Try this New Year’s resolution to boost email marketing ?


Let’s make a New Year’s resolution together: Let’s agree to experiment with using an emoji or emoticon in the subject line of an email marketing piece or email newsletter.



According to some numbers published by Experian, 56 percent of the brands who are working with these kinds of graphic symbols in subject lines have experienced higher open rates.

Now let’s be honest: That’s slightly over 50 percent, so the results are not overwhelming…they are however, somewhat promising.

Power and danger of symbols

There are some dangers when using emojis in your marketing and branding materials, whether in email subject lines or elsewhere. You need to understand how they are going to “play” with your audience. Will your customers and prospects find them cute and engaging or shallow and cheap?

Here are some specifics from the Experian survey:

  • The heart symbol boosted open rates for 56 percent of the brands analyzed,
  • The black heart, while often used, only improved open rates by 2.2 percent, and
  • The black sun with rates made the biggest impact, improving open rates by nearly 15 percent.

The study also suggested that you might find that these symbols help for a while and then their magic power wears off. That is essentially the pattern that all “new” Internet things follow. They catch our eye and attention for a little while and then we soon get to the point where we have seen them so often, we begin to ignore them. They fade into the virtual background.

How to use emojis

Fortunately, getting these symbols embedded in your subject lines is not hard. Just find a set you like, select the one you want to use, copy it, and paste it into your subject line.

This collection of Facebook symbols is a good place to start. They are nicely designed and people are familiar with them; they are “friendly faces” – except for the ones that display anger or other emotions!


Graphemica has a cool search feature. Put your term in the site’s search box and it will return symbols with that tag. I just searched for love – or at least an emoji symbolizing love! – and got a whole page or good symbols.


If you’re marketing to a younger crowd, there’s certainly a place for these symbols in your emails and probably in other marketing materials.

Make a promise to yourself to explore this more fully!