Text-based vs Creative Emails – What works better?

How do you create your emails? 

Or, rather, what do you think of when you imagine an email? 

Is it a neatly designed image-based email that is visually appealing, or is it a regular email that’s used for work comms or basic conversation? 

Advertising today is intrinsically image and video-based. 

Think Facebook, Instagram, TikTok and the like… 

But when it comes to emails, that’s where the rules change slightly. 

Why must emails be different?

The difficulty for email marketers is avoiding hitting the spam folder rather than the inbox or promotions tab. 

So while we would all love to be creating these visually appealing emails that are beautifully designed and express the brand’s creativity, there’s always that nagging possibility that those images you’ve built out to form one email might not show when someone opens your email. 


It’s called image blocking. And it’s the bane of every email marketer’s existence. 

Image blocking in emails takes place when email clients stop the automatic loading of images in email. 

This is done for different reasons, with security being the main one. 

However, if your email ranking is higher due to strong open and click rates and people starring you rather than marking you as spam, you shouldn’t have much to worry about. 

Nevertheless, sending image-only emails or, even worse, an email that’s just one image, is risky not only because of image blocking but that:

  • Lacks personalisation
  • May not be mobile-friendly 
  • You’re more than likely to be marked as spam
  • Large images take longer to load
  • It’s bad for user experience – especially if they’re on dark mode

Solutions and best practices

Emails were always meant to be conversational, and that’s why text-based emails are encouraged. 

Many of the top marketers don’t use any emails and consistently send out text-based emails that are conversational. However, a large majority of brands want to go the visual route. 

The solution? 


As a general rule, you should be aiming for a 60/40 text/image ratio. 

This ratio can even go as high as 80/20. 

However, as we’re in the fashion eCommerce industry, our emails usually need to be more visually appealing. It’s a fine line to balance  but if your list is engaged and you follow best practices, you should be fine. 

An example of best practice? 

Include alt text behind every image in case it doesn’t load so there will be some information there for the user to see. 

Also, do your headings in text, where possible, and type out your store info and footer so there’s some text.

A good rule of thumb is to test what works for a brand. 

You can play around with text-based, image-based and a bit of both and see how the stats vary. 

Every brand’s email list will react differently to different emails. 

Brands using images only might see lower deliverability but if they are popular with their customers this may not be the case.  

Email deliverability is tricky and there is no hard and fast rule as a variety of factors impact it. 

The best way to ensure maximum deliverability and engagement is to continuously test to see what works. 

So, next time you’re putting an email together why not try out something text-based that you haven’t tried before? 

In reality, there’s no way to know how your list will react if you don’t try.

And you could find a new path to more revenue that you didn’t expect.