May 2, 2019

Are plain text emails increasing response rate?


Yesterday I was writing an article about writing plain text emails instead of html emails to increase response rate. What is your opinion/experience on that?

Here is the little article:

  1. 3

    Hi @toomaine,

    To share my experience, I use both plain text vs marketing emails in my professional job (managing partnerships for a startup campus). I have to interact with hundreds of partners, leads, startups very often. For example, for new year wishes, inviting people to an event, cold emailing new partners or sharing an exciting news.

    We could observe that plain text emails got much more engagement than marketing ones (in our case). Indeed, people tend to answer more when they feel the emails was written by hand, and personalized for them.

    The difference between the two type of emails can be huge, especially when it comes to clicks rates.

    Concrete example:

    • last week I've shared an official communication to share a big event aimed at investors via Mailjet, an emailing marketing tool. Got roughly 40% open, 15% clicks.
    • this week, I've sent a plain text communication to the same audience (300 recipients). This time, the email was sent as myself, not on the behalf of my company. Got 70% opens and 45% clicks.

    Of course you could argue that timing was different and other variables changed, but the difference is substantial. In my opinion:

    • plain texts are great for cold emailing, staying in touch with individuals or a community you are close with
    • marketing for bigger communities, more official communication, if you want some fancy design

    PS: to be transparent, I may be biased towards plain-text, since I'm cofounder of Mailmeteor, a Google add-on allowing you to send hundreds of personalized emails from Gmail ->

    Best ;-)

    1. 1

      Hey thanks a lot for your answer!!! I added the answers to the article. Really like mailmeteor - would you be interested in a little interview for growthhacklist?

      1. 1

        Sure, would love to. Contact me on twitter (@cuireuncroco) or via email ([email protected]) :-)

  2. 1

    I may be biased because I'm a copywriter rather than a designer but I've worked in many different niches using both fancy emails with pictures and designs and plain-text emails.

    I've changed a lot of clients' emails to plain-text and I've gotten more engagement and more clicks. Keep in mind that the fewer pictures you have, the faster your reader opens your email. Do you really need that fancy design or do you need the reader to take an action?

    Some people, even though they know you can help them, will bail on your email because it loads so long. However, for clothes and such, pictures certainly are important (I've painted a picture of the reader wearing a nice dress or something though). Email goals are about getting people to 1) change their belief about something so that they can achieve something 2) do that thing if you've changed their belief

    1. 1

      Hey, thanks also for your answer! Totally agree with you - Also not a big fan of fancy pics but I think in some cases it may help. I also added your answer to the article. Super helpful!

  3. 1

    Personally speaking, plain text all the way for me. I prefer them because they tend to appear less canned spam and more personal. The biggest reason I've moved to plain text emails nearly exclusively is because they take little to no time to "design". Time's always in short supply so by favoring plain text emails, I'm able to shave off any time it would take to design and perfect my emails.

    I've also run into many issues in the past with emails having big styled "buttons" for users to click. The worst email to receive is somebody asking "where to click" when you are pretty sure the big red button is the obvious place to click. Plain text emails with basic blue links reduced those emails to zero for me.

    1. 2

      Thanks for your answer. Yeah I am also only sending out plain text emails and highlight some paragraphs or add basic blue links. Also added your answer to the article