How to Use Visuals to Increase Your Newsletter Open Rates






Email marketing has become one of the most used tools by marketers and, because of this, it is getting harder to engage subscribers and achieve solid email newsletter open rates.  

The key to standing out from the other newsletters your users are subscribed to is providing value and sharing well-designed content. 

Images, such as videos, photos, infographics, and even gifs are no longer an accessory on the internet, and that is also true for email marketing and newsletters. Your subscribers expect the same high-quality imagery that they look for on the web and sending poorly-designed content might mean losing subscribers and, even worse, being flagged as spam.

This means that one of the secrets to increasing open rates is to leverage visuals to communicate in an engaging way and present your message quickly, so users will find reading your content a pleasurable experience.

If improving newsletter open rate is all about sending users valuable content designed engagingly, visuals, such as infographics, videos, icons, posters, and photos are great tools when it comes to email marketing. 

To provide insights and hopefully help you out, we will present a few tactics to boost your newsletter open rates, backed by our experience and expertise.

Use a Combination of Visuals and Text

When that data is transformed into visuals, it becomes much easier to understand. Also, using visuals make your content more appealing and eye-catching than merely textual emails.

You can vary the kind of visuals you share in your emails to convey your message depending on the topic you are covering. When promoting new products, for example, lifestyle photos are a great pick if you are selling things like clothes and glasses, while a comparison infographic makes more sense to help your audience to chose between different features and plans, like in this template below:

The mix of images, text, illustrations, icons, and data visualizations, make infographics a great way to deliver information and engage users. Infographics can be considered a one-size-fits-all tool to share all messages with your audience since you can add charts, and other visuals to convey all kinds of data. 

Also, it is important to communicate with your subscribers not only to sell them your products and services, but also to educate, amuse and surprise them with interesting, fun, and valuable information. 

This kind of content keeps audiences engaged and curious about your messages. See an example of fun data that is worth sharing once in a while:

Furthermore, don’t be afraid to use videos to share things like behind-the-scenes, testimonials from customers, and video tutorials

Videos can significantly spice up your newsletters and your content strategy in general, leading to increased conversions since 90% of consumers state that video directs their decision when making a purchase. Vídeos also helps you to add a human touch to your email marketing strategy and connect with your audience.

Newsletters Tips and Examples

From making your visuals responsive to using uncommon layouts to make room for your images and surprise your readers, newsletter design is full of possibilities for improving the quality of your content

Most newsletter templates are pretty similar, but you can vary your layouts to something uncommon to make your message stand out. 

See how this snake layout, for example, leads the eyes across the page and provides a more interesting reading experience. Also, icons play an important role in this template and create a path for the reader to follow the text.

Image Source

Also, playing with colors is a great way to create a hierarchy and divide your content into sessions, in addition to making your newsletter more eye-catching. 


When using visuals ensure that they are there to catch your readers’ attention and, even more important, to help them easily understand your message. The focus should always stay on the content, so when adding product photos to your newsletters, you can use a color palette generator to achieve a subtle color scheme, like in this example below:

If you’re willing to share photos in your newsletter, a good option is to rely on an infographic template, so you can create your design and add icons, text, and buttons with links to your site and social media. Also, when using this kind of tool you can download your infographic in diverse formats according to your content.

Infographic Newsletter

In some cases, an infographic newsletter is a good option, especially when you want to cover a wide range of topics and events. In such situations, you can use icons, buttons, and photos to add links to the content you are promoting, so infographics are the perfect tool for conveying your message, like in this newsletter template:

Choosing the Proper File Format and Size

We’ve mentioned how important it is to choose the right place for your visuals, but there is another critical aspect to bear in mind. Large images can slow down load speed and make your readers give up on reading your email. Also, some recipients may have limitations on the file size. 

The best way to control the size of your email visuals is by using the correct image format. The most popular image file types are:

  • JPG – provides a deeper level of detail — great for photographs – and can be resized to smaller files and easily scaled without losing resolution.
  • PNG – good for graphics up to 16 colors.
  • GIF –  smallest size – quick loading content without high-resolution graphics.


Videos are a highly-engaging way of communication and one of the most consumed pieces of content on the internet, being shared on nearly every social media, from Instagram Reels to LinkedIn. 

Most marketers add videos to blogs and social media, but how about adding videos to your newsletters to provide your audience with a more personalized experience?

Videos are the closest to a personal touch that we can experience on the internet, and they are a great way of communicating if you want to improve your brand’s voice, share stories and build trust with your subscribers, in addition to showing your brand’s personality in such a private space as en email inbox is.

Also, if put yourself in your readers’ shoes, you might figure out that emails with phrases like “new video” or “video inside” in their subject lines arouse our curiosity. 

Let’s see a few ways of leveraging videos to make your emails more interesting and increase your newsletter open rates.

Customer Testimonials

Customer testimonials are a great way to make your newsletters more engaging and leverage user-generated content to spice your email marketing strategy. Testimonials from satisfied customers are more trustworthy than what companies say about their own products, so we tend to want to see what other people say about the products before making a purchase.

This kind of content should be sent to a segmented audience of prospects and existing customers that have bought other products and might consider upgrading or testing new features. 

Also, video placement is very important, so when adding testimonials, make sure you place them at the bottom, so you can create storytelling as a teaser for your video. Furthermore, video testimonials are a powerful marketing tool, so placing in a wrap-up-way to drive action.

Onboarding Videos

This one should be sent only to new subscribers or customers, and it is like a welcome email that you can use to share critical information and tips or make them feel free to reach out to your customer support. 

If you provide a free trial for your software, course, or tool, for example, an onboarding email is a great opportunity to show your subscribers how they can make the most of your product and also present some features they will find on a paid subscription. 

So a good onboarding video will make your audience interested in your further emails and also improves your chances of getting paid subscribers for your services. An investment newsletter, for example, can include an onboarding video to increase brand trust and share success stories.

Onboarding videos can also help industries such as tourism, culture, fitness, and more, by showcasing more product options to existing customers or teasing subscribers by presenting products from their best angle, like this newsletter below.


Also, when we talk about adding videos to our newsletters, sometimes we have to work with developers. A good example is adding HTML5 videos to emails, as this feature can improve engagement and conversions. In this case, an HTML email developer crafts new custom messages for our target audience

Whether you are sharing tips, testimonials, or welcoming new subscribers, remember to make it clear in your subject line that your email contains a video. For example:

  • [New Video] Five tips for improving your content marketing strategy
  • Five tips for improving your content marketing strategy
  • [VIDEO] Five tips for improving your content marketing strategy

Wrapping Up

Tracking ​your newsletter open rates is the best way to measure how engaged your subscribers are and a great indicator of the quality of your segmentation and content. 

Low open rates indicate that you are reaching the wrong audience or that your content is not properly designed. If that is the case, try these best practices to make your content more engaging and increase your newsletter open rates.

In short, the design best practices for using photos, videos, and infographics presented in the upper examples are: 

    • Create a content hierarchy by using visuals, icons, colors, fonts, and lines to divide your message into small chunks and highlight critical points.
    • Add alt-text to accompany images and appear when they don’t load and make your newsletter more inclusive.
    • Make room for visuals.
    • Aim for a balance between images and text.

And when in doubt, look at some successful campaign examples for inspiration.

Author Bio

Alessandro is a Content Creator at Venngage Infographic Maker. After many years working as a journalist, he now enjoys writing on visuals, SEO, and content creation. His aim to help people to simplify the content marketing process and take visuals to the next level.

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