You might wonder how direct image links or direct URLs are related to email signatures. If you can use an embedded image, you do not have to worry about any links. However, linked images have some upsides: for example, they don’t increase the email size. What is more, there are situations in which linked images are the only available option. To add a linked image, you need a direct URL to it.
The HTML format, by now the standard for pretty much all email correspondence (business, marketing and even personal), allows for 2 ways of inserting images into messages – linking and embedding. The choice may seem trivial, but in reality the difference is between e.g. a marketing banner being displayed correctly in the recipients inbox or being blocked and displayed as the dreaded ’empty box with red x’ (Fig. 1).
Fig. 1. Famous ‘box with red x’ indicating issues with an image.
Photos, logotypes, various types of banners, social media icons, etc. are more and more becoming a crucial part of a professional email signature. Unfortunately not all email platforms offer an easy way of inserting pictures and graphics into footers.
The 2 options we will be looking at are:
linked images – located on a web server and downloaded into the email each time it is viewed;
embedded images (also known as inline images) – part of the email, sent together with the message as hidden attachments.