Choosing Website Style HTML Emails Or Plain Text?

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It is normally difficult to decide which gives better response whether HTML or plain text email. At first glance you might think that HTML would win hands-down, but the real truth might surprise you.

Needless to say, HTML-based email provides more “eye-candy” than plain text does. It is particularly well suited for creating eye-appealing ads to promote products that look good. That benefit is somewhat lost, however if all you are sending is a newsletter that is rich in content but short on graphics.

The decision between using HTML becomes further confounded when you consider all of the down-sides of sending out richly formatted email to an audience that may not be capable of reading it.

HTML email advertisements provide rich text formatting capabilities and the ability to use graphics to liven up the email and present products in their best light.

There is a lot of freedom in creating nice designs and to layout your message like a newspaper or magazine would as HTML email works by adding special encoding and links to content or images that are stored elsewhere on the Internet. This can present as a problem if someone is reading your email offline as they will not have access to the content or images.

There are countless examples illustrating that HTML design capabilities can actually work against you because of flaws in the technology and artificial barriers that some email programs and mail providers have placed in the way.

One of the biggest obstacles to HTML-based email performance was broken, missing or blocked images caused by email programs that did not support images (or had their imaging support turned off manually by the user) followed by email programs such as Windows Mail or Outlook and services such as Google’s Gmail that automatically blocks images.

The major drawback here is that if enough of your subscribers have difficulty viewing email messages over time your un-subscribe rate will go way up and will lose a good percentage of your list.

What are the benefits of HTML email?
1. HTML advertisements provide you with a mean to track open rates.
2. HTML ads can include your logo and other images, including product shots that make your message more eye-catching.
3. HTML ads provide the ability to use special formatting such as underlining, bold, text alignment features, tables and more.
4. HTML email can include forms and other technical features that text-based email cannot.

What are the limitations of HTML email?
1. Using too many graphics can be distracting and slow down the message delivery.
2. There are many technological barriers preventing proper HTML email delivery.
3. Legitimate HTML ads are more easily caught by SPAM filters that recognize then as advertising.

Text-based email advertisements
If you are just starting out in email marketing, you might want to consider sticking with text-based email. It is easier to produce and everyone can read it. You can also spend more time focusing on the subject line, body and call to action and not spend hours trying to get your HTML coding done correctly.

What are the benefits of Text-based email?
1. Text-based ads are easy to produce.
2. No graphics means no distractions for your readers.
3. Text-based email can be received on hand-held computing devices.

What are the limitations of Text-based email?
1. All hyperlinks must be fully typed out.
2. Unable to hyperlink to webpages with words such as “Click Here”.
3. Unable to brand the email with your logo.
4. Unable to track the message’s open rate.

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