Keeping plain-text emails simple

Most clients who utilize email marketing typically create HTML emails that are easy to design and load; however, plain-text versions still play an important role in email marketing. I touched on this topic back in 2015, but some of the points are still very relevant. Here’s what still rings true in 2018.

While an email can look quite impressive, the question every email marketer should be thinking about is whether their design is effective and will it get readers to click the links or call-to-actions within the content.

When building a plain-text email, an email marketer should focus on:

  • The usage of whitespace
  • The effectiveness of your call-to-actions – the copy and how it’s highlighted in the email
  • The content hierarchy: the visual differences between headers, sub-headers and body copy, bulleted lists
  • Too many links or unnecessary content or, in some cases, not enough

A lot of this is the same for even more advanced HTML emails, but with the limitations of building a plain-text email, you need to focus on the key factors above. Many individuals prefer the simplicity of plain-text emails and, in some cases, trust them more than HTML emails. This is why more and more HTML emails are being designed to look more like plain-text emails. The benefit of this is that you are able to add more visual elements to your “plain-text-looking” HTML emails, but you are still able to focus on keeping them clean and simple.

Some graphic elements might include adding a button or company logo. While these HTML emails might look more like plain-text emails, it is still important to include an actual plain-text version. Through A/B testing, a marketer can see what works best for their email’s intended target audience and users. Measurement is always key.

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