Essential Guide To Using GIFs In Emailing

Micheli , Invited guest @ Mailrelay

Want to spice up your email marketing? Good news! You can use GIFs in your emails to customers, clients, etc.

Now, while professionalism is still key in email marketing, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with adding a GIF to express yourself and your brand.

A GIF – or a Graphics Interchange Format – is a file format that’s heavily used for graphic images on the Internet. Normally, you’ll find a lot of GIFs on social media platforms, instant messaging, and email marketing. As such, GIFs can bring quality and personality into your professional emails. Whether you create your own GIFs, or find them online, is up to you.

But with that said, since you’re sending emails on behalf of your business – either self-employed or with a company – you still need to provide a sense of professionalism in the job. That means that you can’t just apply GIFs to your emails willy-nilly.

In this essential guide, we’ll discuss the following points:

  • Why GIFs are effective in email marketing
  • How to use GIFs in emails
  • Inserting GIFs on various emailing platforms, AND
  • Great tools for GIF applications in emails

Why GIFs Work

“People are naturally attracted to lighting and movement,” says Geoffrey Radcliffe, a marketing blogger at Writinity and Research papers UK. “GIFs combine the two attractions to naturally get people’s attention. That’s why flashing lights in, say, Japanese culture is heavily used, because they understand this phenomenon.”

GIFs can attract people. However, where you place GIFs matters, because placing them properly and sparingly in emails will:

  • Increase click-through rates (CTRs)
  • Increase engagement in your emails
  • Tell your story in just one animated image, AND
  • Make it fun for email recipients to enjoy
  1. They’re Short And Sweet

Short and sweet is the way to go, especially with GIFs. Take it from social media platforms like Snapchat and TikTok, which let their users post GIFs that are only seconds long. No wonder GIFs tend to do well than videos, because they’re to the point! Plus, people want their content straight up, even when they’re subscribed to your company’s social media. The reason why GIFs are more successful than videos is because people are most likely going to watch GIFs to the very end, which is something that many regulars tend to fail at because the content isn’t there fast enough.

  1. They’re Eye-Catching

Besides being short and sweet, GIFs can also grab people’s attention.

When someone opens an email, what’s the first thing that you want them to see? This is something to think about when adding a GIF to your email. By having your subscribers notice something … well, noticeable, then you’ve succeeded in grabbing their attention from beginning to end.

  1. They Give You A Competitive Edge

All businesses have some sort of competition, when it comes to email marketing. However, when you use GIFs effectively, you can get a competitive edge against your business rivals. You can especially take advantage if your opponents haven’t honed in on this digital trend yet.

  1. They Help You Display Company Culture

Company culture is essential for any business. So, why not display that in your use of GIFs in emails? Without GIFs – rather, a lot of text with a plain background – you’ll risk making your emails look dull and uninteresting. Using GIFs in your emails show recipients who you are, and what you’re all about.

  1. They’re Effective CTAs

Now, no matter what, you’ll need a call to action (CTA) to complete your emails. For example, a CTA is ideal when you create, say, a monthly newsletter, because that creates an incentive for recipients to act towards your brand – signing up, buying something, taking advantage of a sale, and so on. So, with GIFs acting as CTAs, you can add subtlety in your emails.

How To Use GIFs

So, now that you know about the power of GIFs, it’s time to take advantage of this miraculous strategy for effective email marketing. But how do you use GIFs for your business emails?

Here are 5 tips on making your emails effective with GIFs without jeopardizing professionalism, and without sacrificing the human part of your company:

  1. Use GIFs To Show Action

First, who said that you have to talk about things in your emails, when you can show? When used effectively, GIFs can help you demonstrate how your product or service works. This allows you to build customer confidence, and customers will be more enticed to react to your message.

  1. Create Animated GIFs On Your Own

Believe it or not, you can also create GIFs that you can animate on your own, rather than have to only resort to premade assets online. Besides, you’re more able to establish a personal touch to GIFs when you create your own, that way people are more engaged with your message.

Here’s a quick run-through on creating a GIF when you use presentation softwares like Visme:

  • First, use a blank canvas or an animated GIF template.
  • Use brand elements for font, colors, icons, etc.
  • Choose from available illustrations, characters, etc. to customize as brand-worthy.
  • Animate said illustrations, characters, etc. to create a desired action (i.e. boomerang, zoom spin, etc.).
  • Choose the start and stop times of the animations.
  • Preview your GIF before downloading it to your computer.
  1. Animate A Portion Of A GIF

Animating a part of a GIF can be effective in one of two ways: It makes your GIF feel “light” when loading onto an email; and it doesn’t overdo your GIF creation to where it overwhelms your message.

  1. Use Occasion-Based GIFs

People like receiving things on special occasions – birthdays, Christmas, etc. So, why not display a GIF that resembles that special day? This form of personalization adds a personal touch to your emails to subscribers.

  1. Use GIFs With CTAs

It’s important to make your CTA stand out in the email; so, don’t leave it bare. Use a GIF to help illustrate your CTA, so that recipients can act on it.

Inserting GIFs

“How you insert your GIFs in emails depends on what emailing platform you use,” says Johnny Ashton, a writer at Draft Beyond and Gum Essays. “In other words, no matter which platform you use for emails, your GIFs should always be effective and have a purpose in your email marketing.”

With that in mind, it’s time to add a GIF to an email. Consider the following scenarios, and how you can insert GIFs in said scenarios:

  • In An Email Campaign

This example is straightforward (in comparison to the next two scenarios that we’ll discuss next). When inserting a GIF in an email campaign, do the following:

  • Start by opening a campaign in your marketing tool (i.e., Mailrelay). There, you’ll be able to work from a template email design.
  • Using the image block, highlight the space where you would like to add animation.
  • Next, click on the image box that you’ve dropped in your template.
  • Choose “Add an Image” from the dashboard’s side.
  • Choose a GIF from your computer.
  • Then, drag the uploaded GIF into the image box, where it’ll now show up in the email campaign.
  • In Outlook

Despite being different than a regular email campaign, Outlook still lets you add GIFs to your emails. Here’s how:

  • Choose “Insert” in your inbox.
  • Choose “Online Pictures.”
  • From there, choose a GIF that you want to use in the email, and select it.
  • Then, click “Insert from the bottom of your email dashboard. Your GIF should now appear in your Outlook email.
  • In Gmail

In Gmail, you can add a GIF in one of two ways: Either as a file that was created and saved to your computer, or as one that you can look up and save from royalty-free sites. No matter how you start, you can then move on to the next steps:

  • Select “Insert Photo.”
  • Then, hit “Upload.”
  • Set your “Inline” option. (Just keep in mind: The “As Attachment” option won’t work here. This is to make sure that the GIF is properly displayed in your email.
  • Hit “Upload.”

NOTE: You can also share a GIF directly from the web, instead of having to save it to your computer. So, when selecting the “Insert Photo” option, add the GIF’s URL under “Web Address (URL).”

Tools For Creating GIFs

Finally, it’s time to use the best tools for your GIF creations, if desired. While there are plenty of free premade GIFs online, why not let your creativity shine with your own GIF?

Luckily, there are many different free tools that allow you to create your own GIFs. Keep in mind: With most GIF makers – especially those that we’ll list here – all that’s required of you is to upload an image or video of your choice, while the software do the rest.

Here are some online tools to consider:

Now, if you’re into creating GIFs on your mobile device, then check out these GIF apps:

  • For Android
    • GifGuru
    • GIPHY
  • For iOS
    • GIF Maker (Momento)
    • ImgPlay
    • Make Video to GIFs
    • Video to GIF Maker


So, there you have it!

GIFs are a great thing to have for your business emails to customers, clients, and the prospects. By keeping this essential guide with you in your endeavors to improve your email marketing tactics, GIFs will soon work for you to make your emails more engaging and human.

Ashley Halsey is a writer and editor at Finance assignments. As a professional writer, she has been involved in many projects nationwide. In her spare time, she travels with her two children.

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