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Emoji Mania: How & When to Use Emojis in Email Subject Lines

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Emoji use in email marketing campaigns has grown immensely in recent years, due in large part to the fun and convenience of being able to visually communicate your message right off the bat. The correct emoji can in some cases better express the content of the message and attract an increased open rate with your selected audience than a traditional subject line alone.

This growing trend is something that is unlikely to go away any time soon, in fact, a recent study by Braze found that emoji usage in marketing messages has increased at an annual rate of over 775 percent year over year. But, before you start tossing emojis in every campaign, understand that there are some pros and cons to be aware of and you should have a strategy in place to avoid an emoji-overload.

Pros of Emoji Use in Email Subject Lines

Let’s start with the advantages. Emojis tend to attract subscribers and improve your open rates. Consider the following subject lines:

“Book Now: Fly Away to Your Spring Getaway!”

“Book Now: ✈ to Your 🌷 Getaway 🌴!”

Which of these two would be more likely to catch your eye as you scroll through your plethora of daily emails and promotions? If you picked the second one, you’re not alone. A recent study shows that 56 percent of brands using emoji in their email subject lines had a higher unique open rate than those who didn’t.

Another advantage is that emojis improve your brand’s visibility. In a similar vein as the last idea, including an emoji in your email subject line will make you more memorable to your audience. For me, in my personal email account, I can immediately think of two major brands that consistently use emojis: Hungry Howies 🍕 and Sephora 💄.

Using emojis in your subject line also helps you save space. Considering the number of emails being opened on mobile devices grows annually, subject line space is a premium. If you want your subject line to fit on a mobile device, your character count is pretty limited – generally only about 30-40 characters max. You know the old saying, “a picture says a thousand words,” think of the emoji as the modern-day equivalent. Brands can convey a lot with an emoji and it only takes up one of those valuable characters.

Cons of Emoji Use in Email Subject Lines

While the emoji craze may be fun and seem tempting for your brand, there are a few things to consider before jumping on the bandwagon. Does emoji fit with your brand’s tone? If your brand covers a serious topic – say healthcare or financial planning – using an emoji may be off-putting to your customer base that may feel the message lacks professionalism and seriousness.

Before you go and revise your upcoming subject lines to include a fitting emoji, be sure that you know your audience demographics. If your brand markets to a younger generation, like millennials, using emojis will likely hit the nail on the head as this age group is accustomed to using emojis in their daily lives. However, this doesn’t mean that older generations cannot or will not embrace emojis as well, but more thorough testing is recommended for these groups.

The last thing to take into consideration is potential rendering issues based on different operating systems and email clients. Essentially, emojis use a “Unicode character,” which is interpreted differently by each operating system, meaning that the emojis you select may appear differently (or not work at all) for different users. The best solution to this potential issue is to send out a test email to users on various platforms and double check that they are appearing the way you want them to.

Emoji Email Line Best Practices

Now that we’ve covered the basics and you are celebrating 🎉 the idea of all these new opportunities, let’s review a few key tips to make sure you use emojis to best engage your audience.

You may be wondering, where can I find the emoji options? There are many sites that catalog popular emoji options. Once there, you simply copy the emoji you want and paste it into your subject line. My favorite site categorizes the emojis into groups such as “smileys and people,” “food and drink,” and “activities” to make it easier for you to select the emoji that best fits your needs.

Make sure your emojis match your context. With hundreds of emojis to choose from, you are sure to find one that communicates your message visually. You don’t want to include an emoji just for the fun of it. Be witty and carefully select an emoji that is relevant to your subject and that helps to clarify your message. I am 💯 percent confident you will find the one you are looking for.

Don’t be afraid to be creative. It can be tricky to express tone and emotion through text alone. The emoji offers the perfect solution to help clarify the emotion and help you to express your message more clearly. Consider Murdoch Marketing’s latest newsletter subject line: ❗Murdoch Marketing: Th!nk Newsletter ❗where the emoji was simply there to help draw in the reader’s eye. Or take a look at Walgreens who used the cat emoji in the following subject line: “🐱 YOU HAVE GOT TO BE KITTEN ME! Up to 60% OFF???” which is a playful way to get the user to open the message.

TESTING 1… 2… 3… be sure to test your audiences and make sure emojis are displaying properly. I know I mentioned testing earlier in this post, but it’s very important. Before adding emojis to your marketing strategy, split your email list into two groups: one group who will receive the emojis and one who won’t. You can evaluate this data to help determine if emojis are a good fit for your audience. And one last time for good measure, send out a test email to make sure everything looks correct before sending to your entire list.

Happy Emoji’ing 😎

To wrap up, emojis can be a fun way to help you communicate what you want to say with minimum character use. They offer a wide variety of options to really help customize your message and garner attention to increase your open rates. I will leave you with a chart of 2017’s most popular email subject line emojis for inspiration.

 

Most Popular Emojis From 2017 Subject Lines via Mailchimp

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