Love them or hate them, GIFs are an essential part of the internet now, and they will never go away. Ever. They are a permanent fixture like the black hole at the center of our galaxy, meaning that even if they suck a lot, they’re pretty cool. Personally, we’re very pro-GIF here. They’re our love language. There is no space on any forum or comment section that can’t be improved by a looping animation of a cat falling off a table, or a beloved scene from ‘The Office.’ GIFs can do anything, but can they help you connect with your customers? Can they help your organization succeed? We just said they can do anything, so the answer is ‘yes.’

Let’s talk about your emails. They’re probably fine. You have the right amount of information to get the prospects interested, and you’ve got some talented designers making it look all fancy. The thing is, there’s a lot more you could be doing using GIFS! What are some of the benefits? Are you missing out? Let’s see:

Grab Your Subscribers’ Attention

Think of your audience like the T-rex from ‘Jurassic Park.’ Their vision is going to immediately snap to anything in motion, but instead of devouring theme park attendees, they’re going to be devouring your content! Putting things in motion allows you to point your recipients towards a CTA, accentuate any information you feel is the most important, or just make the email more interesting.

Adding custom GIFs to emails ups their value in the minds of your recipients, and conveys the idea that you mean business. When they see that kind of animated design work, the message is going to seem much more important right off the bat, because it will feel like you put a lot more work into it before sending it their way.

Show Them What You’re Working With

You know what it is you do or sell, but the people receiving your messaging might not. There’s a very easy way to make your product more accessible: GIFs! Using animation, you can show short, clear examples of how your product works, or what you do. Sure, you could have sequential, still images that do the same thing, but which one is more visually appealing?

Simplify a Complex Idea

It can take a lot to sum up a complex idea with words. When you’re writing it out, you run the risk of overdoing it, and losing the attention of your audience. You need to strike a perfect balance in order to keep people with it, but if that balance is off in any way, the reader will either still lack understanding, or they’ll become disinterested.

With GIFs, it’s much easier! Complex thoughts and ideas can be simplified and illustrated through easily-digestible animations. There are whole recipe channels out there that will show you how to cook complex dishes using only GIFs. Imagine what you can do with the same tools!

GIFs can be absolutely invaluable, but there are certain things you need to be aware of before putting them in your emails all willy-nilly, such as:

Size of the GIF

When you’re creating a GIF, it’s a lot easier than you think to make it too big. If you’re using lots of high resolution images, that file size can make your email load very slowly. It’ll weigh it down like an anchor. A good rule of thumb is to keep the dimensions around 600 pixels wide, as that’s generally a good size for emails. If you make them much smaller than that--and you have to increase the size for any reason, you could lose resolution. As for the file size itself, which should prevent slowdown and loading issues, try and keep it below 2,000kb if you can.

Transparency

When you include a GIF in your messaging, the background is important. You don’t necessarily have to do anything with the background, but if you don’t, you’re going to end up with a rectangular background that will look unpolished and clunky. To combat this, you’ll want to either make the background transparent, or match it to the exact color of the background that it’s going to rest on. It may seem simple enough, but believe us when we say that it’s worth it to take the extra care to make it look nice.

How To Create a GIF

All this talk of GIFs and animations, but where exactly do GIFs come from? Why, they come from you, friend! Making a GIF is a bit of a process, but once you get it down, you’ll be able to keep doing it. Like riding a computer animated bicycle. Let’s go over some quick highlights in the GIF making process that can help you get started.

  • First, sketch out your concept in order to establish the artwork you want to use, and so that you can think through how the movement should look. 
  • Then, create flat, vector artwork for GIF at the correct scale for your email. Make sure it fits!
  • Animate your artwork using your preferred software. There are several programs to choose from, and depending on your organization, you may already have access to one or more of them!
  • Export the animation video into your preferred software in order to convert it to a GIF.
  • Add that bad boy to your email code, sit back, and admire the dope thing you’ve created. 

GIFs are a design asset that is going to bring your messaging to life. The animated movement is eye-catching and can seem high-end to you recipients. Just be careful to avoid the pitfalls we mentioned, and you should be on your way to animated, vibrant returns on your messaging. Give yourself the extra edge, and embrace the power that is the GIF!

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