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How to effectively use emojis in email marketing

Emojis can be a game-changer in marketing, but they're often overlooked. Mailbutler gives you some tips on how to use emojis in email marketing.

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    By Tiffany

    Tiffany studied Language and Economics, and now likes to write about business topics and conduct interviews with interesting people. She spends her free time looking after her plants and with her dog.

    Emojis - silly little pictures that Millennials use to convey emotions they can't through words (or express a euphemism on Twitter), right? Wrong!

    Emojis aren't just for the under-thirties: they are also a powerful tool for conveying messages when marketing products and services.

    There are over three and a half thousand emojis in the Unicode Standard, all of them helpful for your marketing messaging.

    In this post, we would like to share with you some of the ways through which you can use emojis in your marketing emails.

    Key Takeaways

    • Adding Emotional Value: Emojis can enhance marketing messages by adding emotion and liveliness.
    • Audience Preferences: Tailor emoji use to the preferences of your audience for better engagement.
    • Staying on Trend: Use popular emojis to stay relevant and improve click-through rates.
    • Emojis in Subject Lines: Including emojis in subject lines can increase email open rates.
    • Click-Through Rates: Emojis can break text monotony and appeal to visual senses, improving engagement.
    • Appropriate Context: Use emojis that are professional and avoid those with potential negative connotations.
    • Mobile-Friendly: Emojis save space and are effective in mobile communications due to limited display sizes.

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    7 ways to effectively use emojis in email marketing

    1. Adding emotional value

    Sometimes words just can't convey the full range of emotions your marketing message includes. Marketing campaigns can seem robotic, monotonous, and mechanical.

    So why not add some emojis to lively up your email?

    Emojis aren't a replacement for high-quality marketing copy, but they augment your email and can add emotion.

    Don't overdo them - you don't want to come across as immature - but an astutely placed star or heart-eyed smiley can do wonders.

    2. Audience preferences

    Catering to your audience's preferences can bring miraculous results. It's easy to send out endless copies of cold emails to hundreds of clients, but it won't be the style of a message that gets you the best results.

    Instead, study your prospects. This gives you an edge as it will enable you to communicate in a more effective manner with the person you're contacting.

    Emojis fit into this, too: maybe you're emailing a sixty-year-old CEO of a corporate company who wants strict professionalism; in this case, emojis might not be your best bet.

    However, what if your lead is an edgy new startup run by ambitious twenty-somethings who are glued to their smartphones?

    Emojis could be a perfect match.

    Customized and personalized emails always have a higher chance of succeeding than the same old and boring memo format that others follow.

    3. Staying on trend with specific emojis

    Sometimes emojis, like certain words, are in vogue. For example, the emoji known as the “person tipping hand,” had its own worldwide trend going for the past five years.

    It's available on all platforms and is instantly recognizable to emoji lovers around the world, particularly in the USA and UK.

    If you head to Emojipedia's stats page, you can get an overview of which emojis have been the most popular over the last year.

    Using popular emojis in email marketing, and following the trend, so to speak, can improve your click-through rates.

    emojis in your subject line

    Top 15 Emojis by Subject Line Appearances

    Source: Litmus.com

    4. Emojis in subject lines

    There have been a lot of surveys conducted in the past that show a positive correlation between emojis in subject lines and readers opening those emails.

    However, it might come to you as quite a shock that the same study from Campaign Monitor shows that only 2% of companies use this tactic. Email subject lines are a delicate area - get them wrong, and you ruin your chances of getting opened.

    email subject line example

    Most companies don't feel it's worth the risk of trying out new things and sticking to tried and tested techniques. That being said, those who dare, win.

    5. The changing face of click-through rates

    Images and videos have fast become the ways most people want to consume their content; the content form that receives the most hits from global audiences is audio, visual, and video-centric.

    Emojis fall under this banner, too.

    They break the monotony of a wall of text, separating your copy into easily digestible chunks, and appeal to our visual senses.

    If you want to improve your chances of engagement, images and videos are the way to go; emojis are a great first step toward improving this aspect of your marketing strategy.

    6. Appropriate context

    There's no doubt that the wrong image can cause havoc in the marketing world. Don't use any emojis that are widely known to be euphemisms or double entendres, of which there are a few.

    A quick Google of 'emoji euphemisms' can show you which ones you should be avoiding.

    You don't want to cause any offense, and more importantly, you'll be using these emojis in a business context: you need to stay professional.

    7. Staying mobile-friendly

    Emojis save space, which is why they are considered significant for sending users push notifications on their smartphones.

    Within the confines of limited display sizes, emojis can pack a punch and add more value to your message while leaving more space for other information.

    With 5G wireless technology, emojis may very well become a standard of communication for many businesses who seek to target people on the move with smartphones in their pockets. 

    Emojis in email marketing FAQs

    Should you use emojis in marketing emails?

    It’s no secret that emojis are a powerful and extremely popular communication tool. But should you use them in your marketing emails? The answer is it depends.

    If your target audience understands, accepts, and uses emojis on a regular basis and your brand’s tone of voice is informal, humorous, optimistic, or conversational, then incorporating emojis into your email marketing campaigns is a great idea.

    Emojis can help you differentiate yourself from your competition, increase brand awareness and recognition, and boost your open and click-through rates.

    Are emojis unprofessional in emails?

    Generally speaking, using emojis in emails is a perfectly acceptable practice. However, you should be careful not to go overboard with them, especially when writing to older clients.

    You should also steer clear of emojis that are commonly used for… well, not business communication.

    These include the eggplant emoji, the peach emoji, the hair flip emoji, the bunny emoji, and, of course, the kissy face emoji.

    How do you use emojis in email marketing?

    Using emojis in email marketing shouldn’t be taken lightly. Here are five foolproof tips on how to successfully liven up your email marketing campaigns with emojis:

    • Include emojis in your subject lines to increase open rates
    • Place emojis strategically to make your emails more appealing and easier to consume
    • Add emojis to convey specific emotions
    • Pick emojis that are relevant to both your target audience and your brand’s tone of voice
    • Take your recipients’ devices and email clients into account when choosing emojis

    Is it proper to use emojis in email marketing?

    Yes, it is. Using emojis in email marketing is a tactic many companies and organizations have adopted.

    If your brand’s tone of voice allows it and your target audience is familiar with and uses emojis regularly (for example, millennials and Gen Zs), then you should consider spicing up your email marketing campaigns with a few of these small digital images.


    Emojis in email marketing can be powerful when used in the right context. It depends a lot on how you apply them to different scenarios to reap the maximum results.

    Hence there is a delicate balance that defines their usage and how your audiences perceive them. In other words, your execution matters a lot.

    Emojis help break the ice and offer a lighter note of things so that you can communicate with your customers and clients more candidly.

    Using emojis in your marketing emails while keeping a check on their trends can help you observe better results with them.

    Just remember to stay away from the eggplant emoji!

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