Last week I asked readers to respond to a poll (see Vizu poll on the right) on their preferred formatting and distribution for emailed newsletters: plain text, HTML, or PDF versions. So far, half of responders prefer using HTML, and a third are using plain text.
There haven’t been any who say they prefer PDF, either sent as an attachment, or viewed as a page on their websites. I happened to know of several clients who are using PDFs for their newsletters, but looks like they didn’t vote.
Judging from the newsletters I subscribe to and receive in my inbox this 50%-33% split between HTML and plain text formatting is typical.
Here’s my perspective: if you want readers to focus primarily on your message, then plain text is valuable. If you also want to impress people visually with colors, logo and other branding elements, then it makes sense to make the most out of graphic design by using HTML formatting.
Can there be an ideal merge of both of these important elements – design for branding and showcase valuable content?
Of course. The key? Simplicity. Focus on only 3-4 sections in your
newsletter. For us, The Blog Squad, this is divided like this:
- 3-5 tips on a key element for massive online visibility
- Where we are teaching in the near future so readers can learn more
- Must-read blog post of the week
Then the footer information:
- How readers can engage us as speakers
- Required unsubscribe & contact info
We keep these same elements each time we publish our newsletter (which we prefer to do in plain text). Readers learn to expect the same formatting and same sections every two
weeks. We try to keep it really short. When we have content or tips
that need further clarification, we’ll write a blog post and then refer
people to read more on the blog.
So what works for you with your email newsletters? I know of several new types of newsletters whereby professionals send out a summary of blog posts. Any other creative ways you know to stay in touch through email marketing?
If you want to see how we do it, subscribe to Savvy eBiz Tips here.