What is Email Marketing?

Email marketing is a hot topic right now. You may see articles about it all over the place in your travels around the Internet, but is it something you should consider? 


Any business can benefit from a great email marketing plan. Email marketing enriches business communications, targets key markets and is a cost-effective and paperless way to get in touch with your customers. Today we’re going to spend some time talking about what email marketing is and describe the differences between HTML emails and plain text emails.

Let’s dig in!

What is email marketing?

Email marketing happens when an organization sends a commercial message to a group of people via email. Most of the time they are advertisements, invitations announcements, special offers or solicitations for donations. Any kind of email communication falls under the umbrella of email marketing just as long as it’s something that helps build customer loyalty or interest in products and reinforces brand recognition. It’s a great, cost effective way to stay connected with your customers!

Two flavors of email marketing

There are two template types to choose from. There’s a graphically based email template referred to as an HTML email template and there’s a plain, text based email template.

HTML email templates

An HTML email is one that looks a lot like a webpage. It uses colors, graphics, tables columns and links. Some of them look like the printed flyers you get in the mail at home. HTML emails get the strongest conversion rates in marketing tests almost every time.  

In addition to high rates of engagement, other advantages to HTML emails include:

  • Great visual engagement: the color and graphical elements in an HTML email grab the reader’s attention right away. You only have a hot second to get them to decide to read or delete, so it’s very helpful to draw people in with visuals.
  • More organization: Since HTML emails are usually designed by a graphic designer, they are very well organized and lead the reader’s eye through the email to the most important information. As most people just skim and don’t read every word, it’s great to guide their eyes straight to what you want them to know.

The one drawback to the HTML email is that there are occasional instances when the images will not load and your viewer won’t be able to see your beautiful email.

Plain text email

Plain text emails only include text. They look pretty much like any other email you get and don’t include any fancy formatting, images or design elements. Plain text emails are great when:

  • You don’t have the design or coding resources to create a well-coded HTML email template.
  • You are expecting replies to be sent to your email
  • You are very concerned that your email visuals might not load.

The best of both worlds

If you’d like to cover all of your bases, you can send both an HTML email and a plain text email. The plain version will be viewable in case the images in the HTML email don’t load. We recommend doing this so that you can be sure that everyone on your email list gets your message!

No matter which option you choose, email marketing needs to be a part of your plan. It sounds old fashioned, but it’s not. It’s still one of the hottest and most effective ways to engage your customer and make it rain!

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