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Special characters in email subject lines

January 31, 2013

You might have noticed UTF-8 special characters (★ ✈ ♥ ) being used more and more often in email subject lines, as companies strive to increase email open rates and subsequent click through rates (CTRs). Below is an example of two emails I received yesterday. This gives you an idea of how the subject line characters look in your inbox:

How do you do it?

Use Microsoft® Word and insert the symbol you want. Copy it from the word processor into the subject line. You will need to change the default character set in your ESP software to Unicode (UTF-8). In the Extravision system this is easily done by clicking on the advanced button within the message tab and selecting Unicode (UTF-8) from the ‘default encoding’ drop down.

Does it work in all email clients?

It all depends on the symbols that you use. Use Extravision’s built-in Email campaign previewer powered by Litmus to test. This will also test the deliverability of the message. If the symbol you want to use is not supported a question mark ‘?’ will replace it instead. Some companies look at the email clients used by their customers to determine which email clients they need to test.

Our thoughts

It all depends on your business and the relationship you already have with your client/customer. It’s more common in B2C marketing and could easily be used in a customer newsletter for B2B  as well. We wouldn’t really recommend this for lead generation campaigns.

Trend to watch -  hash tag twitter subject lines

You may have recently received emails with hash tags in subject lines, the Twitter trend is still within its early stages and could be used to great effect in the right situations. Why not try some subject line testing to see the effectiveness of these trends.

Let us know how you get on.  We’d love to know!

Posted by Joel Jarman
Tip of the month

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