Vikas Jha

@get2vikasjha

Why plain text email ensures better growth than HTML email

Conversion rates as high as 20%. That’s the kind of results I’ve seen with some email campaigns so let me get this straight — emails are still the best way to target your audience.

Image credit- Unsplash

However, often I see sales and marketing managers debate on the type of emails. The image laden HTML emails or just simple plain text, when to send, and how many is too many etc.

Since the newest product of our company Alore CRM provides email automation as one of its features, I think we at Alore can speak on it with a fair amount of authority because we’ve been breathing and living it day-in-day-out for the past few months or rather year !

So if you’re a sales or marketing manager who is sending out regular emails, here’s the debate decoded.

What are HTML emails:

HTML emails are the emails which have coded email templates. They are heavy in design, color and imagery and come across like a webpage.

Screenshot of an HTML email from a subscribed McKinsey Newsletter

What are plain text emails:

Plain text emails are emails sent like you were typing it on a word doc and sending the text as -is. Lesser attractive than their HTML sibling but double as effective.

Screenshot from a plain text email subscribed to from ace content marketer Tori Reid

At Alore, we champion plain text emails. Its just simple, business needs to be about growth, growth comes from sales, sales comes from better reach outs and one of the best ways for great B2B reach-outs is emails — an opened email that’s been replied to!!

And we’re not just theorizing on this but also seeing actual results. Alore customer AS shared the following with us. An open rate of 62% and reply rate of 35% !! — A simple plain text email campaign to a well segmented target audience.

An Alore customer shared this screenshot from his campaign. Open rates of 62% and Reply rate of 35%

Let me be clear on one thing though — There is no compromise to the quality of a subject line and email copy. You can’t sell donkey crap just because it’s on a clean white background. ALWAYS offer value in the content.

So why are plain text emails better than HTML ones?

Plain text emails are hands down winners. Here’s the collective wisdom on “why” :

1) Plain text emails end up where they should: The Inbox.

When you have no HTML elements in the mail, there are higher chances of it not landing up in spam, promotion tabs etc. That’s not where you should aspire to reach. Plain text emails generally manage to squeeze and pave their way through to the primary inbox even if people have put in filters.

2) Consumer minds have become trained to evade salesy imagery.

Highly designed HTML emails have become sore to eyes. Everyone sends them. To gather more attention you add GIFs, colors, images etc. More gimmicks to gather attention, more loss of trust. Eg B2C might need the imagery to entice its target audience but B2B audinece isn’t a huge fan of image heavy emails.

When you send a plain text email, it appears like a fresh breath of air. You catch attention immediately.

3) It looks personal (even though automated).

To most consumers, HTML emails = mass mail campaigns. People like it when they are given personal attention and plain text emails gives them that feeling.

4). They’re easy to skim and scan through.

You are used to reading on white background. Books, Newspaper, everything. Easier to grasp things written in a plain white background rather than colorful text/ background.

The focus is on content and not anything else. Shorter is better.

5) Higher open rates:

Its proven!! An HTML template with images had 25% lower opens than a Plain text version with no images. The images will need more bandwidth right?

6) Device compatibility:

Plain text emails are easier to read on any device compared to the HTML emails that need scrolling and device optimization for people who are reading on their hand-held devices.

7) Last but most important — email automation should NOT be about clicks !!

When you write a plain text email, you tend to use shorter sentences and be precise and less salesy. You tend to not bait the reader with a hundred clicks but with information for none or one or maybe two meaningful clicks. Its about people. the real stuff . Pause and think, would you like getting an email from vikas@plash.in ? or from no-reply@plash.in ?

So why move back to Plain text emails?

No, its not some fancy-schmancy way to bring back email-retro.

With the deluge of marketing content, we’re exposed to every effing single day, we’ve trained our minds to skip the clutter. Think. How many flyers do you read every day? or every offer that’s emailed to your inbox?

We humans, try our quickest way to find the crux of every message.

It’s because at our very core, we hate being sold to or marketed at (and imagine I’m a passionate marketer writing this !!). We all crave simplicity and authenticity.

Why not just make it simpler and easier to communicate and be understood?

Closing thought: Understanding the essence of your email should not be a maze hunt for the one reading it. It should be a poetic verse.

Article co-written with Deepika Singh and originally published at blog.alore.io on March 9, 2018.

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