Email Emojis: How to use Emoticons in your marketing emails 📧

I admit it: I'm one of those annoying folks who almost always end a sentence in a emojis. 😂 Chat with me for any length of time and the probability of you getting hit with any emoji is swiftly approaching 100%.

Naturally, I do use emojis (or smileys or emoticons - whatever you like to call it) in my emails as well. I think it helps me convey my personality.

I'll lead with some semi-sober reasons to use emojis and then I'll tell you how I miserably failed doing so.

Reasons to use emoticons in emails

If you ask me, there are a ton of reasons why you should use more emojis in your emails - especially in your subject line. But then again, I'm the one with an emoji addiction. ¯_(ツ)_/¯

Increased open rates

I have only anecdotal evidence myself on this topic, but according to a - sadly - no longer available report by Experian 56% of surveyed brands reported increased open rates for their emails with emojis in the subject line.

Get noticed in the inbox

Look at this picture and tell me which of the four items immediately grabs your attention.

Emojis stand out in the email inbox

It's the one with the "pointing finger" icon - isn't it? Case closed.

Convey emotions

Emojis were developed to bring emotions across in non-face-to-face conversations. Whether online chats, text messages, or email: They all suffer from a lack of facial expressions that give us so much context. Is she joking? Is he sad? Ecstatic? Exhausted? In love? Bored? Indifferent?

You can convey these emotions (and more) with icons - until we finally get that VR chat going, dammit!

Emojis save space

On mobile you get maybe 30 characters in the subject line - max. Everything beyond that is truncated and doesn't help you get your message across.

So instead of wasting valuable space, you can use icons. Try these:

Things can go shockingly wrong when using Emojis in emails

I started using Emojis in my emails, after I saw Justin Jackson use them in his emails. I think at one point 3 out of 4 of the subject lines in my evergreen content campaign had an emoticon in them. That's how crazy I went with the smileys.

And everything seemed really great. I mean look at this genius usage of an astonished face emoji:

Email Emojis are awesome

Pure genius - right? Yeah, until I sent a test email to look at it in GMail:

Email Emojis are awesome

Man, was I shocked when I saw that! And it gets worse: By the time I realized my mistake I had been sending this sorry excuse of a smiley to hundreds of readers!

Which goes to show that you must test your emails!

Anyways, how could I have avoided that mistake?
Quite simple. There's an excellent website called, that lists all available emoticons PLUS their representations in various environments - such as Facebook, Twitter, and Google.

Take a look here:

Email Emojis are awesome

One look at this page could have prevented the disaster.

Be smarter than me: Look your emojis up in Emojipedia before putting them in your emails

Your business should be enabling your dreams

Your SaaS business should enable you to live the life of your dreams, not give you nightmares. Yet most SaaS products don't make enough to go full-time on it.
Crank up your SaaS growth to 11 with the right email marketing & automation workflows. Sign up and learn how to:
  • improve customer retention
  • make your funnel overflow with leads
  • get more word-of-mouth going for your SaaS
  • BONUS: Free sample chapter from my book

You'll get about one email per week with educational and/or promotional content. Unsubscribe at any time. We'll keep personal data according to our Privacy Policy