Increasing Email Engagement With Emojis

|by Amba Wilkes

There’s no getting away from it, emojis have become an essential part of our everyday communication. Whether your audience is into the latest digital trends, or still prefer a more traditional stance, emojis have found their way into a number of marketing channels.  

Fun, expressive and universally understood, with the rise of emoji popularity, it’s only natural that email marketers have hopped on the bandwagon. But emojis have the power to make or break an email campaign and need to be used effectively.  

Let’s take a look at the dos and don’ts of using emojis in your email marketing campaigns and how you can make the most of those beloved little characters.  

To emoji or not to emoji? 

Over 3,600 emojis live on the world wide web today. Many well-known brands including the likes of Domino Pizza, WWF and KitKat, already use emojis across their social media posts and marketing campaigns and are now gradually shifting to email messaging too.  

They’ve risen through the ranks as an important part of many brands’ messaging. But are they right for you? There are many benefits to using emojis, but that’s not to say they’re without cons. Let’s dive into both. 

The pros of using emojis in email marketing  

Build your brand’s image  

If your brand has more of a casual tone, emojis can help you connect with your audience and stand out from the crowd. Today, brands can even create their own emoji that’s exclusive to them.  

Save space in written copy  

Many emails are opened on mobile devices where email subject lines are restricted to just 40 characters. With so little space to use, it’s important to get your message across in a succinct and impactful way. Emojis are great for this, allowing you to convey emotions and humour while only using a couple of character spaces.  

Universal 

Emojis translate across the world. Anyone, no matter what language they speak, can understand emojis and what they mean. While they may be interpreted or displayed differently in various regions or different devices, the sentiment of emojis stays the same. This can help set the tone of your email for your whole audience but it’s always worthwhile checking they are relevant to who you are targeting.   

Engage your audience  

When used correctly, emojis can create a huge uplift in engagement. Friendly and familiar, emojis make people want to engage and stand out among text posts.  

Recent research showed that using an emoji in a tweet can increase engagement by 25 percent compared to those without. Using an emoji in your Facebook post is thought to increase shares by 33 percent and interactions with the post by 57 percent.  

Looking beyond the stats, emojis can also help your brand stand out, make your messaging more relatable and appeal to your audiences’ emotions.  

Humanise your brand  

Using emojis in your messaging can add personality to your brand and make you more relatable. By speaking your audience’s language, you can build trust with your audience which can help turn them into loyal, long-term brand advocates.  

The cons of using emojis in email marketing 

They don’t suit your brand  

Emojis may come off as unprofessional. It’s important to use them when relevant and if they suit your brand. You don’t want your emails to be too casual otherwise the reader may not trust in you, and they’ll be less likely to share their information. 

When it comes to emojis, context is everything. Before including them in your messaging, it’s worth running through a few checks such as: 

  • Will my target audience understand the intended message? 
  • Is this the right channel to use them on?  
  • Do these emojis suit my brand and are they relevant to my sector? 
  • Do they fit the buyer persona?  

Emojis may display differently  

Email providers may display elements differently to one another. For example, Gmail could show emojis in a different way to those using iOS. This means emoji designs can vary and can sometimes even cause your emails to land in the spam box.  

Keep up your research  

New emojis and trends appear all the time. Knowing what’s ‘in’ and what’s ‘out’ requires a fair bit of time, research and paying close attention to current trends to hit the mark.  

7 best practices for using emojis in your email marketing  

1) Use emojis that suit your brand  

Every brand has its own tone. When writing emails, it’s your responsibility to make sure that your tone fits with your brand. This applies to your emoji choices too.  

The emojis you use in your email marketing campaigns need to fit hand-in-hand with your brand and what your audience expects to see from you. Generally, marketing emails are sent on a regular basis so it’s important to maintain a consistent tone across all your communications.  

2) Don’t replace words with emojis  

While emojis are a fun and effective way of communicating emotion, don’t use them to replace words. Placing emojis at the end of a sentence helps to solidify your tone rather than making your customers pick apart what you’re trying to say.  

3) Don’t use emojis in serious emails  

Serious emails such as business updates or wider current events generally aren’t the time or place for emojis – even if they usually suit your tone. Save emojis for light-hearted messaging such as event reminders, promotions and discounts.  

4) Don’t overdo it 

Yes, emojis are fun but there is such a thing as too many! Filling your emails to the brim with emojis can look unprofessional and distract readers from the point of the actual email. Instead, carefully select a few emojis that can be strategically placed throughout to strengthen your copy, not weaken it. 

5) Check how your emojis look across all devices  

Every email client and operating system may show differently which could affect the meaning and user experience.  

Also check how your chosen emojis appear across different devices. From iOS to Android and Gmail to Microsoft, emojis can vary across each provider.  

6) Consider accessibility and diversity  

Make sure your chosen emojis cater to your entire audience. Users with impaired vision rely on assistive technology to enjoy and consume digital content so it’s important you understand how each emoji is defined. When a screen reader reads an emoji, it reads a description of that emoji or transcribes it into braille.  

Each emoji has its own meta description but not everyone is what you think it would be. If you want to double-check the description of the emojis you choose to use, an excellent resource is emojipedia.org

It’s also important to think about diversity and inclusivity. We recommend defaulting to the yellow skin tone to ensure your customers from around the world don’t feel excluded by your email marketing. It may seem small, but this inclusivity can make all the difference.  

7) Get to know your audience 

Certain demographics won’t be as appreciative of emojis as others. It’s important to get to know your audience and understand whether these additions are relevant for them, or if they’ll just stand out like a sore thumb.  

Take the time to carry out audience research and testing to figure out who you’re speaking to and what resonates with them. 

So, are emojis for you? 

Before adding emojis to your email marketing strategy with little thought, ask yourself if it aligns with your tone of voice and brand image. Plus, make sure you research emojis to find out the meanings of different ones before you use them.  

No matter how or why you’re incorporating emojis into your email, the Wired Plus email editor has you covered! Add emojis into your subject lines and email copy before running A/B tests to find out what emojis perform best with your audience. Book a demo of our platform to try it for yourself.  

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