Your inbox might be full of colorful HTML emails — but don’t overlook the plain text emails you receive, either. HTML email campaigns may seem like the best way to go, but for certain types of email marketing plain text emails can actually be far more effective. Today, we’re sharing a definitive guide outlining the pros and cons of HTML vs. plain text email marketing so you can decide which one is best for your campaign. Let’s dive in!
HTML emails: pros and cons
HTML emails have a lot of benefits. They’re colorful and visually appealing. They create opportunities to solidify your branding and brand awareness. And they have major potential when it comes to increasing your conversion rate. With HTML emails, you have the opportunity to embed links, images, graphics, videos and virtually anything else you want to include. If you want to build an email that’s engaging and interactive, you’ll need HTML.
Take a look at this email from MealPal. The cute animation grabs your attention and you can click on the embedded CTA to sign up with the company. For MealPal, HTML email design is a great way to get more conversions.
Subject line: VIP invitation
As great as HTML emails are, however, they do have a few drawbacks. Some email providers don’t do well with HTML — meaning your carefully-designed email may show up as just a bunch of code. Other email clients might block your images or graphics (although there are ways around that). And sometimes, HTML emails are earmarked as spam. In these situations, plain text emails can shine.
Plain text emails: pros and cons
At first glance, plain text emails might seem boring. But in many cases a text-only email might actually be the better choice. If you’re sharing major company news, your email may have a more serious tone of voice — so colorful graphics might not be appropriate.
Here, Walmart chose a middle ground. It kept a logo and footer, but otherwise stuck to simple text in this email responding to the COVID-19 pandemic. No loud colors distract from the message; instead the company kept a laser focus on assuring customers that safety was its top priority.
Subject line: Walmart pickup & delivery service in response to COVID-19
One benefit of plain text emails is that they’re simple to design and send. Unlike HTML emails, plain text emails don’t include images, graphics or other time-consuming elements. So if you’re short on time or don’t have the manpower to design an HTML email, a plain text email can be ready to go in a matter of minutes.
Plain text emails work on any device, including mobile phones. These emails often load more quickly than HTML emails because they have fewer elements. Plain text emails are also less likely to be marked as spam.
And plain text emails often feel more personal, especially if they address the recipient by name. Emails like these can feel and look like those we receive from friends.
What are the cons of plain text emails? You don’t have the ability to include images and graphics that can back up your branding. It’s more difficult to track the emails you send. And if you want to increase your conversion rate with a call to action, you won’t be able to make that CTA pop.
What type of email is best for your campaign?
An HTML could be right for your marketing campaign if:
- One of your primary goals is increasing brand awareness.
- You need to be able to track engagement.
- You are trying to prompt action and need your CTA to stand out.
A plain text email might be best for your email campaign if:
- You’re sharing serious news or a company update.
- You don’t have much time to spend on email design.
- You’re emailing people in an area with a slow Internet connection.
- You want to make a direct or more intimate-feeling connection.
Use these strategies to decide whether HTML or plain text email marketing is the right choice for you.
Wrap-up: Design HTML emails with BEE
If an HTML email is the best choice for your campaign, check out BEE’s library of HTML email templates. We have over 270 templates available that work for any industry — and many of them are completely free. Choose the template that’s best for you and customize it with your own logo, text and graphics as you create your email marketing campaign!
Take a look at our Template Catalog!
Choose from hundreds of beautiful mobile-ready templates.
Create your next stunning campaign with just a few clicks.Start Designing!
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