Full Screen

Images in Email

More Free Lessons in

Email Marketing View All →

Get cutting-edge digital marketing skills, know-how and strategy

This micro lesson is from one of our globally recognized digital marketing courses.

Start a FREE Course Preview Start a FREE Course Preview
Global Authority

The Global Authority

12 years delivering excellence


245,000+ Members

Join a global community


Associate Certification

Globally recognised


Membership Included

Toolkits, content & more

Digital Marketing - Study Notes:

Considerations for all-image emails

There are some considerations to think about when we think about all-image emails.

Now, you only send an all-image email to readers who can open those messages. You only send it to people who you know, based on your data and your open rates, can open this. You don’t want to send it to people who are just looking at real-text versions because they won’t get your message.

Check your work before you send it to your list. Check to make sure the images are all loading. Check to make sure that they’re not being blocked, because these are usually HTML-specific images that are loading on a server somewhere else. They’re not accompanying the email.

You can use a cascading style sheet (CSS) to format your Alt text. A CSS essentially says if an image doesn’t show up in an all-image email, CSS will modify and format the Alt text that is accompanying or describing those images that aren’t appearing. So they’ll basically say, “Okay, the text isn’t going to just appear black and white and boring and not formatted.” CSS will allow you to kind of have a backup in place in case that image doesn’t show up in the email.

Balancing images with a copy.

This is about optimization. This is where your graphic designer should play a huge part in the creation of your email template. It’s about contrast, it’s about layout.

In this example, you’ve got a lot of centering, you’ve got a lot of black and white. What works best? You’re going to do a bit of A and B testing. You’re also going to check, “Okay, people tended to click more often on this particular message than this one.”

You also want to have some consistency across the themes, but again, it’s okay to balance it out. Put the images here, bit of text there, but take a look. There’s a lot of graphic design books out there.

One of the things that I would do, when it comes to email marketing and your templates and your design, is go forward and look at design inspiration from other areas. Web design and presentation slide-deck design, for example, can give you a sense of layout and contrast and color. These are formats that are designed for a quick read. A slide-deck, for example, has to look good and be compelling. A web page or web content or a blog post has to be compelling. It’s similar to an email template.

Image downloads and open rates

Image downloads are essential in helping to determine open rates. These are part of your tracking. This is part of your statistics.

When an email is sent, there’s a small piece of code that is automatically added and that request happens. When that tiny piece of code happens, there’s this invisible image from the hosting web server, and that invisible image that gets loaded. Every time it loads, the reader opens the email, that image gets downloaded to their computer, and that user engagement is recorded. That user engagement gives you a lot of data and analytics you can then use in just your data enrichment scheme.

Remember, that’s how we track open rates these days is, via image downloads.

Back to Top
Eric Stoller

Eric Stoller is a Higher Education Strategic Communications Consultant and Blogger at Inside Higher Ed. With a background in student affairs, academic advising, wellness, technology, and communications, Eric educates clients and audiences on digital identity development. As a blogger, he generates conversations, answers questions, and provides insight about a variety of tech topics, including Social Media Strategies and Email Marketing.

By the end of this topic, you should be able to:

  • Evaluate the role of email marketing in demand generation and lead conversions 
  • Evaluate marketing emails designs and their effectiveness
  • Appraise the performance of email marketing campaigns

    Data protection regulations affect almost all aspects of digital marketing. Therefore, DMI has produced a short course on GDPR for all of our students. If you wish to learn more about GDPR, you can do so here:

    DMI Short Course: GDPR

    The following pieces of content from the Digital Marketing Institute's Membership Library have been chosen to offer additional material that you might find interesting or insightful.

    You can find more information and content like this on the Digital Marketing Institute's Membership Library

    You will not be assessed on this content in your final exam.


      Applied Email Marketing
      Eric Stoller
      Skills Expert

      Communication expert Eric Stoller will help you to identify the attributes and features of an effective marketing email. You will recognize the importance of professional email design to retain brand reputation and subscribers, and will understand that testing is the basis of every successful email marketing campaign. Eric will then introduce the key metrics and statistics within email reporting, and will help you to identify methods for optimizing the performance of your campaign.