e-Mail Marketing: Template vs Plain Text

e-mail marketing template vs text[This is a guest post from Zachary Zawarski of Zadling, a Google Apps Consultant]

Two email newsletters that I signed up for were Mike Michalowicz and Brian Tracy’s newsletters. Most of you probably know Brian Tracy, a self-help author who mostly helps salespeople. Mike Michalowicz, who might be slightly less known than Brian Tracy, but still immensely popular as you may have seen him on MSNBC or CNBC, is the man behind The Toilet Paper Entrepreneur. Being an entrepreneur myself, I set out to gain some resources that would help me increase my own sales, so I subscribed to each of their newsletters.Like I discussed in my last guest blog, email marketing is all about constantly providing your subscribers with value and not constantly bombarding them with your sales message because they’ll quickly unsubscribe if all they’re seeing is sales copy rehashed week after week.

Both Mike and Brian have very different email styles. Brian Tracy has a template design. The email is formatted nicely with various images and colors and with a footer full of resources such as links to his website and links to his Facebook and Twitter pages.  Mike, on the other hand, uses no images or color at all — just plain text.

So who do you think has a better and more effective email marketing campaign?


Believe it or not, I’m going to have to say that I’m still a subscriber of Mike’s email list and I found myself subscribing to less or Brian Tracy’s email messages and I might unsubscribe altogether. Why do you think that is? I can only take so much of constant emails seeking to sell me his latest and greatest “increase your sales” books and DVDs.Perhaps it’s the approach rather than form, but the form of the email begins to form a perception with the subscriber. With a template email newsletter, subscribers will begin to associate that with a sales message and it may end up turning people away. Rather, I would suggest taking Mike’s approach. With a plain text email newsletter, it’s like your receiving an email from a friend of yours. Mike rarely sells in his emails. He will occasionally slip in a plug for his book, but for the most part, his emails are mostly friendly reminders to check out his latest blog post or to ask for users to submit their ideas on a topic that he’s writing about that he’ll end up posting and giving credit to. With Mike’s email list, he treats you like a friend rather than a potential customer. That’s one of the reasons that I’ve decided to purchase Mike’s book, The Toilet Paper Entrepreneur.

If you were to ask me which email newsletter is better and more effective, I would definitely tell you that plain text rather than a template is the way to go.

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