Reprogram Your Brain To Send Good Emails: Use Thumbnails
"A picture is worth a thousand words." This phrase has been used for years to highlight the value of a good visual image. A phrase that has led many marketers to believe more pictures = better content.
One of the most difficult ideas for new email marketers to understand is that email doesn't function like traditional medias. There are a number of unique rules and standards that only apply in email marketing. If you decide to step into the realm of email marketing, be prepared to throw some of your old rules out the window and to adopt some strange new ones.
In a series of posts, I am going to address several of the rules and issues that arise in email marketing, especially the ones that throw inexperienced email marketers for a loop.
Today, I want to focus on the misuse of pictures in email marketing. Many new marketers want to fill their emails with many large, impressive images. In the worst case some email marketers make their entire email one large image. The reason people fall victim to this taboo is because they are tempted by the possibility of making a beautiful and technical layouts with photoshop or illustrator. The major downside to doing this is, most of your recipients won't even see the image. Almost all modern email programs have a default setting to block images. It's true, users can choose to allow images after opening the email, but at first glance, if your message is one large picture, your customer will see nothing but a blank page and a "pictures have been blocked" message. This will not make a good impression and will most likely wound your email campaign, possibly fatally.
Another common misstep is loading an email up with images that have massive files sizes. Not only can this put a strain on your email system, but it can also trigger your recipient's spam filters. Of course you want your clients to see the best quality image you can provide and you may want to show off a beautiful product, but I highly suggest providing a properly re-sized thumbnail that links off to the larger image file hosted elsewhere. This keeps your email file size low and allows you to create concise and attractive layouts. Believe me, this will save you a lot of hassle and will make your emails much more manageable and effective.
As I continue with this series of posts I will discuss a variety of topics directed toward new email marketers, including posts like: Simple HTML Code Every Email Marketer Should Know, Understanding Open Rates, and Long Live The King: A Focus On Content.