Emojis in Email Subject Lines — a Guide to Effective Usage

Emojis are a common form of communication these days. They’re…

Emojis are a common form of communication these days. They’re found everywhere, from text messages to social media posts. Some people find them fun and appealing, while others feel they’re silly. You might be wondering, is it proper to use emojis in email subject lines? Like everything else in the digital world, it depends on the particular circumstance.

Emojis do have a place in email marketing – but their effectiveness depends on how you use them and who you’re sending such emails. If you’re unsure about using them, we’ve covered all your bases.

Let’s see how to use these small icons properly in email subject lines.

What Are Emojis?

Emojis are a series of ideograms, symbols, and pictographs used as “smileys” in texts and instant messages. These symbols take different forms and represent different emotions, facial expressions, and bodily motions. They indicate a wide range of feelings, from excitement and joy to sadness and irony.

Emojis provide an obvious and visual representation of an idea and create an emotional connection between a sender and a receiver. Emojis are growing in popularity – their conspicuous nature catches the reader’s attention and passes a message quicker than words.

Emojis in Email Subject Lines: How Effective?

So we’ve mentioned that emojis are attention-grabbing icons that stand out amidst a piece of text. Since they grab the reader’s attention, you would think they’ll automatically increase open rates when used in email subject lines, right?

Well, true, they catch the eye, but it doesn’t mean they’ll automatically make the recipient of your email take action.

Emojis are a way for businesses to instantly engage with their customers. However, the effectiveness of emojis in email subject lines depends on how it is used. Just like emojis can appeal to an audience, they can offend the reader when misused.

A wrong emoji will pass off the impression that your message is spam, and the recipients’ will ignore it. They might even delete it and mark your email address as spam!

Properly using emojis in email subject lines can capture the reader’s attention and cause them to take action. On the other hand, using the wrong emoji portrays your brand as cheap and unprofessional. Your audience will perceive your business as incompetent, and they’ll become less inclined to contact you.

Best Tips for Using Emojis in Email Subject Lines

The strategic use of an emoji in your email subject line can elicit the desired response. We can’t say the same for misusing or overusing it; a misuse portrays your message as spam. To avoid misusing emojis, take note of the following tips.

1. Less Is More

Using too many emojis in an email subject line is not equivalent to “too-much” success! Just like excessive punctuation is terrible for your subject line, including many emojis reduces the overall quality of your email.

Emojis should only be used to reinforce your original message and enhance its understanding. When used in moderation, emojis can make your email more effective.

2. Keep It Relevant

The best emojis for your email subject line are those related to the email in some way. Using a Christmas tree emoji when sending a holiday email to your prospect can be great for your campaign. The emoji you use must resonate with your audience.

The main goal behind your email subject line should help determine what kind of emoji you use. Use an emoji that helps reinforce your message, highlighting something specific that you are trying to get across in your email.

3. Consider Your Audience

The success of a subject line that uses emojis depends on who the email recipient is. It would help if you had an idea of how your audience will respond to emojis. Before you include an emoji in your subject line, consider the age group of your audience and how best they respond to emojis.

Younger audiences will likely respond better than older ones. However, this does not mean that you are not permitted to use emojis in cases where your audience is older. But, you should consider if it’s appropriate and what kinds are best. You might also consider using them for only special events and not with every email campaign.

While emojis can change text tone in several ways, every emoji makes the subject line less formal. For business-to-customer (B2C) emails, emojis can be significant. However, business-to-business (B2B) emails require a more professional tone.

Using emojis for B2B emails can be inappropriate and risky. Understanding your audience is key to successful email marketing.

4. Test

Knowing your audience is not enough. You’ll still not know how they’ll respond until you eventually add emojis to your subject lines. The best way to do it is to A/B test your subject lines.

Do this by testing one version of your subject line that has your chosen emoji against another version that’s without the emoji. Also, consider testing for the position of the emoji (i.e., at the beginning and the end of the text). Once you have done this a few times, you should be able to assess the impact that including an emoji has on open rates.

smileys and emojis of different kinds arranged in a row
Photo by Domingo Alvarez E on Unsplash

To Wrap Up

Whether or not emojis are successful when used in the email subject line depends on how they’re used. Emojis should not be used as an added decoration in email subject lines. They should be relevant to the content of the email and resonate with the audience. Also, avoid using too many emojis.

To know if your chosen emoji is effective, consider A/B testing different versions of your subject line. Test one version that has the emoji against another that doesn’t.

Frequently asked questions

What is a fire emoji?

Fire emojis are flames that are mostly yellow with a little red on the top. A metaphor can also express the feeling that something is cool, awesome, exciting, or more colloquially, “on fire.”.

Should you use emojis in email subject lines?

Emojis in your email subject lines can help you increase your email open rates and engage more people with your campaigns. You should test any emojis in your emails before sending to avoid looking like a in your subscribers’ inboxes.

Do emojis help?

Emojis are essential for conveying emotion, something words cannot convey. However, they do not hold value in academic circles or in contexts that require objective voices. Emojis are designed to be fun, light-hearted, and convey a wide range of emotions effectively and in a manner that words cannot.

Do emojis affect email deliverability?

Too many emojis in a subject line can trigger spam filters and harm your deliverability. If the reader is unaware of your brand, your email can appear as a mass marketing message. Because some emojis can be interpreted differently, you can confuse readers.

What are the best subject lines for emails?

  • Make sure to include a deadline in the subject line.
  • In your subject, give a clear command.
  • You can try using a teaser subject line to get people to open your email.
  • Inshorten your subject lines.
  • In your subject line, you can ask open-ended questions.
  • Include no spam words in your emails subject lines.

Do emojis work in email marketing?

Emojis are a surefire way to increase brand awareness, stand out in a crowded inbox, and increase conversions. If they are relevant to your target audience and your brand’s tone of voice, they work.

How do you use emojis in email?

  • Make sure you tap on the smiley face icon on your keyboard. Google users can use their Gboard emoji library, but Apple users can also use their keyboard emesis library.
  • You can insert any emoji you want.
  • Emojis will appear in your email body once you tap.

Do emojis in subject lines trigger spam?

Adding a single emoji to a subject line can draw the eye, convey a sense of friendliness, and increase your open rate. However, overusing them can make your email seem spam.

Do emojis increase engagement email?

Emojis have also helped to boost email marketing engagement and open rates. Use emojis to emphasize a particular point, but don’t use them to replace text.

How many emoji subject lines are there?

Instead of relying on them for every campaign, reserve them for special events. You should also be cautious when using emojis, and keep them to only one per subject line.

Can email subjects have special characters?

Use one special character per email subject line. I’ll use two at most. If you remember our previous example – the one with the 1, 2, 3 special characters – you may recall that it also violated the no-more-than-two rule.

Emojis in Email Subject Lines — a Guide to Effective Usage

Abir is a data analyst and researcher. Among her interests are artificial intelligence, machine learning, and natural language processing. As a humanitarian and educator, she actively supports women in tech and promotes diversity.

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