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Plain Old, Unstyled Emails Get the Best Click Through Rates and I Have Proof!

Infusionsoft Email Campaign

If you use Infusionsoft email campaigns then I am sure you have asked the question—which type of emails get the best results? Do I use the new Infusionsoft builder or can I just type in a regular plain-text email and get the same open and click-through rates? Well, google these questions and you will get MANY opinions. Therefore, I decided to put this to the test.

A Little History

I write articles for my blog on a weekly basis. It has been a successful SEO plan and a great way to showcase my knowledge to clients and prospects.
I have a mailing list of approximately 1,000 potential customers, clients, and associates. I send emails promoting my blogs twice a month. The emails are short summaries of one of my blog posts that week. These are sent mid-week around noon.

Typically, I have stuck to the legacy Infusionsoft template for emails—HTML with graphics and colors. I customize my template to be simple black text on white background with a simple signature. The paragraph is a very short clip of my article then a link to my article prompts them to read more. You really cannot tell it is sent out of Infusionsoft until you scroll down and see the standard footer with the unsubscribe link.

The picture below shows an example:

The Test

To test the various email types I divided my list of 1,000 contacts into 3 groups. I wrote the exact same email using 3 different template formats. The first template was exactly like the picture above, plain writing but an HTML like and footer.

The second template I created used the standard Infusionsoft template—you know the one with the green header and picture of a fruit. I changed the header to include my company logo and made the border color grey to complement my logo.

Here is an image of that email:

The final template was exactly like my first template but I used the Infusionsoft legacy, plain-text option. If you are unfamiliar with legacy templates, they allow you to choose a plain-text option. This is an email with no HTML. Therefore there are no fancy font colors or images or even links. I had to copy and paste the full URL for my blog post, and depending on the recipients email client it may be linked or they may have to copy and paste it into their browser to go to my blog.

Here is a picture of that email:

The Results

Template Used Total Sent Opens Click Through
#1, HTML Basic Format 244  25% (60)  4% (11)
#2, HTML Pretty Format 289 17% (49) 0% (1)
#3, Plain Text 282 Not Available 5% (13)

Look at the difference between template #1 and #2. The basic format outperformed the “pretty format” by a longshot. You see both better open and click through rates. It is relevant to mention that the 1 click though for the “pretty format” was a person unsubscribing from my emails!

My theory for why these results are dramatically different has to do with the way they look in your email inbox. Look at the two images below.
Basic Format
v.s. Pretty Format

The “Pretty Format” shows that first line of text “ Having trouble viewing this email? Click Here…” right after the subject line of the email. That immediately signals that this email is impersonal and sent from a company. Your internal spam filter goes off and you immediately hit Delete.

For template #3, I do not have open rates because they are not supported with Plain-Text Emails. I used my analytics in Wordpress to gather the click through rates. #1 and #3 performed equally well.

While I am not concluding that this study was 100% conclusive, it does show significant differences for the standard Infusionsoft template and plain old templates that are designed to look like personal emails.

Think about this when emailing clients and prospects (or any correspondence for that matter). People want to talk to You, not your company. You may think your brand is very important but people do not talk to brands, they talk to other people.