Originally published on blogs.constantcontact.com – Written by Pamela Wilson
Have you ever noticed how much you have to read every day? The people on your email list are no different. We’re all processing information from the time we get up until the time we shut our eyes at night.
One way to give your email readers a break—and for you to take a break from all that writing—is to use images to communicate some of your messages. Let photos do the heavy lifting for a while!
But to use images to your full advantage, there are a few power moves you should be aware of. It all starts with what you’re trying to accomplish.
1. Will you tell it like it is, or like it’s going to be?
The first power move is to know what kind of image is best suited for what you’re trying to communicate. The two main categories of images are literal images and conceptual images. If you’re selling products, literal images work best. Aim for nice, clean photos of your items, and use a consistent style from one photo to the next. For example, if you decide to photograph your products on a white background, use a white background for all your product photos in the future so they’re consistent over time. If you’re selling a service, a conceptual image might work best. Conceptual images are perfect for conveying a feeling, or demonstrating a benefit. They show how your prospect’s life will change after they do business with you. Some examples are the bright smiles on the face of the family who goes to a certain dentist, or the relaxed face on the client of a massage therapist after her appointment.
2. Point them in the right direction
Most images have “sight lines” that send your viewer’s eyes in one direction or another. For example, in the image at the top of this post, the man is looking down into the post, which leads your eyes directly into the first line of this article. Sight lines aren’t always that obvious. See Point Out the Obvious with Images for more examples of sight lines, and how you can use them to “point” your reader where you’d like them to look.
3. We have the need for speedy images
Images come in different sizes and resolutions, and when it comes to email marketing, you want to keep them small and lean so they load quickly. If you decide to use images from your digital camera, for example, you’ll need to reduce the size and resolution before you upload them. PicMonkey is great for this, and you have access to it from within Constant Contact. Just go to PicMonkey’s Basic Edits and click on “Resize.” Save the image at the exact size you plan to use it, and use the lowest quality possible for images that are speedy to load and still look great.
4. Show us something we haven’t seen before
In 2010, Jakob Nielsen did an eye tracking study which showed that web users ignore images that are purely decorative. That means those perfectly-posed, beautifully-lit stock photos you paid for and added to your email may not even be registering with your reader. The solution? Avoid clichéd images. Offer up images that look less perfect and more “real,” and you’ll hold their interest.
5. Think about your brand’s “personality” and make sure your images express it
Your brand personality refers to where your company falls on the continuum of conservative to casual; closely-guarded to transparent, and more. For a quick worksheet that will help you nail down your company’s brand personality, download this Brand Personality Worksheet. Once you’re clear on the kind of brand personality you want to communicate, you can choose images that reflect it, and use them consistently over time.
6. Use images that convince people to buy
If you’re selling a product or service with your emails, you can reassure nervous prospects by using “trust” images. These include a symbol to represent your guarantee terms, and a security symbol to demonstrate that their online purchase is protected. Using images at the crucial juncture when your prospects are deciding whether or not to buy can make the difference between an “Add to Cart” click and a click away.
Take a break from writing, and use more images Images give you a break from writing, and give your reader an easy way to process your information. And as they say, a picture is worth 1,000 words.
How will you use images in your next email communication?