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Why sending image-only emails is a bad idea

Are you tempted to send image-only emails? Today we explore how image-only emails impact your email performance over time.

Person sitting in a gallery looking at artwork with their back facing the camera

Here's why sending image-only emails is a bad idea

Now, before I let you in on why these aren't ideal, I have to agree that images in email campaigns are often crucial to email success.

Humans buy with their eyes, this I'm certain you'll agree with. However, there's a reason for the saying "too much of a good thing".

This applies to your emails in a massive way!

And here, friends, is where balancing the right ratio of image-to-text becomes critical 💡

As much as you want to make your emails as visually appealing as you can, it would be best if you had your text to support your images.

Unfortunately, there's no ideal ratio, but a good amount of text to support your images can go a long way towards your email campaign success.

To convince you why you should take notice, here are a few reasons why sending image-only emails is a bad idea.

Reason 1: The size of your emails becomes a concern

The more images and GIFs you add to a campaign, the larger the email becomes.

Especially in inboxes such as Gmail! If your email exceeds 102KB, Gmail will clip it, meaning your images and details are often lost unless someone clicks to view the rest.

Here's an example of this happening to a large email that's full of images:

Example of an email being clipped in Gmail

We also wrote about how to prevent this in your emails in a previous blog that you can access here.

Reason 2: Editing becomes more difficult

If you need to edit images, you'll likely need to leave the email environment, enter your design tool and update text, images, size and more.

If you're simply editing text, this becomes far easier.

You can also adjust your code if you're coding HTML emails, however, the more sections or lines of code you employ in your campaigns, the larger the base size of your email becomes.

Most ESPs such as TouchBasePro (who we highly recommend you check out here) cater for this when creating your campaign using their email builder, but compressing GIFs and images from the outset will help you in a big way.

Reason 3: You kill your email accessibility

If you consider your visually impaired audience or foreign sign-ups, you're impacting them in a big way.

Many use screen readers or translation services to read your emails, so keep this in mind.

And alt-text is not enough! If someone struggles to read your offer, they simply aren't enticed well enough to buy from you.

An inclusive email environment shows that you care about the needs of every person in your audience. If you'd like more tips on email accessibility, you can read an in-depth article we wrote on email accessibility here.

Preview of broken images in an image-only email

Reason 4: You hurt your email's mobile screen scaling

If there's text on your images, these are likely going to look tiny on a mobile screen.

Yes, you can use specific desktop and mobile-only images, but doubling your workload may not be the best use of your time.

Statistically, almost 60% of emails are opened on a mobile device. That's massive! If your mobile experience isn't a good one, your emails simply aren't going to generate the results you desire.

You can read a previous article we wrote about email layouts that balance text and images to create a visual hierarchy in your emails here.

Reason 5: Your emails become unsearchable

If someone types a keyword into their inbox search bar, your email may be what they're looking for.

If you just use images, your email may not be found, so keep this in mind. Many readers might save your emails for later, especially for shopping days like Black Friday and Cyber Monday.

You don't want to lose sales if readers can't find your emails, do you?

Would you agree that image-only emails aren't a great idea?

If we haven't been convincing enough, here are 3 quick resources you can read about image-to-text ratios in your emails and how to structure your emails, instead of using only images:

And there you have it, folks. There are a multitude of reasons, including deliverability, that you'll want to consider too, but these five points are a start.

It's time to get cracking on making certain you have a good mix of text and images in your email campaigns.

Before you go, click here to grab a copy of our detailed Database Growth Playbook for Email Marketing to help you grow your database further and support your efforts 👇

Preview of the Ultimate Database Growth Playbook for Email Marketing by Email Expert Africa

Want more tips like these? Get our expert email guide today! Click here to find out more

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