Why Fancy Email Templates Aren’t The Answer

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On average, the United States Postal Service processes 512.8 million pieces of mail every single day. Since that’s a huge number to wrap your brain around, that means that 5,935 pieces of mail are processed every single second. Still a lot.

Now think about your inbox (shudder, I know). How many emails do you get every day? 15? 80? 200? More?

At ConvertKit, we delivered 1,064,986 emails just yesterday. Did you get one from one of our customers?

Whether it’s snail mail delivered by one of the 7,000 USPS on-foot mail carriers or email delivered by your favorite email marketing platform, the actual delivery and opening of the mail is what matters. After all, if no one opens and reads the mail, is it even worth sending?

At ConvertKit, we take a pretty solid stance on why emails should be written as simply as possible and include as few extra elements as possible. In fact, despite an article Nathan wrote on his blog in 2013 and our detailed walk throughs of our system in our weekly free workshops, it’s still one of the top questions we get asked on a daily basis. Text-based emails are now, and always will be, our top priority in the world of emails. Here’s why:

  1. Emailing your list should feel like emailing a friend. Ya know, the emails you actually read. Looking through my own inbox I have a few sales emails from big box stores, a reminder about my student loan payment (ugh), and an email from my sister with the subject: pie recipe. Guess which one I’m gonna read?

    Use your snail mail inbox as a gauge too. If I have a card or letter from a friend (rare), it's opened much faster than a hyped-up flyer for store opening, a bill, or a circular full of coupons.
  2. We want your emails to get to where they’re going. Think of email like a water balloon you want to fit through a tube. If there's not a lot of water in the balloon, it's pretty malleable and can get through easily. If you keep filling it up though, it's going to get stuck or even pop.

    Email is like that too. The more stuff you try and cram in with formatting, tables, and even a lot of images, the more likely it isn't' going to make it through to the inbox, or arrive the way you want it to. It's like a water balloon; the more you put in there, the more likely it is to burst in transit. email-balloon
  3. The world is full of distractions; your emails shouldn’t be. Big header images, a sidebar, and auto-play videos are all distracting from your main message. In the case of email marketing, your message typically is some form of “I have this thing to tell you about. Here it is. Now please respond.” With a text-based email, you can accomplish all of that with ease – completely distraction free.
  4. Mobile = life. We live an incredibly full lifestyle and industry reports show anywhere from 45% to 66% of emails are opened on mobile devices. On mobile, imagery is hard to see and tables and columns in emails don’t translate reliably. The only true way to get the same rendering of your email from device to device is to keep it text-based.
  5. Your website is where you want them to go anyways. Use your emails to get your potential customers to your website. Once they’re there you can wow them with your images, engage them with your videos, and make them LOL with your GIFs. After all, it’s your website (or sales platform) that actually makes you money – why wouldn’t you want them to end up there anyways?

Of course, there are exceptions to every rule. And that’s why we’re happy to say that ConvertKit is not the right choice for everyone. But if your goal is high deliverability, engagement with you list like they are your friends, and traffic straight to your blog or sales platform, text-based emails could be the difference that helps you avoid the spam folder and head straight to the bank instead.

What do you think? Can you see a measurable difference between the emails you like receiving? I’d love to hear your thoughts on text-based emails and what you like in your own inbox.

Val Geisler

Val is a yogi, mom, military wife, and avid podcast fan. She is ridiculously obsessed with sharing and creating content that actually makes a difference in the world, connecting with her fellow bloggers, and doing more with less effort. Val is based on Columbus, Ohio (O-H!) and can often be found oversharing on Instagram at @lovevalgeisler.

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