Emojis and Email Marketing

Emails are boring. They are wordy, serious and painful to read. But do they have to be? Does every email you get have to be so formal and filled with lugubrious words painstakingly picked from a thesaurus?

Sure, if it is a work email it probably has to be (or does it?), but there really is no reason for marketing emails to be stuffy and dull. Or at least that is what the latest research reveals.

Email marketing works best when it doesn’t feel like marketing. Consumers like the information they feel is relevant and beneficial to them, because they will actually enjoy the goods or services they are going to buy, not because the company will make a profit. It has to be natural, genuine and appealing.


So, if you want to get your emails read and receive a cheerful response, you have to do a better job of making them personal/friendly, and a good way to do that is by employing, you guessed it, young graduates! Kidding, the correct answer is indeed emojis.

And why not? They are fun, playful and get the message across with fewer words, which is a bonus for people reading emails on their mobile phones, which is nearly half the population.

Gone are the days when companies had to persuade consumers by sounding intellectual and robotic. These days, if you want to get customers to like you, you have to speak in a way they understand, and everybody understands emoji, no matter the cultural background.

Emojis Are Digital Eye Candy

Every single day, we wake up with dozens of emails to sort through, and most of them are marketing emails, also known to the average consumer as spam – let’s be honest.

But seeing a brightly colored emoji in the subject line will always catch the reader’s attention, and that is, after all, the first step to marketing: you have to get the customer’s attention.

Yellow, after all, is an odd color to see in our inbox, so when it comes with a cheerful grin or a promise of free pizza, who wouldn’t want to open it?

According to Experian, companies that use emojis or symbols in their subject line have a 56% higher open rate. Hmm, how would your business improve if your open rate was 56% higher? Yup, you just gave a wide-eyed emoji.

When you are checking all the emails you want to delete without reading, your eyes will fall upon the one mail with an emoji and you would be more inclined to click on it, even if it’s an angry devil emoji and no matter how swamped you are with work, you would want to read an email that just might make your day.

What's The Bright Idea?

With click rates on the decline, drastic measures are needed to regain consumer confidence. From all we've studied, evaluated and discovered about email marketing, one of the reasons for this decline is lack of personalisation.

People are a lot smarter and also a lot busier. Once they perceive your email is generic, they will quickly trash it. By being playful with emails, you add a bit of mystery to your approach and dumb down the salesy feel. Very few people can resist the promise of a fun read.

Most people below the age of 70 use emojis when conversing with friends and colleagues, even over serious issues, because they are simple, straightforward, cool and save time. So when an unsuspecting email contact gets a mail with an emoji in the subject line, they automatically assume it is from a friend, or at the very least, a message from someone they want to listen to.

Emojis have to a large extent, replaced short text. Lol, and rotfl have been replaced by emojis (😃 🤣). You don’t need to go on urban dictionary to figure out what rttlfh means (doesn't exist by the way) when you can say almost anything with an emoji.

How to Use Emojis in Email Marketing

The first one has been covered already, which is using them in the subject line. By setting the right tone early, contacts are more willing to open the email and are less guarded about the information contained.

Obviously, this requires the body of the mail to follow in the same light-hearted tone, or that would be the last time they fall for your trickery. This doesn’t necessarily mean you should include emojis here as well, but it could be good.

Thirdly, you can use emojis as the Call to Action (CTA). Umm, what could be easier than clicking on the drooling emoji 🤤 to figure out which luscious prize awaits you?

Using emojis as CTA is new territory, but it is fun and practical, probably more effective than writing a bunch of text which if not worded right, could end up costing you the click.


It may seem taboo to some old-school marketers, but emojis in emails are the next best thing, and it is the high time everyone started using them. Sure, the response you get will be determined by the target audience and the symbols you use, but that is to be expected.

Do experiment a little with a small batch of your mailing list and see how it goes. If it works out as we suspect it would, you can thank us with this 🍺.

Unicode can help out with sourcing the best emoji and knowing how it displays on different devices. Last thing you want is a [], but sometimes it can't be avoided. I'm pretty sure it would have been in this article.

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