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Published on December 6th, 2016 | by John Habib

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Adding Art to Words: How emojis can brighten up your emails

We’ve all felt proud of email campaigns we’ve sent, whether because they’ve had phenomenal open rates, spurred strong sales, or simply looked great. What we’ve never considered, though, is that some of those campaigns may have actually contained works of art. 

But now that New York’s Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) has acquired the original 176 emojis developed in 1999 as part of its permanent collection, it might be time to start framing those campaigns.

Emojis, as you are surely aware, are the ubiquitous faces, icons, and other colorful pictures that adorn every phone and email, text, and social media app in existence.

Now that one of the world’s leading museums has officially recognized their cultural significance, and given them a gloss of high-culture cache in the process, how can you put emojis to work for you?

Use emojis in subject lines

Emojis convey thoughts and feelings in a flash, so they can be great hooks for subject lines. Why spell out that you have happy news to share when a smiley face or other sunny emoji says it instantly? Emojis also save space, helping keep your subject lines below the magical 49-character threshold that boosts open rates. They can also add a little life to an otherwise standard marketing message, like here:

Emojis in subject lines also help your emails “pop” when your reader scans his or her inbox and sees line after line of text.

Use emojis in body copy

“When words fail, emojis speak” is an oft-quoted truism of the internet. Don’t hesitate to use emojis to greet your readers, sign off at the end of a message, or create a break in your text. And while emojis in subject lines are fairly common these days, they’re still rare in the bodies of emails — meaning you will get extra attention if they’re done well.

Don’t forget to test

Text will always show up as text; even if the font displays incorrectly, it’s still readable. Not so with emojis. Because different operating systems, browsers, email clients, and devices all display emojis in different ways, be sure to test your emoji-laden email campaigns before you send them. What looks perfect on an iPhone may look even better on a desktop, and may not even appear on an Android. Of course, you’ll want to use emojis that look the best across the most devices. Testing helps you avoid the dreaded blank box:

Assuming your business and brand lend themselves to emojis (not all do, of course), emojis can be a creative way to brighten up your email marketing. And who knows, with a little luck, they might also end up hanging in a museum some day.

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© 2016, John Habib. All rights reserved.

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About the Author

John Habib

is a Senior Copywriter at VerticalResponse, a Deluxe brand.



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