Image Tips That Get Customers Reading Your Emails

Email marketing can be a highly effective technique to build your business—but only if your targets actually read your emails. An engaging marketing email, however, is about more than just words. If your images miss the mark, your messages may get deleted unread.

What can go wrong?

Today’s consumers read email on more than just computers. An increasing number are checking their messages on smartphones or tablets, and one of the biggest challenges marketers face is finding a format that works across platforms. Poorly sized or improperly placed images can distort your emails and cause formatting problems that could make your text difficult to read—or even illegible.

Image file types also make a difference. Depending on the content of your image—photos, text, graphics, or a combination—certain file types can handle your material poorly, and affect the impact of your message.

Tips for sizing your images

When you include images in an email, the good news is that you don’t have to worry about the height. Most programs and templates will adjust automatically to fit the height of the image. The image width is where you’ll have cause for concern.

Keep these tips in mind when sizing your email images:

Make sure the image is 600 pixels wide or less. Otherwise, the email will stretch off the viewer’s screen to accommodate the image.
If you include a header at the top of your emails, the size should be 600 pixels wide so it fills the block, and 200 pixels tall or less so the entire image will display in preview panes.
For column templates, use a width of 600 pixels or less for single columns, 250 pixels or less with two columns, and 150 pixels or less with three columns.

Choosing an image file type

There’s more to images than JPEGs. In fact, while most emails use JPEG images almost exclusively, this file type can sometimes be the worst choice.

Here’s a quick guide to the pros and cons of image file types:

  • JPEGs come with a small file size, so they’re easier to load. Unfortunately, resizing can distort the image or make it appear blurry. JPEG files are a good choice for photos, but a poor choice for images with text.
  • GIF files are also small—and unlike JPEGs, they support basic transparency. The drawbacks here are that GIFs can only display 256 colors, and if the image uses colors that aren’t safe for the web, it can appear grainy. Use GIF files for simple graphics and logos.
  • PNG files feature the best quality, with a trade-off of larger file sizes. While all images look great in PNG, big splash graphics rendered in this file type can bulk up the size of the email, to the point where it may be undeliverable to some inboxes.

By selecting the right file type for your images and making sure they’re sized correctly, you can get more customers reading your emails and boost the effectiveness of your marketing campaigns.

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