5 years ago everybody wanted their email marketing to use HTML. The obvious benefits of HTML emails are that they have additional text formatting capabilities, incorporate graphics, and puts more creative options at the marketer’s disposal.
Take this email from Pottery Barn for example. This is a great example of a strong HTML email. It is visually appealing, the message is clear and it contributes nicely to the brand’s image. But what I think makes this email work, is that I am familiar with the brand.
I think HTML emails make perfect sense for any large business that has a developed brand and strong customer loyalty (not to mention a huge design budget).
I’m just talking from personal experience here… If I get an html email from Pottery Barn, or Best Buy (for example), I’m interested in their promotion and how I might be able to benefit from a special. If the special intrigues me enough then sure, I’ll click to visit their website and learn more. But, on the other hand, if I get an email from some small business that I never hear of, my ‘JUNK’ radar immediatly sounds.
Take this html email a client of mine was thinking about sending out. (Thanks Steve for allowing me to use this as an example).
The goal of this email was to send people to their Personal URL landing page, and ultimately sign up for their wine of the month club.
By the way this is a great deal for all you wine lovers out there. Go to http://uswineassociation.com for more info.
Now this email, like Pottery Barn, is also able to carry the brand for U.S. Wine Association with their colors, logo and font choices. It looks nice and everybody is happy…. But how will prospective customers react to the email? If they are anything like me my ‘JUNK’ radar immediately goes off. What about you?
My argument is this. For small businesses who don’t have a strong brand and loyal customer following (or thousand dollar design budget for each email), it is better to use plain text emails. The biggest reason is that it looks like a PERSONAL message. From experience, I would rather receive a personal message from a company that I am unfamiliar with, than something that looks like it went out the a million people. What do you think? Do you have the same reaction as I do?