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Blog post By Paula Chiocchi on 2017-07-19

Can B2B marketers get in on the emoji craze to increase email open rates? A new study by Return Path reports that adding the right emoji to an email subject line can have an impact. The report highlighted email campaigns tied to the recent July 4 holiday. Those campaigns that did not use an emoji generated average read rates of 21%, while those with an emoji saw read rates rise to 25%.


With their popularity trending upward, how can B2B marketers use emojis to increase email open rates? Here are five ways to put them to work in email subject lines:


  1. Make sure it makes sense: Don’t use an emoji just for the sake of including one; be sure it supports your message. Your emoji should be clearly recognizable, make sense in how it is associated with your offering, and add some fun to an otherwise boring email inbox. Be aware of your brand identity and be sure your selected emoji reflects this.


  1. Match your emoji to the season: Consider using an emoji image that supports the accompanying time of year – such as a smiling, sunglass-wearing sun for your summer promotion, or a spider or jack-o-lantern for your spooky October campaign.


  1. Don’t overdo it: While an emoji might be viewed by your target market as unique or cool initially, using emojis all the time will likely wear out their welcome, as evidenced by declining open rates. Also, be sure to avoid using the same emoji every time, and don’t use the same emojis that are used frequently by others (e.g. your competitors) -- and therefore identifiable with their brand. The idea is to be different and creative.


  1. Make sure it renders correctly: A clever emoji can generate a positive response, but one that doesn’t render correctly can look bad – and increase deletes or even complaints. So make sure the emojis you’re using are supported by the email service providers (ESPs) and devices your subscribers use. Test them with a variety of mobile platforms and email accounts, and make sure they work well with your CRM/email automation platform.


  1. Test before sending: Don’t blast emojis to your entire database right from the start; test your emojis on a smaller sample size and compare the results (e.g. open rates) to standard (e.g. no emoji) emails. This way, you can determine to what extent the emoji is helping your campaign – and try another one (or not use one at all) if the results are not what you’re hoping for.


While including emojis in your email subject lines can generate additional engagement from your target audience, B2B marketers should start slow, be strategic about their use, ensure professionalism and test campaigns constantly. Beyond improving email open rates, emojis can play a role in your ability to increase the personalization and approachability of your brand, while helping you add a little fun to your campaigns.


And that should bring a J to any marketer’s face.







Outward Media’s accurate, targeted email data can help you achieve better email marketing ROI, and convert more prospects into customers. Ask us how. Also, take a look at our complimentary e-book on building a successful B2B email marketing database.

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