★ Use Symbols in your Email Subject Lines to Get Noticed ★

Monday, July 30th, 2012
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If done well, getting creative in your email subject lines often leads to higher open rates, which may well lead to higher sales. One trend we are noticing these days is that more and more marketers are including special characters in their subject lines, such as a heart, a sun, a star, an arrow, a musical note or a snowman. Below is a chart containing many of the Unicode symbols currently available for your use.  (Simply put, Unicode applies html code numbers that render as symbols in emails and on the web)


Most email clients today support Unicode in their subject lines and in the email body, making it easier than ever for you to be creative with  this modality. It’s simple – just copy the symbol and paste it into your subject line. Here is what subject lines with Unicode symbols look like in Apple Mail, as well as many other email clients (hotmail, gmail, yahoo, msn, etc.):


On your iPhone or on an Android mobile device, these same symbols may show up in color or 3-D, which certainly gets my attention when I see it!


As you experiment with this approach to subject lines, keep the following in mind:

1. Test, test, test – some characters render better than others in various email clients – you won’t be sure how it looks until you test in various clients. You can use this free subject line tester by Litmus, but we also recommend that you do the real thing – open a hotmail account, a gmail account, a yahoo account, an msn account, and see how it looks when mail is delivered there. If you’re on a mac or have access to a mac, test in apple mail. Take a look on both the iPhone and an android phone if you can – and check your iPad, Kindle and other tablets if you have access.

2. Use this strategy sparingly – nothing gets old faster than an over-used gimmick. More and more marketers are already using symbols in email subject lines, so if everyone does it all the time, it will lose its impact.

3. You can always get creative with non-Unicode characters, as well. For example:

“ >>>—-Save for Valentine’ Day—-> “

4. Remember to always watch your email delivery rates as well as open rates, to get information about what may or may not be working to get your emails delivered and read.

Nexternal clients who are using our Mail Chimp integration can easily use icons in their subject lines. If you need help with setting this up please contact your dedicated Account Executive.





Pamela is a Senior Account Manager at Nexternal and works in the Napa Valley office. She is passionate about helping her clients succeed. With 20 years' experience in the wine industry spearheading business development and marketing for various wineries including her own, plus previous years practicing general business law, Pamela is well qualified to provide the service and guidance to her clients that sets Nexternal apart from other eCommerce providers.