Which is more effective, HTML or plain text emails?

HTML or plain text emailsIntro

Whether you’re running a blog or you are operating an e-commerce website, there comes a time when you need to decide which is better for your branding and ROI. Do you send out HTML emails? Or is it much better to stick with the plain text emails?


Ooh, shiny… I like HTML

There is no doubt that HTML emails have the potential to be more attention grabbing than plain old text emails. After all, you can have beautiful and colorful images which are traditionally what attract people’s attention. It is easier to get your marketing message across when someone is paying full attention to what you’re saying or showing.

With the ability to add more dynamic contents in HTML such as videos and animated GIFs, a little design creativity can translate into a potentially revenue boosting marketing campaign.


Cultivate brand loyalty

HTML also means that you can add your company branding in each email in the form of your company logo as well as your company colors. These subtle designs can sub-consciously embed themselves in your readers’ minds such that they will learn to associate a certain logo and a certain color scheme with your company.

When you have quality products at reasonable prices, coupled that with a strong brand identity, you can be sure that your business will become more successful as more and more people link your brand with good quality affordable items. This ensures you have brand loyalty with your customers.


Plain text emails are not all bad

On the other hand, plain text emails may have their uses in certain cases. Depending on your audience, some of them could be using email clients that are unable to render HTML emails properly. Garbled emails mean wasted opportunities for conversion.

Visually-challenged readers are usually reliant on text-to-speech programs to help them read their emails. With HTML emails, it is next to impossible to properly extract the message you’re trying to get across.

In cases like these, you would be better off with emails that contain both a plain text form as well as a HTML form. For readers with a HTML capable email client, they will be able to fully appreciate your content in all its glory. For the other readers, they should be able to still read your message even though it’s in plain text. Either way, you are able to convey your marketing content to your intended audience.



While HTML may trump plain text emails in most scenarios, it is wise to also include those who are only able to read the plain text emails. Working both types into your email content will ensure that you get a better conversion rate as opposed to focusing on just one of them.


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