Email design has once again become a very hot issue in the email marketing industry. In this week's edition of BtoB Email Marketer Insight, Clint Smith answers the question "With more email programs blocking images these days, is it still a good idea to include them in my email newsletter?"
As more Web-based email services, such as Gmail, Hotmail, AOL and Yahoo, block images by default - and let recipients decide to view them or not - it's probably fair to question whether adding images to your email newsletter is still worth the effort.
The short answer is yes. Here's why:
Emails with images get better results than those without. It's true. People like pictures, and recent studies have shown that when an email includes at least one image, recipients tend to read more of the text that goes with it. Graphics are an easy way to grab your readers' attention, and in a cluttered inbox on a busy day, well done graphics can often mean the difference between someone stopping and reading or deleting and moving on.
Including images allows you to track opens. Sure, images make emails more attractive, but there's another reason to include them: tracking. Most services track e-mail opens based on the viewing of images within those e-mails, and though it's not an entirely rock-solid number - after all, someone can open your plain text e-mail, but unless he or she clicks a link, there's no way to track it - open tracking remains an important part of the response picture.
Images are still just a click away. If you're sending to people who know and like you, odds are many of them will want to see your full email, images included. Sure, it now requires one more click, but aren't you worth it? Hopefully most of your audience will think so.
I have one thing to add to that: just make sure that your email still makes sense and that your call-to-action is visible when the recipient doesn't see the images.