So, your design team has been working all week on an awesome-looking graphical email with great eye candy that contains your calls to action. Everybody is happy with how it looks, you hit send … and it lands in a large percentage of your recipients’ junk folders where no one will see it.
Why did your carefully crafted email meet this unfortunate fate? Most likely, it was because you used all graphics and hardly any text in your mailing. And no, an opt-out link at the bottom doesn’t count as a large amount of text.
Here are three reasons to avoid image-only emails as a general rule:
1) ISPs want to see a balanced text-to-image ratio.
While there are some ISPs that are trying to scan images for certain content/keywords, most inboxes can only read text by default, meaning they can’t see your calls to action in your images. That makes these heavy graphical emails look spammy in the eyes of the ISPs. And depending on your IP reputation, the ISP may be skeptical of these emails and send them to the junk folder.
2) It makes it easy for recipients to see your calls to action.
Almost all major email clients will have images turned off by default until your recipients add you to their safe senders list or choose to allow images to be downloaded by default. And if your recipients can’t see your calls to action, why would they use the “this is not spam” feature to send your emails back to the inbox?
Also, since opens are tracked by having images turned on, if these recipients don’t download the images (which include the tracking 1x1 pixel), these opens won’t be tracked for those mailings. Remember: The more recipients are engaged with your emails, the more messages land in the inbox.
3) It helps ensure your email lands in the right place.
Text will also help ISPs like Gmail and their tabbed browsing put your mailings in the correct tab based on the content and keywords used in your mailings. And with the possibility of more ISPs shifting to similar inbox layouts and algorithms, including some text calls to action in your emails will help you stay ahead of the curve.
This doesn’t mean you can’t position your calls to action within your beautiful graphics. By all means, make your emails as visually appealing as possible, but just make sure you also put your calls to action in text so recipients can see them and then choose to download the images.
You’re probably wondering what text-to-image ratio will deliver the best deliverability and engagement. Unfortunately, there’s no clear-cut figure, as the types of emails you send will partly determine the answer. Use your marketing platform’s deliverability tools and A/B testing capabilities to test different configurations and see which mailings provide the most positive engagement.
1) “7 Tips for Designing Emails to Avoid Deliverability Issues”
2) “Blocked Prefixes and Email Deliverability: What Marketers Should Know”
3) “10 Steps to Keep Bad Email Addresses Out of Your Database”