Benefits of a text version of a message
With all the effort you put into the design and layout of your message, why do you need to go out of your way to create a text-only version of our message?
It is easier than it sounds
With Flexmail, it doesn't take that much of an effort to have a well-structured and clear text-only message on top of your regular email. You can create it right from your list of messages.
With the click of a button, we will automatically generate a plain text only message out of your pre-existing messages no matter what method you chose to create it. You can review it, edit it if you want to, and save it.
And still, even if it needs two minutes of your time, why spend them? Here is why:
Some devices do not support HTML
Your text-only message is always sent along with the HTML message. It will be up to the device of your contact to ‘choose’ which message to read.
Some devices, like smartwatches, are not suited to read HTML. If you do not use plain text messages, this part of your audience will be lost.
Some users may choose to switch off HTML messages manually for whatever reason.
Let’s say your contact is visually impaired – they will use a screen reader. If you rely too much on message or layout to convey your message, the content will end up being confusing.
Or let’s say they have dyslexia or are colour blind. The HTML elements may just constitute a distraction.
Spam filters prefer plain text
Spam filters do not like images. It is easier to sneak in harmful content in an image or in the HTML components. Not as easy in plain text. Preparing a text-only version of your message will ensure it reaches more people.
A well structured plain text message is simple to scan through, comprehend, and, later on, search for keywords.
With HTML you probably care a great deal about your layout. You can do that with plain text, too.
- Use a great deal of white space to separate your content
- Use headers
- Use various characters to create horizontal lines or frame your headers
- Use bullets
- Use certain phrases or words to attract more attention to your links
Using plain text messages well can definitely play to your advantage. Make your messages easier to comprehend, reach more users, and impress them. It’s easy.
PS: Pay attention to virtual assistants
As virtual assistants like Alexa are becoming more integrated into daily live, it can be important to consider those as well when creating an email.
By default, Alexa will read the HTML version of the email. If no HTML version is available, it will read the text-only version.
How Alexa parses the HTML is very similar to how email clients parse and display the preheader text in the inbox. It will strip all the HTML from the email and read whatever text is left. It’s important to note that Alexa will remove all HTML comments but will read any hidden HTML (such as display: none). So, if you have any hidden content, or your HTML shows or hides blocks of content for desktop or mobile versions, Alexa will read all the content. This probably won’t create a great experience for the subscriber.
If Alexa is reading a long email, it will read a portion of the content, stop, and provide an estimate for how long it will take to read the rest of the email.
Unfortunately, when Alexa reads an email, it does not trigger an email open within your email analytics. This is because it does not open an email in a browser that would trigger the image pixel to load.