The Rise of Emojis in Email Marketing: Can B2B Marketers Benefit?

Emoji Marketing

One of the greatest challenges faced by marketers today is getting audiences to read your emails! It is increasingly difficult to standout in an email inbox when every email received looks the same, and even if you get your reader to open your email, you have less than 8 seconds to capture their attention [The Digital Bridge, 2015].

Utilisation of emojis (or emoticons) in emails subject lines is becoming an increasingly poplar way to capture an audience’s attention when they’re browsing their inbox. Emojis, for those of you who don’t know, are “small digital images or icons used to express an idea or emotion in electronic communication.” …that all sounds very complicated, but essentially they are just images that you can incorporate into text, email, Twitter, Facebook and chat applications to convey an emotion or message in shorthand. You’ve no doubt seen some of them before:

Emoji List

Today’s generations are on a constant search to find shortcuts and faster ways of completing tasks/conveying messages/getting things done and emojis can do just that. In a single image you can convey an array of emotions. They say a picture is worth a thousand words and that could not be truer in our increasingly visual and short-attention spanned society. It was only a matter of time before marketers demanded their share of this incredible communication tool. Emojis give marketers the ability to transcend even language barriers. A smiley face is universal. There are now literally thousands of emojis that are gaining worldwide acceptance and allowing an entire generation to communicate across borders. Emojis help bridge the gap between in-person interactions and text based messages, enabling your reader to better perceive your feelings so that your email can come to life while adding a bit of unexpected fun to your message. Smiley Emoji

Ever since technology trend setting mega house Apple started producing applications that incorporate an emoji keyboard on your iDevice, these colourful little symbols have become a language all of there own. Emojis have branched out of the instant messaging domain in which they originated and are leaking into all means of digital communication. Not even our work emails are safe anymore it seems.  Studies have found that using symbols in the subject lines of emails increased open rates by about 10-15% thus making them a potentially very powerful tool for email campaigns. But before celebrating prematurely and jumping onto the emojis in emails bandwagon, it is essential that you understand your audience and how they may respond.

iPhone Emoji Keyboard

B2C marketers face an intense pursuit when it comes to gaining customer loyalty. Email marketing is focused on quick selling cycles and persuading consumers to buy products NOW. B2C marketers have become experts are utilising bold and exciting calls to action and attention grabbing deals and specials. In this style of in-your-face marketing, emojis fit perfectly! What better way to quickly capture your audience’s attention than with exciting emojis? Party Popper Emoji

In contrast, in the realm of B2B, when it comes to marketing with emojis it is recommended that you err on the side of caution as some business clients, such as government, healthcare and financial services, tend to conduct themselves much more formally. These types of business generally expect to maintain a certain professional standard of communication. In this situation, while inserting an emoji may be eye-catching in an email subject line, it could also discredit your organisation and cause you to appear unprofessional. However, while that financial services client may not see the humour in an emoji-filled message, B2B marketers service a wide range of businesses and you may find that communicating with business which are closer to the end of the sales funnel when it comes to dealing with the end consumer would be used to this communication style and thus welcome and respond to this tactic.

Top 15 Emojis By Subject Line Appearance

The key is to be aware of your demographics! While sending a smiley face to baby boomers in finance may not match their language preference, sending a smiley to millennials in tech would be appropriate. So before you make your decision, fully evaluate the purpose of your content and your target. While emoji marketing is more widely accepted and utilised in the B2C world of marketing, B2B marketers need not wave their white flags in defeat. It is true that the more formal components of B2B marketing correspondence may not be ready for the modern emojis but nearer the sales end of business-to-business interaction you could still reap the same results as your B2C marketing counterpart.

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