With more e-mail programs blocking images these days, is it still a good idea to include them in my e-mail newsletter?

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Answer: As more Web-based e-mail services, such as Gmail, Hotmail, AOL and Yahoo, block images by default—and let recipients decide to view them or not—it's probably fair to question whether adding images to your e-mail newsletter is still worth the effort.

The short answer is yes. Images, much like fresh vegetables and regular trips to the dentist, are a good thing, and here are three quick reasons why:

  1. E-mails with images get better results than those without. It's true. People like pictures, and recent studies have shown that when an e-mail includes at least one image, recipients tend to read more of the text that goes with it. Graphics are an easy way to grab your readers' attention, and in a cluttered inbox on a busy day, well done graphics can often mean the difference between someone stopping and reading or deleting and moving on.
  2. Including images allows you to track opens. Sure, images make e-mails more attractive, but there's another reason to include them: tracking. Most services track e-mail opens based on the viewing of images within those e-mails, and though it's not an entirely rock-solid number—after all, someone can open your plain text e-mail, but unless he or she clicks a link, there's no way to track it—open tracking remains an important part of the response picture.
  3. Images are still just a click away. If you're sending to people who know and like you, odds are many of them will want to see your full e-mail, images included. Sure, it now requires one more click, but aren't you worth it? Hopefully most of your audience will think so.

So, say yes to images, and make sure your e-mail campaigns give recipients a reason to say yes to them, too.

Clint Smith is a cofounder of Emma (, a Web-based e-mail marketing and communications service.

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