Plain text emails are just that – plain text. No images, no graphics, no formatting, no fuss.
And while it might seem counterintuitive to utilise such a basic type of comms for your email marketing strategy, plain text emails are actually just as important as those that require fancy, functional HTML – and they’re often massively overlooked.
Because they’re completely formatting-free, plain text emails are essential to a foolproof marketing comms plan, since the level of technical risk involved in comparison to HTML emails is negligible – not to mention they’re so much more accessible.
With the rise of wearable devices and IoT technology, non-traditional inboxes are becoming part and parcel of email delivery, meaning that devices such as Apple Watches will process, store, and display a plain text email much more accurately. HTML-only emails are also often a red flag for spam filters, and users that do receive the email often choose to avoid them because they see the lack of link visibility as a security risk.
Obviously, HTML emails are hugely successful, and we’ve seen a lot of inconclusive research and debate over the years pitting the two against each other, but the main things marketers should understand is that plain text emails are still incredibly advantageous. Not only are they less time-consuming to craft, the personal feel and simplicity of plain text emails goes a long way towards enhancing the campaign’s deliverability, accessibility, and overall customer experience.
How Do I Make A Plain Text Email?
The key to a good email is scannability – if a recipient can easily read and understand exactly what you’re trying to say, you’ve made a good start on your marketing comms strategy. Without HTML design elements – such as background colours, headlines, and imagery – it’s more difficult to ensure an email is actually readable.
It’s important that plain text emails utilise clear headings, succinct copy, and ample white space, as well as formatting with bullet points, dashes, and bold text for emphasis on more relevant pieces of information.
While many email service providers (ESPs) will provide auto-generated text versions of HTML emails, they’re often extremely chaotic. So, if your campaign involves the use of both HTML and plain text email, be sure to take time to edit and polish as needed to truly make your sequence soar.
Although plain text emails can’t utilise CTAs in the same way that HTML versions can, you can still be tactful in how you direct readers to a certain action – but make sure not to overdo it with links. While there are no set rules on this, the minimalist approach to linkage provides email recipients with the best reader experience as it makes your messaging less overwhelming. Plus, it increases the likelihood that your customers will end up exactly where you want them to be.
Remember that it’s okay to have fun with your marcomms, too – plain text emails don’t have to be boring! Think back to the ASCII graphics days, where text-based illustrations were all the rage. And humour is always a winner, right? Get creative in your own way.
What’s The Best Strategy For Plain Text Email Campaigns?
A plain text email nurture programme is designed to engage contacts over a period of 5-6 weeks and should be run through a marketing automation platform.
This type of sequence is not designed to sell to your contacts – that’s the role of the sales team – but to educate and monitor the level of engagement with your comms. Only when the engagement reaches a certain level is a contact then passed over to the sales team as a marketing qualified lead (MQL) to work on conversion to a sales qualified lead (SQL) and generate profit.
Although every email should be tailored to your own brand, the contraction and composition of your comms is critical, and the plain text email nurture programme is proven to drive conversions faster than any other approach.
Feel confident in kickstarting your next campaign? Go get ‘em!
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