The discussion over HTML emails vs. text emails has gone on for some time and continues to be debated. Our general thought is to let your audience decide which format they prefer. However there is a situation where text messages clearly outperform. Personalized email messages, with a very targeted offer, and sent from a particular trainer, consultant, or professional coach often create a greater connection and improved conversions.
Sticklers will state that a “text” email is often set up with HTML formatting. For the purposes of this tactic, text messages means a simple text email; no images, no ads, and no marketing gimmicks. If you have an email template or signature that is typically used then setting it up with HTML is fine. Just so long as it does not appear to be a general mass-produced marketing email.
These text messages should speak directly to a very specific group. A few examples would be:
- An invitation to an event to people that abandoned a shopping cart or met with a sales person but never bought.
- A personalized offer for a report or article to owners or executives of past clients that deals specifically with their position or industry.
- A consulting session offer to people that no-showed an event or were invited but did not respond.
Every case has two things in common. The targeted group can be tightly defined so that the copy will speak directly to them and they have interacted in some way before with the training, consulting, or professional coaching firm. The message itself should address the person directly and have a simple statement on why they were targeted and why the offer pertains to them.
A key aspect is to mock the message up as if the trainer, consultant, professional coach or sales person typed it for that single person. That is why the email remaining text only is key. Some telltale signs of email marketing like unsubscribe options have to be included for legal requirements but try to push them down so that it’s not a distraction from the message.
Don’t overthink this process. The text email should be constructed exactly like direct mail merges with names and identifying information. The secret is to customize it enough that it applies but doesn’t come across as dishonest.
These personalized text emails often get superior response rates because they emulate a more powerful one-to-one interaction where the recipient feels a greater connection to the sender. For this reason, it’s important not to over-use the tactic because emails that are not suitable for a wider audience or that are sent too frequently will make all your emails seem deceptive.
So why are these types of email campaign rarely done well? That level of data mining, organization, and targeted distribution takes a fair amount of work that many firms simply won’t invest into their email marketing campaigns. But those that build these personalized messages into their email marketing campaigns can expect to see consistently better response rates.