Use Alt Text for Images in Email

SEO gurus and tools constantly remind you to set the alt text value with keywords for your images. You should do the same for images in email.

Don't forget to set alt text on images

Interactive email is the top trend for 2018

It’s common to use images in your emails. Sometimes for formatting, but typically to highlight something important. Such as a screen shot of a new product or offer.

Many businesses use stock photos for their email campaigns, but research shows, according to a study from the Nielsen Norman Group, pictures of people get better results.

And according to Litmus in their 2018 Top Email Design Trends, 44% of marketers surveyed said the interactive emails was the top trend.

Reasons to set the alt tag on email images

Setting the alt and title tags on images used in your email is a good best practice. Below are some of the reasons why:

1. The Email client may block the image

Many email clients block images. Especially if the email comes in from a source the client doesn’t recognize or if the sender isn’t on the safe senders list. And sometimes because the user has purposely disabled images.

When the image isn’t shown the alt text of the image will be shown in its place.

Here’s an example of what you don’t want:

Example of what you don't want shown for alt text

If the image is a screen shot of a new product, the alt and title text shouldn’t say, “Dashboard screenshot 2018-03” or worse yet something like, “IMG_9828.”

Instead, try something like, “Our new and improved dashboard will save you time.”

A good alt text for an image in an email

2. The email client is offline

Occasionally we still find ourselves in situations where the Internet connection is slow or simply unavailable.

Since the email client can’t load the image, the alt text will shown instead.

3. Consideration for visually impaired readers

Visually impaired readers rely on the alt tag to enable screen readers to communicate verbally what they may not be able to see.

Setting the alt text on your image allows screen readers to convey the meaning of your image.

Bonus – did you know you can style alt text?

Yes, that’s right. Our friends over at Litmus put together The Ultimate Guide to Styled ALT Text in Email.

Styling alt text is a simple way to use colors and font styles to help your alt text stand out when the image isn’t shown.