Remember when email marketers learned how to put symbols in subject lines? At first it was novel and probably delivered higher open and click rates. Then more and more marketers jumped on the bandwagon, and our inboxes were soon cluttered with symbols.

  • ✈ 40% off Weekend Getaways!
  • ✁ Cut These Coupons for savings!
  • ♫ You’ll Sing About This Credit Card Offer! ♫

The trend peaked and faded away. The only one I’ve seen lately was “❷ Ways To Save On Frames” email from Michael’s craft stores.

We seem to be in the midst of another email trend: plain text emails. Rather than an over-designed HTML email full of headers, graphics and photos, these understated emails feel more down to earth, like they’re coming from a friend. The reality is that they are HTML emails, however, just understated ones. In which case, marketers can still use email service providers, manage subscriptions, include links, and measure opens and clicks.

Here are some examples of the mostly text emails I’ve gotten lately. Click to take a closer look.



Social Media Examiner.


Barack Obama. – “From” James Taylor!


Buffer. I think a mostly text email is especially effective for an apology.


The Indianapolis Art Center.artcenter

Run Hundred. I think this is a genius concept, by the way.


As far as this trend goes, I think we’re approaching the tipping point. The refreshing quality of these emails will wear off, and marketers will see click rates settle back down to average levels. Mostly text emails may linger for certain kinds of announcements, but I predict the pendulum will soon swing back to design-heavy emails.

What do you think? Is this just a trend, or is email marketing changing?


The Latest Email Trend – Will It Last?
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