Well, we all know that just outright text and images in email marketing campaigns have become too mainstream.
And, when you need your message to stand out and create an impact amongst a sea of other emails, it better be creative, isn’t it? One easy and effective way to achieve this is through GIFs. Yes, you read that right, GIFs.
After making our chats and comments more interesting, these quirky short animations have made it to the digital marketing ecosystem. So, why can’t you sprinkle a pinch of style and give your email a new avatar?
Though a new entrant in the email marketing paradigm, GIFs are an essential tool for non-verbal communication. However, they need to be carefully chosen and created. A well-executed one can give your email the much-needed character and appeal which might just get the job done.
So, here are the different ways in which you can make these GIFs grab all your recipients’ attention to make the most out of your email marketing campaign.
1. To explain the features of a product
Well, depicting your product correctly is one of the most important attributes in an email marketing campaign. So, to get the most eyeballs on your product features, it’s smart to use a GIF.
Here is a professional email template example from Bite that highlights their product packaging. Notice how interesting the whole proposition looks when presented in an interactive format like these GIFs.
Can you imagine how boring it would have been to see some static images of bottles and boxes when you opened this email? Well, that’s the magic of GIFs.
Source: Really Good Emails
2. To promote an event
GIFs can be incorporated in various forms and shapes. From animations to movie clips, you can create almost any clip into a GIF and up the interactive quotient of your email by quite a few notches.
What’s the best way to promote an event through your email? An image? Naah, not really. Why not send a GIF depicting what to expect at the event? It would deliver the message in the blink of an eye and get the much-needed user attention.
Did I mention that it might actually make someone walk-in to the venue? (if the event is hosted after this oh-so-long pandemic!)
Well, here is what Starbucks came up with to promote ‘Pop-up Parties’ across their outlets. The context of the mail is established even before someone reads the text. Just look at the hands raising a toast, but with Starbucks cups in them. Sorted, right?
Source: Really Good Emails
3. To show a video preview
In the times with ever-increasing bounce rates and diminishing attention span of the users, you really have a limited time to make your email ‘click’ to the user. And while you say that a video is a great way to make your email interactive and increase your chance with the attention span, it’s a tricky process.
Embedding video in the emails amplifies their loading time which might cost you some potential leads. Also, creating a video is not as simple as just giving a preview of it. Smart, right?
I mean, why upload a video and have a risk of potentially higher bounce rate when you can just communicate through a GIF. I am not advocating that a GIF can replace a video, but it is better to deliver some message than no message at all. Moreover, having the video preview as a GIF might elevate your chance of someone actually watching it.
Following email is a fine example from Litmus as they featured a video preview about their services.
Source: Really Good Emails
4. The visual oomph
Now, before you give an eye roll saying that the whole blog is about adding that visual appeal to your emails, I want to make a point.
Till now, we have discussed many implications that these universally-accepted, non-verbal video messages can have in your email marketing campaign. But here is more.
See, unlike images and videos, GIFs can’t be restrained to be featured in a particular manner, they are ‘free.’ For instance, let’s have a look at something very interesting I found from a Headspace email.
Source: Really Good Emails
You see the rising sun with a smile just lifts the entire mood or rather the ‘tonality’ of the email. That’s what I am talking about.
The text featured below in the email takes a back seat as soon as you see a cutesy smiling sun rising which delivers a very strong message about what the email is about, you guessed it right, waking up.
That is the power of a well-executed GIF in your mail. It just hits the right chord.
5. To guide readers to the CTA
You should insert GIF in such a way that it leads your readers to your call to action. In the ideal scenario, when your GIF is getting all the eyeballs, the CTA shouldn’t be far away.
A successful email creates the entire build-up focusing on the CTA, and your GIF can be substantially leveraged for that. Hence, make sure that you place right in the line of vision of your readers.
That being said, here are a few crucial tips you need to consider while adding GIFs to your email marketing campaigns.
6. Communicate the message
The image-viewing settings of the subscribers can be a potential block for GIFs. Recipients who have turned off image-viewing won’t be able to see your GIFs.
Hence, you must include ALT text for GIFs and your emails as you do for regular images.
7. Serve the purpose
GIFs might have become popular recently in the email marketing ecosystem, but they have been here for eternity. Their rise has got readers accustomed to seeing them pop up wherever they can.
It should be noted that GIFs can hold incremental value irrespective of their humorous perception as part of your email inbox storytelling techniques. Hence, as an email marketer, you should realize their worth and not place them just because you can.
It’s better to think of the story you want to narrate. After that, you need to zero down on the best medium to distribute it.
8. Keep a check on the size
The more frames and their resolution a GIF has, the larger it can turn out to be. And this might not be very good news for your email marketing endeavors since oversized GIFs can take their own sweet time to animate and end up eating data.
Following are the four smart ways to reducing your GIF’s size:
- Get rid of frames- Keep the animation simple. Your GIF can follow a minimalist approach like the rest of your email.
- Only the part of the picture should be animated – GIFs need not necessarily change in every frame. Using layers in Photoshop would let you isolate animated bits.
- Cropping – Focus only on the animated part and trim the rest.
- Colors – Reducing colors can also decrease the file size.
The thumb rule is to keep your GIF under 200-250 KB and you are all set!
So, these were some of the applications, and their well-implemented examples of how featuring a GIF can change the whole dynamics of an email marketing campaign.
From making a statement to making an announcement, they can be used anywhere and would give your email marketing campaign that extra dose of panache and get those readers clicking.
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Kevin George is Head of Marketing at Email Uplers, one of the fastest-growing custom email design and coding companies, and specializes in crafting professional email templates, PSD to HTML email conversion, and free HTML email templates. He loves gadgets, bikes, jazz, and eats and breathes email marketing. He enjoys sharing his insights and thoughts on email marketing best practices on his blog.