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Sure, a picture may be worth 1,000 words – but only if it’s the right picture. To help you avoid resorting to generic stock photos, we’ll show you the 7 types of images you should be adding to your email campaigns, plus where to find them.

When you find yourself trying to deliver a lot of information via a single email campaign, the first question should really be, “How can I make this simpler?”, or “How can I express this better?”. Instead of overwhelming readers with text, images can often be used instead to summarize ideas, or create appeal. So, let’s get started on a couple of ideas for creating evocative campaigns.

Statistics, reports, and complex data can often be hard to comprehend and see the key messages in, but using charts and graphs to represent the data can make it much easier for scanning readers to grasp the key message you are trying to tell.

Here are a few tools to help you create charts and graphs for your email campaigns:

  • Piktochart – This infographic tool has some great features to help you create beautiful charts. You simply enter your data, select the type of chart and style you’d like and you’re done. You can then download the charts for free (through they do include a small watermark) or you can upgrade to a pro account to get more templates and watermark-free downloads. A great option if you only have a small amount of simple data to visualize.
  • Google Sheets or Microsoft Excel – These classic spreadsheet programs can easily turn your data into a wide variety of charts and visualisations. By default they’re pretty ugly, but with some coaxing and a good design eye, you can make something pretty decent. Overall, a great option if you have a larger or more complex data set you want to visualize.

Using screenshots in your email campaigns can be a great way to showcase new features orproducts. Instead of simply explaining the way your application or website works, give readers a visual overview of it so they can see for themselves just what they could be getting.

Here are a few tools to help you create screenshots for your email campaigns:

  • Awesome Screenshot – This handy browser extension for Chrome, Safari and Firefox makes it really easy to capture a screenshot straight from your browser. You can capture the whole page or just parts of it, and download it straight to your computer. From here, you can simply drag and drop it into your email campaign and you’re done. We use it when creating screenshots for our Email Design Gallery.
  • PlaceIt – This awesome tool makes it easy to capture screenshots and add them into various screens, like Macbook sitting on a desk or in an iPad sitting on a park bench. It allows you to add that professional image to your screenshots without needing to know photography or photoshop skills. There are plenty of settings to choose from, and you can either upload a screenshot you’ve already taken or enter a URL and it will grab a screenshot directly. All you then need to do is download the image and drag and drop it into your email campaign.

Sometimes you just need a real, personal image of your product or business to show people how great it is. In this case, don’t be afraid to snap a photo yourself and include it in your email campaign. Even if your photo isn’t the highest quality, personal photos might be just the realistic touch your email subscribers are looking for.

Here are a few tools you can use to create great personal images for your campaigns:

  • Camera phone – Most people these days have a camera built into their phone, and if you have a newer model there’s a good chance the camera is more than capable to taking a reason picture that can be included in an email campaign. So snap a photo, email it to yourself and then upload into your next campaign.
  • Camera Phone + Lens – If you’re looking to get a little bit more fancy with your photography (but not fancy enough to buy a full DSLR), then you could try using a camera attachment for your smartphone. Tools like the Moment Lens turn your iPhone into a powerful camera capable of capturing beautiful images you’d be proud to include in your email campaigns.
  • DSLR – If you’re wanting to take some beautiful photos of your products or business to include in email campaigns, then it could be worth investing in a DLSR. Entry level models aren’t expensive, and with a little know how, you can be adding beautifully-shot personal images to your campaigns in no time.

Soon, we’ll be posting on how to add Instagram photos to your campaigns using our RSS-to-Email service – stay tuned to our blog for more.

Using the right stock image in your email can create an emotional response to your product or service – and hopefully, convince people to click through. Pictures of amazing food do a great job of say, enticing people to make a restaurant booking, while images of tropical locations can be enough to inspire people to take a holiday. Think, sunny beaches when it’s raining miserably outside.

Unfortunately though, there are a lot of cheesy stock photos on the web – which will only do the opposite (and yes, drive away potential conversions).

To find the best stock photography for your email campaigns, check out these sites:

  • Death to the Stock Photo – A great site containing hundreds of extremely beautiful stock photographs. You can signup for the newsletter and get a free pack of photos delivered to your inbox each month, or upgrade to a premium plan for $10 which gives you access to the entire library of photos.
  • Gratisography – A collection of photos from Ryan McGuire that he has made free for download and use by anyone. The range is limited, but each photo is beautifully shot and would go great in your email campaigns if you can find one to match your content.
  • IMFree – A great site with a solid collection of beautiful stock photographs. Photos are well organised into various categories which make it easy to find the right image to match your content.

Alternatively, if none of these have the right images for you then check out our post on 8 free sites to get amazing images for your email campaigns for more options.

If you can’t find the perfect image for your email campaign, sometimes the next best option is to create your own. Although this can seem daunting for anyone who isn’t a master at Photoshop, it doesn’t have to be high design; it just needs to help get your message across and create desire amongst readers to convert.

Fortunately, there are some great tools out there that allow even those without professional design skills to create great looking images. These include:

  • Canva – Canva is a great tool for creating beautiful images for your campaigns. It contains beautiful stock images which can be used in your designs, and you can easily add other elements such as text, banners, frames, and buttons as well. It’s drag-and-drop interface is super easy to use, but it still makes you still feel like a design genius.

Using comics in your email campaigns can be a great way to make your business and your message seem friendly and approachable. Whether it brings a laugh, a smile, or a nostalgic memory from the past, these kind of fun images can help make your business more relatable and likeable (although you have to be careful to not overdo it).

Here are some resources to help you find comics for use in your email campaigns:

  • WebDonuts – WebDonuts is an archive of free comics created by artist Mike Gruhn. If you can find the right one to compliment your message, these beautifully-illustrated, humorous comic slides would be a great addition to your email campaign.

Campaigns with a lot of copy or images can sometimes be a bit overwhelming – so sometimes, it’s a good idea to use icons to express ideas in an easily-scannable way. We commonly see icons used to highlight key features in a product and unlike more complex photos, they tend to keep the reader on the message at hand.

There are plenty of icons available on the web, so we’ve narrowed down the field to some of our favorite resources:

  • The Noun Project – An online collection of free and paid icons which you can download and use in your marketing content. The site features a great search functionality that allows you to find whatever icons you need for your campaign, and a simple search for terms like ‘plane’ or ‘book’ will return hundreds of icons you can use.
  • GraphicRiver – A design marketplace where professional designers sell their work, usually for minimal prices in the $1 to $10 region depending on the size and complexity of the item. They have thousands of icons available for sale on the site in many different styles, so you are bound to find something that suits your campaign.

If you don’t have the time to browse through the collections on these sites, you can check out our post on 6 free icon sets you can use in your next email campaign.

In conclusion

Using these different types of images in conjunction with our easy drag-and-drop email builder and your snappy email copy, your campaigns can accomplish more than ever.

Your turn: Are there any other types of images you’d add to this list? Let us know!

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  • Otis Chua

    Love the explanation. these ideas and advice could really help me.

  • Jaina

    I’d never heard of PlaceIt before now – am awestruck. All this time I’ve been painstakingly using Photoshop to get that screenshot just right in whatever device I’ve been trying to fit it into!

  • Ana

    Hey Aaron, great article!

    We have a free placeit account for your blog posts. Contact me!

  • Parker

    Great article. Totally agree on the whole point that images attract traffic, if properly done.

  • Headinc Clinic

    Extremely interesting article. Imagery is so important in getting clear messages across! Thanks for the share.

This blog provides general information and discussion about email marketing and related subjects. The content provided in this blog ("Content”), should not be construed as and is not intended to constitute financial, legal or tax advice. You should seek the advice of professionals prior to acting upon any information contained in the Content. All Content is provided strictly “as is” and we make no warranty or representation of any kind regarding the Content.
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