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February 20, 2019

7 Creative Ways to Use Visual Content in Email Marketing

The average consumer will receive 117 emails a day this year. That adds up to over 42,000 for the year! How can your brand have any hopes of getting your emails seen with such fierce competition?

The answer might come in the form of visual content. Because our brains are conditioned to slow down and savor an image or video, people are more likely to consume your emails — and click back to your website — if you use visuals in them.

1. Include a Video (and Let Subscribers Know)

Videos in emails mix things up: rather than having to read a bunch of text, the recipient is delighted to do something different like click to watch.

But informing subscribers that there’s a video in your email can get even better results: using the word “video” in your subject line can help you get 19% higher open rates and 65% more clicks of your link in the email.

How to Do It: If you’re already creating video content for your website or blog, send the video, along with an introduction of it, to your email subscribers. They might not otherwise see it, so it’s a good way to ensure your video assets get seen far and wide across marketing channels.

2. Show Off a Product

How can you entice people to click to buy a product via email if you don’t have an image of it? Include at least one image of the product you’re promoting, or several from different angles if that helps a customer better understand it.

Make sure your product images are professionally-taken with neutral backgrounds. If you sell clothes, use attractive models to display them. You can also take a video to demonstrate your product.

How to Do It: If you have many photos of a given product, choose the one that is most appealing. Not sure which? Survey your staff and choose the one that gets the most votes.

3. Use Emojis

Especially if you’re trying to reach a younger demographic, emojis can help you connect with your audience: 68% of Millennials use emojis, GIFs, and stickers to express emotions.

Test out which emojis your audience responds to, and don’t go overboard with them.

How to Do It: Try an emoji in your subject line, since they can help you get a 29% increase in your email open rate.

4. Balance Images and Text

No one wants to read an email that is a wall of text. Breaking up words with images makes a better experience for your email subscriber. 

If you’re sending a newsletter, have an image for each block of text. If you’re announcing a product, include one image.

How to Do It: Aim for a balance of 80% text, 20% images for best results in your email marketing campaigns.

5. Optimize for Mobile

At least half of all emails you send are being opened on a mobile device. That means you need to ensure that your emails are mobile-friendly. Most email marketing services come with mobile versions built into the templates, but make sure that yours does to ensure that it’s easy for subscribers to read on their phones.

How to Do It: When it comes to images, make sure the ones you’re uploading into your emails aren’t too large in size: subscribers will delete an email if it doesn’t open within a few seconds, and an email with large photo files may take longer to load, particularly on mobile devices.

6. Include Infographics

When you have dense data that you need to share (maybe you send an email about a research study you just completed), text can overwhelm your recipient. A better way to impart this information is through an infographic.

Infographics create a visual interpretation of that data. You can illustrate statistics and graphs through appealing design elements that subscribers will glom onto better than text alone.

How to Do It: You can hire a graphic designer to create an infographic, or you can create your own. Avoid making it too long or too dense with information.

7. Use a GIF

Another innovative way to use visuals in your email marketing is through GIFs. These are short, looped videos that can illustrate a point or make your subscribers smile. You can use them to animate a product or show different views of the same one.

The good thing about GIFs in emails is that for some people who can’t get embedded videos through their mail client, they can view GIFs. But not all email clients support GIFs, so you still may have recipients who can’t view them.

How to Do It: The key is not having a GIF that is too large, or it will take a long time for your email to load, and people will delete it. Find one that is relevant to your email, and know your audience: older generations may not be as keen on GIFs as younger ones.

These are just a few ways you can boost email marketing results using visual content. Test out a few to see if you get better results than before, and then lather, rinse, repeat!


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Susan Guillory is the President of Egg Marketing, a content marketing firm based in San Diego. She’s written several business books, and frequently blogs about small business and marketing on sites including Forbes, AllBusiness, and Cision. Follow her on Twitter @eggmarketing.


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