Having the best possible email marketing campaign is an absolute must for businesses, as you probably know. So, you need to know all the tricks of the trade, and what works. We’re here to give you our best advice on how to get those all-important opens and clicks! Today we’re talking about plain text emails.
(If your business doesn’t currently have an email marketing campaign, I recommend you take a look at our entire ‘Email Marketing’ Knowledgebase section. You’ll learn everything you need to know!)
Plain Text Email Advantages
Plain text emails are exactly that, plain. They’re perfect for those wanting to keep their email marketing campaign simple.
Avoid the Spam
Even though HTML emails that are full of colour and images look a lot better, it doesn’t necessarily mean they work better or get better results. In fact, in some cases, it’s the opposite. Studies have shown that plain text emails have a higher CTR (Click-Through-Rate) than HTML emails. HTML emails can come across as a security risk to a lot of email spam filters. This causes them to be sceptical about whether the email should be sent to the inbox or the spam folder.
Plain text emails on the other hand, aren’t often recognised as spam. The last thing you want is your email campaign ending up in your recipient’s spam folders! It’s rare spam folders ever get checked or looked at properly so that hard-work writing your emails will be wasted.
If you’re a business whose content is targeted to a more advanced and/or technical audience, plain text emails could be the way to go for you. They come across to your readers as more authentic and personal.
That’s why it helps if you send plain text email campaigns from a personal business email rather than just your generic business one.
A great idea for plain text emails is to ‘sign off’ each one as well. Obviously, because you are limited to literally just plain text, it’s tricky to personalise this signature much. But as long as one is there, it adds that extra personal touch.
Plain Text Email Disadvantages
When We Say Plain, We Mean Plain
As you can probably image, plain text emails have a lot of limitations. Since they’re designed to be very basic, there isn’t a lot of room for creativity. It’s hard to show your brands own flair and identity using just plain text. You can’t even format the text to change the boldness, size or type!
Plus, you cannot actually include any images. This does make it tricky to have an aesthetically pleasing email to say the least.
Return of the Spammers
Remember I mentioned signing off your emails? They’re more important than you think! Not only does it make your email look more personal like we discussed, but it also helps your email stop looking like spam.
I know this may be a bit confusing as I said before that HTML emails are usually the ones which end up in spam folders. But, spammers know that spam filters find it easier to work with plain text emails, so they take advantage of this. To stop yours from falling into their category, be clever with it – Sign off your emails and keep them clean.
Call To Actions
Alongside this comes the issues with CTAs (Call-To-Actions). Because it’s hard to highlight sections of your email to attract your audience’s attention, it’s hard to get your CTAs noticed. Using HTML as opposed to plain text emails gives you much more options to style your email and highlight your CTAs. You need to bear this in mind if you chose to use plain text emails. It is really important to feature CTAs in your email to encourage engagement from your audience.
What makes using CTA’s in plain text emails all the more fun (not!) is that you can’t include any hyperlinks at all. So, rather than just hyperlinking a few words or sentence like you would usually do with a CTA, you’d have to include the entire weblink in the email instead.
Let’s be honest, which do you prefer the look of…
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Our Email Takeaway
These are our three takeaway points to remember when creating your own email campaigns;
1. Your Audience
What you should take away from this is that it really does depend on what type of audience you have. We know if you’re using plain text emails your audience should be more technical and advanced rather than those who enjoy more visual content. Those who are just interested in the actual text of the emails, and all the stats and facts would be less likely to appreciate a decorative, aesthetic HTML email. On the other hand, if you feel your audience are wanting an email filled with colour, creativity, and visual aids then a HTML email is definitely the right one for you.
2. A/B Testing
As well as this, please consider that even though there have been proven studies into the success rate of plain text emails, HTML’s shouldn’t be boycotted. They are still a very useful email type and should in no way be forgotten. If you’re concerned about your HTML email being blocked or sent into spam folders, most email platforms offer the opportunity to send a plain text email alongside it to ensure it reaches your audience!
If you aren’t sure whether to use plain text emails or HTML emails, why not use both? Set yourself up an A/B test and send both emails out at the same time. See which one has a better success rate. From that, you can see which one better suits you and your audience.
3. Be Clever With Your CTA’s
CTA’s aren’t completely impossible to use in plain text emails. I wouldn’t go as far as to say not to use them. But, they are very tricky to get right and work properly as a CTA that readers use. If you feel like you can do it, then, by all means, give it a go!