You decide: Special characters in subject lines

The latest edition of Alchemy Worx's email newsletter Email-Worx has alerted us to a new inbox phenomenon – the rise of special characters in subject lines.

 You decide: Special characters in subject lines

Suddenly, dinky ♥s and �?�s and �?�s are flooding into our inboxes from all sorts of brands. Why now? There’s little or no problem with rendering any more, which may be one reason. And some marketers are reporting spikes in open rates, which is surely another. 

As a digital copywriting agency, we weren’t immediately convinced. If your text is properly crafted, why would you need a novelty graphic to get people’s attention? How does it differ from the all-annoying emoticon? And what’s the matter with saying the word ‘cocktail’ or ‘sun’?

As Alchemy Worx points out, ‘a special character can’t rescue a dull message or an unpalatable offer’. The newsletter looks at the pros and cons of special characters, arguing that a temporary lift in opens may only be a novelty factor that could fade (or even begin to annoy) as the practice becomes too widespread.

On the other hand, as always, there’s a place for anything that contributes to a strategic approach to messaging. A quick glance through my Trash folder will tell you that it’s a lesson many companies would have done well to heed…