The use graphics or to not use graphics – that is the question for many many in marketing. On the one hand, graphics can be gorgeous visual statements that drive the message. They can be used as the entire communication piece, with text embedded in through Photoshop; they can be used to further the narrative with artfully placed graphics; or they can be strategically used in an email signature as a punctuated after-thought to driver readers to a landing page. On the other hand, they can also hinder communications if they’re not properly downloaded. There are a few reasons this happens, and you’re probably on the receiving end of some of these reasons too.

The root of the problem lies in email server types. The fact is, not all email servers are the same. Some will be more friendly to images, and others (like Outlook) will not. Outlook, which is the most commonly used business email, tends to be a problem for many – and there’s the common misinterpretation that there’s no way to bypass the picture block. There is.

The are three reasons pictures get blocked in servers like Outlook:

  1. You’re either blocking external content
  2. Your SecureTemp folder is “full”
  3. You have Word’s “picture placeholder” setting enabled

If most of your recipients are outlook users, you can guide them on how to unblock pictures in servers like Outlook through very simple steps. The challenge is doing this remotely or through instructions alone with most of the population still isn’t tech savvy when it comes to understanding the mechanics of things like email settings.

Another commonly used email server is Gmail, which also has the same graphic downloading problem as Outlook. To bypass the obstacle, you need to encourage subscribers to disable their HTTPS settings for their Gmail account.

Beyond Outlook and Gmail, you’ll encounter problems with Hotmail, Yahoo and even mobile technology. In each instances, you’ll have to communicate to your subscribers on enable multiple types of email servers since you couldn’t possibly know what the various types of commonly used servers are from a list of let’s say 200 to 2000 subscribers. The solution here is draft a text email that lists out the steps for various servers.

Even better solution is to rigorously rely on an email marketing platform. The only surefire way to bypass the graphics issue is to use an email campaign template for all email communications. The template will ensure that images, gifs, and videos are framed in a way that support the content, and the marketing campaign will have a text-only option as well as an html viewing option. This way, both types of users are able to access your communication the way they prefer rather than being forced down a messy graphics funnel.