How do I create a plain text email?

Plain text is a format you can choose to send your emails in. They work well for non-marketing-related content and can also give your emails a more personal feel.

Before you start

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

  • 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.

Creating plain text emails

When setting up regular campaigns or journey emails, you'll be prompted to "choose a starting point" to create your email. In the left sidebar, 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, is a list of quick link tags you can use:

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

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 that explains what the link is for, then add the tag. For example:

Would your friends like this email? Why not foward it to them: [forwardtoafriend]

After the email is sent, the tag will be converted to look something like this:

Would your friends like this email? Why not forward it to them:

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

Clicks on links in a plain text email are not able to be tracked for campaign reporting. This is because URLs in plain text emails are plain text, rather than hyperlinks.

Most modern email clients, such as Gmail, Apple Mail and, detect URLs in plain text messages and automatically make them clickable to benefit recipients. But this is done by the email client, so it still doesn't convert them to trackable links that our system can record.

Similarly, opens cannot be tracked in plain text emails, as they don't support images. Opens can be tracked in HTML emails because they include a piece of code that requests a tiny, invisible image from our web servers. When the image is downloaded, that email is recorded as being opened.