Why Sending Image-Only Emails Is a Terrible Idea

Posted June 25, 2019

“A picture says a thousand words”, says the old adage. While that might be true, as an email marketer, you must be aware that image-only emails will probably not serve your entire audience and you won’t get your message across. A lot of companies and brands are sending emails that are only made up of images, so you might be tempted to do the same. Your Design team might be in favor of them as well, arguing that it will be easier to keep branding consistent that way. We are here to tell you exactly why they’re a terrible idea that will ultimately end up hurting your brand.

Subscribers that have images turned off won’t be able to see your images. A lot of your subscribers (43% of Gmail users, according to a recent study) might have their images turned off, due to slow internet connections, faulty devices, or personal preferences. If your email is made up entirely of images, they won’t be able to see your email! That’s even worse if you didn’t set up an alternative text, because your email will simply appear blank.

The email might load slowly or not load at all. Again, due to slow internet connections or faulty devices, an image-heavy email might take longer to load on people’s devices, or might not even load at all. And even if it does eventually load, it might take a long time and people might get impatient and disengage.

That loading could take *FOREVER*

Your image-heavy email might not be accessible to everyone.Visually impaired people might be reading your emails through screen-readers or voice-assistants, and people who speak another language might have a harder time translating the text if it’s part of an image.

Your emails won’t be searchable in the future.
If your subscribers want to search for your email among the myriad of emails they probably have flooding their inbox, they won’t be able to do it if all the text is part of an image instead of live text.

How-to: create emails that harness the power of images while remaining accessible to everyone

It’s not impossible to create beautifully-designed emails that are also accessible, and we’ll tell you how.

Use background images. If you want to place a copy in front of an image for design purposes, embedding the text on an image is not your only choice. You can get the same look and feel with the use of background images and live text, all while keeping your content accessible to everyone.

Be mindful of your ALT text. ALT text is simply an alternative text you set up for each of your emails. This alternative text will also keep your email accessible in case someone is using a screen reader, and you can get creative with it using HTML which will keep your email looking fancy in case your images won’t display.

Build “bulletproof” CTA’s.The CTA (call-to-action) is definitely a vital part of your email since it’s the element that prompts your subscribers to take action and, ultimately, move them across your funnel and close the sale. So it’s important to make those CTA buttons foolproof, which means NEVER making them images. Instead, use only HTML and CSS, so the buttons display even when the users have the images turned off.

What if your client or boss is still not convinced?

If your client or boss is still dead-set on image-only emails, there are a few ways you can convince them that they are a terrible idea.

  1. Show them how the email will look and read in distinct scenarios. Nothing like a little hard evidence. Show them how the email looks with the images disabled in different devices, and how a screen reader or voice-assistant will read it.
  2. Run an A/B test. If they’re still not convinced, it’s time for the hard figures. Run an A/B test of the email (one with the images, one without) and see which one performs better.

Filed under: Blog

Tagged with: drip emails, drip marketing, email, Email Marketing, tips

Libia RM

Libia has several years of experience creating content for marketing, advertising, and PR.