Originating in Japanese mobiles in 1990s and finally Apple joining the craze around 2007.
Whether you’d like to admit it or not we have been lured into the world of emoji so much so that it spilled from phones into merchandise, movies (that’s right, coming to a movie theatre near you this summer), and finally, marketing.
If being trendy is not a convincing argument for you, how about Experian’s research which states that 56% of the analyzed brands showed an increase in their unique opens. I believe in the power of trends, stats, and visual content – and this article is devoted to stimulating your email marketing genius with inspiration for the most important emails we send:
- Product Offer
- Special Offer
- Holiday Sales
But there’s also a bonus for those that think outside the box and use emoji for branding, making their emails easily associated with their company (We see you Death To Stock Photos 😉).
According to research it is 40 times more likely that you will acquire a customer through email than through social media, that’s a stat that all email marketers wait for. At the same time, there are millions and billions of emails trickling through the Internet each day, your potential customer may not get thousands of emails a day but he might be hitting dozens – making your offer fight for their attention. Although there is a discussion about tone of voice and what you can and cannot do (scroll down for more on this subject), let’s assume that your target audience is open to being enticed.
Starting with bloggers, writers, or anyone who offers content that can be purchased or simply downloaded for free – entice the simple way:
All you are letting people know is that you have another content piece out and fresh for grabs. Instead of getting lost between blog updates, news articles, and various offers you will be noticed thanks to your creativity!
Got a new product coming out? Maybe there’s an upgraded version? Take a look at what Photojojo did:
There’s your regular tell it like it is subject line and your sneaky “click me to actually find out more” subject line. Whichever approach you choose – you put yourself in front of the line.
What’s more, you can take a simple product and turn it into an email just by adding content to it. Do you have socks to sell? Send a product email with a joke like Say It with A Sock:
Maybe you have an arts and crafts shop and you need to let people know about washi tape? Parabo gave some tips and hints as to how you can make the best of it and that turned into an excuse for a great email campaign:
As you can see, there is plenty of directions you can take your emoji – the key is to find your voice.
From flash sales all the way to the Holiday season (which we will cover in the next section) there are numerous days in the year where you can step your email marketing up a notch.
My first go-to example is Olan Rogers Supply:
For those that followed Olan Rogers and then saw the Soda Parlor grow from the very beginning, understand the very specific humor that Olan and his company present – which is very well accented by the cheeky emoji that underlines his comedy and our liking of his friendly neighbor presence.
Let us go back to Klient Boost, another great example of how you can use emoji to boost your special sale, release, or “just because” offer:
Finally, let’s look at examples of companies that used special email campaigns to gain a customer.
Give out a freebie:
Send a reminder to those who haven’t bought or visited in a long time:
Got a big business birthday or product update coming up? You can share those too!
When the most wonderful time of the year strikes every marketer under the sun goes into campaign more. Black Friday? Yup. Cyber Monday? Check. Christmas, New Year’s, Valentine’s, and Fourth of July? Of course. Statistically speaking, email has an average ROI of $38 for each $1 spent which is why you need to get your email noticed as soon as it hits the inbox.
Let’s start with the most obvious season of all – the Holiday season. Here are some of my favorite holiday emoji subject lines:
Italia went for the easiest choice when it comes to emoji, but it works! It has been over six months and that email is still in my inbox (mind you, I too keep a tight and monitored inbox).
You can’t always be sure whether your customer celebrates the Holidays and you don’t want to exclude anyone – Parabo Press did an excellent job at keeping their subject line simple yes still relevant to ‘tis the season.
I have to admit, I’m a last-minute Holiday shopper… It’s quite embarrassing, really, how many times I went shopping ON Christmas day, ON someone’s wedding day, ON a birthday. That’s why Say it with a Sock won me over with their email subject line – they get me, they know which emoji is alarming (get it?) enough to catch my attention. Kudos to them!
In case you don’t know what Peak is, it’s an excellent brain-training app. From memory to agility all the way to numbers, it helps you train your brain for the better. I loved that this Peak email became about more than just “get someone in your family from dumb to okayish”, it spoke about unlocking potential – which we all want! The added Christmas trees made it an email I remember and actually went back to.
Going back in time – Cyber Monday:
Three ingredients of a good Cyber Monday deal – computer, money, the word DEAL. This email subject line captures all three things we need to see/read to make up our minds. It does not speak in code, it’s not cryptic, it’s a straightforward subject line that saves me time.
Photojojo got in the spirit. It’s a memorable and mysterious subject line that’s bound to get more opens just from sheer curiosity.
4th of July – the happiest summer day!
This one needs a bit of an explanation. As I mentioned, Olan Rogers has a very niche audience. Most of us Olaners know that Olan had a great t-shirt with a Boar on it… So, when a limited edition 4th of July shirt came about – we were over the moon! Simple – catch your niche audience with something only they will get, throw a pun in there, and add a simple 4th of July banner to it, the colors of our beautiful country.
Why is this sunny emoji email subject line relevant? Photojojo sells great photography gear, which every photographer would love to have on a sunny 4th of July! Relevant? Check.
4th of July, $4 sale, a firework to seal the deal. Great thinking Parabo!
And finally, a day full of love – Valentine’s day.
Sure, hearts are a little overrated but there’s something about these two email subject lines that made me smile rather than cringe. I remembered them and double checked what the deals were purely because they both had hearts as did everything else around that day.
Finally, a little bonus inspiration – branding.
I’d like to give it up to Death to The Stock Photo for using a slightly morbid emoji as a reminder of their photo packs. At first I didn’t notice that all emails have a skull in them, when I finally did I was a little confused, and then it dawned on me – DEATH to The Stock Photo.
It may not be much but when I realized what DTSP were doing I applauded them. It’s very rare that you see such a systematic brand. As most of DTSP email subject lines are the same (except for the title of the monthly photo pack) an emoji that relates to their brand name is a wonderful breaker in place of a boring hyphen. Amazing job you guys!
Over to you
It’s harder and harder to stand out in the inbox of a customer or prospect. Whether you have a niche audience, a boring repeated email, or you simply want to stand out from the crow, you have an opportunity to take your subject lines beyond the norm with this trend.
Fight your way against the current and create subject lines that no one even thought of! A/B testing is an amazing tool that will help you test whether or not emoji resonate with your audience. Maybe take a risk and change up the usual?
Try an experiment or two and let me know in the comments below what your results were. Maybe you’ve seen emoji email subject line that tops the ones above – I’d love to see it!