Email Marketing for Manufacturers

[dot_recommends] May 3, 2022 Manufacturing Marketing Tactics

Email Marketing for Manufacturers in 2022: HTML vs. Plain Text

An HTML email by Industry Week with labeled arrows pointing to parts of the email template.

Which is better for marketing your manufacturing business: colorful HTML emails or plain text emails? The answer to this question has flip-flopped over the years. Two years ago, plain text came out ahead. Taking a fresh look at the data, the correct answer for 2022 seems to be, “It depends.”

Read on for what you need to know about HTML vs. plain text emails in 2022!

What’s the difference between HTML and Plain Text in email marketing?

An HTML, or HyperText Markup Language, email looks like the example in the image above. It’s visually appealing and carefully formatted, like an electronic newsletter or webpage. In contrast, a plaint text email is just what it sounds like: plain text.

Not that long ago we were hearing research touting the open rates and click-through rates of plain text as better than HTML. There were a couple reasons for this.

You may recall that the Google Gmail service divided users’ inboxes into categories for “Primary,” “Social,” and “Promotion.” That process pushed marketing emails into a separate inbox for Gmail users.

Companies were trying to get around the category filter — and avoid spam filters across all email platforms — by sending plain text emails. Then, spam filters got smarter and started flagging plain text emails that read like marketing emails as spam.

Now, though, best practices have swung back toward HTML for most marketing emails. Let’s look at why the more visually appealing HTML email is your best best for most emails sent by manufacturing companies.

Why HTML will serve manufacturing companies better than plain text:

  • 1. HTML is more attractive due to better design control. With people reading so many emails a day, you need an attractive email to stand out in the inbox.
  • 2. Brand identity: The visual design in HTML makes it easier for readers to differentiate your brand’s email.
  • 3. Ability to add images, video, multimedia, links and tables can only be found in HTML emails.
  • 4. Generally, HTML emails produce better engagement and higher conversion rates. This may be because they allow for greater personalization and interactivity.
  • 5. You get better analytics with HTML emails since you have URLs to track.
  • 6. So long as you provide a plain text alternative, your email will display properly even among email providers that do not support HMTL versions.
  • 7. For readability, you cannot beat HTML. The formatting alone makes the emails easier on the eyes.
  • 8. As mentioned above, HTML can be just as good at avoiding the spam filters. Test your designs and follow the recommendations of your email service provider to avoid the spam trap.


Don’t skip the plain text email version!

With over 450 email providers, including a plain text version is critical! Otherwise, you may experience broken image links and other ugly results. Also, plain text emails provide accessibility for users with wearable technology and IoT devices.

The one type of email you may want to send as plain text only is the customer letter email. When sending a personalized letter-style email to a customer, plain text often works better than HTML. The content must be highly personalized and avoid marketing and sales messaging to avoid the spam filter.


Final Word on HTML vs. Plain Text Email Marketing for Manufacturers

So, now you see that the question of HTML vs. plain text no longer belongs in the either-or framework. Do both, or try a hybrid approach.

A hybrid email is mostly plain text with some HTML components. Recent studies found that 62% of marketers rely on hybrid emails. The same approach can work in email marketing for manufacturers.

Remember, too, that audiences differ. What works well for leads may not appeal to customers. Testing A/B versions of two HTML emails or an HTML vs. plain text email will provide you with the most relevant data for your company.

What are you doing for your email marketing strategy? Have questions? Let’s talk! Also, we invite you to connect with us on LinkedIn or Tweet us.


Managing Partner

Image of HTML email source: Industry Week


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With over two decades of experience, Parin leads an expert demand-generation agency, StratMg, that helps industrial manufacturing clients achieve unambiguous and quantified organic sales growth across the US, EMEA & APAC.

Parin has built & positioned StratMg to be a value-added marketing services provider that strives to create a culture of quantified sales-driven marketing initiatives leading to sustained business growth through channel management, diversification, new customer acquisition and retention strategies and tactical execution.

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