Level up your email marketing with strategic animation

Technology is becoming more and more a part of our everyday lives and something we often choose over human interaction… All hail the supermarket self-checkout. Email is quick, efficient, and can be a fun way to go about our daily transactions. Whether you’re purchasing something online, booking a stay, or just browsing, email becomes the helpful shop assistant asking what you’re looking for, without following you around the shop making you feel uncomfortable. 

If you really want to make the most of your email marketing, including animation in the design can bring your messaging to life. Furthermore, intuitive animation improves the functionality of an email. Having a simple, quick, and engaging journey gives the customer confidence in their purchase, whilst also increasing the likelihood of repeat business. 

There are a range of different ways you can make your emails more engaging, from big show stopping designs, to the more subtle touches. Better animation equals better engagement.

Lead story = The New Shop Window

Congratulations, someone loved your amazing subject line and has decided to open your email - the first obstacle is conquered. Now, you have to get them to engage with your content and potentially click through to your chosen landing page. In many ways this part of the email is your shop window. It’s the first thing the customer sees and it needs to make a strong case for discovering more. The first thing they’ll notice is your lead story, promotion or product. Is it working as hard as it could? Can it be spruced up a bit to make it even more engaging?

Statistics show that the further the reader travels down the email, the less likely they are to click through to a website browser (and ultimately a conversion), so the lead story has to do a lot of the heavy lifting. Move the call to action up into the lead image for those people who know exactly what it is they want. Then, add some animation so that it really draws the eye. This could be taking a photograph and using something like After Effects to make the sky move or a candle flicker, or perhaps a series of shots that show a bunch of flowers blooming over time, anything to capture the readers’ attention. 

Make the lead story of your email as enticing as a Selfridges window display at Christmas… excite them, and make them want more.


Line the journey with breadcrumbs

For those recipients who aren’t as trigger happy and prefer to read more of the email before clicking through to a website, lay out their journey through the email. All parts of your email design need to feel cohesive so that the reader feels there’s value in what they’re reading, rather than lumps of content that don’t make sense together.

Include hints of animation that help indicate the flow of the stories. You could have animated arrows, footprints appearing between story pods, or something else that’s relevant to your business. For example, if you’re a wine merchant you could have droplets of wine appearing through the email navigating the reader through the content. 

Breadcrumbing the journey like this with the use of animation will make the email feel more cohesive and can align with your brand message. People opening the email take longer reading the content when it has a simple and succinct layout, garnering trust that you aren’t padding the email with content in for the sake of it.


Hints of sophistication

Sometimes the subtle animations are the most powerful, particularly in terms of thinking long term about your brand. Including elements of animation in the logo or in the footer of the email adds an element of both professionalism and ‘jazz hands’ to emails.

This often works well with an illustrated footer. If you have a drawing or more illustrative aspect to your template, adding a hint of animation can really make the email come alive. For example, if you own a travel company you could seek to animate waves at the bottom to help frame the email. It also helps to point the way to other important links such as the homepage, social media pages, or awards.

To really add some sophistication to your emails, you could look to animate your logo. If the design allows for it, bring it to life in a way that piques interest and communicates the depth of your brand messaging. Readers appreciate these little design modifications that make your email stand out from the rest…


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Including strategic animation, whether it be through demanding attention, sign-posting, or cementing your brand, can help to boost audience engagement. Make your emails the ones that people look out for, save for later, and always click through on the content.

For ideas on all things animation, take a look at our Jarrang lookbook here.

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