Create Great Looking Emails Without Images: Yes, You Can!
Most email clients suppress images by default for security and loading reasons. That means your emails render without any pictures. And that means recipients won’t see your images, period. The only way around this is to have your emails designed to be effective with or without images.
Unless properly designed, emails sent to recipients with images blocked or turned off are no longer the visually stimulating, brand-rich emails your design team labored over. They’re much more likely to fall flat or even look bad than they are to generate conversions and sales.
So how do you design for blocked images? We offer some tips below.
Create graphically rich emails without images
Even when you can’t rely on images, an email can be extremely graphically rich. A savvy, knowledgeable designer can create a compelling email design without any images at all. This matters to you as a marketer, because a visually appealing email will typically perform better than a boring one. And this is where all the science and art of email design come together.
Your goal is to make a graphically rich email minimizing image usage. That’s why email design really lends itself to thoughtful design. It’s okay to use small images, as long as they don’t wreck your email design if they don’t render.
Use alt text
To design emails that still get your message across and drive ROI, use alt text to ensure that at least text shows up in place of the images. Also avoid putting your main marketing message—especially your call to action—in images, or if you do, make sure you repeat them in the body.
It is possible to use fewer images and more alt text and still communicate your message, even with images suppressed. Alt text might be easy to forget since you as the email marketer aren’t likely to ever see it. Your recipients will, however. And if you haven’t added any, your email says the same thing over and over again: “Right-click here to download…” etc. Such an email says—and does–absolutely nothing.
Test, test, test
Always test. It’s easy to do with image rendering tools like those offered by Pivotal Veracity. You’ll not only see how your design looks without images, but also how it renders in different email clients and even on mobile devices.
You don’t have to abandon graphics altogether, but you do have to be more thoughtful in your design. It’s impossible to cover everything you need to know about designing emails for blocked images in one short blog post. So download this guide, “You’ve made it to the inbox. Now what? Driving ROI once your email is delivered,” for detailed advice on email design that succeeds with images and without.