Plain Text Emails

In the diverse landscape of email marketing, a “plain text email” is one devoid of any rich media elements, such as images, links, or HTML formatting. It’s composed purely of text, making it straightforward and often perceived as more personal and genuine. While HTML emails with vibrant graphics and interactive elements are popular, plain text emails continue to hold a significant place in email marketing strategies.

Implementation Examples

  1. Transactional Emails: Companies often use plain text emails for transactional communications such as purchase confirmations, password reset emails, and shipping notifications. Their simplicity and readability ensure essential information is easily accessible.
  2. Personalized Communication: Startups and small businesses frequently utilize plain text emails to nurture a closer, more personal connection with their audience. An example would be a personalized thank-you note following a purchase or a welcome email for new subscribers.
  3. Follow-up Emails: Sales and customer service teams use plain text emails to follow up with leads or resolve customer inquiries. The absence of flashy elements makes the communication feel more direct and genuine.

Interesting Facts

  • Deliverability: Plain text emails generally have higher deliverability rates compared to HTML emails. This is because they are less likely to be flagged as spam by email filters.
  • Readability: According to a study by Litmus, plain text emails are more likely to be read on mobile devices due to their simplicity and faster loading times.
  • Perceived Authenticity: Recipients often regard plain text emails as more authentic and less commercial, which can lead to higher engagement rates.

Other Relevant Information


  • Simplicity and Focus: Without the distraction of images and complex layouts, plain text emails allow the message to be the focal point. This can be particularly effective for conveying important information.
  • Bandwidth Efficiency: Plain text emails require less bandwidth, making them easier and faster to load, especially in areas with slower internet connections.
  • Accessibility: Plain text emails are more accessible to users with disabilities, as they’re compatible with screen readers and other assistive technologies.

Best Practices:

  • Personalization: Even in their simplicity, plain text emails can still be highly personalized. Using the recipient’s name, referencing past interactions, and including personalized recommendations can enhance the email’s effectiveness.
  • Clear Call to Action (CTA): Despite the lack of buttons and colorful links, you can still use plain text to create clear and compelling CTAs. For instance, writing “Reply to this email to get started” is effective and straightforward.
  • Formatting: While devoid of HTML, basic formatting can still be employed. Use line breaks, capitalization, and even ASCII characters to make the content more engaging and readable.


  • Lack of Visual Appeal: Plain text emails may lack the visual appeal that HTML emails offer, which can be a disadvantage for brands relying heavily on visual branding.
  • Tracking Challenges: Tracking user engagement can be more challenging with plain text emails since they don’t support embedded tracking pixels or clickable image links. However, link tracking can still be employed.

Hybrid Approach:

Some marketers employ a hybrid approach that sends both a plain text and an HTML version of the email (multipart emails). This ensures that the email is displayed optimally, regardless of the email client or the recipient’s preferences.


Plain text emails may seem old-fashioned in an age dominated by multimedia, but their simplicity, authenticity, and higher deliverability make them a valuable tool in email marketing. Whether used for transactional communication, personalized messages, or follow-ups, plain text emails offer an effective way to connect with your audience. By balancing the use of plain text and HTML emails, marketers can create a comprehensive strategy that caters to a diverse subscriber base.

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