant if the image in question includes text. This will help to ensure that none of your messages are lost on un-displayable images.

5. Images Shouldn’t Be CTAs

Since the call to action (CTA) in your email is the most important aspect of your message, you should never leave its ability to load up to chance. Regardless of how beautifully designed your image may be, you would still be better off with a something boring that will work 100% of the time. You want your CTA to be unblockable. You want it to be bullet-proof.

Which is exactly why a bullet-proof button – a button that looks like an image but is built using HTML – is the perfect middle ground between an unreliable image and an unexciting bit of text.


For more information on how to optimize your email design process, check out these helpful articles: