Plain Text Email vs. HTML Email for Restaurant Email Marketing

Email marketing should be near the top of any restaurant’s online marketing strategy. Little else on online gets as much bang for buck. Still, a restaurant owner doesn’t normally know the basics of email marketing and may think of mass email as only spam. Others may design their email campaigns in a way customers think it is spam. Surely, spam pollutes email inboxes, but legitimate business is accomplished through email mailing lists if done responsibly and with a certain degree of insight. Newsletters, promotional messages, events announcement and much more help restaurants stay connected with committed customers who have signed up for the email list. In this article, a look at the basic formats (plain text email and HTML email) of email marketing will set up your restaurant for a successful email marketing campaign.

When a restaurant owner first learns about email marketing, an inevitable question is about the difference between a plain-text email and an HTML email. Plain text email is ordinary email without changing any of the formatting (like font size, color or text justification). Some email providers offer rich formatting, which gives you a little of the HTML capabilities. But that is not what we are talking about when we say HTML email. HTML emails have things plain-text do not. This includes images, fonts, links, formatting, etc. They are like a little webpage. When you use an HTML email, you must have a plain text email if their email provider blocks the HTML.

Here are the strong points of each:

Plain Text Email’s Strong Points

  • Can feel personal like talking to customers
  • Customers don’t feel sold to
  • Less likely that a spam filter intercepts the email
  • Don’t need to know HTML or have an email marketing platform
  • Less time investment

HTML Email’s Strong Points

  • Grabs customers’ attention in the critical first few seconds
  • Organizes information better…customers get the main selling point right away
  • Expresses your brand with visual elements such as logo, photos and font

When Plain Text is Superior

  • Customers who aren’t computer savvy
  • Emails for small groups
  • Lots of text (from a newsletter) without a blog
  • Writing has special personality
  • In small communities (rural)

When HTML is Superior

  • New promotions and events
  • Have blog to link to for written content
  • Frequent computer users and younger
  • Visuals communicate just as well as text
  • Emphasize restaurant’s branding
  • Restaurants with a strong online marketing presence (website, social media, blog, etc.)