The Complete Guide to Using Emojis in Email Marketing

Although digital marketing is a relatively new field, there have already been some changes that could make traditionalists dislike the new approach. The mere thought of including emojis in a professional email may not feel appropriate, as we come into 2020, the fact is that popular emoji are not only a perfectly acceptable element of email templates, they’re actively welcomed.

Of course, we understand that, for those who did not grow up in the world of mobile devices and instant messages, putting a smiley face into a marketing email can seem like an instant professional mistake. If this is ringing some bells for you, it’s high time you caught up with the latest email marketing trends, and try adding an emoji or two to your next campaign. Or, to be more specific, your next campaign where an emoji may seem appropriate and relevant.

Remember what we have written before about staying relevant? Email emoji are where it’s at, but it’s still wise to be mindful of when and where they can be used to increase open rates without causing offense.

How to Effectively Use Emojis in Subject Lines

This one is so simple, there’s a high chance you’ve seen it used and not even realized. While you may be thinking that there is no room in your industry for using symbols in subject lines, we can almost guarantee that there is. Granted, it may not go down too well if you use the most popular emoji (💩, in case you’re wondering) in a serious email, but there’s no reason why you can’t insert an ❓ in place of a standard question mark, a 📅 where you want to indicate your email contains information on a not-to-be-missed event, or perhaps a  ✈️ when talking about travel.

When it comes to email emoji, the trick is to use them sparingly and effectively. That is, do not use as many as we used in the past couple of lines (for illustration purposes only). A boring subject line will not generate the open rate and the click rates you want, so get experimenting.

Some key rules for including emojis in subject lines include:

  • Make sure that you’re using an appropriate emoji, and check how it appears on various operating systems. For example, an emoji in a Gmail subject line can look very different to the same emoji on Android or iOS mobile devices. Rule #1 is to do a quick check to make sure you’re not making a fatal error.
    emoji for email
  • Know what those emoji really mean! Some are obvious, such as the tears of joy emoji 😂 which, incidentally, was named word of the year by the Oxford English Dictionary in 2015, while others are less so. Rule #2 – be aware that eggplants and peaches aren’t quite as innocent as they seem.
  • Use emoji sparingly. While emoji in subject lines tends to increase open rates 60% of the time, overuse can easily be misinterpreted as spam. Rule #3  – Know 👏when 👏to👏stop.

Great Examples of Symbols in Subject Lines

Emoji have come a long way since they were first introduced in 1999 and is now pretty much an essential part of communication. There are plenty of detailed guides to emoji history around, but what you need to know right now is how to use emojis in email subject lines and marketing campaigns, and how to do it well.

Given we’re talking about the use of symbols in email marketing, how better to demonstrate than by showing you some great examples? These are all real email subject lines, showing just how well emojis can be used.

  • Say it with our emoji gift notes 🙈 🙉 🙊
  • 10 email campaigns we 💗
  • The latest news in SaaS 📓
  • ❄️A Winter Advisory you NEED to check out →
  • Open for something BIG!
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Of course, emoji use in email campaigns isn’t solely confined to the subject line; this World Book Day email is particularly well done and eye-catching.

email marketing emoji

Beware: Usual Email Marketing Rules Still Apply

Using emoji may seem like throwing the digital marketing rulebook out of the window, and it is to some extent. However, don’t get carried away by using popular emoji in your email at the expense of email marketing best practice and general common sense.

While you’re busy composing those email campaigns welcoming your subscribers to the New Year, make sure to follow the golden rules.

  • Personalize your emails, keeping them relevant for every recipient
  • Use a/b testing to try out a few different versions of each email campaign so you can find what works for you
  • Segment that mailing list – again, it’s all about relevance and personalization
  • Use emoji sparingly and wisely
  • Learn from the emails you’ve previously sent, and make sure future email campaigns get better and better
  • Always check how aspects of your email, such as emoji render, look across the various email clients and browsers

The bottom line is, email emojis can be an added extra to those killer subject lines and content you’re already writing. These delightful little symbols aren’t going to make a poorly designed email campaign outstanding, nor will they kill a fantastic one.

Emojis are fun, eye-catching, and tend to increase open rates – what’s not to ❤️❓

P.S. In case you’re worried, including emojis in subject lines will not have any detrimental impact on deliverability, so experiment away!

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