Serena Dorf
Serena Dorf 6 November 2018

How to Rock Emojis in Your Email Marketing

When was the last time an email made you 😅? You’ve been getting so many 💩 messages that you learned how to ignore them. Well your audience does the same thing! It’s time to make your email marketing campaign more successful, so you’ll get their attention. Emojis can help with that!

How many email messages does an average user receive per day? - Plenty!

According to the Email Statistics Report by The Radicati Group, an average office worker receives 97 emails per day. The average number of legitimate emails is 83, and the rest of it is spam. Your promotional emails may be considered legitimate by your audience. But even if that’s the case, do you think an email user will go through all these messages on a daily basis?


They filter out, so they won’t spend hours of their day being stuck with messages.

So if you want your email marketing campaign to deliver results, you gotta make it stand out.  

If your messages are fun, they will get attention. Otherwise, people will just ignore them.

So this is the point when we come down to emojis. They are so cute! They help you deliver a message quickly and effectively when you text your friends, but did you know that they were also great for email marketing?

Needless to say, there’s a right way to use them. If you go too far, they will make your messages look fake. We don’t want that, do we?

Emojis in the Subject Line

We’re talking about standing out in the crowd, so subject lines are clearly in the focus of discussion.

If your subject line is cool enough, the recipients will be curious to see what’s in the message. The problem is: people rarely even read the subject lines before deleting messages, since there are so many of them in the Promotions folder. A simple emoji has a visual appeal among all that text. That’s why it can be so effective.

Take these two messages as an example from an inbox:

Screenshot 1 (attached as thumbnail)

Your eye is naturally drawn towards the Christmas tree, simply because it stands out.

So how do you use emojis in the subject line? There are the most important tips to follow:

Keep them relevant!

First and foremost, it’s important to know your content. If it has serious character, 💩(pile of poo) and 😍(smiling face with heart-shaped eyes) won’t leave a good impression.

In such case, it’s still okay to use an emoji as long as it’s an appropriate one. 🙌(celebration), ✊(raised fist) or 🙏 (namaste) might be okay. More conventional emojis, such as an envelope, the trademark symbol, and the copyright symbol will also be a good choice.

But if you’re aiming at younger generations and you have a relaxed message to spread, feel free to spice up your emoji game.

Your goal is to convey emotions

What’s an emoji? It’s just a small image that represents an emotion. That’s its main purpose. When you use emoticons the right way, you’re able to set the emotional tone of your message.

Is it love, fun, excitement, or sadness? Find the emoji that sets the right tone. If you’re not sure what a particular emoji means, don’t use it before you find its meaning in Emojipedia.

Represent the idea

Is it about a discount? Is it about books? Makeup? Fitness? There are proper emojis to convey the idea of your message.    

Be Extra Careful When Using Emojis in the Body

Of course you can use emojis beyond the subject line, but should you?

It depends.

“Emojis in the subject line work like a charm,” - says Maurice Mayers, part of the marketing team at EssayOnTime. “I’ve seen our email campaign results skyrocket since we started using them. But when it comes to the body of the message, the strategy can easily go wrong. I don’t recommend replacing words with emojis and making the message look like a rebus.”

It’s okay to use an emoji or two to highlight the most important points of your message or throw a bit of fun in it. But don’t overdo it!


You always have to test!

First of all, it’s important to see how your email subject line will appear in different inboxes and on different devices. Maybe the emoji won’t even show up? TestSubject by ZURB is a nice tool that shows how your message will look when seen on different mobile devices.

Is that where the tests will stop? No.

It’s important to see what effect the emojis have on your email marketing campaign. Maybe you introduced them too suddenly?

Try changing solely that factor in your campaign and compare the before and after click-through rates. Do you see a positive change?

Introduce them gradually. Use A/B tests to see if your campaign performs better with or without them.

Emojis Are Great, But You Need to Use Them Well

If emojis were so easy to use, we’d see them all over the inbox. But we don’t. We see witty, effective use of this technique only occasionally. When it works, it works really well.

You should definitely consider introducing them in your email marketing campaign. But you have to do that gradually and choose the right emojis to achieve the effect you aim for.

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