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Email marketing is, at the end of the day, a business communication. But that doesn’t mean that it can’t be fun! There are real people on the other end of your email, and treating them like more than a transaction will do wonders for your campaign’s success.

There’s a quick and easy way to start looking friendly and accessible: emoji. Using emoji in subject lines is quickly becoming a big trend, and it’s not just because they’re fun and cute, but because they have major benefits as well.

The benefits of emoji


If you’re a bit leery about making your email look like a tweet, here are some of the benefits to using emoji in your subject lines:

Higher Open Rates

According to a study done by Experian, subject lines that contain emoji had a 45% increase in their unique open rates compared to their plain, text-only counterparts. More opens means more clicks, and more clicks means more business.

Space Saving

If you’re making sure your email marketing is optimised for mobile, then you know that space is at a premium for subject lines. Using emoji can help you save massively on your mobile character limit.

Attention Grabbing

Today’s inbox is a crowded space, so marketers have to keep upping their game to stand out. Emoji are definitely going to be eye-catching, especially if none of your competitors have caught on yet.

Should you use emoji? 


Before you jump on the emoji bandwagon, there are some things to consider fist:

Think About Your Tone

The first thing ask yourself is, will emoji suit your tone? As I said at the beginning that email marketing is, first and foremost, a business transaction. And while we encourage you to spice things up, if you have a very serious brand then emoji might not fit too well. Do an A/B test on a small segment of your database to see what the reactions are like.

Consider Your Demographics

While I’m pretty clued up on emoji, I’m not sure my mom even knows what an emoji is. That’s not to say that your non-millennial customers won’t enjoy and engage with them, but if you’re marketing to a mostly older group of people, then be sure to test thoroughly before going all out.

Will It Render?

Unfortunately, emoji aren’t universally supported across all email programs and mobile devices. If they’re not supported, your clients might see a □, or even just the word “emoji”. Luckily, most email programs and mobile devices will show them correctly, but we’ve put together this reference guide for you:

emoji compatibility chart

Outlook 2003 is the only email client that won’t display emoji at all, while Outlook.com and IOS on iPhone and iPad will sometimes convert the symbol you’ve used to the word “emoji” or □. As most of the email clients shown will support emoji, it’s definitely still worth giving them a shot, just test thoroughly to make sure that everything will look fine.

How to use emoji


If you’ve decided that emoji are going to work for you and your clients, here are some of our best practice tips for ensuring that your new look is going to be successful:

Pick your emoji

If you’re not sure where to start, there are a lot of sites that you can use to find emoji. You can take your pick from CopyPasteCharacters.com, FSymbols.com and MegaEmoji.com. When you find the one you like, just copy and paste it into your subject line.

Stick with the popular emoji

Econsultancy have analysed the best and worst emoji that will affect your open rate and put together this handy chart:

econsultancy emoji chart

Surprisingly, the cute snowman is definitely tops, who knew? Just don’t use it when it’s not relevant. Speaking of relevance…

Remain Relevant

A cute snowman might boost your open rate, but it’s not going to make sense on a summer mailer. There are so many emoji out there, you’re going to find one that suits your message. Take a look at some of these examples from OneDayOnly, where they’ve found a suitable emoji for every occasion:

OneDayOnly examples-mobile

Don’t Go Too Crazy

Too much of a good thing can be a bad thing, and you might risk burning out. You don’t need to use emoji in every subject line, and usually then only one or two emoji will suffice. Don’t go overboard and make your subject line look like it’s a cluttered mess, you’ll lose your customers before you can get your message across.

Emoji for the Win


Using emoji to add some small, attention grabbing details to your email marketing is a quick way to get a bump in your open rate and convey your message in a new and unique way. If you’ve experimented with emoji in your subject lines, let us know in the comments!

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