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random girl on twitter discovers the plain-text email

Funny story today:

I was minding my own business, shitpoasting back n’ forth on Twitter with Chris Orzechowski the other day, when I came across this gem:





I feel bad for the countless number of hours she’s poured into cute email designs without realizing that ugly, plain-text emails tend to convert better.

Now, there are several reasons for this, which I laid out in my book. (Which you can buy here:

I’ve also proven this with every client I’ve worked with who had tried the classic “design-the-shit-outta-your-emails” strategy propagated by the Klaviyos and MailChimps of the world.


There are still an endless amount of brands, across all industries, who make this mistake.

It’s not their fault. They don’t know no better. But I do. You do. And together we can get rid of this blindly held belief.

Anyway, let’s look at the top 4 reasons why plain-text emails convert better:

1. Improves your deliverability.

Let’s face it:

The Gmails and Yahoos of the world don’t like heavily designed emails loaded with HTML. It’s one of the biggest factors between if your email lands in spam or not.

In fact, I did a test recently for this specifically with one of my clients:

We use a plain-text approach. We’ve used plain text emails since I started working with him over 3 years ago. Before, he also fell for the heavily designed trap and his emails made nada. I’ve helped him scale his business from mid-six figures to over 7 figures.


I decided to change up our email template a few weeks back. I still used a plain-text design, but I made the width of the email shorter, so it would be easier to read. (For contrast, this email has a super wide width.)

Guess what happened?

I noticed more of our emails landed in my spam or promotions tab. So, I switched back to our old-school, wide widths, plain text template and not-a one email has landed in spam or promotions since.

Now, here’s the kicker:

If you use a heavily designed email, full of images, if your email lands in spam, Gmail won’t even load the email at all. They don’t load images, so if you embed your couple lines of copy inside an image and the email lands in spam, you have to physically remove it from spam in order to even read a word!

Plain text emails still load (even if they land in spam).

Sumtin to mew over.

2. It doesn’t scream, “I’m an ad, and I want you to buy from me.”

People discount the importance of this tip.

But heavily designed HTML emails scream their an ad, which means people either ignore them or delete them.

Here’s the thing…

Humans have a weird psychological quirk:

We despise being sold to. But we love buying.

Heavily designed emails come at you trying to sell you. Plain text emails give you the opportunity to buy.

Subtle difference that makes a massive impact.

This is also the best lesson I learned from Gary Halbert, who many consider to be the best direct response copywriter of all time.

He used to say that snail mail promos either ended up in the A pile or the B pile.

You throw everything in the B pile away instantly because they’re obvious ads. Think flyers, catalogs, etc.

The A pile looks personal, so you at least open it instead of instantly ditching it.

And so it is with email.

Plain text emails land in the “A pile.” Heavily designed emails land in the “B pile.”

3. Plain text emails help you build a stronger bond with your list.

Heavily designed emails, especially ones lathered with non-stop discounts, burn out your list. Sure, they may help you make some sales short-term. But it ruins your leverage long-term.

Plain text emails are the opposite:

When you write good copy, plain text emails build a stronger bond with your list.

For example:

With the same client I mentioned above, we looked at our list and noticed there was a pretty large segment of our audience which never bought a product.

So, we gave them a choice:

Buy something or we’ll unsubscribe them.

This caused quite the ruckus in my client’s inbox. Hundreds of people wrote in, begging us not to unsubscribe them, and apologizing for not buying anything. They told us they were low on disposable income, and would love to buy our products, but can’t. And they went on to say how much they love each email we send.

Never once have I heard this happen with brands who send heavily-designed HTML emails.

4. They seem more personal, because, well, they are.

Nuff said.

I could keep going on and on about why plain text emails are superior, but I won’t.

Instead, I’ll bid you goodbye with this:

If you need help implementing—and profiting from—a plain-text approach, grab a time on my calendar here, and let’s chat.


P.S. On a related note... check out these two articles supporting plain text supremacy:

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