It is common advice that when selecting an image for an email marketing campaign you should not go for one merely because you find it attractive. After all, you are not trying to sell to yourself. An image should catch the attention of a subscriber just long enough to ensure they do not to click on the delete key, and also to garner enough interest to make them read on through the email. Unfortunately, all this has to be completed in less than a second.
If that wasn’t enough for just one image, it should neither irritate your subscribers nor offend them as the unsubscribe button is always there, only too ready to be an outlet for their emotional response. In order for you to be able to pick an image effectively, you have to smother your own emotional response and instead view it as a subscriber on your email marketing list. Not too much to ask, is it?
I was reading an article in a photographic magazine, aimed at professional photographers, that contained an image I found remarkable. It grabbed my attention and I wanted to know why, as it wasn’t particularly outstanding. It was of a young, attractive woman in an evening dress, walking across an ice flow with what appeared to be the face of a glacier in the distant background.
There was nothing special about the composition. The woman was on a dividing third so it was a bit basic, yet it held my attention. I asked my wife what she thought of it and, after studying it for a couple of minutes she said that the poor woman must be freezing and it showed the casual attitude of photographers to the welfare of their subjects.
On the one hand, the image had interested both of us; the problem was it did so for different reasons. I was intrigued by the incongruity whereas my wife’s reaction was one of sympathy for the poor woman as well as resentment against the photographer. Yet it would have been a poor email marketing image.
It caught the attention, but held it. Being intrigued is the wrong response, as was my wife wanting to pick an argument with the photographer, so neither of us were likely to complete. To prove it failed, I cannot remember what the article was about. The picture of the person on an ice flow dominated.
An image should be unremarkable. Its sole function, as with the copy, is to keep the reader interested enough not delete the email, and also to encourage them to read on, in essence, forgetting the image. It is there merely as a stepping stone to the next stage.
When selecting an image, the one that leaps out at you from the array on your screen is probably not the one to include in your next email marketing campaign. You want the one that you noticed as suitable but was eminently forgettable. An image becomes effective merely by encouraging a particular response, in our case to make the person read on. Anything else is a hindrance.