HTML Emails Vs Plain Text: Which Option Is Best For Your Email List?

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In this post, I am comparing the HTML and plain-text emails backed by facts. I will do a thorough check of each so you can make the appropriate choice for a variety of customers.

Why this choice is important

The ability to deliver email is one of the major reasons for either HTML emails or plain text emails. Your efforts are not counted when subscribers do not get your emails. Being able to get this done is one of your paramount marketing duties.

Mostly and not often, brands use HTML emails for marketing which is why they get marked by some email providers as Spam or promo emails. An email service provider like Google simplified the identification of HTML emails with its set up of a whole tab in its UI. In the end, your emails get buried among a whole of ineffective ones.

I know you can opt for top-notch email service providers for your emails to get in the right inboxes.

Often times than not, it’s not an easy road because other elements come into play. HTML emails also require more time to compile because of their diverse method of compilation. It’s better for you to stick with plain-text emails if that works best for you. I shall do an analysis of the two types of email before a proposition of the more viable option.

What are HTML emails?

Technically, any email whose composition is made of HTML elements is an HTML email. HTML is the markup language, or code you use alongside CSS to format text and include things like images, backgrounds, and buttons to web spaces, which includes email.

To put it simply, emails that comprise a lot of elaborate styling like the ones you receive from media companies are referred to as HTML emails. A lot of email providers include HTML email templates as core features they offer in advertisements.

Use cases for HTML emails

The major reasons marketers opt for HTML emails are narrowed down to three which are: large-scale interactions, eCommerce purposes, and services for entertainment.

Large scale interactions comprise certain announcements and newsletters you send out to a very large audience.

Emails with eCommerce purposes are focused on sales and marketing and usually sent out by big companies.

Emails for entertainment services mostly feature the services that the audience will be endeared to. They use the most styles to attract the audience either to a newly released song, discount on subscriptions, songs, or movies.

All of the above email types fit perfectly for HTML emails. It simply makes the purpose of the emails clearer.

Why do marketers prefer HTML emails?

A lot of people in marketing highly rate the variety of choices that HTML emails give to them. This is why some email service providers decided to make templates available. You could liken this approach to how WordPress page builders gave their users a freehand of creativity.

What are plain-text emails?

Plain-text emails act their name and can sometimes be touched up with simple formatting.

There are email service providers that stick strictly with plain-text going as far as not giving out templates for HTML.

Use cases for plain-text emails

Plain text emails prioritize personalization in customers’ interaction. Although they might appear boring with no elaborate styling, they are usually the go-to when technical issues and disabilities arise. Even if HTML emails reach a larger audience, a lot of marketers still opt for plain-text because of its interaction purposes. They can cater to the individual needs of subscribers. It can be said that plain-text emails are familiar with what you are used to and make you feel much more at home than HTML emails.

It is highly possible that most subscribers get to read plain-text emails than HTML when there is a network or hardware mishap. As a plus, email providers provide an automated way for subscribers to read plain-text emails.

Lastly, people with limited abilities can read plain-text with more ease depending on the type of device used. Mostly there will be no need to scroll through pages because of their short length. They have bold and recognizable links and have colors that are soft on the eyes for color blind people.

Do plain-text emails restrict your opportunities in email marketing?

Many will be appalled at the suggestion of ditching HTML emails. You wonder how your promotions would appear without the fanciful colors and images. You are going to find out that it’s not worth a loss. Try to see it as paying special attention to each of your subscribers. You never know the rate at which subscribers open your emails can get a boost.

Between HTML emails and plain text: Which option should you choose?

I have established that not all emails use the same type of format. It doesn’t simplify the decision-making of the email format to choose for your subscribers. Below are some gathered stats and tips to guide your choice of the right email format for you.

What does the data say about HTML emails and plain text?

HubSpot’s Science of Email Marketing Report for 2014 collates that more people chose HTML emails over plain-text. It turned out that their open-click rates didn’t match their choice.

Another platform also gathered that a little over half of its marketers use both email formats. A majority of the rest used only HTML and a minority use plain-text. There was a certain report of a user who had a positive result with using full HTML for newsletters and simple HTML for campaigns.

Split testing your own email list

On some email service platforms, you are enabled to test run both formats for your viable option. Just in case your email service provider does not offer this split testing. You can do it manually by simply separating your audience based on the two email formats. The next thing you should do is watch the open-click rates of the two types of audience for like a period of four weeks before making an effective choice.

Tips for using HTML emails

To use this format, you should delegate one or more team members as the forerunner of your brand. This person or people must be consistent with listing their names and signature as the sender of your HTML emails on behalf of the company. This adds a personal touch to ease the commercial purpose of the email. You should also carefully select design templates and use images and colors only as necessary.

Tips for using plain-text emails

Make use of the blank space to the maximum. No lengthy emails or walls of text. You should let your CTAs be recognizable on their own or rather make them links in full text. Never hesitate to try your hands at bold and italic text to change the look of things.

The other option: Making use of both HTML and plain-text emails

On the other hand, you can make use of both formats to achieve separate purposes. Let HTML remain for large-scale engagements and leave plain-text for individual engagements. An option that meets in the middle is the simplified HTML emails. You will write it in plain-text but include specific HTML elements. Whether you go for HTML or plain-text emails, never forget to test the two for the appropriate choice for your audience.