How To Use Emojis Effectively In Email Subject Lines

Zachary Krall
Zachary Krall

Email Marketing Specialist

emojis in email subject lines

What is one of the highest ROI marketing channels in existence? Answer: Email marketing. The thing about effective emails is, however, that they must grab the recipient’s attention. They have to stand out. But how do you make email after email do exactly that?

Your email subject lines have everything to do with attracting immediate attention and helping to create standout emails. So how do you make the most of your subject line? An effective way to create distinct email subject lines is with emojis.

“Wait, what?” you’re probably asking. But it’s true. You heard it right! It’s important to use emojis if you want your subject lines to do their job, and then some.

The Creation of Effective Subject Lines and Emails

You’re probably devoting a good amount of effort and time into constructing emails that attract not only subscriber clicks but those which are visually appealing – if not outstanding. So why stop there? Don’t let all that time and effort be for nothing. One of the first things seen by your subscriber is the email subject line. So, make it at least as intriguing and attractive as the email itself – if not more so.

What’s the best way to create this kind of email subject line? As stated before, emojis can go a long way toward helping you achieve your goal.

Why Emojis?

What’s the big deal about emojis in the subject line of your emails? Aren’t you supposed to avoid the use of emojis at all costs? Somewhere along the line, someone probably told you that you should avoid using emojis in your email content, your social media posts, and more; and that rings true in any number of cases. But when it comes to email subject lines, must you avoid the use of emojis? Maybe not. Here’s why.

When you take a standard email subject line and want to add visual appeal and emphasis, one of the best ways can be with emojis. In a simple yet extremely effective way, they can be used to convey emotion, tone, and add personality. What’s more, rather than just your standard inbox clutter, they can help make an email different from all the rest. That attracts attention. This means your email stands a better chance of getting opened.

Right and Wrong Usage

As with most things, there is a good way and a not-so-good way to go about using your new attention attractor – emojis in your email subject lines.

The emoji you use must be consistent with the voice of your company and your brand and used in the right context. Your email could come across as informal or childish if you use too many emojis. Worse yet, too many emojis can make your email look like spam.

On the other hand, if your emojis aren’t eye-catching enough or there aren’t enough of them, your email will blend in with all the other hundreds of emails people receive, and your outstanding content will never be looked at.

Six Tips for Using Emojis in Email Subject Lines

To help introduce you to the use of emojis in the subject lines of emails, here are half a dozen tips. The bottom line to remember is that the emoji you use must make sense with your message and evoke the desired emotion.

  • Keep it simple. In order for your emojis to be effective, you don’t have to use an abundance of them. You can make all the difference in the world with a single, well-placed emoji for effect. 
  • Seriously consider the use of universal emojis rather than something new, cutting-edge, and/or supposedly improved. Also, try to avoid using emojis that are entirely incompatible with the email platform it is being shown in or what OS the user is utilizing. 
  • Choose the right emoji for the message you’re trying to convey. Make sure the emoji evokes the desired emotion and makes sense with the message. Emojis that are completely unrelated to your email content will only confuse your reader.
  • Be aware of any cultural differences, ramifications, etc. Emojis can have various meanings, depending on the culture. The last thing you want is the potential of a misunderstanding on your hands.
  • When in doubt… test it out. As effective as they can be, emojis aren’t for everyone. Always run A/B tests on your audience. You may run into certain sectors that are simply “anti-emoji”.
  • Watch your tone – or rather, the tone of your emoji. Emojis can be used to convey a vast array of emotions – from sincerity to sarcasm. Be mindful of the tone you’re trying to convey and use the emoji that you feel is most appropriate. 

Subject Line Emojis – Best Practices

The tips above will help keep you mindful of some of the important factors to consider when using email subject line emojis. In addition to those, however, there are a few best practices to put to good use:

  • Idea Emphasis – For the most impact, following your subject line’s keyword, place a related emoji. It can be a little awkward to read the subject line if emojis are placed before the keyword. The line will read more smoothly if the keyword is followed by your chosen emoji.
  • Emotion Conveyance – To help clarify the tone of your email, consider conveying an emotion with one of the many available stylized face emojis.
  • Relevance – In some way, the subject line and the emoji you use should be closely related. Emojis are particularly easy to work in during holidays and specific seasons. Covering a vast array of actions, emotions, and objects. There are 2,000 recognized emojis for you to get creative with.
  • Content Knowledge – You may be able to get away with adding an emoji even if your contacts expect conservative content or your email has a more serious tone. The great thing about emojis is that they span a wide array of options. As long as you’re completely familiar with your content, you should be able to find an emoji that suits it perfectly.

Best Emojis – Top 9

The top 9 emojis are as follows:

  • Fire 🔥
  • Smiling with heart eyes 😍
  • Single red heart ❤️
  • Grinning face with smiling eyes 😁
  • Sparkles ✨
  • Purple heart 💜
  • Blue heart 💙
  • Green heart 💚
  • “Registered” (R in a circle) ®️

Keep in mind, however, that even though these are the top 9 and most commonly used, they may not be appropriate for your product, company voice, etc. They may not convey the message you’re looking to get across, invoke the right emotion, and more.

Key Take Away

One proven and effective way to get your emails opened and increase engagement is through the use of emojis in email subject lines. However, it’s crucial that they be consistent with the voice of your company and brand, and that they’re used in the right context.

Remember, one of the biggest battles where email marketing is concerned is getting your recipients to open the email. That said, within your campaign, you still need to implement copy and design that will encourage clicks, drive engagement, and help you accomplish whatever goals you have set up.