HTML or Plain Text for mail blasts

18 replies
Hey guys,

I was wondering what the general consensus is on using images in promo emails vs plain text emails.

My initial thought was that people like to see an image and its a magnet to get someone to click, ie: if you put an image of a YouTube video for instance - everyone loves to see a YouTube vid if the niche interests them. I also felt that having images makes the email stand out from others, identifies your company if you have the same header on each email etc etc.

In the last weeks my view has changed somewhat. I subscribed to quite a few services from guys I knew were successful, what I noticed is that they generally send emails in plain text and in a similar format.. using --> or ==>> for links to click on... It was my original opinion that these type of e-mails are identified as SPAM before others, but this formatting must be working for them... So I can only think this is a much better way of sending mailshots..

Thought it was interesting :-)
#blasts #html #mail #plain #text
  • Profile picture of the author Jeff Falzone
    If you want to take misure about how much spam you are putting in an email, you can just take refer to Aweber's spam meter, by my owm, I think that putting some images on emails isn't synonym of spam as Aweber's meter doesn't go more than 3.0 or up there.

    It's all about your writing style and if you use images you must take consideration that some email providers sometimes block them by forcing customers to accept manually images sent by you. just to make a quick remainder about that

    Hope it helps.
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  • Profile picture of the author Confined To Life
    Test, test, and test again. But from my experience, HTML is a pain and a percentage of readers don't react well. I stick to good old fashion text.
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    • Profile picture of the author Jeff Falzone
      Originally Posted by Confined To Life View Post

      Test, test, and test again. But from my experience, HTML is a pain and a percentage of readers don't react well. I stick to good old fashion text.
      Nice point of view, but you must take consideration both pros and cons... HTML doesn't get shown to all audiences while plain text doesn't allow a bit of stylish
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  • Profile picture of the author trevord92
    My email program doesn't display HTML messages elegantly and I often just get a message that says the email is only available in HTML format.

    Unless I know the person sending, it either gets deleted or not read.

    So for the widest audience, even if the text version looks uglier, go for text.

    Plus even if the email program is HTML friendly, a lot of email programs default to not showing images which again looks weird.
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    • Profile picture of the author Jeff Falzone
      Originally Posted by trevord92 View Post

      My email program doesn't display HTML messages elegantly and I often just get a message that says the email is only available in HTML format.

      Unless I know the person sending, it either gets deleted or not read.

      So for the widest audience, even if the text version looks uglier, go for text.

      Plus even if the email program is HTML friendly, a lot of email programs default to not showing images which again looks weird.
      You got my thought.

      Personally I use aweber and by testing mails on Gmail and Hotmail account, its images shown in emails don't get shown.... this is very bad, as the majority of clients uses these email providers, then I think at this point, using a plain text isn't the worse thing
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      • Profile picture of the author Matthew Jones
        I personally have split test my email marketing campaigns between Mozilla Thunderbird, Gmail and Hotmail. From memory, I think you have to manually "accept" the sender's email address once off, or for future emails to enable images, and ends up looking completely ugly if not enabled. Unless you state "please add my email address to your list of contacts to enable the correct formatting" or something in each email...

        Like the majority of email marketers - I just stick good ol' plain text emails. No HTML for me, I've learned my lesson from that one. Its where your website and videos have all the funky graphics and "ooh "aah" effects
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        • Profile picture of the author ScottieDog
          Originally Posted by Matthew Jones View Post

          I personally have split test my email marketing campaigns between Mozilla Thunderbird, Gmail and Hotmail. From memory, I think you have to manually "accept" the sender's email address once off, or for future emails to enable images, and ends up looking completely ugly if not enabled. Unless you state "please add my email address to your list of contacts to enable the correct formatting" or something in each email...

          Like the majority of email marketers - I just stick good ol' plain text emails. No HTML for me, I've learned my lesson from that one. Its where your website and videos have all the funky graphics and "ooh "aah" effects
          Yeh, you´re right about people manually adding to the list to see images.. Personally I do, even if I mark it as spam right after... But then I am interested in most e-mails to see what other people are doing.,.. LOL.
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      • Profile picture of the author ScottieDog
        Originally Posted by Zack93 View Post

        You got my thought.

        Personally I use aweber and by testing mails on Gmail and Hotmail account, its images shown in emails don't get shown.... this is very bad, as the majority of clients uses these email providers, then I think at this point, using a plain text isn't the worse thing
        Yes, I had thought this too. Thanks for your feedback.
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  • Profile picture of the author John Pawlett
    Plain text all the way for me.

    The actual purpose of the email (the ones I send anyway) is to get them to click a link (take action) inside it, you can then take them to a video or your pretty graphics!
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    • Profile picture of the author zannix
      I'm all for plain text as well, many users get sceptic towards HTML e-mails.

      The only downside is that you can't track open rates with plain text e-mails, because there's no "web beacon" you can insert...
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      • Profile picture of the author ScottieDog
        Originally Posted by zannix View Post

        I'm all for plain text as well, many users get sceptic towards HTML e-mails.

        The only downside is that you can't track open rates with plain text e-mails, because there's no "web beacon" you can insert...
        That is a very interesting point.. I have to be able to track open rate etc.....
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    • Profile picture of the author ScottieDog
      Originally Posted by John Pawlett View Post

      Plain text all the way for me.

      The actual purpose of the email (the ones I send anyway) is to get them to click a link (take action) inside it, you can then take them to a video or your pretty graphics!

      I wholeheartedly agree. That is the one and only point. I need to forget my "company image" which is really what I was primarily concerned with - In fact I have decided to continue with HMTL for actual members, and plain text for the rest of the list (much larger proportion).
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  • Profile picture of the author sunray
    Mailchimp has a wonderful standard feature that lets people CHOOSE while subscribing whether they want plain text or HTML. About a half takes one option and the other half another.
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  • Profile picture of the author talfighel
    I still like to stick to the old fashion good old text messages.

    You can do one thing in your emails and that is add a photo of yourself at the bottom or top. See how your conversions work.
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  • Profile picture of the author Harry Art
    I would recommend a short and simple plain text, alot of peoples computers and internet browsers are different and might be out of date, so if you blast emails alot of your prospects wont see the html design of your messege the way you do...and theyll just click out, hope this helps
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    • Profile picture of the author Alexa Smith
      Banned
      Why is this an either/or question?

      You can send both (and that's the default setting in many autoresponders), and people's email client software will open whichever version is their default/selection. Subscribers effectively receive your email in the format suited to the device they're using. HTML messages, for those who open them in that format, give you the opportunity to track open-rates, and to get higher click-through-rates by anchor-text "calls to action".
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      • Profile picture of the author UMS
        Originally Posted by Alexa Smith View Post

        You can send both (and that's the default setting in many autoresponders), and people's email client software will open whichever version is their default/selection. Subscribers effectively receive your email in the format suited to the device they're using. HTML messages, for those who open them in that format, give you the opportunity to track open-rates, and to get higher click-through-rates by anchor-text "calls to action".
        That's exactly the point I was going to make.

        Just remember an HTML formatted mail can still look like plain formatted if you think that more people read your email without any embellishments.

        In my experience (I'm certainly not claiming any rigorous testing or scientific basis to this), almost all plain text mail I receive is spam or very low quality content.
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    • Profile picture of the author Chris Silvey
      I always send out in HTML. My templates can be viewed on most browsers and devices. Litmus tested , Images are sourced and not attached and scale to the device.

      Text emails in my opinion cannot convey value, nor do they impress the readers who have been conditioned since 1998 on hyped commercial emails and spam.
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