Email Marketers Wake Up To Ideograms

by Chris Silver Smith

I was noticing in my email this morning that a few different pieces of spam had much more eye-catching, decorative subject lines:

Special Characters in Subject Lines for Email Marketing

As you can see above, one email note for “magicJack Plus” included a little telephone symbol, while another one for printer ink included a little fountain pen nib symbol at the begining of its subject line.

It appears that spammers have woken up to the same concept that I wrote about in “Special Characters Are Lucky Charms for Twitter“. In a list of text titles or status updates, adding a little icon-like picture to just a few lines is very eye-catching.

Of course, if this becomes too common, the notes won’t stand out at all, and they’ll risk¬†getting visually filtered by consumers who’ll start associating it with spam, since most of these notes are sent to people based on poor or nonexistent demographic targeting.

This sort of thing should be considered by marketers to be the spice in their stew as opposed to being the main ingredient. Consumers are very fast at relegating types of ad objects into being thought of as undesirable, extraneous stuff to be ignored.

There’s also a higher risk, I would imagine, that these types of special characters might not display properly across platforms and email systems. I’d bet $ that quite a few mobile phones and webmail systems would either display an unknown character symbol or nothing at all in many cases.

However, I must grudgingly admit that there’s a level of cleverness and sophistication for the email marketers who are using this concept — it can work at increasing clickthrough by some degree for the very same reasons that I had suggested it could increase attention for Tweets.


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