Pictures Paint A Thousand Words -- So Keep Them Out Of The Spam Folder

It's a cliche, but as many invariably turn out to be, the suggestion that a picture paints a thousand words really is true. Scan through your email inbox and you'll see that nearly all branded messages will arrive accompanied by a picture. If it's not an image of a particular item attracting an amazing offer, then it will likely be a generic image library shot or graphic of some kind which helps the eye ease into the message.

My inbox is always a mixed bag, to be honest, because it contains a lot of information from organisations looking for media coverage as well as retailers trying to sell me more stuff. When I look at the mix of sales and coverage pitches, however, one thing is very clear -- pictures draw you in and a long page of text has to be truly compelling to hold the attention for as long.

It's probably little wonder, then, that the CMO Council's research suggests that 46% of marketers say images are "critical" in their marketing and 47% say they are 'important'. Video, infographics and illustrations are also deemed "important" by more than half of marketers. 

However, there is always a "however" when it comes to marketing, particularly email marketing. Just as display suffers from horrendous viewability issues, email has a problem with spam. So it's worth pointing out that too many images can get your carefully crafted messages sent to the dreaded spam folder where they will never be seen.

Thus, it's worth looking out for some top tips on how to use images to attract engagement rather than the unwanted attention of spam filters. The very obvious point is that not all inboxes will automatically render pictures properly, and many users may have settings that prevent pictures from being displayed. So it's never a good idea to rely solely on getting the message you need to convey through overlay words. Text on a photo can work just fine but if the picture doesn't render properly, it's lost. Best to ensure the message is contained in the header too.

The other obvious point is to try to stick to pictures at the top of an email. Experienced marketers suggest that this is not only where they are clearly most likely to be seen, it's also the area that will attract less attention from spam filters. Pepper an email with images or make an email one giant picture and spam filters are likely to take more of an interest and send deliverability rates down.

So by following a couple of guidelines and not overdoing it, using images is a very effective way of getting more attention and engagement. It's a wonder, then, as you filter through the average email box, that so many are allowed to remain just one huge page of text. 

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