Give Your Emails The Plain Text Look (With HTML Flexibility)

There’s a trend towards clean, simple email design. Some people

plain text email

There’s a trend towards clean, simple email design. Some people prefer the look of an undesigned, plain text email.

But when you use just plain text, you lose out on some design elements that can make your text more impactful.

Luckily, AWeber has the perfect solution for those of you who want a plain text feel with HTML flexibility.

Why Use A Template Instead Of Plain Text?

If you want to send an email that’s just text, why bother with a template at all?

Plain text doesn’t give you many options – no hyperlinking, headlines, or bold/italic text.

plain text example

A plain template, on the other hand, is a blank slate for your content. You can keep it simple, but also have the flexibility to add in coupons, headings, images and more to make your message more effective.

plain text example

Plus, you’ve got these awesome advantages:


You can stylize your text. Use bold, italics, or special headlines to emphasize parts of your copy you want readers to pay attention to. You can’t do that with true plain text.


No more clunky links in your emails. Plain text doesn’t let you hyperlink your text. So your long, messy links clutter up your email.

But with the template, you can highlight any word and turn it into a link, keeping your text clean and clutter-free.

Plus, you can use AWeber’s click tracking without raising spam flags like plain text would.


Want to send a text-only email but still track opens? Pure plain text can only record opens when someone clicks a link in your email. If someone opens your email without clicking your link, you’ll never know that they really opened it.

HTML emails accurately track opens with a line of code inserted into the HTML (that AWeber automatically adds for you). This code tracks the open whether your readers click links or not.

If you want the look of plain text with the tracking of HTML, the plain template gives you the best of both.

The Plain Email Template In Action

The plain template gives you options. Style it with coupons, images, headings and more, or just keep it plain – strictly text.

Here’s how it works:

You’ve got tons of flexibility.

How Will You Use The Plain Email Template?

Will you use the plain email template? Why or why not?

If you do, share your creations in the comments! (You can link to the archived version of your email if you’d like.)


  1. Sergio Felix

    10/10/2013 1:48 pm

    Thanks, I’ve been using this HTML blank template for a while now and loving it!


  2. Rick Lomas

    10/10/2013 2:17 pm

    I’ve always tended to not use HTML templates because I can never read them on a phone. Is this true of this template?

  3. Jerry Boutot

    10/10/2013 2:25 pm

    Nothing is more annoying to me then when I get an email that wants to be a full blown web page. I appreciate this article. I’ve been using your “vanilla” template for a while now, and I have myself on my mailing list so I can be sure the various emails are sent as expected and experience their arrival. I like the way mine look, not in a biased way, but they are white with black text, and contain appropriate images when necessary.

    Another thing you can do with them that you did not mention specifically is add the “Share” template component, horizontal bars (separators), Follow Me, Logo and Signature – all of which are important to add creatively and create a consistent experience.

    The trend towards simple, clean, uncluttered web sites and email marketing has been going on for a couple of years. Thanks for providing this very important template 🙂

  4. Haroun Kola

    10/10/2013 3:06 pm

    I’ve always used the plain text template.
    Like black its always classically in fashion and even though recent trends are rushing to the elegant simplicity, a smart email marketer knows to always test everything that can be tested. And choose the option that works the best.

  5. John Yeoman

    10/10/2013 3:16 pm

    Duh, why not just use the old AWeber message editor and ignore all those new fancy templates? That’s what I’ve been doing for three years. I can drop in graphics and links, fonts and colors. There’s no need for templates! Moreover, graphic-rich ‘templates’ scream spam. Why should anyone want to use ’em?

  6. Tom and Maria

    10/10/2013 7:33 pm

    How can I use AWeber to post out emails on auto and how do I know when they open such emails, and the length of stay as well has clicking on other links within that email.

  7. Rachel Acquaviva

    10/11/2013 2:47 pm

    Hello Tom and Maria,

    Here’s some information on setting up autoresponders and viewing reports. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact us.

  8. Mandy Evans

    10/10/2013 10:14 pm

    I do not like the plain HTML template because although I like the plain look, like an email from me, I can’t figure out to to delete the personalization which I do not require when people sign up for my email list.

    I use the old version of aweber with html instead.

    Good luck with your messages everyone!

  9. Keith Watson

    10/11/2013 2:50 am

    I would quite like to try out the plain template but would like to split test with our usual template. Is it possible to split test a list with two different templates?

  10. Enstine Muki

    10/11/2013 3:34 am

    Hi Rebekah,

    That’s a great option. I’ll be tried that in my next campaigns. Thanks for bringing this to my notice Rebekah

  11. Trish Jones

    10/11/2013 4:22 am

    Nice … I’m sure you had this feature some time ago and then got all fancy like. 🙂

    I much prefer the simplicity of this kind of newsletter template, so a big “thank you!”


  12. Soheir

    10/12/2013 4:19 am

    I like it

  13. Glenn

    10/12/2013 11:31 am

    The original plain text email has always, and will always work best. It is also simple to setup. I tried the new system in Aweber, and gave up after about an hour, without being able to create one follow up email.

  14. VMP

    10/13/2013 11:07 pm

    I am always using the plain text email template for news and offers.. but if you have some kind of affiliate links, I think and believe that HTML template would be preferred to use to hide some aff id.. that is what I always do and it converts high..

  15. Teri

    10/14/2013 10:26 am

    Personally, I find plain white and black emails to be very boring (very 1980s) and I basically just skim them, if I read them at all. Very run-of-the-mill. Dime a dozen.

    Living in the information overload age, it’s nice to have graphics – we all know that a picture can be worth at least a thousand words. Using, a relevant image with a succinct summary of the topic and a “read more” link, gives readers bit-sized chunks of information they can consume effortlessly, at-a-glance, and it definitely maximizes communication time and space.

    I’ve tested this with my subscribers and they prefer this style over the uninspiring plain text version. They tell me that they wish everyone did emails like mine and I should teach others how to follow suit.

    While white & black is classic, I don’t see myself going back to the 1980s look any time soon. However, I’m glad features are available in the plain text html version for those who still use it so they can at least make their emails more visually appealing.

  16. TIM

    10/21/2013 5:09 pm


    To me, an email with lots of graphics and fancy do-das (or worse, twirlygigs –i.e., animated ANYTHING) spells “fluff” or “time-waster” at best and “spam” at worst.

    Give me plain text — but make sure you have valuable content that I’ll want to read.

  17. Adam Kielich

    10/23/2013 8:59 am

    Nothing says spam to me more than those plain text variants with a bunch of hyperlinks and bolded character.

  18. Alex

    10/26/2013 12:15 am

    I have always prefer plain text emails for all my email marketing follow up series.One of the reasons I prefer plain text emails is, they are cleaner and less distracting. In the email marketing world, there is a 2 sec rule (just google 2 second email rule you will find lots of info on it) – basically it takes approximately 2 sec for the email receiver to decide whether to delete or read your email. Plan text email (for me), allows my target recipients to focus on only the message and intent of email.

  19. John Yeoman

    10/28/2013 9:30 am

    Pretty graphics or plain vanilla? Alex is right. Plain vanilla outpulls graphics every time. And I can prove it. I’ve just done a split test to 4000 subscribers. The only difference was that one email was just text – like a friendly one-to-one letter. And the other used the same text, plus pretty graphics. The plain vanilla version outpulled the graphic-rich version by 300%.

    So forget fancy templates, folks. They say ‘spam’. Just write a plain personalized letter, from your heart. And let spammers be ‘pretty’.

  20. Randall Magwood

    11/8/2013 10:29 am

    From above:

    “Plain text doesn’t give you many options – no hyperlinking, headlines, or bold/italic text.”

    So if I use plain text emails, links in my emails won’t be clickable?

  21. Rick Lomas

    11/11/2013 8:31 am

    @ Radall – from above also:

    “A plain template, on the other hand, is a blank slate for your content. You can keep it simple, but also have the flexibility to add in coupons, headings, images and more to make your message more effective.”

  22. Ivan Widjaya

    11/13/2013 10:32 pm

    I see your point. But the only reason I go with pure text is that I can keep the look of the e-mail across different platforms. But yeah, the e-mails you have shown definitely looks good.

  23. Fauzi

    1/5/2014 7:48 pm

    I use the Blank template and modify the template to add my logo and notification box automatically without I need to put them everytime I write my emails.

  24. Lela Juarez

    5/13/2014 12:44 pm


    So, I sent an HTML email with an image (of a video screen shot) & with a link (“inside the image).

    However, some of my recipients only received the plain text & while I understand there was no image — there was also no link.

    How can I fix this, so that my email recipients that can receive HTML emails have the image and link & my recipients that can only receive plain text at least receive the link?

    Thank you,