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Don’t Create Image-Only Emails

An example of images not displayed graphic on an email newsletter

Check out the email I received earlier today (this is how it looked in my Gmail inbox):

Not much to see, is it? The business that sent this email made a classic mistake. It created its email with images only. No text. Just a bunch of images mashed together. Many businesses like to do this because they can produce the exact look they desire. They’re not bound by the constraints of an email service provider’s templates. They can produce the great looking advertisement in their publishing or graphic editing software, save it as one or more images, and then place it into their email editor. “Voila! A great looking email,” they think.

But is the email above great looking? Not really.

Most email applications, including Microsoft Outlook and Gmail hide images by default. The recipient has to click “display images” before the pictures and graphics will display. So when you send your images-only email to people with that email software, they see nothing when they open your email. Sure, some will click to display images, but not all.

If your email combines text and images, those who open the email will see your text headlines and copy. Those headlines encourage the recipient to pay attention and to keep going. If the headline gets the recipient’s attention, the recipient will click to display images and will read on.

You may believe the old saying “a picture is worth 1,000 words.” That may be true in some cases. But a blank email (which is how your images-only email looks before recipients click) is worth nothing.

One more reason to avoid image-only emails: Spam filters care about the cumulative file size of the email you send. When you tell your story with images only, the overall size of your email will probably be much larger than if you combine images and text. This could result in your email landing in the spam folder or getting blocked altogether.

Combine images and text to create the most compelling, “deliverable” content for your recipients.

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