How do I create a plain text email campaign?

Plain text is a format you can choose when creating regular campaigns or workflow emails. They work well for non-marketing-related content and can also give your emails a more personal feel. And, if you have subscribers who prefer plain text emails, they come in very handy.

Before you start

Here's a few things you should know about plain text campaigns:

  • You can't control text size to make headings stand out, or emphasize words with bold, italic or colored type.
  • It's not possible to include images or use hyperlinks in plain text emails.
  • Only basic reporting is available with this format.
  • Plain text cannot be used for A/B test campaigns or RSS workflows because they require HTML to work.

Creating plain text email campaigns

When setting up a regular email campaign or a workflow email, you'll be prompted to "select a template." Choose Plain text then copy-and-paste, or type, your content into the text area as shown here:

On your right, next to the text area, are a list of quick link tags you can use:

  • [forwardtoafriend]
  • [preferences]
  • [fblike]
  • [tweet]
  • [webversion]
  • [unsubscribe] *must be included

When the email is sent, the tags are replaced with personalized URLs for subscribers to do things like forward the email to a friend, share it with people online, or unsubscribe if they want to.

All you need to do is write some copy to go with the tags and we'll do the rest. As shown in the example below, the copy is to explain what the link is for:

After the email is sent, the first line of text pictured above would look something like this:

Would your friends like this email? Why not forward it to them: http://abcwidgets.forwardtomyfriend.com/j-ilglkk-l-u

Plain text email reports

Only basic reporting is available for plain text campaigns. If you have access to view reports, you'll get bounce rates and numbers for social sharing, unsubscribes and spam complaints, but no stats on clicks or opens. Here's an example plain text email report:

No open or click stats

URLs that you put in your plain text email are not converted to trackable links when the email is sent through our system, therefore we can't record clicks.

Opens cannot be tracked either, because of the way they are measured. In an HTML email we add a piece of code that requests a tiny, invisible image from our web servers. So when a reader opens the email, the image is downloaded, and we can record that download as an open for that specific email.

Note: Most modern email clients, such as Yahoo! Mail, Apple Mail and Outlook.com, detect URLs in plain text messages and automatically make them clickable to benefit recipients. However, clicks are still not able to be recorded for the campaign report.