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Email Marketing - To Emoticon Or Not, That Is The Question

Nov 21, 2007
An article entitled, "For better or worse, adults learn to say it with emoticons" by Alex Williams points out the juvenile nature of emoticons, yet it also pinpoints the growing acceptance of the symbols among adults.

For those unfamiliar with the term 'emoticon' you may recognize them by their smiley faces in email correspondence or in online forums, chat rooms or even instant messaging.

Emoticons are blasted by critics who contend that using emoticons makes the full use of the English language an archaic notion among many online users. Web users started out in the 90's using simple black and white smiley faces or even symbols such as  to demonstrate their emotion and smiley faces have refused to go away.

Users will indicate emoticons help them convey feelings more quickly without the need to use extra words that are typically used to convey the emotion they are experiencing as they write a particular passage. When time is of the essence emoticons apparently can help shave precious minutes off common electronic correspondence.

Forum users are notorious for using emoticons in their posts. Many have argued that the use of emoticons is simply helpful in letting other users know their intent when writing. Because our words can be misunderstood the argument is that by using emoticons readers can understand if the writer is being sarcastic or if they meant the post in fun. Emoticons can alert others to times when we are sad, angry, happy or just plain silly.

Emoticons have even gone hi-tech in that some have moved to animated status with emoticons that demonstrate laughter, fear or surprise.

Some business owners are not happy with the use of emoticons. In a traditional sense they consider such use to be infantile and does not exude a professional approach to correspondence in a business-to-business or even business to customer environment.

While some would agree, others side heavily with the use of emoticons in everyday correspondence - even business correspondence.

When it comes to email marketing you will probably have greater success if you do not use emoticons.

Now, why would I say that when I just showed how many individuals are using emoticons and love to use them on a personal level?

The primary reason I would not use emoticons in email marketing has to do with reaching the greatest number of potential customers.

I firmly believe that emoticon users will be forgiving if you do not use emoticons, but those who despise the use of emoticons may not give your presentation a fair hearing if you decide to use emoticons.

As a business owner you want as much opportunity for business success as possible and if it means you must be more creative in using actual words to express yourself it may be a small price to pay to gain the largest potential for positive response.

When it comes to emoticons you can love them or leave them, but in email marketing it may be best to leave them for use in more informal email correspondence.
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