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Are Emojis Right for Your Email Marketing Subject Lines?

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There’s a lot of talk within the email community regarding the usage of slang and jargon within email content – specifically the subject line. Generally, the consensus from industry thought leaders is that these buzzwords, acronyms, and other colloquialisms don’t add much to the process when it comes to catching the attention of your inbox audience.

However, the rise of “emoji” usage on the web has added a new and intriguing dynamic to this conversation. To find out if it’s time to add these emotive icons to your email content, let’s jump into the discussion and see if there’s any merit to this new wave of expressing your brand’s intentions in the subject line.

What Is an Emoji?

If you’re scratching your head and wondering what the heck an emoji is, it’s probably a good idea to take a step back for a second and lay out a clearly defined understanding of this portion of the current Internet culture. This way, as you learn more about the potential power of these offerings, you’ll have all the info you need to keep the conversation within the proper context.

As Mashable’s Lyssa Goldberg explains, there’s a surprisingly deep level of meaning behind the modern take on emojis. Beginning in Japan, the area in which these icons were first popularized, emojis originally represented a certain emotion or concept related to this country’s youthful culture.

However, the last several years have seen the usage of these bite-size images skyrocket around the globe as more and more members of the Internet and social media aim to show their feelings and emotions in a more visual manner. In fact, the Unicode Consortium now stands responsible for the standardization of emoji encoding, thus ensuring that even though slight variations might occur from platform to platform, the meaning of each symbol maintains a universal basis.

Can These Additions Really Help Open Rates?

Now that you’re an expert on emoji meaning and history, it’s time to answer the big question: Can emojis really increase your open rates and give your subject line impact a healthy boost? According to article on LinkedIn offered up by digital marketing expert Moni Oloyede, the answer is a fairly strong, “yes.”

Essentially, adding in the right emojis to your subject line can help boost open rates by up to 15 percent. The big key here is that these offerings help overcome the natural inability of email marketing to properly express emotion within this short portion of the message. With the addition of emojis, facing an unclear tone of your messages doesn’t have to be a reality within your inbox campaigns anymore.

It is important to note that just because these selections have the potential to give your open rates a healthy bump, that doesn’t mean that incorporating emojis is always the right idea. In fact, Oloyede goes on to point out that emojis can come off as downright unprofessional in more formal inbox settings.

Picking out the Right Emojis for Your Future Messages

Before going overboard with these icons, consider your audience. For business-to-business (B2B) interactions, you’re probably better off keeping the emojis on the sideline. However, if you’re dealing with normal retail consumers, these tools could mean the difference between adding a human element to your brand or potentially coming off as bland or generic.

In terms of the most effective and impactful emojis, Ayaz Nanji of Marketing Profs found that a few big winners stick out from among the crowd. Specifically, after testing 214,000 different campaigns, the research offered up by Nanji shows that the “registered trademark” was the most used emoji by a large margin. As far as other heavily utilized emojis go, the “big-eyed happy face,” “smiley with heart eyes,” “heart,” and standard “smiley face” rounded out the top five most popular selections.

Obviously, these numbers simply represent a trend related to the volume of emojis found within relevant email campaigns. Even so, it doesn’t hurt to use this data as a basis for the foundation of your future incorporation of these visual assets into your subject lines.

From this point, you can continue to test and refine your chosen emojis – just like any other portion of the email marketing process – to ensure that you always provide the content that resonates most with your inbox audience. With this viewpoint leading the way, your newfound understanding of the role emojis play in the email marketing world could be the key to a deeper and more meaningful relationship with the people on the other side of the screen.

About Victor Green

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