Curious Mediums, LLC | How do plain-text emails fit into your email marketing strategy
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How do plain-text emails fit into your email marketing strategy


19 Aug How do plain-text emails fit into your email marketing strategy

Much of the talk about plain-text email these days has focused on using them as fallback for email clients and devices that still don’t display HTML emails. As a result, brands have been hard at work creating complex HTML emails for every correspondence. However, I don’t think that’s the most important use of plain-text emails.


I recently worked with a client that needed some default email templates created for their Email Service Provider web app so that their customers could easily send the most important e-commerce marketing emails without much setup. As I went through and designed the templates I became increasingly aware of how the purpose of the email should inform the design. For newsletter type emails, HTML emails are usually the best way to go, but what about the emails that are more intimate?

For example, emails where you reach out to a customer or prospect to ask them for a review, or an email where your CEO checks in to make sure a customer has had a good experience with your company. The rule of thumb I’ve developed to decide on the plain-text versus HTML is: Are you trying to start a conversation with the email?

If not, the buttons and links in an HTML email will provide the recipient with the obvious next steps. However, if the email is intended to start a back and forth, a plain-text email is a better solution.

Here are some tips for what you should include in your plain-text emails:

  • They should address a specific recipient by first name. If you don’t have their first name, don’t send them the email.
  • These emails should go to smaller segments of your list than your marketing newsletter blasts.
  • They should explicitly mention that you are looking for them to respond to the email.
  • They should include the signature of a specific employee of your company and come from that employee’s email address.

So the next time you are tweaking your email campaigns, consider if each email should be a flashy HTML email or an intimate plain-text email.

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