Symbols in the subject line, why and how?

The subject line is one, if not the most important, part of an email. It’s the first thing the recipient sees and should tempt him or her to open the email. Moreover, not all email clients have a preview function, so you do not immediately see the contents of the email on your screen. So, the subject line is the showpiece that determines whether the email is opened. How do you make sure that you stand out from the dozens of emails the recipient gets on a daily basis?

The use of symbols in the subject line yields 10-15% higher open rates.

You could consider using symbols during a Christmas campaign. A cleverly placed gift, such as a Christmas tree or other nice symbol might just be the reason to open the email. But how do you do that and how do you make sure that these symbols are displayed in every email client?

But how?

Like a website, an email is made up of HTML code, but a subject line is not. Symbols consist of a different kind of code, for example, ASCII or UTF-8. All this is not particularly interesting, but much more important is how to incorporate these symbols in the subject line.

Under the guise of why make it difficult if it can be easy, you can simply paste the symbols from a different editor, for example Microsoft Word. In addition, you can just paste the symbols from other sources, like the Internet, in the subject line. Note that you cannot paste images here, so always choose a text symbol. Incidentally, many email marketing packages include symbols in the editor. In addition to the standard symbols, you can also be creative and combine different symbols.

Why would you use symbols?

Research by Litmus, known from the email client preview integration, has shown that the use of symbols in the subject line yields 10-15% higher open rates. Of course, this also depends on the newsletter, the campaign or target group, but it is definitely worth a try!

Furthermore, there is the psychological effect: something about this subject line is different. Basically, this triggers the curiosity of the recipient. It is important to continue to test which symbols do and which do not work. Email clients such as Outlook, Gmail and Yahoo support a very large number of symbols, which allow you to give your mailing slightly more style. Even nicer is to run an A/B test to see for yourself how the changes affect the behaviour of your target group. And the best part is that the use of symbols does not result in a higher spam score (SpamAssassin). So, your email neatly arrives in the inbox.

Frequently asked questions

Adding symbols to your subject line makes you stand out in your recipient’s inbox, significantly increasing the odds of them opening your email. When you create the subject line, you can add symbols by clicking on the ‘snowman’ icon.


Here you can find all available symbols for your subject line.

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