Most email service providers now allow you to create and send visually appealing HTML emails using a simple graphical editor. While such emails are effective, it is much too easy to overlook the importance of plain text emails alongside them. It is a mistake to see plain text email as a thing of the past.
Email service providers like Constant Contact and Mail Chimp stress to their clients there are still some invaluable reasons to continue sending text emails. Here are some of the reasons they give for using plain text in conjunction with HTML emails.
Some on your List Prefer It
Some people would rather steer clear of all the bells and whistles and just read the message. Many email clients allow you to make HTML email the default setting but some also allow users to only view email in plain text. By not providing plain text emails you run the risk of losing a portion of your subscriber base.
Browsers, Email Clients & Mobile Devices that Can’t Handle HTML
Because of factors like bandwidth and functionality, not all browsers, email clients, and mobile devices are sophisticated enough to display formatting like HTML properly. If you fail to optimize your email for both HTML and plain-text, people using such methods will see broken designs and an undecipherable email. Too many of these and that subscriber is liable to opt-out of your list.
SPAM Filters Trust Plain Text
When a SPAM filter sees an HTML email without a plain text counterpart, it’s more likely to suspect the email to be SPAM, because that indicates a lazy spammer. In other words, failure to include a plain text version of your email sends up red flags to SPAM filters.
Email Types that Lend Themselves to Plain Text
Because of the extra time and effort it takes to draft a quality HTML email, there are some occasions when it just isn’t worth it. For example, if you send simple, daily email alerts with content such as news feeds or quick links, plain text is a more efficient way to go.
It’s Safer for Transactional Messages
When HTML emails include click trackers, many email clients will warn recipients against “potential privacy threats” or a potential “phishing attempt”. Therefore, when sending transactional emails, stick to plain text emails, or you could put yourself at risk of a damaged reputation.
Even if your email service provider doesn’t require you to create a plain text version when designing an HTML email, it’s a best practice to create a plain text version regardless, for all of the reasons we just mentioned above. When you optimize both HTML and plain text versions of your email, you ensure that anyone can read it, regardless of their default settings, email client, browser, or mobile devices’ capabilities.
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