Images can enhance a message and draw attention to its key components. But, when they are blocked and appear as a big, red X in the recipient’s preview pane (often with the instruction to “right click to download”) they can lose their effectiveness. The reason images are often blocked is to enable users to prohibit unwanted (or inappropriate) images from loading automatically. Blocking images also protects readers from spammers who use them to verify the email address is real.
The impact of blocking images comes in multiple forms (such as lower open rates and disabled banner ads which can hurt advertiser supported material), but they all lead to lower deliverability. Like other delivery issues, email marketers can institute practices to help minimize this issue.
- Get whitelisted and ask your readers to add your company to their “approved sender” or “safe list” to ensure email is allowed through with a minimum of filtering, image blocking included.
- Add a link to view the email online. The “view Web version” links back to a version of the email hosted on your server where images are easy-to-view.
- Provide a prominent text link to the message at the very top of your message so recipients can always choose a text version.
- Before sending check the appearance of your message in the preview pane. Is there enough information to entice the reader to open the message? Or, is the preview pane filled with images and graphics that won’t download.
- HTML is beneficial but don’t neglect the text version of your message. A strong, relevant text version ensures you still reach users, regardless of format preference.
- Don’t ignore text links. If your email includes several key linked images, consider adding text-based links as a caption to the image or in the copy of the message.