Every now and again, often during the most desperate times, heroes will emerge: Superman, Batman, Spiderman…and background images!

Wait, what?

Yes. Background images. They’re the heroes of the background. The valorous figures in the distance. These unsung and often unnoticed images pull together color schemes and boldly stride forth to fight for good branding, customization, and just maybe, justice for all!

Okay, joking aside, background images can really give a business some everyday superpowers when it comes to email marketing. Here are some great pointers on keeping these heroes working hard for you:

Choose a proper template

Not every template is built to use as a background image. To see if your chosen template allows for them, click the blue Global Colors & Fonts link on the left sidebar.

If you see the term “Background” or the phrase “Click on thumbnail to edit image,” you can add or change the background image.

If the template you’ve chosen doesn’t have background image options, you can find one that does by following these steps:

  1. In the Template Selector on the left, narrow your search and select any or all of the following: color, layout, industry, and type.
  2. Scroll through the displayed templates.
  3. Templates with additional features (such as using background images) will have a thumbnail   in the lower left corner. Click the View Details icon  and an overlay will display a preview of the template and a summary of additional features.

Your hero’s arch-nemesis

Unfortunately, as with all superheroes, background images have a nemesis:  Microsoft Outlook. This email provider, along with a few others , doesn’t load background images in your emails.

If you’re sending to recipients who primarily use one of these programs, keep in mind that it will only show whatever solid color you choose as an alternative to the image. So make sure those colors match your logo and branding.

But not to worry; email clients such as Hotmail, Yahoo, AOL, and Gmail do render background images.

Resizing background images

We already provide you with some background image options, but if you choose to upload and use your own image, you may notice that it doesn’t fit properly. But don’t worry, you can resize it to match the dimensions of the sample background image.

To find out the size of the original background image:

  1. While working in Internet Explorer, open up your selected template.  (Use these steps if you’re working in Firefox or on a Mac.)
  2. Click the blue Global Colors & Fonts link on the left sidebar.
  3. Click the thumbnail for the background image placeholder.
  4. In the pop-up, right click on the image preview and select Properties.
  5. The proper image dimensions appear in the gray box.

A few tips

  • Make sure your end result is readable, because it can be difficult to read text over some images.
  • Try choosing a few different templates that support background images to see which one works best for you.
  • Send a preview of your emails to your test clients and make sure your email looks good in each one. (Sign up for free test accounts with Hotmail, Gmail, Yahoo, and AOL.)

While it’s true that background images won’t singlehandedly save your emails from villians, they will brand them and add that special something that makes them memorable and attractive.  

So don’t underestimate those heroes in the background, they’ll always go the extra mile for you.

Ready to give your design some superpowers? Try these email design tips!