Is there a place for emojis in business emails? I’ve discussed this previously (Emoticons in Business Email). However, recently I have received several email requests for further clarification.
Much of this is due to many companies increasingly using emojis in their mailings. Newsletters and promotional mailings, not the day-to-day business communications.
Stats are reflecting that newsletters or mailings that utilized emojis in the Subject field gain more attention. A 29% increase open rate! But overuse will also cause your email to appear spammy.
A Right or Wrong Way to Use Emojis?
When it comes to daily communications, the basic guideline is to use emojis or emoticons sparingly and with discretion. Some have argued, that there is absolutely, under no condition, a place to have a smiley face or “winky smiley” in a business email.
I can see where in some fields, professions and communications that is the case. Professionalism and formality rules the day and there is no place for emoji use.
Time and time again, I always note that each business and corporate culture is different. Not all the guidelines I discuss on this blog are hard and fast rules that every business must abide by.
Using Your Better Judgement
As with anything, using your better judgment is key. Business Email Etiquette is a set of guidelines — not “set in stone” rules. Almost any guideline can be bent if it makes sense for the situation at hand, right?
In the case of emojis, I use just one sparingly in my business email. Rarely do I use emojis during first contact. Nor do I use them with those that I prefer to maintain a strictly professional tone.
Probably the fact I use them at all is testament to my being an easy going approachable person. While I believe in emailing with an appropriately formal manner, I do not object to an emoji used or personality being shown as relationships grow.
Stick with Positivity
In the case of a frown emoji, I have never integrated that into a business email. Probably because that emoticon will never be taken in the context it is meant. It could be perceived as pouty and/or minimizing the topic that one is not happy about. (Plus I don’t frown!)
If an email includes comments I may not be pleased about or agree with, I use my vocabulary to relay any disappointment or discouragement. Come to think about it, I’ve never thought to resort to a frown emoji.
But I do use a winky 😉 here and there, and here’s why. When I know a client is frustrated and I want to show that I understand, I add a winky. In most cases, I use a winky when I am having to correct or coach those I work with about something they were not aware of.
By using a winky, I am able to “lighten” the correction. This also lets the recipient know that I am providing the information with all the best intentions. Doing so softens my “advice.”
Softening Corrections or Advice
Being my main gig is being a consultant and coach, folks contact me about issues they are frustrated with and intimidated by. Using a winky in an email every so often, when needed to soften a correction or mistake, in my experience has resulted in the recipient then being more open to the correction given.
Statement A — no winky:
If you do not take into consideration the basics of business email etiquette, the perception of your business’s credibility could be at stake. My intent is to make sure that you make a positive impression!
Statement B — including a winky:
If you do not take into consideration the basics of business email etiquette, the perception of your business’s credibility could be at stake. My intent is to make sure than you make a positive impression! 😉
Can you see how those three extra keystrokes further intimates I have your best interest at heart?
Do What Works for Your Business
And your market, how well you know the person you are communicating with and the level of formality required. If your business culture is more relaxed or you prefer to show some personality, use emojis when apropos.
If you do not feel that emojis fit with your business’s level of formality, then do not use them. There is a time and place for everything — use your discretion based on what works best for your business.