3 do’s and don’ts of using emojis in your emails 💯

Klaviyo now supports the full range of emoji in Unicode 9 in emails — including in your from label, subject line, and email body. Emojis are a fun, playful way for ecommerce stores to stand out in a crowded inbox and establish a peer-level connection with their customer base. 

One Litmus study shows that emojis in subject lines can boost open rates by 10-15%. However, emojis aren’t for everyone and must be used properly in order to be effective. Follow the tips below to make sure emojis are the right choice for your ecommerce business.

Do’s

Make sure your emojis are relevant

Emojis can be a great choice when there is a word in your subject line that can easily be replaced by an image. For example, try switching out the word “love” with “” for a Valentine’s Day promotion. This helps shorten the subject line and make it more colorful. That said, you don’t want your meaning to be lost, so use this approach only when your message can be understood without the word itself.

Using emojis is an easy way to enhance your subject line and show some personality. Here are a few examples we ❤.

<Summer Sale ☀️ 🏖️ 🕶️ > is a lot more fun than <Summer Sale> and gets the point across even better.

The 28 most loved product launches from Feb 💚🚀 (Product Hunt)

🔥 Good design is more than surface deep 🔥 (Crew)

🌴 Island Vibes 🌴 (Converse)
Because they’re eye-catching in the inbox, holidays are a perfect time to use emojis. Your subscribers will be receiving an influx in emails, and emojis will separate yours from the fray.

Test, Test, Test

There are two main reasons you should test using emojis in your subject lines.

First, the way emojis render varies by email client. This means emojis will look different for Gmail, Yahoo, Outlook, and other email client recipients. They will also look different on mobile for Android and Apple phones. One way to tackle this is to use an email testing service like Litmus to see how your emojis will render across these different clients.

Second, A/B testing emoji vs. no emoji subject lines gives you a better insight into how your particular audience will respond. Even if you are marketing to millennials, it never hurts to test the waters before you send a subject line with an emoji in it to your entire email list.

Don’t

Don’t use emojis if your brand has a serious one

This point goes hand in hand with sending emojis to the right demographic. Whenever you try out a new email marketing technique, it’s important to make sure it jives with the overall tone of your business. If you sell something like emergency preparedness, medical supplies, or anything else that requires a more somber tone, it’s best to avoid using emojis in your subject lines.

Don’t use emojis without considering your audience’s email clients

Don’t use emojis until you know which email clients the majority of your audience is using. This ties into the point about testing your subject lines to see how they appear across emails clients. Some email clients — most notably Outlook 2003 — will not display emojis. Segment your email list by email domain to see the breakdown of your particular audience and proceed accordingly.

Don’t overdo it

Don’t go overboard with emojis in your subject lines. Otherwise, you risk irritating your subscribers. Too many emojis can make your subject lines indecipherable, and no one wants to feel like they’re reading hieroglyphics while skimming their inbox. Chevy recently tried an all-emoji press release about a new car that came across as very forced and was more annoying than funny at that rate. Use them to accent your substance, not instead of your substance.

Bottom Line

Using emojis can be a fun way to liven up your emails and make them sparkle in a crowded inbox. But above all else, it’s critical to stay true to the tone of your business and to understand your audience. Make sure you send yourself a test email to make sure your emails render properly across all the email clients your customers use.

Brian Whalley
Brian is the Marketing Director at Klaviyo. His marketing career began ten years ago in email marketing. Before joining Klaviyo, he served in marketing leadership roles at several other Boston-area marketing and sales technology companies, including HubSpot, Kinvey, and InsightSquared.
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