If you’re doing email marketing, you’ve probably already seen how impactful adding images to your emails can be.

The right image can help your email stand out in the inbox and make a more personal connection with the people receiving your messages. Images will help you show off your people, your products, and the services you have to offer — which will help you achieve a higher return from your email marketing investment.

This week, we hosted a live discussion about using images in your email marketing on Periscope.

We discussed:

  • Why you should use images in your email marketing
  • How to safely find images for your email marketing
  • Tools for creating and editing visual content
  • New ideas for using images in your email marketing

You can watch the recording of our discussion and read the transcript below.

(Having trouble viewing the video? Watch it here.)

You’ve probably already noticed that visual content — like photos, images, and videos — have a big role in today’s online world.

Social media is a great example of this. When you scroll through your feed on any social media site, you’ll notice people are constantly sharing images, photos, and videos.

Images are also important when it comes to the email inbox. Images will help you connect with your audience in a more compelling way, and help you stand out in a crowded inbox.

Before we get into how you can use images in your emails, let’s first look at some of the places you can look to find images to include in your emails.

One of the first places you can look for images is on your social networks. So, if you’re already sharing photos on Facebook, or using Instagram, you can use those images when designing your emails.

If you’re a Constant Contact customer, you can integrate your Facebook and Instagram profiles with your Constant Contact account so that they’ll have them when you’re ready to design your emails.

There are also sites you can use to access free stock photos online.

Some of the ones you can check out include:

With Constant Contact’s Image Library, you’ll have access to free stock photos right within your Constant Contact account. We also integrate with stock photo site, BigStock, and give you the option to purchase high quality professional photos from right within your Constant Contact account.

One thing you’ll want to be cautious of is just going to Google and taking images off of there.

This can put your business at risk of possible copyright violations and other headaches for your business. Also, whenever you share content someone else has created, it’s always important to give credit to the original source.

Once you find the images you want to use, there are also tools you can use to edit and enhance these images before adding them to your email.

Constant Contact customers can choose to ‘edit’ a photo after uploading, and do things like add filters and put text over images.

Another tool you can use is PicMonkey. PicMonkey offers free features to edit your images. You can add text and filters, resize images, and include a border. A similar tool, Canva, has similar features and includes templates that let you create awesome looking images without any design expertise.

Another tool a lot of people don’t think about is Microsoft Powerpoint. If you’re someone who’s familiar with Powerpoint but isn’t comfortable with other design tools, Powerpoint can be used to create quick visuals and you can save them as image files.

Definitely take some time to test out some of these tools. Even doing something as simple as getting started on Instagram and investing more time into sharing photos there can be a good first step at getting comfortable with creating your own images.

One question we get asked a lot is whether or not you should use one image for your whole email.

So, a lot of people will design an image or flyer and want to use that as their email, but there are a few reasons why that’s not the best idea.

One of the biggest reasons is that a lot of people will use email providers that turn images off by default. If images aren’t turned on and they don’t click to display your image, they will just see a blank email and your message could be lost.

Another important reason to get away from this practice is that this is a common practice that’s often used by spammers. This will put you at risk of having your images filter out as spam, which could make it difficult to reach the inbox of your customer.

Make sure that if you’re using an email marketing service, like Constant Contact, that you’re using images in combination with text within your email template.

Here at Constant Contact, we recently did an analysis of customer emails to find the optimal number of images to include in an email.

There was some variety across different industries, but overall we found the optimal number of images to be 1-3 images. We also found that 20 lines of text or less resulted in the highest click-through rates.

So, when you’re designing your emails really focus on keeping things clear and concise. Don’t overload your message with too much text or too many images, and make sure you have a clear action for the reader to take.

Again, this can vary based on the industry you’re in, so you really need to test these things out to see what works best for your business and how your audience responds.

Finally, I wanted to provide a few quick examples of how images can fit into your email marketing strategy.

Here are few ideas to consider:

  • Tell your story: A perfect example of this would be a nonprofit organization. You can use photos of your staff and volunteers and actually show your audience how their support is helping to make a difference.
  • Promote your offer: People receive a lot of offers and promotions, and adding an image is an easy way to make yours stand out. A restaurant that wants to promote a coupon can use an image to encourage people to redeem the offer and call to make a reservation.
  • Set the tone: Use images to set the tone of your email. This can work especially well if you’re planning an event and are sending out email invitations. The tone of an email for a wine tasting event will be different from an invite to a networking opportunity.
  • Get recognized: Make your emails more recognizable by using a headshot or a photo from your business that’s familiar to your readers. This will work especially well for people trying to build a personal brand.
  • Show personality: Showing the real people behind your business is an effective way to get people to know, like, and trust you.

Have questions you’d like to see us discuss on Periscope? Let us know in the comments below and you could see your question answered in our next discussion!