The manner in which the copy is laid out will contribute largely to the audience’s desire to read it. Upon opening the email there are a few things that people notice immediately, regardless of whether it’s text or HTML:
- Is the copy neat and well laid out?
- What hyperlinks are immediately visible?
- Does this look interesting?
- What’s in this for me?
- How long will it take me to read this?
To get started writing winning text emails, you’ll need a good text editor.
Notepad Makes a Great Text Editor
Notepad is a great text editor and everyone with a PC has Notepad preloaded on their computer. The primary reason for using Notepad to edit your message is because it offers only the formatting features supported by text emails. Most word processors offer features such as bold, underlining and other fonts, which aren’t supported in plain-text emails.
Using a text editor will ensure that your copy adheres to the lowest common denominator and can be viewed properly by all parties.
To Access Notepad: Click the “Start” button on your monitor’s lower left hand corner. Then select “Programs,” and then “Accessories.” You should see the program called “Notepad” listed there.
The path is: Start > Programs > Accessories > Notepad
Limit Lines to 65 Characters Max
Notepad is very similar to your word processing programs, except you have to hit enter to finish a line and jump to the next line. This is important because it allows you to control how many characters appear on each line.
Properly formatted text emails are limited to 65 characters per line. You’ll notice when you receive a text email there is typically a margin of white space to the right of the copy. This ensures the that line breaks happen where you specify.
You don’t want the recipient’s email client to determine where the lines wrap, or your email may look sloppy.
At the end of each 65-character line, you need to hit the enter or return key to break to the next line. Notepad does not automatically wrap like other word processing programs.
If you want to avoid having to count out each line simply enter a line of hash marks at the top of your email that is 65 characters wide, like this line below:
You can use this line to eyeball where it is time to hit return and start a new line. When you are finished writing your text, simply delete the hash marks.
Hyperlinks must adhere to the same requirements as regular text lines. In fact, it’s actually more important that you limit the length of your hyperlinks because if a viewer’s email client decides your hyperlink is too long and breaks part of it off to put it on the next line, it may not work.
Keep an Eye On Your Inbox
Text email messages are very popular. Keep an eye on your email inbox and notice how the better text messages use white space. As you read on, we will cover additional formatting techniques to help improve your overall results and readability.