10 rules to using images in email marketing

25th February 2011 By Louis Simpson in Email design

The general rule of thumb with using images in email marketing is to use them sparingly. Clever email marketers know that there are a few easily-learnt tricks that can help enhance your message, without going OTT and running the risk of people deleting your emails before they’ve even made it past your preview pane.

Here are ten pointers that you may wish to consider when using images in an email marketing campaign:

1) Make your header the footer – most email systems will deliver your email using some kind of preview pane so make sure your text, not image, is the first thing that is seen. Most images will appear as white boxes and red crosses before you recipient downloads them. To keep your open rates high, make your header the footer.

2) Size matters – as a rule of thumb your images need to be 72 dpi – any larger and they will take ages to download for your recipient.

3) Preparation is key – Please, please, please resize your images before importing them into little green plane. Email providers such as Outlook will not register your size changes otherwise. You can use Adobe Photoshop, Microsoft Picture Manager or www.picnik.com to do this easily.

4) Resize with templates in mind – when using templates your images will be restricted by the width that it is set to. All the little green plane templates are set at 600 pixels wide. To check the size of your imported image, simply click on it and a height and width box will appear at the bottom of your draft.

5) Use Alt tags – these are basically photo captions for your images and are extremely helpful if your pics do not automatically download for your recipient. Go to your image manager, select the image, click on properties and an Alt Text box will appear. Pop your text in here. This is great for blind people, who use text readers to surf the net, and for SEO.

6) Hyperlink them – you can hyperlink any photos, logos or other graphics to websites or email addresses. Select the image, click the hyperlink manager and insert the URL or email address. Job done.

7) Keep Britain Tidy – well, your images in little green plane at least. Use your image manager to create folders and sub folders to keep it all in order from the start. Trust me; you can accumulate a large number of images doing email marketing. With little green plane, we never restrict how many images you can save! Aren’t we nice?

8) Reduce your file size – the maximum file size that you can import into little green plane is 200 KB. Again, you can use the Adobe products, Microsoft Picture Manager or www.picnik.com to do this.

9) Avoid Pngs – where possible, try to use Jpgs or GIFs, as they are the most common image formats and the best for little green plane. Pngs are not necessarily supported in all browsers.

10) Try an animated GIF – if you’re feeling creative, you could try using an animated GIF, which you can design in Adobe Photoshop or download from a free template. I’ve seen great examples used by Bally and Burberry. This comes with a warning though: use animation in moderation. Readers that receive an email full of flying, whizzy, buzzing imagery will probably reach for the bin. Keep it simple, and an animated GIF could give your email a superstar touch.

What do you think? Have I missed any tips?

Louis Simpson
About the Author

Louis Simpson

Louis is a support advisor for little green plane, answering client queries and assisting on a range of technical issues. Louis and the rest of the support team ensure the customer service you experience with little green plane is second-to-none; guiding you through the email marketing process from start to finish in a business language that you understand.