How to Place Images in Your E-Mail Marketing Messages

By John Arnold

Properly placed images in your marketing e-mails can help break up the text and make your messages easier to scan and read. Improperly placed images can distract your audience from the main idea of your message and cause clutter.

You can position images as visual anchors that attract attention and give your audience reasons to stop scanning and start reading your e-mails.

Positioning single images in your e-mail marketing message

You have three basic choices for single-image placement in the body of an e-mail: centered, or left- or right-justified. To use image justification, you need to add an align command followed by left, right, or center in your image reference in HTML. For example: <img align=”left” src=”>.

Most e-mail applications and EMPs allow you to justify images with a user interface so you don’t have to know the code.

Try these layouts when you have one article and one image:

  • Centered: Your image displays in the center of a column above your text with no text next to it on either side. Centering is usually the best choice when an image is much wider than it is tall.

  • Left justification: Your image displays on the left side of a column with text placed to its right. In this layout, make sure that your text and image are the same height or that the text wraps underneath the image for at least two lines.

  • Right justification: Your image displays on the right side of a column with text placed to its left. Again, make sure that the text and image are the same height or that the text extends below the image for at least two lines.

Positioning multiple images in a single column of your e-mail marketing message

When you have multiple articles and images in a single column, arrange your articles and images in patterns:

  • All images centered: If the first article begins with a center-justified image, also center justify the images in the remaining articles for that column.

  • All images left-justified: Left-justifying your images works best when you want your images to be the main focus of your content. Your audience is likely to follow several images repeating down the page before scanning across the page to view the text. Left-justification is the best choice if you want to ensure that mobile device users see your images.

  • All images right-justified: Right-justify your images when your e-mail has a narrow left column that you want to draw attention to. Right-justified images aren’t as likely to be noticed right away.

  • Alternating justification left to right or right to left: Alternating justification gives your audience reasons to scan across the e-mail page instead of just looking straight down the page at a number of repeating images.

  • Bottom-justified images: Including images at the bottom of a body of text can be effective in catching your reader’s attention before she scrolls past the end of your article. Bottom-justified images can be positioned to the left, right, or center, depending on the image and the content that begins directly under the image. Some examples of effective bottom-justified images include

    • An image of your signature in a closing paragraph: Draw attention to contact information or a call to action.

    • A small picture or icon pertaining to a call to action: An icon of a telephone to draw attention to a phone number, for example.

    • A symbol or logo that displays credibility: For example, your certification as an authorized dealer to draw attention to a link to view a list of testimonials.

Placing images in multiple columns in your e-mail marketing message

When your e-mail uses multiple columns, leave plenty of space between images in adjacent columns so that your images don’t bunch up and cause your audience to scan away from the content related to each image. Tips for arranging images include

  • A narrow left column with images: Keep the images in your right column right-justified or centered, or you can right-justify your images to create the appearance of a column:

  • A narrow right column with images: Keep the images in your left column left-justified or centered.

  • More than two columns: Keep your image dimensions distinct and consistent for each column. You can use images with various dimensions, but all the images contained in each separate column should be the same size.