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Do Emojis Work in Email Marketing?

Liberal use of emojis within email bodies and footers may not consistently raise opens or conversions. But there are some tricky ways to get success with emojis in email marketing. Let's find out.

Icegram blog general

Last updated on January 16, 2024

Emojis, those small digital symbols expressing emotions, objects or ideas, have become an omnipresent part of our digital communication. From social media posts to text messages, emojis are everywhere. And, emojis in email marketing is no exception.

The question on many marketers’ minds is whether emojis are an effective tool for improving email performance.

In this all-inclusive blog feature, we dig into research to answer the question and also probe the pros, cons and best tips surrounding the use of emojis in email marketing.

Do emojis work in email marketing?

Have you ever marveled at how symbols and images serve as a universal language, transcending barriers of words? It’s fascinating to witness how extensively we rely on them for efficient communication.

For example, consider how airports ingeniously utilize icons like ✈️ (airplane) or 🛄 (baggage claim) to guide travelers.
Traffic signs offer another great example: 🚦 for traffic control, 🚧 for roadwork and 🚗 for speed limit zones, all conveying clear messages at a glance.

Weather-tracking organizations are also deploying visual elements to provide instant insight without lengthy explanations. They frequently employ symbols like ❄️ for snow or 🌧️ for showers on maps.

The point is – our brains excel at swiftly interpreting visuals. The brain seamlessly translates them into meaningful information. Whether conveyed through words, symbols or pictures, our minds process them efficiently.

This reliance on visual cues isn’t a recent phenomenon—it’s a communication strategy that predates written language.

With the digital revolution, integrating images into text-based communication was a natural progression. Today, beyond emojis, GIFs, emoticons and other visual elements enrich our digital conversations.

This is how emojis became so trendy.

In fact, we all remember when those simple text emoticons like 🙂 and 🙂 began peppering our text messages. Fast forward and now, we have a plethora of emojis, transforming our digital conversations into vibrant and expressive exchanges. 😊🚀

But the real question is – will emojis work in email marketing?

Let’s find out from a study by NN Group, a world leader in research-based user experience.

Can emojis work in email marketing? Emojis in email marketing for commercial purposes

The study aimed to uncover whether emojis truly enhance or hinder the email experience for users.

Two studies were conducted, focusing on user attitudes towards emails with emojis and whether they are more likely to be opened. 💻📊

A list of reaction words was provided to the research participants, who were divided into two groups: those who used emojis and those who did not. The outcomes were fascinating!

Emoji-free emails typically received more positive responses from recipients who thought them were cool, intriguing and cutting edge. 😎👍

Emoji-filled emails, on the other hand, caused a rise in criticism, with phrases like annoying, puzzling and ineffective coming up more frequently. 😟📉

The study found that including emojis in the subject line increased negative sentiment by 26%. While this might seem like a small percentage, the impact on perception was noticeable.

Emails without emojis were associated with fewer negative words and more positive ones, creating a more favorable impression overall.

So, what’s the verdict?

The research strongly suggests that emojis might not be the golden ticket to grabbing attention in a crowded inbox.

In fact, they could be working against you, contributing to a less favorable perception. The study doesn’t write off emojis entirely but encourages a second thought before sprinkling them liberally in your subject lines. 🧐💌

Need an email marketing software or tool to get started with emojis?

Emojis are supported by a wide range of email marketing platforms, each in a different way. Emojis are available in SaaS email platforms like HubSpot and Mailchimp, however these platforms are designed for large enterprises.

If you’re a WordPress/WooCommerce seller or small online business owner, you can sign up for Icegram Express, an intuitive email marketing plugin. It features a drag-and-drop editor and plenty of opportunities for thoughtful emoji placement.

Get Express here and amp up your emoji marketing.

Why use emojis in email marketing? Do emojis complement email content?

The 2011 release of the emoji keyboard significantly altered public opinions of these digital representations.

Emojis have progressed from being exclusively connected to texting (mostly among teenagers) to becoming a widely used tool for communication.

Emojis are now recognized globally and each symbol has a generally accepted meaning.

Digital and email marketers use emojis to stand out in crowded inboxes and evoke emotions more easily than plain text.

In an environment where characters are limited, emojis provide a shortcut to convey feelings and grab attention.

Additionally, they add an element of fun to the email, making the content more engaging.

When used wisely in email body content, emojis may be a great way to keep readers captivated. Emojis, in the opinion of some email marketers, complement the content of email body and even newsletters.

Let’s examine this using a few Dribble email marketing newsletters. In its email campaigns, Dribble hasn’t gone overboard with emojis. They are subtly inserting one into the email body and subject line. These emojis don’t negatively impact the user interface or experience.

do emojis work in email marketing_email marketing plugin newsletter dribble example
do emojis work in email marketing_email marketing plugin newsletter example from dribble2

Do you like the above newsletters? If so, here’s a good thing to know.

The top WordPress email marketing tool, Icegram Express, now allows you to create eye-catching email newsletters by using emojis.

Grab Icegram Express right away to boost your email marketing campaigns. Check out the user reviews of this minimalist WordPress email marketing plugin.

Also read: How to use Express to compose and send newsletters

Commercial benefits of using emojis in email marketing

Some apps may automatically suggest emojis when you type certain words. Typing popular business words like “Dollar”, “Cash”, “Rewards”, etc. may instantly translate to emojis.

It’s because emojis use up less space than typing out the entire word. It’s super handy, especially as screens get smaller and our fingers might get tired from typing a lot.

Doing business in mobile mostly? Emojis can certainly bring you some relief.

Here’s another commercial benefit of emojis in email marketing.

Emojis can be super helpful when words in different languages don’t quite get the message across. They can guide people in the right direction when language alone might not convey the intended meaning.

Are you in a global business suffering from language issues? If so, it’s time to use emojis in your everyday commercial communication.

Here are three top global brands that have found a profound way to use emojis in marketing.

  • Taco Bell has used a taco emoji in its Twitter handle. The company is also using emoji-themed hashtags like #TacoEmoji and #EmojiMovie.
  • Domino’s has used emojis in its email marketing campaigns by allowing customers to order pizza through Twitter using emoji symbols. For example, customers can tweet a pizza emoji along with their desired toppings and location to place an order.
  • Pepsi has used emojis in its marketing campaigns by creating custom-made emojis called “PepsiMoji,” which were used in various social media platforms and marketing materials.

The most commonly used emojis in business or email marketing are as follows –

😀 – Grinning Face
😍 – Smiling Face with Heart-Eyes
🎉 – Party Popper
🔥 – Fire
💥 – Collision
🚀 – Rocket
⏰ – Alarm Clock
🌟 – Glowing Star
📢 – Loudspeaker
✨ – Sparkles

Beyond benefits, you should also look for some delicate situations as mentioned below.

  • Emojis often have hidden meanings or cultural significance. Consider the “fire” 🔥 emoji. Sure, it signifies flames or something burning, but it’s not just about literal fire. People often use it to express excitement, enthusiasm or that something is really cool or amazing. So, beyond its basic meaning, emojis like the “fire” symbol can convey a sense of energy or awesomeness in conversations.
  • Also, did you know emoji is red colored because in some places, red represents good?
  • Using hand gesture emojis can sometimes be tricky because different cultures might interpret them in various ways. It’s essential to be cautious when using these emojis to avoid misunderstandings.

You must know that many operating systems have their own emoji designs in the market. They look different from each other.

For example, Apple’s emojis tend to be softer and rounder, while Google’s Android emojis are bolder and flatter.

Here’s a representation to understand better.

can emojis work in email marketing_email marketing tool emojis example

7 tips to master emojis in email marketing

Do you want your subject lines and email copy to lure readers to click through and read more?

Here are my seven top tips for using emojis strategically in your emails:

  1. Lead with an emoji in your subject line. People are visual creatures and emojis stand out from plain text. A smiling face or thumbs-up emoji can signal to recipients that your email contains positive or helpful content. I like to experiment with different emoji combinations to see which ones perform best.
  2. Match your emojis to your brand. Don’t just randomly select emojis – pick ones that fit your company’s personality and voice. A tech brand might use more technological emojis while a food brand could incorporate recipes or dishes. The emojis should enhance the message, not distract from it.
  3. Use emojis sparingly in the body copy. Too many emojis can come across as unprofessional or immature. Stick to no more than 1-2 per paragraph. Strategically place them by benefits or calls to action to highlight important information.
  4. Consider cultural contexts. Not all emoji meanings directly translate across borders. Do some research on emoji trends in your target markets so you pick ones that will be universally understood.
  5. Highlight user-generated content with emojis. If you feature customer quotes, reviews or social posts in your emails, add relevant emojis inline to make it more lively and entertaining.
  6. Use emojis to direct readers. You can subtly guide readers’ eyes on a long email by placing cheerful emojis at the end of paragraphs to prompt them to keep scrolling.
  7. Always remember – you have to believe in constant testing or experimenting! See which emojis and placements generate the best response – more opens, clicks and conversions. Pay attention to your analytics and refine your strategy based on your research. Over time, you’ll develop an emoji savvy that performs for your particular list.

Finally, use tools like Mailchimp, Zoho, Constant Contact or Icegram Express to excel in your email marketing journey.

Icegram Express, which has a free plan, comes in handy 24/7. Over 120,000 users are using this amazing email tool. Get Express now!

Pros and cons of using emojis in email marketing

Pros of emojis in email marketing

  • Positive effects on KPIs such as open rate, click rate and response rate.
  • Increased brand awareness and visibility in inboxes.
  • Efficient use of space, crucial for mobile devices with limited subject line display.
  • Acts as modern-day digital ‘body language,’ conveying tone and emotion.
  • Potential to become a part of a brand’s identity if used consistently.

Cons of emojis in email marketing

  • Considered tacky and unprofessional by some because of the potential of harming the brand image.
  • Time-consuming, requiring research and attention to current trends.
  • May decrease email visibility if overused or misunderstood.
  • Cultural and demographic variations in emoji interpretation.
  • Risks of misinterpretation or conveying the wrong tone.

Final finding

In my opinion, emojis in email marketing bring both personal pleasure and professional purposefulness. Connecting through smiles just feels right in our visually-driven world. 👀👁️‍🗨️

Just like individual users, online businesses can benefit from using emojis in email previews, subject lines and the main message. The right emojis can instantly grab attention and add a friendly touch to communication.

I’m energized to unlock the full potential of emojis and hope you’ll experiment creatively alongside me!

If you happen to start your next email marketing campaign with emojis, use the Icegram Express WordPress email marketing tool.

Here’s the documentation to get started with Express and its functionalities. 🛠️ 🔧

Download the Icegram Express free version here and test your emojis. Find out Express’s Pro and Max plans too. 📂📥

Happy email campaigning with emojis! 📧🚀

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