Content & CopywritingDesign

Emojis in Email Marketing – Less Words, More Feeling

A ton of emojis falling and bouncing
A ton of emojis falling and bouncing
Picture source: Freepik

A picture is worth a thousand words. The well-known idiom is true for every aspect of life – we use images for social media, daily communication with friends and colleagues, and even for business communication.

Emojis are, therefore, on point here. They are fun, engaging, expressive, and insightful. They help to create emotion, the key component of communication. As per data collected by Unicode, 92% of the world’s online population prefers using emojis for communication

It comes as no surprise that emojis have found their way into our work lives and especially in email marketing, becoming the cherry on the cake. In this article, I’m going to share everything you need to know about emojis in email marketing, how to use them, what to do and what to avoid while running emojis in marketing. Let’s dive deeper. 

Origins of the Emoji – the Way they Became Popular

The concept of the emoji isn’t new. Various cultures in different centuries have used a diverse variety of pictograms to express emotions. The modern concept of emojis dates back to the 1990s when classic emojis were used to show a smile : ) or express sadness : ( in communication. 

Nevertheless, you may wonder what emoji means and where it comes from. Well, the word emoji comes from the Japanese word “picture” (絵), which is pronounced as “eh,” and the letter (文字), pronounced as “moji”. 

A well-known Japanese designer Shigetaka Kurita is considered to be the creator of emojis, who designed a set of over 170 emojis for the famous Japanese mobile phone company DoCoMo. The idea was quickly copied by other Japanese mobile operators. Currently, there are over 3000 emojis being used worldwide, all with Kurita’s initial design. 

The usage of emojis in email marketing was predictable and groundbreaking at the same time. A tiny smiling face 🙂 or a fire image 🔥 started to differentiate an email from hundreds of others in the inbox. Modern email marketing in 2014 was truly defined by this event. Yet, there is no other way to add human touch and feelings to text-based messages. 

Moreover, emojis bring personalization to emails – the most crucial aspect of email marketing. And they also play a great role in driving traffic to your website or blog. 

Different emojis on a colorful background
Image source: Freepik   

Emails with emojis are a perfect way to capture the attention of the recipient, but they must be used wisely to get more conversions and not be perceived negatively by the audience. Let’s see how to use emojis in email marketing efficiently. 

How to Use Emojis in Email Marketing 

Email marketers worldwide are boosting open and click rates by using emojis in email marketing. 

Yes, modern reports state that emojis truly positively impact KPIs like click rate, open rate, and response rate. According to Experian, compared to plain subject lines, email subject lines with emojis are 56% more likely to be opened

Subject Line 🙂🔥❤️

A crucial step in improving your open rate is to spice up your subject line – this you can do with emojis. Don’t forget to be wise about how you do it. Not every emoji should be put in your subject line. Emoticons can be used to attract the viewer’s attention in the mailbox, for example, to promote sales, product launches, holiday sales, and also to deliver announcements.
last chance, subject line

For instance, the subject line “Hot offer 🔥” is much more likely to be opened than a plain “Hot offer”. However, it is not recommended to go overboard with applying emojis in the subject line as the chances that these can irritate the recipient are high. Choose the golden middle!

Audience 👩‍🦰👱‍♂️👨‍🦳👩‍🦳🧕

The key factor in email marketing is knowing your audience. The better you know them, the more personalized emojis you will use, and the more personalized your email will be. In this case, there is no chance of being ignored by the recipient. For example, female recipients are keener to open emails with emojis than males. Consider the age gap as well. Gen Z or Millennials don’t have the same perception of emojis as older generations

Young woman looking at their phone, surrounded by emojis
Image source: Freepik

Another key factor to consider while putting emojis in email is the geographical component. Yes, emojis are considered the “lingua franca” of the digital world. However, different cultures may give them separate interpretations. For example, avoid using animal emojis in your emails to an international readership, as a lot of these emojis are considered bullying by different cultures. 

Brand Voice 🔊

Like your newsletter, the emojis contained should comply with your brand voice and your message. Emojis from an eCommerce company should differ from the ones from a medical or finance company. And maybe a letter from the bank with a flame emoticon would make the reader imagine how their money is burning? 

After confirming your target audience, define the brand voice, create the content, then incorporate the emojis accordingly. 

Any time you add an emoji to your email copy, ask yourself, “What is the aim of adding the emoji?”. If you don’t find the answer to this question, then think twice! Remember that randomly added emojis might affect your brand reputation. And finally – emojis should complement your email content and not be used instead of it. 

Examples of Emojis in Email Marketing

Below, we have listed some of the most popular emojis for emails among businesses in the eCommerce industry and other areas. You can also find plenty of emojis on Emojipedia and Emojicopy. Have fun looking around, find the emoji you need and copy/paste it to enhance your email.


  • Fire emoji 🔥. This is one of the most widely used emojis worldwide for promoting your hottest deals. And it really works. 

fire emoji in email

  • Waving hand emoji 👋. The best way to greet your target audience. Use this to power up both your subject line and why not the email copy. For anyone, it’s always great to see a friendly wave here and there. 

waving hand emoji in email

  • Explosion emoji 💥. Use this for your most explosive offers and deals. You can also use this emoji to inform your readers about a new product that has hit the market with a visible bang, but you can find an even better emoji for that in the list below.

explosion email subject line

  • Thunder emoji ⚡️. This one is also perfect for newly launched products. More so, it’s great for new features that may change the lives of your customers and electrify their user experience. 

thunder emoji in email

  • Star(s) emoji ⭐️✨. These emojis twinkling in your marketing email are perfect to use for drawing attention to your email content. Nice and simple. It is also an excellent way to reassure the reader that the product you sell will have an exquisite effect on their life. 

star emoji in email

  • Rocket emoji 🚀. Show your audience that your product is moving up as fast as a rocket with this emoji. This is, of course, the best emoji to send out a product launch email. 

rocket emoji in email

  • Attention emoji 📣. Use this emoji for the most important and urgent announcements that you don’t want your subscribers to miss. We would recommend using it more for formal announcements rather than promoting products. 

attention emoji in emai;

  • Green checkmark ✅. This emoji brings positivity, as green is considered a calmly happy color. Also, who wouldn’t like to see a sign associated with getting something done? Use this to show the benefits of your product or service or to, well… Reassure your subscriber that something is done.  

checkmark emoji in subject line

Before starting to use any of these or other emojis, consider that not all systems and devices support them. While many recipients see 🙂, for others, it may look like the text “slightly smiling face” or just a plain ☐. So, don’t guess – test. Before using emojis for an email outreach campaign, test them for different devices and systems. The good news is that Gmail, the most popular email provider, supports all types of emojis. 

Also, be a class act in email marketing. Don’t add too many emojis to your email’s subject line or even the content, as too much looks banal and could even be confused as spam instead. If you love the look of both a thunder and explosion emoji in your new sales email’s subject line, then consider running an A/B test first and see which one works best. 

Closing Thoughts 

Using emojis in your email marketing is not considered an advantage but a common need. Adding emojis to emails helps express more feelings and grab attention. Just make sure you do it strategically, stylishly, and with care. Keep in mind what you are selling, who is your target audience and never forget your brand’s voice. 

Maximize the benefits of emojis by following the tips and best practices discussed in this article!