Not all email newsletters are created equal.

You can make yours stand out by going multimedia — using pictures, videos, and other types of interactive elements.

But, incorporating different types of media is not enough. You must to do it right to make your efforts worthwhile.

More and more small businesses and nonprofits are incorporating pictures and videos to engage their email readers. Unfortunately, that also means more and more small businesses and nonprofits are incorporating pictures and videos the wrong way.

Delight your email readers by avoiding these three all-too-common mistakes:

1. Using too many images

Images capture attention immediately and do a great job of bringing your readers in. However, using too many images can have an adverse effect. Not only can it distract from the message itself, but it can prevent people from actually reading your email. Also keep in mind that one large image isn’t the solution either. If your image is too large, it can take a while to load on a mobile device, or even worse, it can load and then the user may have to scroll from left to right to view the whole thing. Standard smartphone screens are 320–480 pixels wide, so make sure your images do not exceed that.

Suggested fix: Instead of cutting back on the size or number of images used in your email, direct readers to an online album on a site like Facebook, Flickr or Picassa. This way, people can see the images and engage with your message without the images distracting from the real purpose of your email.

2. Embedding videos

The amount of videos being created and consumed is growing. Unfortunately, so are the common mistakes surrounding videos. Often, they’re embedded in the body of an email. In many cases, that means they get blocked by a spam filter, or the video isn’t even displayed because the user has images turned off. If an email never sees the inbox, then your customer will never see the email. And if the email does make it past the spam filter, embedding the video means you’ll have no way of knowing who has watched it.

Suggested fix: Instead of embedding a video, include a screenshot and make that picture a clickable link to your video. With Constant Contact, you can do this easily. Not only does inserting your video as a link get you past spam filters, but Constant Contact also tracks how many times that video was clicked on and by whom. This vital information tells you what topics your audience is interested in and wants to hear more about. Often, our customers struggle to find content for their emails, and viewing this video reporting data certainly helps with that!

3. Including too much content

A great way to add compelling content to your email is to feature a blog post that you wrote, or perhaps an interesting post that someone else wrote. However, pasting the entire post into your email does more harm than good. Email readers are scanning for relevant content that’s interesting to them. A full blog post will make your email too long and you’ll have no way to tell if anyone read it.

Suggested fix: Why not insert part of the blog post (a paragraph or two) and include a link to the full post? This serves two great purposes: It makes it easier for your readers to scan your email and find the content they’re looking for, and you can see how many times people clicked on the link to the post. And, by inserting just the first paragraph of a few blog posts, your audience has more topics to choose from. Then, when you check your reporting data, you can easily see which of those topics people like best, and which ones you can skip next time.

Make your emails even better

By using pictures, videos, and blog posts correctly, you can collect valuable information about your customers likes and dislikes … information you can use to make your next email even better!

Do you use photos, videos, and blog posts in your emails? I’d love to help you with your questions about them. Ask them in the comments below.