Just when I thought the HTML vs text version for electronic newsletters debate was being solidly won by HTML advocates, I get bombarded by Tom Antion and his cry for plain text. Tom says all the internet gurus – the really successful ones in the $2 million range – all send out their ezines in plain text.
Okay, so I’m rethinking this. I’m getting some really nice HTML newsletters now, and I love the graphics, the headers, the little pics of books and logos….but do I read them thorougly?
No! I actually look at the pics, register what it is, scan the headings and subheadings, and move on to the next email message. Unless, of course I see an article that has some new intriguing information that my clients and readers could use. For the most part, I am deleting without reading.
Except for a couple of long plain text newsletters that I get from experts such as Bob Bly, Dan Poynter, Tom Antion, and others. I don’t always read them right away because they tend to be long and info-packed, but I will read them much more thoroughly. One reason is that they are jammed with valuable info.
My own HTML newsletters are getting the usual low open rates of 40%. I hate this, but evidently this is on the high side of normal. Which means that less than half of my subscribers hear from me.
Okay, maybe I could make the content of my weekly Newsletter Nuggets more valuable, but it isn’t really a reflection of the ezine quality that we’re talking about here. People aren’t opening up emails, because they get too many of them, there’s too little really valuable stuff in them, and once they open them up and look at the graphics, they feel they’ve read everything and then move on.
Yet when I surveyed my subscribers, over 90% said they prefer HTML. Well, they are prettier for sure.
The other thing Tom stresses is that many HTML ezines don’t get through filters when people are working in corporations. Companies don’t want their people reading ezines, or getting spam, on their time.
That is my guess, and it isn’t verified. What do you think? Would switching to plain text get more actual readers? I’m thinking about sending out both the HTML and text version next Tuesday to test that function.
Please click on the comment link below and tell me how your handling this question of HTML vs text and low email open rates.