Should you use images in Outlook sales and marketing emails?

By: standss , Jun 19th, 2013

Like many other email clients, images are turned off by default in Outlook. What does this meant to you if you are sending sales and marketing emails to Outlook users?

First… why are images turned off in Outlook?

  1. It helps users avoid viewing potentially offensive material (when external content is linked to the message)
  2. It helps to keep malicious code from damaging the data on your computer.
  3. It stops spammers from tracking which users actually opened their emails.

You can find more information on why images are turned off in Outlook at this link.

How will recipients see your images?

Most recipients will NOT have the images displayed when they receive your email. Instead they will see a red X.

display image

In order to view your images they will need to MANUALLY right click over the space where the image should be displayed and then click Download Pictures.

Can you make sure that recipients will see the images in the emails you send?

NO! There are settings in Outlook which you can use to display all images, or images from selected recipients but… you cannot control them as the sender.

Each user controls how they want to view emails that they receive by changing their settings BUT…

A study by Jared Pool shows that less than 5% of users have changed any settings at all.

So what should an Email Marketer do?

  1. Assume that users have not changed their settings… and that they cannot see your images.
  2. Build a relationship with recipients by sending useful emails so they actually want to read your emails. This may mean sending emails with more text than images to start with.
  3. Use colors, highlighting and other HTML ideas to format your emails. Don’t just rely on images
  4. Structure your email with a mixture of text and images so that recipients actually WANT to see your emails.
  5. TEST the emails by sending them to yourself. Make sure that the view images setting in your Outlook is OFF. Do you see enough in the email to want to view the images?

I hope that this blog post helps you make better use of images in your emails.

If you do send a lot of sales and marketing emails out to customers, you may also want to look at Email Merge for Outlook.

Email Merge is already used by thousands of Outlook users around the world to improve deliverability and response rates for sales and marketing emails.

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