Images and Online Marketing

It has always been said that “a picture is worth more than a thousand words”. This is more relevant in today’s world where consumers – both individual and corporates – are increasingly using the online world to make their pre-purchase decisions. So, it becomes all the more imperative that you capture the fleeting attention of your target audience. So what if you knew all about images and online marketing.

Images have the power to influence your readers more than words. But, if you are not following the best practices, it is possible that your images will be having the opposite effect.

According to the e-mail marketing leader, Constant Contact, these are the six common image mistakes you should avoid in your online marketing campaigns:

1.    Straying from your brand

Every image in your email should reinforce your business values and brand. Look for ways to include your company colors and logo in images, so your contacts will immediately think of your business. While you’ll want to use original images whenever you can, there are also great sites you can use to find professional-looking stock photography that won’t damage your brand.

If you’re already using Facebook or Instagram to share photos of your business, most e-mail marketing service providers help you integrate those accounts to their service. Once this is set up, you can easily use the images you’ve shared on social media in your email marketing campaigns.

2.    Getting your image size right

Once you have decided which images to use, you want to make sure they fit in your email campaign. If an image looks too large or small, you can re-size the image. Here again, most e-mail marketing service providers, give you the ability to do this within their system. If you’re having difficulty getting the image size right, you can also try cropping your image to a different size proportion.

For single column templates, your images should be no wider than 600 pixels (a typical email template’s width). Specify the image height and width for all images, and be sure to preview your emails on both mobile and desktop before sending.

3.    Use the correct image file type

If you notice your image quality is distorted, check the file type of your image. Most of your images will probably be saved as either JPG files or PNG files.

While JPGs are often great for smaller images, they don’t work as well with images that include text. PNG files support text well and can fix some distortions that are caused by other file types.

Here are some quick tips on what file types to use.

 
Type: Pros: Cons: Works Best With:
JPG
  • Small file size
  • Distorts image to reduce file size
  • Doesn’t work well with text
  • Doesn’t support transparency
  • Photos
GIF 
  • Small file size
  • Supports basic transparency
  • Limited to 256 colors
  • Images can appear grainy if they use web-unsafe colors
  • Logos
  • Simple graphics
  • Low resolution images
PNG
  • Best quality, regardless of content
  • Supports full transparency
  • Great for text
  • Can fix some distortions caused by other file types
  • Larger file size
  • Won’t upload If over 5 MB
  • All images

4.    Be aware of the display options

Remember that your email can display differently in various email programs — some email programs will even block images automatically.

This is why it’s beneficial to use an email template and insert your content, rather than simply uploading an image and using it as your entire email campaign.

One of the best ways to make sure your email can be viewed as you intended it to be, is to add a “View as webpage” link to the top of your email. That way, anyone who runs into display issues can view the full email the way you designed it.

You should also add image descriptions to each image, which will show up even if the image is not displaying.

5.    How many images should be used

Have you ever wondered how many images to include in your email? A recent survey of over 2 million customer emails was done to find out if there is a correlation between the amount of images included in an email and audience engagement.

It was found that — with some industry specific exceptions — emails with three or fewer images and approximately 20 lines of text result in the highest click-through rates.

You can use these results as a guideline for designing your email campaign. Remember that this number can vary based on the type of message you’re creating and the information you decide to include. Just remember that with a growing number of people reading emails on mobile, you need to be clear and concise when designing your campaign and avoid overcrowding your emails.

6.    Not providing a next step

Images do a great job of grabbing attention, but make sure you know what to do with that attention once you have it.

Think about the action you want people to take. If you’re a nonprofit organization that’s hoping to generate donations — you can use an image to make a personal connection with your reader and include a button for people to donate online.

You can do the same if you’re trying to promote your products or highlight your different services. Just make sure you’re providing an easy way for people to take the next step.

As with the author of the this original article, I am also convinced that you will be a much better situation in your online marketing efforts if you put these tips into action.

So what are you waiting for?

[ The original article on the right way to use images to boost your online marketing efforts appeared in the blog of Constant Contact.]
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