Skyrocket Your Reply Rate By 55% via GIFs on LinkedIn – Expandi

8 mins

Below, we’ll teach you how to use GIFs and hyper-personalization to level up your outreach and skyrocket your reply rates up to 55%.

The following article is based on a webinar between:

  • Ian Naylor – Founder of, CEO & entrepreneur, exited 3 online businesses over the last 20 years, father of three, and soapbox racer.
  • Amy Bateson – Growth marketer and lead engineer at Expandi. Helped onboard 150+ agencies over 12 months, a minimum acceptance rate of 71% on all campaigns, and 50%+ reply rate using GIF outreach.
  • Stefan Smulders – Co-founder of Expandi, successfully bootstrapped to $4M ARR in just 14 months.

We’ll show you why hyper-personalization works, how to use it correctly, and the exact templates and GIFs that worked for us.

We’ll cover:

  • Why This Matters: LinkedIn Recap For 2021 Outreach And Connection Limits Overview
  • Intro to Image Personalization in LinkedIn Outreach
  • Why Use Hyper-Personalization Across Multiple Channels, Not Just LinkedIn (5 Proven GIF Formats)
  • What the Perfect Hyper-Personalized GIF Looks Like
  • How To Create Your Own Hyper-Personalized Outreach GIF (And Resources To Use)
  • Hyperise Overview And How To Add Dynamic Tags Your GIF
  • How to Automate Personalized LinkedIn Outreach At Scale Using GIFs and Images

And if you didn’t get the chance to catch the webinar live, you can still watch the replay here.

In there, you’ll also find an exclusive pop quiz and brief case studies from Ian, showcasing what worked for him in detail and why!

Now, let’s get started!

Why This Matters: LinkedIn Recap For 2021 Outreach And Connection Limits Overview

As you might have noticed, LinkedIn outreach is now completely different than it was ever before.

The new LinkedIn limits make it so that you only send up to 100 invites per week. Though there are ways to get around this, many people complain that the platform is not the same as it was before.

That’s because LinkedIn has a huge problem: The spam.

Many people kept trying to force a “spray and pray” approach and hoped something would stick on the wall.

That is NOT how you do LinkedIn lead generation anymore.

LinkedIn wants to reduce spam and reduce the number of actions most people can take on the platform.

So, now, you have to change your approach to outreach too.

Think of it this way: Instead of asking how you can send more connection requests and messages, you need to ask how to become a ‘healthy‘ LinkedIn user.

In most cases, it’s people who have a lower Social Selling Index (which is based on 4 main pillars) who are getting more and more restrictions.

The 4 elements are:

  • Establishing your professional brand. 
  • Finding the right people. 
  • Engaging with insights. 
  • Building relationships.

If you’re focusing solely on outreach and not creating content or taking the time to engage people, LinkedIn might think you’re a bot or doing automated outreach.

So, what should you do?

Using personalized GIFs (as we’ll cover below) is a great way to capture attention and boost your social selling.

Here’s another way.

How to become a ‘healthy’ LinkedIn user with Expandi

With Expandi, you don’t have to be a LinkedIn rockstar to get results and supercharge your outreach.

In fact, that’s one of the main things we cover in our new Expandy Academy – the ultimate, free course on how to become a V2 expert and master LinkedIn once and for all.

Here’s what the free course covers:

And to make sure you’re getting the most out of LinkedIn outreach, we also recommend:

  • Combining LinkedIn outreach with email (omnichannel outreach).
  • Adding a creative touch to your outreach with personalized images and GIFs.
  • Creating scenarios based on your leads’ behavior with our smart sequences (see our guide to marketing funnel automation).
  • Engaging people, creating content, and building relationships.

Intro to Image Personalization in LinkedIn Outreach

Using images to convey a message isn’t rocket science.

According to Ian, Naylor, most people agree that images can have a positive impact on outreach.

But most sales and marketing professionals don’t do it enough, because it’s too hard…

Or, at least, that was the case until Hyperise.

Why image personalization

User engagement is getting harder.

  • The average person sees 5,000 marketing messages per day.
  • User engagement with content has gone down by 60% and information overload is making consumers tune out.
  • Your message has only 8 seconds to capture and hold the attention of your users.

Meanwhile, humans are hardwired to process images in milliseconds.

Studies show that we remember 10% of what we hear, 20% of what we read, and 80% of what we see and do.

This is why pattern interrupts are so effective in marketing, ads, and even outreach.

Using personalized images to trigger pattern interrupts in your sales flow can typically improve engagement by 2-4x.

Here’s what this looks like in a more practical sense on LinkedIn.

Humanizing your outreach

The law of reciprocity is one of the most basic laws of social psychology. It says that in many social situations, we pay back what we received from others.

It doesn’t matter if you’re in B2B or B2C, as this is all H2H (Human-to-Human).

To make this as effective as possible, you should try to also minimize the friction and frame your CTA as a smaller ask.

Asking your prospects to commit to a demo or a discovery call can seem like a heavier commitment than a quick ‘coffee and chat’.

And using a personalized GIF to visualize the ask helps cement that story and improve your prospect uptake.

So, the goal here is to elevate your prospects’ feel-good factor, boost engagement, and CTAs.

And while getting a reply rate of up to 55% sounds amazing, getting replies like this is magical.

Why Use Hyper-Personalization Across Multiple Channels, Not Just LinkedIn (5 Proven GIF Formats)

Now, everything we’ve been talking about until now can also be applied to email, not just LinkedIn.

In fact, it’s highly recommended you use omnichannel outreach messaging to reach your prospects. They might miss your LinkedIn message, but the email follow-up will show your commitment and they’ll be more likely to reply.

With Expandi, you can automate sending out welcome emails, whenever you get a new conection on LinkedIn.

This is a great way to extend your touchpoints and humanize your communication.

Generally, people don’t like to click on links in cold messages. But they do like to click images.

From Ian’s own A/B testing experience, there’s a 85% more click-through achieved with personalized GIFs vs links.

For links, meanwhile, you can use personalized preview in your messages to increase the clickthrough rate.

When clicked, users will be redirected to a personalized website (or any URL like a Calendly link). Personalized short links provide clickable images, leading to personalized landing pages.

For example:

Here’s a Hyperise example of this.

According to HubSpot, personalized website CTAs convert 202% better.

Compared to long links which your prospects don’t know where they’re going, personalized short links are much more inviting.

The personalized preview incentives them to click and find out more. And the personalized landing page helps them convert.

These results are from a multi-channel campaign, using Open InMails, email and connection follow-ups.

That’s 1,589 prospects top of the funnel, and 45 demos booked.

Now, let’s take a look at how to perfect your personalized outreach messages.

What the Perfect Hyper-Personalized GIF Looks Like

We’ve tested A LOT of personalized GIFs and outreach messages.

Of nearly 4,000 Hyperise messages sent from Expandi, the average reply rate was just shy of 60%!

And the main insight here is that the movement of your GIFs draws eyes in and captures attention.

You should make sure it’s purposeful and visualizes your CTA clearly.

If your CTA is booking a call, humanize it with yourself!

It’s much more personal and your prospect will find it much more memorable instead of using a GIF of some random person.

But if you’re camera shy, don’t worry. Here are 5 proven GIF formats you can use in your outreach that don’t require you to get in front of the camera.

Product GIF animation

Meme GIFs

Seasonal GIFs

Celebration GIFs

Referral and engagement

For more examples and a detailed explanation of when to use these GIFs and how, be sure to watch the full replay here.

How To Create Your Own Hyper-Personalized Outreach GIF (And Resources To Use)

For the most part though, you can’t go wrong with using custom, unique GIFs. They work much better as your prospects can actually tell it’s you in the GIF.

Now, here’s how to create your own GIF. It’s easier than you might think as you can use any phone with a camera for this.

You can:

  • Record from your mobile, use the app MotionStills (Android) or Lively (Apple) to make the GIF.
  • Record from your webcam and use GIFPal to create the GIF.
  • Find a suitable, ready-to-go GIF on Giphy.
  • Use EZGIF to convert videos and optimize GIFs.

Now that you’ve got your GIF ready, here’s how to prepare it for outreach and lead generation.

How To Hyperise And Add Dynamic Tags Your GIF

Created your own GIF?

Awesome. Now, here’s how to personalize it and add dynamic tags for outreach in Hyperise.

For this, we’ll want to integrate Hyperise with Expandi, like so:

  1. Sign up for both platforms (free 7-14 day trial to get started).
  2. Go to Hyperise API settings and create an API token and copy the ID.

  1. Go to Expandi. Go to your profile settings and paste in the API.
  2. Then, you can select the specific campaign and press Sync from Hyperise for the desired steps message.

Yes, it’s that simple to set up Hyper-personalized GIF outreach with Expandi V2.

Now, you’ll need GIFs with dynamic personalization in Hyperise.

Here’s how to set that up.

  1. Set up the image width and height in the Canvas settings. Or upload a custom file, edit as needed and adjust to set the size. Aim for a 1:1 ratio at 600×600 for embedded images and a 2:1 ratio at 600×300 for short link images. But make sure to always test your outreach with a friend or co-worker before launching the real campaign.


  1. Once you’ve uploaded your visual asset, you can add the placeholder tags as needed.

Using the Hyperise Chrome extension, you can take it a step further and personalize your landing pages for outreach.

Now that you’ve got your GIF ready, here’s how to prepare for outreach at scale.

How to Automate Personalized LinkedIn Outreach At Scale Using GIFs and Images

For this, as you might have guessed, we’ll be using Expandi and Hyperise.

With the combination, you can embed personalized images into:

  • Follow-up messages.
  • InMails.
  • Emails.

And personalized short links to:

  • Connection notes.
  • Follow-up messages.
  • InMails.

While you can’t add personalized GIFs or images in the LinkedIn connection request, instead, you can add personalized short links.

For a more detailed explanation of how to set up the full integration, check out the Hyperise guide here.


Now, before we let you go, one final surprise

Typically, Expandi costs $99 for a seat per month and Hyperise is anywhere from $49-$149 for a seat per month

But if you sign up before December 31 of 2021, you’ll get a 30% off your subscription for both platforms – Expandi and Hyperise.

Use the code ExpandiXHyperise at checkout to receive the discount!

And of course, you can still get started with the free 7-14 day trials before that to get a hang of the tools.

Need more resources to get the most out of your hyper-personalized outreach?

Also check out:



This eBook is your ticket to never wondering how to promote your LinkedIn event the right way ever again

This FREE eBook will teach you all the tricks

  • The exact 1on1 examples we used (many times over) from our content plan (posts, video, polls)
  • How to automatically Invite your network throughout the month
  • 7 ‘Untapped Promotion’ strategies to get over 1000+ people to register for your event
  • How to interact with all attendees before the event and after the event

What works now won’t work again in a few months 😉 So…If you want take the swing and benefits – before it’s too late and before everyone starts using them

Download your FREE eBook now

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