which one is better? HTML or plain text email?

by zoobie
23 replies
Just want to open a discussion of which format is better when
sending emails?

HTML or plain text?

#email #html #plain #text
  • Profile picture of the author Info-Hustler.com
    Text is usually better and more efficent than html....

    Although it depends on your specific goals and your target audience...

    What's better is giving your audience the option to choose which on they want, html or text.

    no guess work involved...
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  • Profile picture of the author Hafsoh
    Use plain text email but if you do not care about your privacy, viruses being dumped onto your system or telling spammers you looked at their email, then use HTML email because HTML email invades your privacy
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    • Profile picture of the author N1CKYYY
      if you want to catch attention you need to use html because you can design the page in a way that will grab someones attention.

      If this is not the case use plain text.

      Have a nice day!
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  • Profile picture of the author SteveJohnson
    Plain text emails have a better delivery rate than HTML; HTML mails seem to be flagged as spam more often.

    That said, I *like* some HTML ezines I get, and I've configured my mail program to allow them.

    Test your market, find out what they want. For that matter, what's wrong with giving them a choice between text and HTML?

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    • Profile picture of the author megaresp
      Originally Posted by SteveJohnson View Post

      Plain text emails have a better delivery rate...HTML mails...flagged as spam more often.

      That said, I *like* some HTML ezines I get, and I've configured my mail program to allow them.
      For me, this is the crux of the matter. If you're sending out an email newsletter - HTML is the way to go.

      If you're sending out a service email or other client notification (i.e. where delivery is more important), go for plain text.

      I once ran the same email message through spam alert's filtering system, and watched how HTML emails always scored higher for spam. This was back in 2007, so things may have changed.

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  • It depends, but personally, I'm liking text lately. I've used HTML quite a bit, but using text lately has show good results. Higher deliverability rate, and response is good. Offer your sign-ups a choice, if possible. Try different approaches and see what you think works best for your target prospects!
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    • Profile picture of the author AndrewCavanagh
      Generally speaking:

      # Text appears more like a person to person communication...an email you'd get from a friend...which you should be aiming for in a lot of your autoresponder emails.

      # Text has a much higher delivery rate than html.

      # With text emails you can be fairly certain of what the email will look like to your reader. That's not always the case with html...it can get pretty screwed up with different email readers.

      # Html has some other advantages like being able to include images, live image links and a lot of other cool stuff.

      Remember it's not necessarily an either/or question.

      You can, for example, send mainly text emails, then send the odd html message when you have a message that really needs images to get a good response or click through.

      Things change.

      It's quite likely that videos IN emails will become hot very soon as the technology for it is becoming more practical.

      At present you'd still be more inclined to send someone to a page with the video but that probably won't last forever.

      My basic guideline now would be...think mainly text if you want to get the maximum response and the least headaches.

      But don't rule out html and seriously consider it if your message really suits that style.

      Kindest regards,
      Andrew Cavanagh
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      • Profile picture of the author Michael Mayo
        It all depends on where the email is coming from for example,
        if i'm reading an email from another Internet marketers news letter then I
        prefer text.

        Although, if i'm reading and email from Frederick's of Hollywood then
        I prefer HTML.

        Have a Great Day!
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      • Profile picture of the author Loren Woirhaye
        I used text mostly for a few years - but recently, to increase
        awareness of my mug, I've sent most HTML emails. I want
        instant connection of my name in the sender line with a picture
        of my face - and an emotional response of recognizing my
        email as a welcome communication from a trusted friend.
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  • Profile picture of the author Jay White
    Text--easier to deal with.

    BTW...got a free video that answers this same question (and LOTS more) in the Youtube link at the left.
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  • Profile picture of the author forum998
    The HTML always be hold .Text will good to going on.
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  • Profile picture of the author forum998
    I always was ban because of the HTML.
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    • Profile picture of the author TeddyP
      The obvious benefits of text are it will look the same across mail clients and will work even for those who still have html emails bocked.

      That said - when i am hit with text emails from guys like Joe Vitale and Eben Pagan I kind of gloss over them, and don't read a lot. Now if they hit me with an email that is html I at least check it out. The thing is they send out sooo many emails - sometimes more than one a day so maye that is why the effectiveness of their text emails are so low with me.

      They both make a ton of moeny though - so you have to take that in mind.

      I deal with Aweber though and they allow you to send text versions of your html emails to make sure if your html doesn't get through, there is still a text version of it for people who prefer that format.

      I don't think this is an either/or situation. Both have their uses IMO. I use html for a monthly newsletter that helps brand my logo/image etc.. But sometimes I use plain text emails for smaller announcements - I think some peopel find text emails more personal as well. Like you can make it seem that you are writing directly to the person receiving it. I can't really pull that off with the html newsletter.
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  • Profile picture of the author forum998
    I have a online store, i sell the fashion itmes,so i always want more people to visit my website.
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  • Profile picture of the author Tyrus Antas
    If I were Amazon I'd use html. But I'm not Amazon, and I want to measure exactly who is reading my newsletters. The only way to do that is to send people back to your site. Therefore I use text.

    For branding purposes, like Loren said, HTML is better, as long as people turn of privacy settings.

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    • Profile picture of the author radhika
      Definitely Text. Less cluttering, plain view font ... If I want to include an affiliate link, I use short tracking link.

      Don't like to receive/send HTML emails.

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    • Profile picture of the author Steven Wagenheim
      You've already been given some excellent answers, especially Andrew's.

      My personal experience?

      I will never use HTML again. The CTR was horrible. My guess, it either
      doesn't deliver as well or some people don't have the ability to read HTML

      I only use text. As was stated, it looks more personal and I don't personally
      put things in my email that would require HTML.

      But as was stated, split test and see what works better for you.

      I already did that for me and know what I'm sticking with.
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  • Profile picture of the author Andy Immotna
    Most autoresponders offer the ability to deliver emails in html and/or text. I sometimes do both especially if I'm planning to archive the emails.

    I use TA by Aweber and the links aren't clickable in the email archive link when emails were sent in text.
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  • Profile picture of the author AverageGuy
    to me, definitely, text format. just make sure use a "hard" return and a blank line between each paragraph.

    many people's email client is not html compatible. if you sent html, it will show all codes, it is difficult to read what the actual message is.

    and many people's email client will automatically change your link in the email to clickable link. so, you do not have to worry about it.

    just my experience.

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  • Profile picture of the author GoldTrack
    Text is better for delivery and ensuring the recipient can view the email from their 'Preview Pane' (if they use Outlook etc).
    HTML would be better from a 'look and feel' perspective and if read (and viewable) will give you a more professional look.

    I use plain text for all mine though as it ensures the maximum deliverability and readability
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  • Profile picture of the author CashTactics
    This is a copy and paste from a buddy of mine. Very good insight on this question:

    * Stick tables for layout -- That's right, rewind yourself to 1999. Anything outside of basic single column you will need to use tables to structure your layout. Outlook 2007 will completely eat your CSS for lunch. I highly suggest that you stick with using tables period.

    * Don't forget the text version -- By the time you have tweaked your HTML code to fight your way through the endless incompatibilities of email client renderings you're probably ready to blast away. Stop yourself right there because no matter how sexy your HTML version may be, not everyone can view HTML emails, or wants to. Blackberry users, for example, will mostly see only your plain text version. So take that extra five minutes to type up a nicely formatted text version of your email. I know from using some of the more popular email service providers among affiliates such as Aweber or iContact, they give you the option to send Multi-Part Mime Messages. Remember when sending out text versions of your email you should enter a hard return somewhere in between 50 and 55 characters to ensure it will display correctly.

    * Relevance trumps permission -- Relevance is the name of the game. The more relevance you can infuse into your email communications the stronger your ROI. Basically you do not want to send auto insurance offers to your double opt-in weightloss list.

    * Make unsubscribing easy -- Making it difficult to unsubscribe, not only annoys the recipient but has a negative effect on your future communications. Usually it is just the opposite, I find too many opt-out links in one single email. 1) Advertisers opt-out, 2) The networks opt-out 3) Opt-out from the affiliate. Having three opt-outs is just as Donkey, as having none or a hard to find single opt-out. Hee-Haw!

    * Image blocking is common -- Have you ever stopped to think about what your email might look like in your recipients email inbox? You probably should think about this next time before you mail an image heavy HTML campaign. Many people out there are blocking images in the HTML-formatted messages they are accepting. I personally suggest that you add ALT text to all of your images and captions for your more important images. You can also include a text into at the top of your email that gives readers the option to click to be redirected to the web page or in this case offer which you have hosted on your server.

    * Use inline styles -- While a few of the newest mail readers might support CSS, its almost always safest to stay with very conservative (old) markup. Again I see hundreds of email campaigns coming from advertisers and networks alike who continue to code garbage HTML/CSS based emails which use tons of CSS all stuffed up in the <head> tags. Do they simply not care or do they not know the difference. I will let you decide next time you talk to your other network manager.

    * Follow the Rules -- For example, CAN-SPAM for US senders.

    * Test, test, test -- It's the only way to be confident about your design working.
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  • Profile picture of the author new2ebiz
    I prefer text for email I receive and text for email classes I send.
    Less trouble, easier to deliver, etc....
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  • Profile picture of the author Troy_Phillips
    Why not use both ? Take the time to send both formats and track the links in each one . I wouldn't use an autoresponder that didn't offer both

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