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HTML vs Plain Newsletters

HTML newsletters revolutionized the way online marketing worked in the 90's, and their market share of online advertising grew steadily into the early 2000's. HTML offered a level of customization and design control that was before unseen. Much in the same way HTML helped drive the internet, it thrived in the world of email. Currently, the percentage has plateaued, and remains constant. So why is it that some users refuse to use HTML for their email? What benefits does HTML offer? Will text email ever die out? Read on to find out!

HTML email does offer a number of benefits, both to the recipient and the sender. The sender can use email applications to track links and track open rates. They can also completely customize the email to fit their design standards, match their website, and otherwise offer an attractive product. Images load within formatting, so you can create a beautiful email message that is more likely to be read once the user opens it. For the recipient, HTML email allows them to view their emails in the true form the creator envisioned while writing the content. It also means more content, since you can organize it better, which gives the subscriber more of what they want.

With all these benefits, why would anyone choose not to use HTML? There are reasons originating from several different issues. First, many email users rely on a system that currently does not support html emails. This group has gradually shrunk with the proliferation of broadband and faster computers, but these individuals still exist. As well, many of the exploits spammers look for while sending out email are related to HTML, meaning only using text email is a response to problems with spam, especially spam intended to run code on the computer without your permission. Finally, different email applications render mail differently, so some subscribers may switch to text email if formatting isn't working correctly for their email application.

Many of these issues relate to problems with the software that the end user is accessing email through. If the security situation on the Windows platform improved, that would add more HTML email users. As time goes on, an increasing number of computer users will be running modern, high powered machines, but this does not necessarily mean individuals will stop using plain text email readers.

In the end, text email will probably never go away, so anyone involved in email marketing should focus on marketing to both, rather than making either your only way of advertising. A hybrid of text and HTML advertising is guaranteed to reach both audiences, and can be customized to play to the strengths of each email format. Focus on creating an attractive layout with a lot of content if you are writing an HTML email. If you are creating text emails, be straight to the point, come out with what you want to sell and don't try to include much else, that way your users aren't intimidated by the length. Focus on meeting a diverse number of customer's needs and your marketing will be better off.

Email Marketing Glossary Keeping List Members Interested
Best Day to Send Marketing Email How to Avoid Spam Filters
How Often Should You Email Your List HTML Vs. Plain Newsletters
How to Increase Your Click-Thru Rate


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