Like you, I receive a lot of emails daily and some emails tend to get ignored. When an email with a subject line that get my attention comes through, you can be sure I’m paying attention. Most times, these will be forwarded to Evernote which is used to build a swipe file of great subject lines, emails and promos.

This week, an interesting email landed in my inbox. Take a look.

Office depot email

Isn’t that neat? I’m referring to the tiny steaming bowl icon at the beginning of the subject line. Actually, it looked like hot bread to me when I first saw it. Since the subject line also had the word hot in it, it totally jumped out at me.

Icons in emails are not new but I’ve never seen it being used in the subject line. Only in the from name field. Here’s an example of what you would see now if you received a personal email from me.

Snowman from

I’d seen people use this ツ smiley icon too. However in my tests, not all of them turn out. With your personal email like Gmail, more of them would work but if you’re using a newsletter email system like Aweber, only certain characters come through. However, I had never tried icons in the subject line. Being the curious type, I just had to figure this out. Here is the result of my test.

Email icon test

Want to know how you can do it too?

It is really easy. Go to one of these two sites. Most of the characters are the same but each site has a little something different.

Find a character that is suitable to your message then simply copy and paste it into your subject line. Here are some I’ve tried.

Subject line icons

As you can tell not all icons turn out well. Details tend to get lost so the simpler and clearer the icon, the better. Just test them out before sending.

One last thing. I wouldn’t do this on every single email. Because of the strange character, you could increase the likelihood of your message being flagged. Also, like other email subject line techniques, use it very sparingly and make sure it adds to your message to either clarify or strengthen it. Otherwise, it is probably a good idea to just skip it until you find a better time.

P/S: As you can see, I also tried it on my blog titles :).