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What should marketers consider when deciding between HTML, text emails?

Before diving into the advantages and disadvantages of both HTML and text emails, we need to first define each type of email—in actuality, we are looking at three types of emails:
  1. HTML with graphics. This type of email is based in HTML with graphics such as a banner, call-to-action buttons and a graphical layout.
  2. HTML with text. An email can still be HTML without graphics. The easiest way to tell this type of email is to look at the links. If some text is underlined as if it is linked, then it is still using HTML in the email. Fonts can be varied with colors, faces, sizes, etc.
  3. True text. A true text email is just that: text. Links are written out as full URLs, and there is no choice of fonts, colors or bold/ital text. Some inboxes and some devices do not read HTML emails at all, meaning by default every single email you send needs to have an alternate true text version.
Testing will best help you discern which type of email to use. Here are some tips to help you get started:
  • Emails that contain graphics still need to render the message to the user without the help of graphics. Use alt tags to describe the graphic in case the user has images turned off in their email client.
  • Avoid spam filters by emphasizing text instead of graphics.
  • Using HTML emails with text is a great way to establish a relationship between your salesperson and the lead. Utilize font stylization to make the signature of the email match the exact signature line of your lead.
  • True text emails rarely look optimal when automatically generated from your HTML email. Double-check your true text versions so that it is readable. This is an easy step to forget but just as important
Majda Anwar is a revenue engineer for revenue marketing agency Pedowitz Group. She can be reached at majda@pedowitzgroup.com.

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