plain text emails help email deliverabilityIf an email doesn’t get to an inbox, you have no chance at a sale. None. At. All.

That’s why email deliverability is so important, and always will be. The more emails that actually reach their destinations—your customers’ inboxes—the higher your potential ROI.

Yes, open rates and click throughs will come into play. But the battle begins at the inbox.

There are many factors that come into play with email deliverability. (Read 5 Must-Know Tips to Increase Email Deliverability.) But there is one little known factor that we’re seeing as email marketing consultants and we want to caution you about:

Keep your plain text emails.

In a world awash with HTML, this might seem like strange advice. Picture the vibrant screen of an iPad or the way responsive design has revolutionized email rendering on mobile devices. Why in this colorful and dynamic email world would we still need plain text emails?! Granted there are still people who prefer plain text or they work in an environment where plain text is the only option.

But that customer preference isn’t the big reason for doing plain text. The big reason is plain text affects your email deliverability.

ISPs and spam folders are suspicious if you send only HTML versions of your email. The reasoning is spammers are too lazy to create both an HTML version and a text-only version of their emails. So any email that shows up in just the HTML form is going to be a suspicious email and is more likely to get flagged as spam.

Not only can this mean you don’t get that particular email into the inbox. You may also be damaging your sender reputation moving forward. If you have emails getting flagged as spam, the ISPs are going to become even more suspicious of you, and your reputation might suffer, lowering your deliverability rate even more.

The content of your plain text email must be similar to your HTML version so as not to arouse suspicion. And although you can use your ESP to create the plain text version of your HTML email, you will still need to proofread it and make sure it works as text only.

Both for the sake of your deliverability, and for the sake of those poor souls who need text only versions of emails.

Published On: February 25th, 2014Categories: Email deliverability

About the Author: Sharon

Sharon Ernst from is on a mission to improve the business and marketing writing skills of today’s workforce with her blog, newsletter and online classes. Her newest class on intermediate email copywriting covers 19 tips and techniques non-copywriters can put to use right away for better results. The class has real-life examples and before/after comparisons to make the lessons stick. Find her class at When she’s not busy helping employees, managers and marketers master their writing skills, she and her husband are busy raising pigs, cows, chickens and vegetables on their 20-acre farm.

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