Amos Struck

February 16, 2021
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February 16, 2021
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email marketing images

Images are the backbone of all content. Be it a blog post or an email; the right picture is essential to grab the reader’s attention effectively. Photos are great learning tools as well, and when 65% of people self-identify  as ‘visual learners,’ using images is one of the best ways to teach readers about your product and services. 

However, when it comes to email marketing, you need the right balance of text and images to make a compelling statement. And this is where we come in!

In this guide, let’s discuss what you need to know about using images in email marketing and make sure your next email campaign supports the message you are trying to convey. 

1. Make Use of Stock Images

If you are using stock photographs for your email marketing campaign, make sure the images are royalty-free and applicable for commercial usage. Failure to do so can result in a lawsuit and severely hurt your brand identity. 

Be careful when using images from free photo sites as some of these do not ensure that the image is from the copyright holder. And if you end up using a stolen image in your campaign, there is a chance it could get in you in trouble, and saying you got it off of a free image site won’t be a valid defense.

It is also a good idea to look for images that are high quality, not blurry, and not inappropriately cropped. Stock images can often look cliche and can seem overexposed and overused. However, look comprehensively for images that appear unique and not generic to make the most out of them. 

2. Use Images of Real People

If possible, use images of real people in your email marketing campaign.

email marketing images

Go behind the scenes and capture photos of real moments between your staff. You can also ask the customers to send you their photographs using your products and services. Showcase the best ones in your emails to bring out the essence of your brand. 

3. Choose the Right Image File Size

Having too many large-sized images can slow download time and impact your readers’ user experience. In fact, if images in your email take too long to load, the reader is likely to delete the message and even regard it as spam.

Ideally, the height of the pictures used in emails should be kept to less than 200 pixels with a width up to 600 pixels. However, make sure to test out your emails on various devices to see how they appear before sending them out to customers. 

email marketing images
Source Image: Ryan Coughlin

Also, when you are resizing images, make sure that you use the right tools to crop out the images. Nothing irritates the customer more than images that are distorted, so make sure you avoid cropping your photos in strange ways just to reduce file size.

4. Choose Correct Image Format

You may be familiar with the image formats, i.e., JPEG, PNG, and GIF, but you might not normally give much thought to the differences between these formats, just like many users. However, image formats are essential to understand when using digital images, and using the correct format for each situation can help determine any layout’s overall quality. 

Here’s an overview of the different formats, so you can learn how to use them more effectively in your email campaigns. 

email marketing images

When it comes to image quality, JPEG images have the lowest quality. However, they are the most compressed and take up the least amount of space in your emails. This means that with JPEG images, you will benefit from fast loading times and have less of a chance of getting blocked by spam filters. 


PNG images work well when you have photos that include text. They are also great for colorful photos and logos. However, their greater capacity for colors comes with the price of slow load times. 


Animated formats that don’t use video are called GIFs. Since most email clients don’t allow videos, GIFs give creators a better chance to show their creativity. However, GIFs don’t contain as many colors as PNG and even JPEG. But they are small in size, giving you the advantage of faster load times. 

5. Include Alt Text

Remember that even if you have created an image-heavy email for your subscribers, not all of them will be able to see it. This is why you want to make sure you give all your email subscribers an inclusive experience by optimizing your emails so that everyone - even those with visual impairments - can understand what your image is about. 

This is why you should add Alt Text to your images. These small snippets of texts will describe to the viewers what the image is about in case the image fails to upload, and they’re also what text narration programs use to describe images. 

However, when naming your images and including Alt Text, be as descriptive as possible. Don’t leave any images titled as “Image 5873” or something generic like that. Instead, try to add a call to action along with the description to make the most out of your image space. 

6. Ensure Relevancy

This should go without saying, but make sure the images you add are relevant to the content of your email. Rather than adding something out of the blue, make sure the images make sense and are aligned with the context. 

7. Optimize for Different Devices

Not all your subscribers are going to open your email on the same kind of device. They will each be using a different device, email app and web browser. And the images you use may sometimes display differently on each kind of device. That is why you must test out your emails before you send them, to ensure your photos appear correctly on every device. 

images for email marketing
Image Source: Nuts Illustrations

As we mentioned above, test out your email on different browsers and devices. Send emails to employees or friends to get their feedback. Recheck your email on different devices to make sure they operate optimally before sending it out to actual customers. 

Wrap Up

Images are powerful, and when used correctly, they can take your email marketing campaign to the next level. With some of the above tips, you can include images in your email campaign and compel your subscribers to act in the most effective way possible. 

Cover includes artwork by Olga Semklo, edited in Vectornator.

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