Which Is Better: Plain Text or HTML Format Email Newletters?

html plain text

Welcome to our weekly column by Blogger Babes co-founder Ponn Sabra. Check back every Monday for the tips and tricks you need to take your blog to the next level!

It may not sound like a big deal, but using plain text vs. HTML in email newsletters is hotly debated among internet marketing bloggers. You'll get as many answers as there are bloggers.

So, let’s start with the basic definitions of both formats and hopefully you’ll come up with an answer you’re confident with.

Comparing Plain Text Email with HTML Email

Plain text email is void of any formatting that enables you to customize how the email looks visually, such as bold, italicized, or underlined text, different headers, font styles/sizes, colors, images, hyperlinked anchor text, etc. On the one hand, plain text email does not lose information if a recipient views the message on a different email client or device. HTML (HyperText Markup Language) email on the other hand, uses formatting (often called rich-text formatting), making it possible to create email that displays the types of visual components mentioned above. The result is a much more beautiful email, but only if the email client and device display it properly.

HTML Email

HTML email allows graphics, clickable URL links and other special features. Messages can be coded with tables to separate sections of your email. Most autoresponder systems have built-in editors and templates to help you create HTML email.

Advantages of HTML:

  • Better open rates
  • Stronger branding opportunity
  • Nicer emphasis

Plain Text Email

Plain text email can be created using a simple text editor like Notepad. With a text email, your links cannot be clickable and the entire URL has to be typed out or cut-and-pasted by your reader. For easier reading, you can create bullet points and horizontal lines to separate sections.

Advantages of Plain-Text Email:

  • More personal
  • Has “me to you” feel
  • More secure

The choice of the type of email you send depends on your message, your server, and your readers’ preferences. Each option has advantages over the other.

Our best recommendation is to test and track your results.

Blogger Babes Uses Both Formats

We primarily use HTML for our blog email newsletter every Friday, which targets fashion, beauty, travel, and food bloggers, because our market expects and prefers it. It’s an opportunity to have a brand-specific email that’s identifiable to our audience. To experience our newsletter, you can become a Member of Blogger Babes for free here. We recently launched our minimalist, more image-rich HTML email newsletter layout this past Friday (yes, we’re always testing and tracking). It converted extremely well, with 46.5% open rate (industry norm is 18.5%) and click through rate of 7.9% (industry norm is 2.4%).

We recently also launched our text email newsletter specifically for our membership email lists, clients, and customers. If you subscribe to our free Blogging Binder here, you’ll get on our autoresponder system sent only via plain text email. Over the past month, we’ve converted from each of the messages thus far, so it’s proving quite effective. Conversions are noted as reply backs to PS (post scripts), purchasing a recommendations made, signing up for free gifts, downloading free gifts, etc. We strategically placed in the particular autoresponder email message any action taken based on a CTA (Call To Action) .

To date, I have yet to see fashion bloggers use anything besides HTML email. However, I don’t know any fashion bloggers strategically building an information product empire which affords them the ability to add plain-text autoresponder email to their sales funnel system either. So, I believe now that I've shared this information in this little email marketing series, other fashion bloggers will take heed and start monetizing their email list building strategies sooner rather than later.

Keep in mind that only time will provide the experience to judge our future efforts. If we actively test and track, you can too!

This column is an excerpt from the BB eGuide 3: Turn Your Blog Readers Into Community Members.

[Photo via Shutterstock]

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2 Responses

  1. sachinmrs

    Thanks for this helpful information for us. I will follow this and i think plain text email is better for me.

    Great Work Keep Sharing

    Reply