I’ve just been to see the annual prize-winning images at a local photographic club. It was a treat, with some quite remarkable, and affecting, pictures that you might consider putting in your living room. They caught the attention with their composition, use of colour and subject matter. None, of course would be any use for an email marketing campaign.
The last thing you want is for a subscriber’s attention to be focused on the images when it is the text you want them to read. Call to action buttons would be ignored. The lasting memory they would take away from the email would be the image.
The function of an image in a marketing email is to get the receiver to click through to a landing page. Completions are everything. To this end we need to ensure that the subscriber follows a route that takes them to a call to action. Any delays, any side turnings, could mean loss of control.
Every word of your text should encourage a click through. ‘Click through now’ is not only simple, it works. People like nothing better than to be told what to do. It is not so easy with images, but it is simple.
Here are some pointers – there are no rules in email marketing – to consider.
1/ Don’t make the image the main feature of the email. You don’t want them to focus on the image. Get them to move on.
2/ Make the image forgettable. No one remembers the layout or words. If they do, you’ve done something wrong. The same goes for the pictures. Ensure the image is as memorable as a road sign.
3/ Pretty is good. You want to grab a subscriber’s attention with an image, but not to concentrate on it. Pretty will make them look, stunning will make them stay.
4/ Direct the reader’s attention. The most difficult function of the image is to ensure the reader moves onto the section of the marketing email you want them to look at next. Whilst I would not suggest you stick a dirty great arrow in the image, if it can be made part of the scene, then go ahead. Here are two simple techniques that can control where a person looks.
a/ You can ‘unbalance’ an image. If you want the reader’s attention to move to the left, then, if you have a person in the picture, put them to the left of the centre line and have them looking left. It takes a really obstinate person to continue looking at the picture.
b/ An image can direct the eye around it by, perhaps, having a foreground, a middle distance and then further away. It’s easiest done with curves. Have the text or call to action you want them to see next as the following stage of the curve.
A good image for email marketing is one that makes the subscribers do what you want them to do, to go where you want. It won’t be one you want to put on a wall.