It’s official: this easy email hack is guaranteed to boost read rates

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Jasmine Andersson
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We’ve all been there. We’re on the sixth draft of all that all-important email, we’ve scoured it through for typos, and we’re finally ready to commit and send it into the messaging abyss.

The message may be a finely crafted art form suitable to be showcased at the Louvre, but in spite of its masterful content, it hasn’t received a single reply. 

And here’s where, believe it or not, the humble emoji could help.


Oh yes.

According to a email delivery specialist Return Path study, using emoji in the subject headers of emails improves the chances of someone reading and replying to our carefully crafted messages. 

“Emojis definitely stand out in a crowded inbox, and grabbing the reader’s attention is an important element of email engagement,” said Tom Sather, Return Path’s senior director of research.

“There aren’t a lot of email marketers using them today, so there’s a novelty factor involved.”

In the study, the email gurus used season-appropriate emoji in their email subject headers to see whether it would affect the ‘read rate’ of the messages in question.

When it was near Valentine’s Day, mail subject lines including the ‘lips’ emoji saw a read rate of 24%, in comparison to 20% without the symbol.

Although it may appear to be a small upshot, the emoji can be the little push you need to get noticed in your recipient’s crowded inbox.  

However, the experts do say that there’s no one-size-fits-all policy when it comes to the use of the emoji symbols.

“What works one time may not work every time,” said Sather. “My advice to an email marketer who wants to try using emojis is to use our findings as a starting point for testing their own campaigns.

“Every brand needs to find its own voice and understand its unique audience. There’s no magic formula to using emojis, or any other aspect of an email campaign.”

Regardless, there’s one solid piece of advice we can always give you: no matter what you do, never ever use the aubergine emoji.

Images: Rex Features


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Jasmine Andersson

When she isn't talking about her emotional attachment to meal deals or serenading unfortunate individuals with David Bowie power solos in karaoke booths, Jasmine writes about gender, politics and culture as a freelance journalist. She wastes her days tweeting @the__chez