Emails that convert is a new blog series we’re launching in 2017. We plan to deliver short, actionable insights on email marketing. Simple tips and tricks that you can implement in less than 5 minutes explained in under 1000 words.

The issue

You craft your next email message for a couple of hours, test it, edit it and finally schedule it to go out and bring back some cash or leads. But it doesn’t meet your expectations – neither in terms of engagement, nor regarding the sales.

There is one thing you could do and you probably missed. One small detail that could have increase open rates and engagement, and probably – sales too.

It’s the ALT TEXT of the images included. That small nasty detail we all tend to overlook – it’s not that important after all. Well, it actually is.

The ALT TEXT is what the email recipient sees if the image did not load for him – due to limited internet or the image missing. It’s like a warning label that says – “There had to be something here, but there isn’t!“.

The ALT TEXT works to convince the reader that the image is so awesome and important, that they have to see it.

Why it matters?

Consider the last email you sent to your list. You carefully selected that image to increase the emotional value of the text and to convince people. Now imagine that same email without the image – does it still have the same emotional and sales value? Would you buy if you were to receive that message?

All email marketing and marketing automation softwares (all of them!) track if an email was opened by a small image sized 1px. That’s also why we call it a pixel. Once the image is loaded, the email is considered open and the system registers it. The pixel in itself is transparent and too small for the reader to see.

But nowadays not only Gmail, but other email clients are not loading images by default for most of their users. And that means lower and incorrect data on the open rate.

Let’s check the following 2 examples. Same email sender, 2 ways of handling the ALT TEXT.

Example 1: ALT TEXT Ignored

convert with email - images no alt text example

Example 2: ALT TEXT Used

 convert with email - images with alt text example

How to fix it?

There is nothing easier than adding ALT TEXT to an image you’re uploading in your email. The settings are always right there in front of you.

tip to increase engagement - how to add ALT TEXT

It’s not enough to just include a description of the image. Our goal is to convince people that they need to activate images – on this email and all further messages from you. I’ve seen some really fun Alt-texts that made me smile and want to see the real image immediately. Here is an example of what you could do:

  1. Sales email with special offer – create an image with the offer and tell people to activate images to see the promo.
  2. Add a personal image that relates to the story and tells part of it – get people to see the last bit.
  3. Use humour – just plain tell them “Hey, what if this image was something awesome and you’re missing on all the fun?”. Or “Oops, that’s disturbing. It’s like you’re seeing my email naked”

My point is – make it authentic to your brand and message, make it fun, make it captivating. Make people want to see that image.


The results you can expect are better open rates and engagement rates – most people would activate images for all upcoming emails, not just the first one. And that would give you better understanding of who is opening your emails.

Even if it’s just for that small vanity bump of 2-3% in the open rates, it’s still worth it.

Let me know if you enjoy this new blog series Emails that Convert. We’d love to create more of that if you like it.

Want to discuss your marketing automation ideas with us? Contact us today and schedule your free call to bring your business automation to the next level.