Still using standard, static header images in your emails? You’re allowed to have more fun than that.


In email marketing, personalization is one of the keys to a successful engagement strategy. Often when we talk about personalization, we’re talking about:

  • Content personalization—variables that insert text based on the recipient’s profile (think “first name” or “company.”)
  • Timing personalization—you could think of this as segmentation as well. In short, the recipient receives an email based on an action (or inaction) they have taken.
  • Preference personalization—this could be referred to as your opt-in strategy. In other words, the recipient has expressed interest in this specific type of content.


What we don’t spend enough time talking about, however, is image personalization. Image personalization offers a way to display a unique image within an email based on the recipient’s profile, behavior, time, availability, and more. The emfluence Marketing Platform partners with NiftyImages for this purpose, but there are plenty of other options available for creating variable image content—all with varying degrees of complication in building the images you want to incorporate in your emails.


If you’re looking for a way to engage your email recipients beyond the text content of your emails, let’s take a look at a few of the possibilities for variable images:


The Standard Variables

Simple but effective, using name, company, or location variables in the header image can transform a blah experience into something a little more engaging. Check out the header image we used in a recent email invitation to our annual And Then Some Conference:


variable email image


The same tactic helps personalize Really Good Emails’ newsletter as well:


variable email image


Rule Set Images

Did you know you can change an image after your email has deployed? That means you could change the header image of a flash sale or a limited time offer or show a different image to each customer segment based on:

  • Date or time
  • Day of the week
  • Time of day
  • Custom variables (location, membership status, recent purchase, etc.)
  • Randomize


NiftyImages recommends the following use cases:

NiftyImages Rule Set Options


Milestone Images

Got a lot of customer data? Consider a milestone email. Milestone emails leverage a customer’s unique data set to create a recap of their consumption over a period of time. The benefit? Rather than telling your customers how much value they’re getting from your company (or product), you’re showing them. And you know the old phrase—it’s always better to show than tell.


Here’s an example of Fitbit’s annual milestone email:

Fitbit Milestone


Urgency in Images

If you’re selling anything with a fixed quantity, then you know the power of scarcity. Using variable images, you can literally show stock flying off the shelves or count down the minutes and seconds left to make a purchase.


In this NiftyImages example, you can use a custom image to count down the number of seats remaining:


email variable image


Or leverage a countdown timer to signal the end of your sale:


Countdown timer header


How are you using images beyond the static header? Share your awesomeness in the comments!


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