Re: Inbox vs. Online Newsletters

From: Shawn Merwin <>
Date: Mon 30 Aug 1999 12:46:39 -0400


In my experience, text newsletters are unattractive at best
and downright confusing at worst. I have read studies
(which I would never be able to find again in a million
years, so you'll have to trust me) that say people are
14-22% more likely to interact with a newsletter that at
least has formatted text or graphics, not to mention
graphical versus text advertising click-thru rates. This
makes sense to me and leads me to believe plain text
newsletters don't have the impact they could if formatted
differently, such as on a web page using HTML.

When we were creating our opt-in messaging product, our
company decided that we HAD to support HTML email. In this
way, we could give our customers the best of both worlds:
content delivered to the inbox plus attractive formatting
and imagery. But what about those users whose email systems
didn't support HTML email? We decided that there were other
approaches we could take. We made our system so that users
could input the newsletter content one time, but the email
would be formatted in several different ways. The opt-in
subscribers could choose the format. If they wanted HTML
newsletters, they could get that. If they satisfied with
plain text newsletters, that was available. If they wanted
the HTML newsletter but their email software didn't support
HTML email, they can also choose to get the newsletter
delivered as an HTML attachment that they could open in a
browser. No hassle for the creator, many options for the

But I think what it really comes down to is subscriber
motivation. You can send a newsletter that Michaelangelo
would be proud of, but if the subscriber isn't interested in
the content, format means nothing. And the most basic plain
text email newsletter could be the hottest thing on the
Internet if the content is desired. But for my money, I'll
take HTML email any day.

Shawn Merwin
Director of Software Training - The New Leader in Opt-In Messaging

Received on Mon Aug 30 1999 - 11:46:39 CDT


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