In his book Effective Email Marketing, Herschell Gordon Lewis gives a “dangerous” general rule about email marketing. He says it’s dangerous because stating that something is a general rule opens up one to criticism. But here goes:
Text tends to outpull HTML when your message suggests urgency. HTML tends to outpull text when your message suggests artistry.
Unless you have really strong storytelling skills, it’s easier to create an emotional reaction in your reader when you use both images and words.
But of course not every email falls into the “urgent” or “artistry” category, so do your own testing here. There’s much to be said for text emails in those in between situations.
I enjoyed this email from the Col. Littleton catalog.
It would not have had that same impact as a plain text email. Do you agree?
I’m not usually impressed with the HTML emails from large companies because, as a copywriter, I’m interested in studying the copy and the copy in these emails is usually very lacking.
But catalogs and large retailers always use HTML emails and because most people just click on the image or link right away to see what’s on sale, the text doesn’t matter as much. Admittedly, when I get an email from, say, Banana Republic, I just want to get to the sale page and see if there’s something I want at the right price.
But this email is one that combines the best of both the HTML and plain text worlds.
Are there companies that send out HTML emails that you like?