Why plain text email ensures better growth than HTML email


I must be a part of a thousand funnels. In Pampers’s (because I buy their diapers for my twins) and of Huggies ( cuz they’d like me to switch over to their brand). Get the drift ?

We’re being sold to all the time, every step of the way. and in business  we’re selling again, every step of the way.

Taking this very sentiment, let me tell you about selling and in being sold to via emails.

Two people I really love to hear, read and watch are Steli Efti (Founder of close.io) –a brilliant hustler who drops value in every third sentence he speaks. And Tory Reid –a brilliant content marketing guru who always has value bombs to share.

They’re both inspirational people and I have subscribed to their newsletters (which I regularly read) on my personal email ID.

Earlier today, while I checked my spam searching for an email, I noticed emails from Steli had been landing into spam. Living in a high paced life, like most people I hadn’t had the time to check if subscribed newsletters were reaching my inbox or not. I hadn’t even realized when Steli’s emails began missing my inbox and landing into spam. While Tori’s emails were reaching me fair and square.

I saw the difference straight away – Steli sent HTML and image heavy emails and Tori sent plain text emails.

Screenshot of Tori’s email
Screenshot of Steli’s email


Of course, there could be other factors playing in too, but this is a general trend. Plain text emails perform better. (If you don’t believe me, Google it guys)

 What are HTML emails:

HTML emails are the emails which have coded email templates. They are heavy in design, color and imagery and come across like a webpage.

What are plain text emails:

Plain text emails are emails sent like you were typing it on a word doc and sending the text as -is. Lesser attractive than their HTML sibling but double as effective.

At Alore, we champion plain text emails. Its just simple, business needs to be about growth, growth comes from sales, sales comes from better reach outs and one of the best ways for great B2B reach-outs is emails – an opened email that’s been replied to!!

And we’re not just theorizing on this but also seeing actual results. An open rate of 62% and Reply rate of 35% !! – A simple plain text email campaign to a tailored Target audience.

Open rates of 62% and Reply rate of 35%

Let me be clear on one thing though – There is no compromise to the quality of a subject line and email copy. You can’t sell donkey crap just because it’s on a clean white background. ALWAYS offer value in the content.


So why are plain text emails better than HTML ones?

Plain text emails are hands down winners. Here’s the collective wisdom on “why” :

1) Plain text emails end up where they should: The Inbox.

When you have no HTML elements in the mail, there are higher chances of it not landing up in spam, promotion tabs etc. That’s not where you should aspire to head. They even manage to squeeze their way through if people have put in filters on their inbox.

2) Consumer minds have become trained to evade salesy imagery.

Highly designed HTML emails have become sore to eyes. Everyone sends them. To gather more attention you add gifs, colors, images etc. More gimmicks to gather attention, more loss of trust. Eg B2C might need the imagery to entice its target audience eg e-commerce but B2B isn’t a huge fan of image heavy emails.

When you send a plain text email, it appears like a fresh breath of air. You catch attention immediately.

3) It looks personal (even though automated).

To most consumers, HTML emails = mass mail campaigns. People like it when they are given personal attention and plain text emails gives them that feeling.

4). They’re easy to skim and scan through.

You are used to reading on white background. Books, Newspaper, everything. Easier to grasp things written in a plain white background rather than colorful text/ background.

The focus is on content and not anything else. Shorter is better.

5) Higher open rates:

Its proven!! An HTML template with images had 25% lower opens than a Plain text version with no images. The images will need more bandwidth right?

6) Device compatibility:

Plain text emails are easier to read on any device compared to the HTML emails that need scrolling and device optimization for people who are reading on their hand-held devices.

7) Last but most important – email automation should NOT be about clicks !!

When you write a plain text email, you tend to use shorter sentences and be precise and less salesy. You tend to not bait the reader with a hundred clicks but with information for none or one or maybe two meaningful clicks. Its about people. the real stuff . Pause and think, would you like getting an email from deepika@plash.in ? or from Hello@plash.in ?

So why move back to Plain text emails?

No, its not some fancy-schmancy way to bring back email-retro.

With the deluge of marketing content, we’re exposed to every effing single day, we’ve trained our minds to skip the clutter. Think. How many flyers do you read every day? or every offer that’s emailed to your inbox?

We humans, try our quickest way to find the crux of every message.

It’s because at our very core, we hate being sold to or marketed at (and imagine I’m a passionate marketer writing this !!). We all crave simplicity and authenticity.

Why not just make it simpler and easier to communicate and be understood?


Closing thought: Understanding the essence of your email should not be a maze hunt for the one reading it. It should be a poetic verse.

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