All the Reasons Why Your Small Business Should Use Gifs in Emails

Some businesses swear by using GIFs, and some avoid using them like the plague, so where does this leave your business? Is it something you should be interested in and trying, or should you not? While every business is different, today's guide should detail everything you need to know.

Katherine Rundell
Katherine Rundell
Writer & editor
February 05, 2021

As a small business, you'll already understand the importance of creating great content. Whether you're posting on social media, writing captivating product descriptions, drafting your website pages, or captioning photos, your success in the world for modern business depends on the content you're able to create and how it resonates with your customers and target markets.

That being said, there's no type of content more effective or more important than email. Email is still by far the most important way to connect with customers, a form of communication that sees the highest return of investment than any other form of marketing. So, how to write such tremendous and captivating emails that get results?

While there are endless variable factors I could explore, one of the more modern questions businesses are asking is whether or not they should use GIFs in their content. Should you?

Some businesses swear by using GIFs, and some avoid using them like the plague, so where does this leave your business? Is it something you should be interested in and trying, or should you not? While every business is different, today's guide should detail everything you need to know.

Why Are GIFs So Important?

While looping animations and moving images may not seem like the most essential thing in the world, and probably not the number one priority when it comes to how to progress your business, they are an important form of content creation that you need to be thinking out.

In the modern world, customers are on the lookout for creative content that catches their eyes and makes them want to know more. In a world where content is highly visual, and video is king (just check out the popularity of streaming services and YouTube), GIFs are earning their place.

As a small business, the chances are you don't have the budget to create and direct high-quality video content that can rival the biggest brands in the world, but with GIFs, you can create a similar amount of intrigue.

You don't need to film anything, and you don't need to spend a fortune on animation. GIFs sit in the middle where you can create engaging visual content for a low cost. When it comes to the power of GIFs and what customers think of them, there's no doubt that most target markets will love them.

The human mind is capable of processing an image around 60,000 times faster than it can the written word, so if you're trying to send a powerful and compelling message quickly, aka capturing your customer's attention as soon as they open your email, using a bright and vibrant GIF is a great way to do so.

As the saying goes, a picture is worth a thousand words, and a moving picture is worth so much more. Let's say you're explaining a product works. Instead of having a still image with lots of annotations, or a massive block of text explaining everything, a simple GIF lasting a couple of seconds could be more than enough explanation in no time at all.

GIFs Get Results

Okay, there's a lot of theory there as to whether GIFs work or not and how effective they are at sending a message, but what are the facts? Well;

Some of the top companies in the world have been using GIFs in their emails, and they are delivering some fantastic results. I'm talking about companies like American Apparel, Dell, Amazon, Twitter, and many more.

Focusing on the Dell campaign, they found that using GIFs within their email content, had a 6% increase in the email's opening rates, a massive 42% increase on their click rate, and, wait for it, a massive 103% and 109% increase in conversion rates and revenue respectively. That's massive, and you cannot ignore how effective GIFs are bringing in those kinds of figures.

When you consider that the human attention span is shorter than it's ever been, which has now been proven to be shorter than a goldfish (it's sad, but that's where we're at right now), having moving images in the forms of GIFs replacing text content has never been more important.

I know I'm talking a lot here (we have so much to cover) but research shows that internet users only read about 28% of written content that's on a page, and with just slightly over a quarter of your content being read, you need to do everything you can to ensure your message isn't being missed; which means using GIFs to drive home what you're trying to say.

According to the facts, this is a technique and approach that works.

Tell a Story

Before moving onto the logistics of making and sharing your own GIFs, it's important to note that GIFs are all about telling a story, and this should be your mindset towards them when thinking about using them for yourself. It's all about taking your message and then sending it in the most powerful way possible.

As mentioned above, GIFs take less time for the human brain to process and are much more welcomingly received than traditional text messages and walls of written content, meaning they'll stand out and resonate with your audiences.

Can GIFs in Emails Outline Me Among My Competitors?

Short answer, yes.

Long answer, absolutely.

If the biggest businesses in the world are doubling their click and conversion rates using GIFs in their email content, then so can you; but it's all about finding what works for you. If you're a professional, formal business, then using a GIF may be inappropriate and may even harm your business. You need to decide whether your GIF fits your branding.

However, don't think for a second that all GIFs are just cheesy looping images of short movie quotes that teenagers send to their friends, oh no. GIFs can be so much more. There are plenty of great GIFs out there that are professional and informative.

GIFs can literally be made out of anything; they're simply single image frames been played one after the other. You could have a GIF of a man blinking, or you could have a diagram of a heart with arrows moving that show which directions the blood is flowing. The world is your oyster when it comes to the message you want to send.

Linking this back to the first question; yes, if you're able to send a powerful and compelling message through the moving images that are GIFs, you're going to rise above and be outlined by customers from your competitors.

How Can I Make My Own GIFs?

I absolutely encourage you to create and send your own GIFs where you can. They are so much more creative and impactful because they'll be GIFs that no one has ever seen before, and they'll be designed to send the message you want to send.

Fortunately, you don't need to be an animator or computer whizz to create GIFs on your own. All you need is a computer connected to the internet. Here's how to do it if you're starting from scratch.

Step One

Head over to the Canva website and create an account. It's free, and you only need your email address and a password to sign up. There's a massive library of templates you can use, and premium options if you find a feature you want to use.

Step Two

Take the images you want to use or create them from a base file. This means basically create each frame of your animation. If you have no idea what to do, take your smartphone and take a burst photo of something happening that you want to make a GIF from. Then upload the photos to Canva, so you have them all accessible and in order.

Step Three

If you haven't taken your own burst images and you're making some, simply choose a template or create a design on Canva and create layers. This could be as simple as a blank image with text that flashes up saying 'SALE NOW ON".

You just need to make four images—a blank image, and then one with each of the words appearing. Make sure you don't move any images once you've saved one and moved onto the next. Otherwise, it won't look very good once animated.

Step Four

Save your images to your computer and then head over to the GIPHY website. Upload your images and put them in order, and then save your GIF. As long as you're downloading this image in the GIF format, you'll have a moving GIF that you can then use in your emails.

That's literally how easy it is to make GIFs!

If you're trying to create a GIF using the scene of a video, simply cut the video clip down to the length you want it to be, maybe adding subtitles if you wish (important since GIFs are unable to have any kind of sound), and upload to a video to GIF converter website online.

Download the GIF, and you'll be all set to go!

What Size Should a GIF Be?

Before we head into the more frequently asked questions that are asked when it comes to GIFs and email content, one of the most common is what size you should make it. After all, placing any kind of image into an email can make it bigger, making the email slower and bulkier to load, so are GIFs the same?

In short, yes, they are, but as long as you're careful with your sizing's, you shouldn't have any problems. No matter how you choose to make your GIFs, you should have the option to size them however you want.

The sizes you'll want to choose will be around 480x480px. This will be a nice square image that won't be so big it will bloat out your images. You can go a little more or a little less, especially if your image is a rectangle and not a square, but around this size will be best for a balance of quality and fast loading.

That's dimension size-wise. When it comes to the physical memory size of your GIF, you'll want to make sure it's under 2mb and use this as a rule of thumb.

Frequently Asked Questions About GIFs?

As you can see, using GIFs within your email content can be an incredibly powerful form of media and can be extremely effective when it comes to sending a message to your customers. However, whether you're choosing to expand out or use them for the first time, you may have some questions about how to proceed.

For the remainder of this guide, I'm going to answer some of the more commonly asked questions you need to know, helping you learning everything you need to know when it comes to using GIFs within your email content.

1. Do All Email Clients Support GIFs?

All the main email clients support GIF playback as standard. This means anyone using Ymail, Gmail, Verizon, etc. will all open your email, and the GIF will start playing and looping automatically.

The only exception is Outlook email (damn you Microsoft) that will only display the first frame image of your GIF, so you'll want to make sure it's a good one!

2. Where Else Can You Use GIFs?

Easily one of the best factors to using GIFs is the fact you can use them anywhere on the internet. Starting from using them in your emails, you can use them on any social media platform, whether you're posting them on a post or replying to a comment. You can integrate them into your website pages.

You can post them on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, embed them into PowerPoint presentations or integrate them into your WordPress pages. It really doesn't matter where you want to use your GIFs; you can, so don't worry about only creating them for your email content.

Once you've made GIF, you can use it anywhere you want for life.

3. Are GIFs Mobile Friendly?

Absolutely. Another great thing about GIFs is that it doesn't matter whether someone is looking at it on their computer, tablet, or smartphone, GIFs will load, and they will play. There's hardly any optimization process that needs to take place, and since GIFs don't use as much data as high-quality video, they'll load on pretty much any device instantly.

In a world dominated by mobile phones and slow attention spans that despise slow loading videos and poor cell reception, fast quality GIFs are welcomed with open arms.

4. Are GIFs Really Worth More than Words?

Yes! I shared some studies about in the second sector, but just to be clear, customers seeing your GIFs will remember them far more accurately and clearly than if you simply share words with them. Studies show around 80% of people will remember visual images more than the 20% of will remember what they've read.

People are visual beings, so give them the visual content they want to see!

5. Do People Like GIFs?

Absolutely. If they didn't, why would billions of them be in existence? GIFs have been around for a long time in all kinds of media, more so now when people are replying to each other online or sending funny ones to their friends and family. GIFs are known for being fun, light-hearted, and casual, and this is what many people want in a world that can feel so dark and serious.

Using GIFs can be a great way to lighten up someone's day and bring a smile to their face, meaning using GIFs in your email can be a great way to invoke a powerful emotional connection with your reader!

6. What Can You Make GIFs Out Of?

Anything; that's the magic of GIFs!

You could take a scene or a funny quote from a movie. You could take literally any scene from a video. You could create an employee doing something in your place of work. You could take a diagram and add little animations to it to describe what's going on. There's no limit to what kind of content you can create with your GIFs.

A top favorite that's quick and easy for small businesses is to make GIFs out of video previews.

Let's say you've created a video that demonstrates how to use your product; a tutorial to your business. Instead of placing the full video into your email, or linking to it and hoping for the best, take a scene from your video and turn it into a video preview GIF. This way, when people load up your email, they're going to see the video preview, and they'll want to click the link to know more because they already know what to expect, and there's less risk of their time being wasted.

Written by
Katherine Rundell
Writer & editor

Katherine Rundell is a writer and editor at HND essay writing. She specializes in topics related to social media and relationships, as well as helping small businesses grow to their full potential.

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