Why Sending Image-Only Emails is A Terrible Idea

100+1 Email Marketing Hacks

Posted July 26, 2019

Email marketing is one of the most affordable and effective ways to consistently engage customers and prospects. For every dollar spent on email marketing, brands generate nearly $41 in sales, which outperforms mobile marketing ($10.51 per dollar spent), social media ($12.71), display advertising ($19.72), and search engine marketing ($22.24). 


  1. Ask customers to opt-in to your emails each time they make a purchase
  2. Create Valuable Gated Content Upgrade
  3. Create an exit popup with a discount
  4. Create quizzes to generate leads
  5. Run a sweepstake competition
  6. Make an effective CTA
  7. Mention Subscriber Count to Leverage Social Proof with a social proof metric – i.e. Over 200k subscribers  
  8. Ask the recipient to extend an offer to their network – Since emails feel private, some recipients may be hesitant to share your email with others. Therefore, invite them to forward your message to their family members, followers, and friends. If your email contains an exclusive discount or offer, give recipients permission to share it with a handful of people they know.  
  9. Use Twitter Lead Generation ads
  10. Use Facebook Lead Generation ads
  11. Use Facebook Offer ads
  12. Create a quiz and require an email address to download the results
  13. Use YouTube call-to-action cards and link them to your opt-in page
  14. Organize Flash Sales (< 24 hours) that only your email list can access and ask customers to opt=in
  15. Organize limited quantity pre-sales of inventory that only the first x number of customers who reply will be able to secure
  16. Add social media sharing buttons
  17. Do content partnerships with complementary brands/products/service providers 
  18. Add an anti-spam notice right under the opt-in form submit button
  19. Allow customers to access your email archives on a landing page so they can see what they’ve been missing/could miss if they don’t subscribe
  20. For brick & mortar companies – Offer free WiFi to customers in exchange for their email
  21. For brick & mortar companies – Offer a photobooth with free pictures in exchange for the email
  22. For brick & mortar companies – Include loyalty bonuses that can only be accessed through email submission 
  23. Reward subscribers or employees for referring their friends to join
  24. Offer customers the option to “Be notified” when a product is back in inventory
  25. Reduce unsubscribes with offers right before someone unsubscribes


  1. Use emojis in your subject line  
  2.  Test multiple deployment times
  3. Test multiple deployment days
  4. Send emails on a consistent schedule – You can train your customers to expect the email consistently every Tuesday at 10pm. Over time, if they find value to it, they will be expecting the email before it even comes.  
  5. Optimize your email sending frequency – 
  6. Add Whitelisting Instructions to Your Emails
  7. Don’t buy email lists 
  8. Ask for the Double Opt-in – make sure subscribers actually want your emails
  9. Nail the subject line –  according to Litmus, 34% of recipients say the subject line is the most crucial factor in email opens 
  10. Test Every Subject Line Before Delivery
  11. Use Subject Line Power Words (give your email to get the list)
  12. A/B Test subject lines 
  13. Use good preview text – Litmus says that 24% of people look at the preview text before they decide to open an email.
  14. Be a reputable sender – One factor that affects whether people click is whether their internet service provider trusts you. If you don’t want to be marked as spam or junk, you’ll need to look after your sender score which affects email filtering.
  15. Make sure your email recipients know who’s sending the email – Litmus also show that 42% of people check out the sender name when deciding whether to open an email. People get so much email that if they’re not sure who an email’s from, they may not open it.
  16. Cut out words that trigger spam filters
  17. Clean up your email list
  18. Unhide your unsubscribe button 
  19. Re-engage your ghost subscribers 
  20. Leverage recent events/trends in the subject line 
  21. Allow for delivery frequency preferences 
  22. Create anticipation for the following email’s content
  23. Don’t send emails you didn’t say you were going to send
  24. Don’t include attachments 
  25. If you use personalization, don’t do a faux-pas –
  26. Conduct Email List Maintenance as frequently as possible – Personalization is 
  27. Make your emails feel like a continuous conversation
  28. Setup your DKIM and SPF
  29. Follow the CAN-SPAM Basics


  1. Segment your email list  
  2. Have one clear call-to-action per email.
  3. Look After Email Formatting –
  4. Test your email in multiple email clients before sending
  5. Proof read for grammar always
  6. Send test emails to your team and role play as your customer
  7. Create consistency 
  8. Create urgency 
  9. Add alt-text to images and buttons
  10. Use personalization 
  11. Resend unopened email campaigns
  12. Make sure your email is mobile friendly – Design for thumbs
  13. Create a Curiosity Gap with your CTA
  14. Keep it brief
  15. Consider text only emails – or at least non-image based emails – Images look pretty but most email clients like Outlook block them automatically which means that most people just see broken stuff instead of the pretty image. So we write very short but descriptive paragraphs with links to the site and we tag those links so we can see what people are clicking on and what they aren’t.”
  16. If you use images, use only one 
  17. Have email come from a real person (as opposed to ‘noreply’) – No one likes receiving an email from donotreply@example.com.” So next campaign, have your email come from a member of your marketing or customer service teams, or even your CEO
  18. Experiment with videos – When the town of Enfield, CT added a video to their email blast, they experienced a 28 per cent increase in click-throughs. Research shows video email marketing is on the rise and has a 280 per cent higher rate of return than traditional emails. Insert a video to capture your audience’s attention and motivate them to click. 
  19. Add a P.S if you need extra links
  20. Offer something valuable each time
  21. Never require a login to unsubscribe 
  22. Introduce variable rewards – A concept popularized in the freemium gaming world, in which the user is trained to always expect some type of reward. But the value of the reward varies greatly, therefore the user never gets bored and expects more. 
  23. Always speak to the reader’s interest – For example, Cut your grass 35% faster with our new blades vs. Our new blades are 35% sharper. 
  24. Develop a distinctive email voice – Is your brand funny or informative? To take it a step further, is your brand Dave Chapelle or Nate Silver? 


  1. Sell benefits. Not Features. 
  2. Speak to the Lizard Brain
  3. Track your email performance on site
  4. Monitor email performance and optimize based on data
  5. Make sure the email content, email CTA and the landing page are consistent in their message
  6. Use fast loading landing pages 
  7. Optimize content per source – You may have seen brands optimize landing pages according to their social media posts (e.g. @vice). The same can be done for emails. Consistency across what the customer saw in the email and segmenting her from other visitors creates a form of personalization that can go along way in terms of conversion
  8. Use personal examples and offers – Storify product/service use examples from specific customers and create offers centered around those customers 
  9. Quote an authority – leverage the power of major news publications or public figures who have either directly endorsed your brand/product or are endorsing the benefits of your product category to leverage more conversations 
  10. Use social proof to illustrate how popular a product is – make them feel they’re not alone in buying your product
  11. Use the Similarity effect to create comfort in conversion through ‘People like me use this’ thinking
  12. Build up reciprocal value with constant value in the emails
  13. Use URL parameters on your CTA button to create pre-filled form fields to decrease the work someone has to put on a landing page

PRO TIPS: Use Transactional (Drip) Email Marketing

  1. Drip emails to nurture new subscribers/customers 
  2. Use educational email series to create loyalty 
  3. Remind your customers what’s in their abandoned cart – 
  4. Follow-up immediately after a purchase – We live in an instant gratification culture. Sending updates starting from Thank you to shipping and delivery confirmations will bridge the gap between waiting for the product and actually receiveing it
  5. Ask for feedback 
  6. Win-Back unengaged customers
  7. Celebrate Birthdays together
  8. Setup a Replenisment campaign
  9. Don’t set it and forget it ← XO lead opportunity

Hack #101 – Hire XO to run your drip email marketing. Skip the learning curve – keep the returns.

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Do You Have Any Tips You’d Add?

This is a robust list of email marketing tips and tactics, but there are plenty more that could have been added. Do you have any techniques you think should have been mentioned? Drop a comment below or email us at hi@xo.agency

Filed under: Blog

Tagged with: automated emails, drip emails, Email Hacks, Email Marketing, Email Tips