5 Tips on Using Visuals in Emails for More Effective Communication

Images are processed 60,000X faster than text

Updated on November 4, 2019

Plain text messages work, but when companies opt for using visuals in their emails they get better results. Images save time – it was found out that they are processed 60,000 times faster in the human brain than text.

They also prevent your emails from being interpreted the wrong way. Visual information helps to deliver a clear idea, even if the topic is complex or difficult to understand. The less you leave to readers imaginations in business communication, the better results you get.

Obviously, choosing the best-performing visuals is not a piece of cake, considering there are no one-size-fits-all solutions for all niches and businesses. However, you can follow these simple recommendations are proven to work.

1. Be consistent: match your text with visual information you provide

Sometimes images are perceived by marketers as just text decoration with no actual meaning. But not aligning them with words may cause a cognitive dissonance in your readers and lead to confusion. If designers are involved, make sure they understand the message you'd like to convey to your audience and are able to sew it into lines and colors.

Depending on your business, you should use the right type of images: either representative, or conceptual. The first show your actual product and immediately let your readers know about your offer, and the latter are usually more creative, since they serve a purpose of visualizing concepts, which are abstract ideas.
What if you have neither an in-house designer nor budget for buying exclusive visuals? There is still an option for you as well.

2. Use free graphic design software to create original images

Instead of using free stock photos that are worn-out from top to bottom and definitely do not contribute to increasing your brand's visibility, invest a couple of hours in learning how to create original images with online tools like Crello for free. Even if you have no design skills at all, mixing elements from templates made by professional designers keep you from producing trashy visual content.

3. Include images from your social media feed

Why do extra work when you can save resources and create stronger associations with your brand at the same time by using images from your social media business accounts in emails? You do not have to come with different visuals for each marketing channel -- it is even better to unify your visual communication.

4. Analyze what colors best convey your message

Although the psychology of colors is still to be studied, it is certain that people are affected by them. It's always better to run your own A/B tests to see what works for your business, but general principles can be applied everywhere. The first recommendation is to avoid combining colors that shouldn't be combined. You definitely have other objectives than cutting your readers' eyes to pieces, so try to make your email as pleasant to look at as possible. The second one is to pay attention to seasons. Try to be in harmony with colors outside. Scientists say that our visual systems respond and adjust to seasonal color changes, so from a marketing point of view it is a wise decision to make people feel more comfortable by meeting their temporary preferences.

5. Evoke emotions

It goes without saying that by provoking an emotional response from your readers you increase your chances of being noticed and have more means to influence their decisions. This means you have to supply your emails with "layered" images, those that not only complement the meaning of your message, but also spread the right emotional vibes. Before creating visuals, you should already have an idea of what feelings you'd like to get from people who will receive your email. It may take some time to come up with a "juicy" and fresh visual representation, but it's worth it.

And what has to be mentioned as well...

Is an overall quality of your email, which can be lost due to wrong formats, sizes, and coding mistakes. It's so much better not to make things complicated when there is a possibility they might not work. Do not overload your message with plenty of visuals leaving people without a possibility to enjoy your work and check how your emails look like before clicking the Send button.

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