3 Ways to Use Text Emails In Your Email Marketing Strategy

Amie Perrott

Email is email right?

A snazzy, HTML-stylized piece of art packaged with a header or hero image, fancy font, a button, and a footer.

But not all emails need to be “pretty.” Have you ever thought of incorporating simple text emails into your email marketing strategy?

I’m suggesting emails with a little less HTML “sparkle” — no header/hero images, minimal links, few or no buttons.

Side note: these aren’t to be confused with plain-text emails, which are alternative versions of your HTML emails displayed when your HTML email cannot load. Some subscribers prefer this format and tell you. Most email service providers include the plain-text email for each HTML email created to maintain high deliverability.

Sample Text Emails

Here’s a simple branded email with more stylized elements of a button, headshot, and multiple links.

For those who can’t quite let go, here’s a branded email with a little less HTML stylizing.

The email below looks like it’s coming from an individual’s email. This is for those that aren’t attached to stylized emails.

When to Use a Text Email

Wondering if this strategy might work for you?

Here are some scenarios that might warrant adding a simpler email to the mix:

  • You want to resend an email to non-openers, but don’t want to send the same version.
  • To convey more exclusivity or a personal tone.
  • You’ve noticed engagement with an email, but little conversions.

Text Email Ideas

Support your sales/membership/volunteer team

Sometimes you have a team that needs support. There’s a want to send focused, personalized emails because of a common need, but there’s little time to follow up. An automated campaign with simpler emails can be the solution. Simple emails tend to have a more personal tone, which creates a targeted experience for the subscriber.

I have a nurture campaign for our sales team. When a salesperson identifies timing as a roadblock for a prospective client to move forward, a combination of HTML-stylized emails from marketing and simpler emails from the sales rep are sent every two weeks. The goal is to keep us top of mind for when the time is right to talk again.

Increase event registrations

Emails from a person can be impactful when soliciting an event registration. Start with a marketing email and follow up with a text email from a person in your organization.

We increased registrations for our annual conference with text emails. We optimized the send time based on behavior. If someone opened a marketing email and clicked on a justification letter, a follow up text email was sent. The email looked like it was coming from the Advisor (account representative).

Increase conversions

Increasing conversions from email is an email marketer’s dream. Try testing out a simple text email to see if it performs better. You can even try targeting the openers that didn’t convert from your marketing email. Try sending a text email from someone in your organization to follow up.

To increase resource downloads (AKA conversions), I tested out two email formats for the same resource.  The first email is HTML-ized and the second one is simpler – not plain, but still a little watered down. (It was hard to leave out that pretty email header.)

Version two received more clicks. There are different explanations for the results, but that’s too technical for this post.

Try It Out

What do you think? Going to give it a try (if you don’t already)?

Given my experience in the association space, I can envision a few emails that a text email or a combination would be effective:

Remember that engagement depends on your audience – fancy HTML or not. You need to do your homework, analyze, and test it out.

When it’s time to sit down at the email campaign drawing table, check out our marketing automation ebook. I like this guide because of the worksheets.

About the Author
Amie Perrott

As a Marketing Specialist at Informz, Amie plans, executes and analyzes email marketing campaigns for the marketing department. She loves the hunt of finding just the right subject line, CTA or preheader (and secretly takes unsubscribes to heart). Outside of work, she's enjoying (or fighting) the battle of raising a very assertive toddler.