HTML vs. Plain Newsletters

HTML vs. Plain Newsletters

HTML newsletters have in the last few years observed a huge boost but recently a slight increase in plain (or text) has been noticed. Studies made in 2002 showed that 62 percent of customers opted for text newsletters, while another report contradicted this by saying that 60 percent had a preference for HTML newsletters. But guess which format wins? Whereas some years ago, the answer could have been rather complex, today it comes down to subscriber preference and multipart messaging. HTML of course triumphs due to its eye-catching and attractive nature and usability, though a minute percentage of readers still insist on text.

HTML has gained popularity due to its fancy look which can include photos, graphics and colours and these newsletters can deliver videos, audios and Java applets. They are usually easy to read and include a layout which shows the newsletter’s structure, thus facilitating the navigation process. Publishers expect at least 10-25 % of subscribers to click on links when viewing HTML newsletters, which is not the case when sending plain text newsletters.

According to some readers, HTML email is a useless and unnecessary gimmick that can be put aside. In rural areas and non-developed countries, plain newsletters are preferred since they require less disc space, bandwidth and download time as well. They are unsuitable for subscribers who have slow connections or pay-by-the-minute internet access since they take longer to load. People with non-standard or old web-based email programs, which do not support HTML, will rather have programming codes on their screens. Publishers however consider it as disadvantageous as readers may lose interest when reading text without graphics and moreover, click-through-ratio is very small.

A wise idea would be to use a service which sends both formats of newsletters and detects the best one depending on the type of reader. Nowadays, many email software programs and services make use of ‘sniffing’ and detect if the reader’s email program can read HTML and accordingly delivers a plain text version a HTML version. For subscribers who want plain text newsletters, the version should be made user-friendly, easy to read, tight with fewer words to capture the readers’ minds.

Regardless, the key is to offer subscribers the choice of format when signing-up or provide … Some reliable email technology solutions, such as Nexus Mailer, provide multipart messaging to cater for both plain and HTML newsletters readers. Nexus Mailer sends the newsletter both HTML and plain text and it’s up to the subscriber’s email client to decide whether to accept the HTML version or present the plain text version. A tip when using HTML would be to keep the file size as small as possible and to always create a text-version for those who prefer or need them using a tool-supporting sniffing technique, or using email technology solutions which provides multipart messaging.

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