Using emojis in email marketing has always been a hot topic. Some argue that emojis stand out and catch readers’ eyes, while others say emojis look unprofessional and spammy.

The jury is still out, and you won’t find a universal, one-size-fits-all answer. Our advice: If it feels right for your brand, do it. If it doesn’t feel right, don’t. At Twilio SendGrid, we like to use the occasional emoji here and there, but we also try not to go overboard with it. 

Interested in getting started with emojis in your email marketing messages? We’ve got you covered. 

Below, we’ll walk you through everything you need to know to add emojis to your email, whether you’re adding them to the subject line or the body in Gmail or Outlook.

Why should you use emojis in email?

Before we get into the how, let’s look at the data behind the why. Here are a few reasons you should use emojis in your email marketing messages:

  • Emojis are ubiquitous—92% of the digital population uses them every day because they’re used to and comfortable with this form of communication.
  • Emojis help people to articulate what’s on their mind—70% of people feel emojis can express their thoughts better than words.
  • Emojis can say a lot in just a few characters—recipients can usually only see 27–73 characters of a subject line.
  • Emojis help boost opens—subject lines with emojis tend to have higher open rates.

Research shows that open rates, unsubscribes, click-through rates, and spam reports vary depending on your brand and industry when using emojis. So throwing an emoji into your subject line isn’t a one-time fix to forever boost your engagement. However, it may resonate more (or less) with your audience and make an impact.

The only way to find out is to experiment with an A/B test. Try sending an A/B test with an emoji and non-emoji version of an email and see which performs better. For example:

  • Emoji version: 🌹Get Your Flowers Before It’s Too Late!
  • Non-emoji version: Get Your Flowers Before It’s Too Late!

You might need to run this test on multiple campaigns to get a definitive answer on how your audience responds.

Where to insert emojis

Emojis aren’t just for your subject lines—you can also use them in your email body and preview text. Here’s how you can use emojis in the inbox.

Emojis in the subject line

Want to know what recipients care about most in their inbox? According to our research, it’s the sender and the subject line. In fact, 82% of email users receive at least 25 emails per day—that’s a lot of messages from the competition. A well-placed emoji can make the difference between whether a recipient reads your subject line or misses it entirely.

Emojis in the preview text

The subject line isn’t the only place for emojis. Some brands find clever ways to incorporate them into the preview text (the tiny bit of copy you can see next to the subject line). However, many marketers still use emojis in the subject lines, which means your emoji-loving subject line might not look very different from the rest of the lot—not many brands have tried incorporating them into the preview text yet.

Emojis in the email body

Emojis can be a fun way to mix up the copy of your email, especially if it’s a little word-heavy. Use them to add a bit of personality and pop to your messages.


How to add emojis to email

Adding emojis to your emails is simple. Whether you’re looking to add an emoji to your personal emails in Outlook or Gmail, or you’re adding emojis to your email marketing campaigns in Twilio SendGrid, the process is relatively straightforward.

How to add emojis to Outlook

Outlook supports tables, charts, icons, GIFs, and a small set of default emojis. However, users can also use Windows 11’s Fluent-style emojis in Outlook. Here’s how:

  1. Add an emoji in Outlook using the text code for that emoji. For example, typing “<3” inserts a heart emoji ❤️.
  2. Use Windows 11’s emoji picker by pressing the Windows key and the period (.) key simultaneously. Choose the emoji you want from the emoji picker by clicking it—this will add it to your email.

How to add emojis to Gmail

Gmail makes it easy to add emojis. Simply click the “Insert emoji” icon on your formatting toolbar. (Hint: It looks like a smiley face.) Choose the emoji you want to add to your email. 

How to add emojis using Twilio SendGrid

You can add emojis to your subject lines, preview text, and body copy within Twilio SendGrid. Simply navigate to where you’d like to insert your emoji in the email design tool. Visit Emojipedia to find the emoji you need—it’ll also show you how each emoji will display across browsers, apps, and devices.

For example, here’s how the fire emoji 🔥 looks across different platforms and operating systems.

Once you’ve found the emoji you want, click the “Copy” button and then paste it into the Twilio SendGrid email builder.

Email marketing emoji examples

Need some inspiration for using emojis in your campaigns? Check out these email marketing emoji examples:

Target

Target’s subject line is simple but vibrant. It doesn’t just rely on emojis to draw in the eyeballs—it also teases a 20% off discount at the beginning of the line. The subject line would have looked more boring had it just used a roll of paper or kitchen knife emojis.

The Hustle

The Hustle loves to use clever emojis in just about all of its subject lines. It’s a pro at finding the perfect emoji to convey a feeling or illustrate a concept.

Spotify

Imagine this subject line without the shuffle emoji. It’d be pretty bland, right? Adding this bright orange emoji throws in a splash of color that captures readers’ attention.

Get creative with your email marketing with Twilio SendGrid

Email doesn’t have to be dry and boring. You can add life into your email campaigns with emojis, GIFs, videos, tables, interactive elements, and more. 

Some email designs will flop, while others will hit the mark. However, none of your email campaigns will truly soar if you don’t try and fly. So don’t be afraid to experiment and try new things. You might lose a subscriber here or there, but the long-term insights and rewards are worth the short-term losses.

Need help getting your creative juices flowing? Check out our Expert’s Guide for Email Design. It’s chock-full of expert advice from real-time designers in charge of a variety of email programs across industries. Check it out to find inspiration for your next email campaign.



Jesse Sumrak is a Content Marketing Associate at Twilio SendGrid focused on writing killer content and producing captivating webinars. A writing zealot by day and an ultramarathon runner by night (and early-early morning), you can usually find Jesse preparing for the apocalypse on a precipitous peak somewhere in the Rocky Mountains.