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The message!

First, before we start talking about the contents of your message, the subject and other things, let us decide on the format. There are two formats used for email marketing - plain text and HTML. If you have ever received email advertisements, you know the difference between these two. The question is - which format should you choose for your campaign? Here are the main advantages of plain text messages:

  • small size;
  • easy to make;
  • fully compatible with all email software.

The only disadvantage of plain text emails is that sometimes a picture is worth a thousand words. And attaching a picture to your plain text message does not solve the problem. So let's take a closer look HTML messages. The main advantage of HTML message is that it allows you to create visually appealing messages. It means you can use different fonts, styles, pictures, graphics, multiple columns, and background colors in your message. HTML messages also allow you to collect some data from people who receive your message.

But don't think that HTML is perfect. Here are the main disadvantages:

  • larger message size;
  • you have to know HTML or buy a program that can create HTML messages;
  • HTML is not compatible with older e-mail programs and some AOL users may not see your messages displayed correctly;
  • Your HTML message or parts of the message (pictures, most often) may not be displayed correctly (or at all). Sometimes it's your fault, some time it's the software (also, read this article about the images);
  • Spam fighting software is more likely to see HTML messages as spam.

Conclusion: HTML is better than plain text BUT it does not mean that it's better for you. If you want your messages to appear personal, use plain text. Use common sense and remember that the rules of "old printed media" still apply. The second point is why should YOU decide, whether HTML or plain text is better? Why not give an option to your subscribers to select the format? Or you can send the same message in different formats to see what type of messages works better for your target audience.

Next Week: The Message! The Does and Don'ts
Prev Week: Bulk email marketing. The Whys and Hows

Relevant links:

  • Software to send bulk email


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