Email Marketing

Are plain text emails more likely to reach the inbox than HTML emails?

If you think so, someone lied to you.

Did a marketing expert tell you that plain text emails get into your inbox more often than HTML emails? Or that plain text emails have a deliverability rate of 100%?

If so, they are lying or misinformed.

In this post, I will debunk the common myth that plain text emails get into your inbox more than HTML emails.

Plain text emails do NOT reach the inbox more often.

I interviewed email marketing and anti-spam expert Laura Atkins to get her to take up this myth.

Laura is a founding partner of the anti-spam consulting and software company Word to the Wise and has more than 20 years of experience in tracking Internet abuse. At Word to the Wise, she advises companies on how to reach their inbox and how to respond to spam complaints.

I asked Atkins if plain text emails were more likely to get into the inbox.

"Anyone who tells you that they don't understand how email filtering actually works," she says.

Do simple emails with fewer pictures and links reach the inbox more easily?

I asked Atkins that question too. She says the number of pictures and links in your email is enough Not Effects on inbox placement. However, the reputation of the domain (URL) to which you link and the domain in which you host images in your email play a role.

“Every link that you insert in an email, every domain that you link to in an email, every image that you link to in an email has its own reputation. If this image is used by many spammers, it has a bad reputation, ”says Atkins.

If you use the same links and images that spammers use, your email is more likely to be moved to the Spam folder. To avoid this, do not link to websites with a bad reputation or include images that are hosted on a website with a bad reputation in your email content.

Not sure if a website has a bad reputation? You can use tools like Cisco's Talos to check this. Simply paste the domain you want to check into the reputation search box. If it's blacklisted, don't include it in your email content.

Professional tip: Do not use link shorteners like or in your emails. They can also affect your chances of reaching the inbox.

How do you reach the inbox?

Some people will tell you that there are simple tricks to get to the inbox, e.g. B. not to use the word "free" in your subject lines. That's not true, says Atkins. They don't understand how email delivery works.

"Anyone who tells you," If you do X, your email won't spam, "doesn't know how filters work," Atkins says.

Atkins further explained that Internet Service Providers (ISPs) like Gmail and Yahoo use an algorithm that decides whether an email is sent to the inbox or the spam folder or not.

These algorithms are complex and use machine learning. There are no simple tricks to deceive the algorithms. They are designed so that spammers cannot outsmart them.

Your ultimate goal? Deliver emails that users want and expect.

"This is their only reason to exist … to identify what email users want and to give it to them," says Atkins.

Atkins says the best way to get to the inbox is:

"Send emails that your recipients want and expect."

At AWeber, we recommend following this 4-step strategy to ensure that your subscribers want and expect your email:

  1. Set the expectations in your email registration form. Explain how often you send email and what type of content you send.
  2. Repeat these expectations in your welcome email.
  3. Deliver emails consistently with what you promise.
  4. Regularly clean up your email list to remove subscribers who no longer want your email.

The main snack? Whether your email is HTML or plain text has nothing to do with landing in the inbox or spam folder.

In fact, people often confuse simple HTML emails with plain text emails. They think they send plain text emails when they actually send HTML emails. Let us examine the difference between the two types.

What is the difference between plain text and HTML emails?

An HTML email contains HTML code that affects the appearance of an email. Here are some examples of common HTML elements that may be in an email:

  • pictures
  • Bullets
  • Hyperlink text
  • columns
  • Headlines
  • Call-to-action buttons
  • bold or italic text

AWeber's weekly newsletter FWD: Thinking is an HTML email.

Connected: Subscribe to AWeber's weekly FWD: Thinking newsletter for advice and tips on email marketing.

This message from fitness expert BJ Gaddour is also an HTML email.

There are no pictures available. No fancy template is used. However, it is an HTML email because it contains bold text and hyperlinked sentences – both HTML elements.

Most people think that this email is a plain text email because it looks simple. But it is not.

What does a plain text email look like?

It looks like that.

This email from Matt Chauvin of contains no images and no formatting. Also note that a full link appears in the email. You cannot create a hyperlink for text in plain text emails. (For example, Matt couldn't link the word "video" in the email above.)

In fact, a plain text email contains only text and no formatting. However, many people incorrectly label HTML emails with restricted formatting as "plain text emails".

To illustrate the difference between a plain text email and an HTML email, here is an HTML email from organic food blogger Gina Homolka of Skinnytaste.

You can see that there is a logo, italic font, hyperlink text (spaghetti carbonara) and an image.

Here is the plain text version of the same exact email:

If you think so, someone lied to you.

Big difference, right? The HTML version is visually much more appealing than the plain text email. It is also much more likely that subscribers will want to study the HTML version because they can visualize the food using the recipe.

Spread the word.

Do you know a marketer or business owner who only sends plain text or simple emails because he believes he can put them in the inbox? Send them this article.

If you're currently sending a plain text email or want to improve your current template, create a branded HTML email in seconds with AWebers Smart Designer.

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