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How to Make Smashing Main Images For Your Email Campaigns

How to Make Your Main Image Great Again?

It takes only three seconds for someone to make an impression about something. For emails, these three seconds are the decisive moment – to leave your email or keep reading it. Of course, those who often read your news already have a good impression of you, but for those who rarely open your emails – it’s all about those three seconds.

In most e-commerce emails, the first object that appears after opening your email is the main banner, known as the Hero shot. dictionary explains what a Hero shot is:

A visual representation of your offer that demonstrates how your product or service actually works so your prospects can picture themselves using it.

In this article we will walk through the steps of making your main image exciting to the customers – so they would catch your email and read it.

Message of your Hero shot

Studies show that the human brain sees and starts to analyze an image in only 13 milliseconds. They say the brain processes visuals 60 000 times faster than text. In other words, the first impression about your email will come from your Hero shot.

The Hero shot must contain all the necessary information about your email without reading any text. A great example is how “Friendly’s” have done it:

“Friendly’s” ad

In this case you see a big, delicious ice cream with bananas and nommy whipped cream. It’s clear that the email is about selling tasty ice cream. You don’t even need to read the text to get the message “We sell delicious Ice Cream.” Good Job, “Friendly’s”!

People buy emotions, not things

Emotions can drive us crazy and sometimes even make us do things we don’t want to do. Marketers can use emotions to make people buy more stuff. Hubspot’s infographic shows TOP 10 emotions that urge people to take action:

  • Fear
  • Guilt
  • Trust
  • Value
  • Belonging
  • Competition
  • Instant gratification
  • Leadership
  • Trendsetting
  • Time

Good practice is to trigger two or three emotions within your email campaign. It’s not an easy task, but use your creativity, and you will succeed! Most marketers trigger emotions via copy. Let’s see another great example, this time from “HEADSPACE”:

This Hero shot tells you that this email is about cool audio stuff. You can’t specifically tell what kind of audio it is – ebook, music, podcast, etc. However, this is a welcome email, so the recipient already knows what’s this service about.

In this case, the triggered emotion is belonging. Look closely – two people are happy while listening but the third one doesn’t listen to anything. You can spot sadness in his face. This is a good way to appeal to people’s emotions and make them convert! Good job, HEADSPACE!

Colors and filters for your hero shot

Our minds already trigger thoughts when seeing colors without any particular objects. For example, when we see red, we instantly think about stopping because of traffic lights or signs that we see every day. Color psychology is a powerful science which can be used to succeed in marketing.

No doubt that your company already has its brand colors, so take a look at this interesting image about color meaning in company branding:

Yes, company colors make an impression but remember it’s not necessary to use only your brand colors while creating the Hero shot. Colors are related to emotions and feelings. Understand what is your email about and then try to include colors that suit your needs best.

Let’s take a look at what people think or feel while seeing different colors (by Color Wheel Pro):

NB! They say that orange color stimulates hunger, so the “Friendly’s” ice cream hero shot scored!

Does your Hero shot load fast enough?

Remember those three seconds? People start having an impression even before your Hero shot is loaded! Your task is to make it load as quickly as possible. Imagine if your Hero shot’s size is 5mb, mostly it would take more than three seconds to load. Some tips to make your Hero shot optimized:

  • Image width and height – if you need 600px wide image in your email, then make your image actual size the same. It is one of the most common mistakes many marketers make.
  • Use right format – when you have finished your hero shot, choose between *.png, *.jpg or *.gif formats to see where the image size would be smaller.
  • Optimize your images – if your image is *.png or *.jpg then compress your image via tinypng, and save up to 60% of space.
  • Use Alternative text – add a text which can be read while your image is loading. You can even add color and size to your alternative text.
  • Use Background color – so while your image is loading, people would see at least the color of it.

Last two points are great to cover for email clients which block image loading and ask permission. Remember to keep the balance between image size and image quality – no one likes low-quality images without sharpness!


  • Your Hero shot needs to tell people what your email is about, without reading any text
  • Your Hero shot needs to trigger emotions
  • Think about colors you use in your Hero shot
  • Be creative and bold while making the Hero shot
  • Minimize the loading speed of your Hero shot
  • Use Alternative text and Background color for your images

How to Make Smashing Main Images For Your Email Campaigns
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