July 30, 2012 byfor
We live in such a visual world where images and videos are seemingly everywhere. And consumers expect to see images in your email creative. Moreover, with the popularity of reading email on mobile devices that are fully equipped to render HYML, the audience who requires text-only emails is shrinking.
It’s important to have a properly formatted email creative with a compelling template, as this will assist in driving audience engagement and potentially advocacy. But many users turn off images in email.
In a recent study by Eloqua, 55% of consumers said they turn on the images in the emails that they receive. And 57% of consumers that state they check their primary personal email account on their mobile devices.
Far fewer consumers add sender addresses to their address book, which in most email clients will enable image rendering by default. Only 16% of consumers stated that they added an email marketer’s email address to their address book.
Follow these best practices to ensure that your subscribers can see and enjoy all of your images.
1. Adjust Size and Weight
Talk with your email service provider (ESP) to understand the limits of image size and weight, as some ESPs will compress images that are too big, which will ultimately degrade the quality of the image.
2. Use Image Alt Tags
For those that don’t turn on images, make sure that your images have a descriptive text alt tag that acts like a call to action.
For example, if there is an image of a red sweater that has a star burst offering 15% off sweaters, an ideal alt tag to the image would read, “15% off sweaters” not “red sweater image.” Use alt tags that evoke the purpose of the image. If you can’t figure out what that should be for an image, then perhaps you shouldn’t be using it.
3. Link to Hosted Version of the Email Creative
This is standard in most email marketing applications, but be sure to include a link at the top of your email template that simply says, “View email in your browser.”
Many times, marketers create emails that say, “Problem viewing images? Then Click Here to view in your browser.” This is too verbose and also in some email clients such as Gmail, the first words in the email creative get previewed and appended to the subject line. In this example your subject line would read, “Buy Our Best Products Now for 20% Off … Problem Viewing.” Simply offer a link to view the email in a browser.
4. Avoid Using Entirely Image-Based Email
As mentioned, ensure call-to-action images have alt tags and are additionally supported by text. Don’t put important disclaimers and required CAN-SPAM language in images. Rely on HTML tables and embedded tables with different colors to highlight any important calls to action, such as “Buy Now buttons.”
5. Test, Test, Test
See which images are working and which are not. Most ESPs offer a click-overlay heat map that visually shows you where users are clicking most. Test different images with dynamic content approaches. Vendors such as Movable Ink provide an easy-to-use technology that is ESP-agnostic to insert dynamic images that can change and expire content after the email has been sent.
It has been said that “A picture is worth a thousand words,” so ensure that you’re using those image-based words effectively and doing all that you can to make them render correctly.
View the full article from Mashable.com - http://mashable.com/2012/07/30/images-in-email-campaigns/