The One Simple Change That Boosted an Email's Clickthrough Rate 127%

Aaron Ross and Jason Lemkin




At least in B2B marketing, it’s still cool to make your newsletters pretty with logos, images, colors, and HTML. But while it’s fancy, it’s not the most effective way to write to your audience.

People respond better to other people -- or what seems like another person. When newsletters look and feel like an email coming from one person, your audience is more likely to respond.

This is something the best internet marketers and salespeople in the world have known for a long time, but many businesses are just learning how to write a sales email.

Monica Girolami is the head of marketing for NewVoiceMedia, and she ran an A/B email test for a webinar she was conducting. First she invited people with a fancy HTML email with images and logos that read more like a mass update than a one-to-one message. Then she sent a newsletter that looked and read more like a personal email from her. It was in plain text. It came from Monica's email address, and “reply-to” went to Monica's email address. She wrote the copy as if she was writing to a friend.

So what were the results? The plain text email blew the HTML version out of the water:

HTML Email Invitation:

  • Open rate: 13.2% 
  • Clickthrough rate: 1.8%
  • New webinar registrants: 20

Plain Text Email Invitation:

  • Open rate: 15.3%
  • Clickthrough rate: 4.1%
  • New webinar registrants: 60

But it wasn't the numbers that surprised Monica the most.

“Even more astonishing were all the personal replies I received" with the plain text email, Monica said. "‘Sorry I can’t make that time, but let me know about the next webcast.'"

Have you experimented with plain text vs. HTML emails? What have your results been? Let us know in the comments.

Editor's note: This is an excerpt from the upcoming book The Predictable Revenue Guide to Tripling Your Sales, and is published here with permission. 

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