The benefits are certainly hard to ignore, but that doesn't mean an organization should throw more money at a marketing stream than it needs to.
Email templates can help you add branding elements and personalization features to each email.
Instead of starting from scratch with each email you send, templates allow you to build off of a starting point, saving you lots of time and helping you get close to (or exceed) that attractive ROI.
In this article, we’ll look into:
What a template is and why it’s beneficial for your email marketing efforts.
What to include in your template.
Tools to start building a template.
Ready to send better emails? Let’s get started.
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Why you need an email template
How many pieces of email marketing do you receive every day? Of the ones you open, what features keep you scrolling? It’s likely those that have easily digestible information and additional features, rather than one big block of text.
A good email template will help make your email marketing message more palatable to your audience, while simultaneously conveying details about your brand.
Building from a template layout allows you to focus on the right material and elements, both of which help build brand awareness. You can spend less time creating higher-quality emails.
What to put into your email marketing template
Your template will determine the look of all the emails you send, so you want to be sure to get it right. Focus on making any template you use consistent with your branding and messaging.
Here’s what to include in your template:
This is the first section a reader will see when they click on your email. To make a good first impression, avoid overwhelming a viewer with lots of images or a block of text. Stick to a hierarchy — starting with the most important or valuable information in your header section.
Using design elements and imagery here will help your message stand out more. You can also find ways to vary sizes, contrast, and colors. The copy in your header should be the largest font size in the template.
You’ll also want to tap into your brand guidelines as you design this part. These will help your readers recognize who the email is coming from. Brand identity forms a connection and builds trust with your audience, a key part of successful email marketing.
This header section from BEE Templates (more on them below) is a great example of hierarchy. The image draws the viewer’s attention right away and leads into the headline. The variation in text size also helps the reader digest information in pieces.
The body is the main portion of your email. To keep readers scrolling, design the body of your email with the same sort of hierarchy in mind.
If you were to glance at the content in your email, what information stands out most? You want your reader to understand the key information without needing to read every little detail.
Another tip: Don’t underestimate the power of white space in any given piece of email marketing! This is the area around elements that acts as breathing room. Think of it as a way to de-clutter your layout, which helps readers focus on the things that matter most.
To get an idea of these concepts in practice, look into layout design patterns. These designs are created to follow the way readers move around information. Some move left to right, up and down, or zigzag. In this guide, Wunderkind shows a few examples, such as the inverted triangle, Z pattern, and F pattern.
This BEE Template is a great example of a Z pattern. Naturally, a viewer’s eye will scan the information from left to right then diagonally downwards, in a zigzag pattern.
This layout also showcases a great balance of design and white space. The text and images work together and don’t overpower each other. According to Mailchimp, 95% of their high-performing accounts used email marketing campaigns with 200 words or less per image.
Remember, all of the content in your email, including the header and body sections, should be responsive on mobile.
According to Campaign Monitor, 81% of emails are opened on mobile devices. If your template is not optimized for mobile, your audience won’t have a positive experience with your email. What do you do when something doesn’t load properly? You close it.
Don’t lose out on engagement because your layout isn’t formatted correctly.
Call to action
So someone opened and read your email. Now what? You need to provide a logical next step for them to take, so make sure this is clear.
Beneath each offer, include things like “read more” or “download now.” To maximize conversions, consider the placement of these calls to action. While you might include a few, make sure to place one in the first section of your email. This will make it noticeable to a viewer right as they open the content.
This CTA from Duolingo is a great example and showcases what the placement may look like.
This is a great place to link to and direct readers to other resources. This could be related resources or social media channels. If your subscribers really enjoy the content of your email marketing campaign, they’ll share it. Make it easy by incorporating social media share and follow buttons into your email marketing template.
Also include a company logo, contact information, and an “opt out” option. The contact information and unsubscribe option are important parts of CAN-SPAM compliance for email marketing campaigns.
Every piece of content you create or send is a reflection of your brand as a whole. Make sure that the elements you use reflect it well.
Email marketing template tools
There are easy-to-use email marketing tools that can help you build emails that your prospects want to read.
Below, I’ll provide a quick overview of a few email marketing template creation options that we like. You’ll likely want to do more research on any of these tools (as well as others out there) before you choose, but this is an introduction to get you started.
Postcards allows you to combine different modules to create the perfect template for your needs. It is a great option for teams that want to collaborate on designs.
The platform allows users to assign certain roles to members as they work. Their Agency plan includes five users, multiple brands/projects, and unlimited projects/exports. Features include: Google fonts, direct email preview, image hosting, unlimited exports, mobile responsiveness, and more.
Stripo allows you to sort their template gallery based on multiple categories. You can save time by filtering by type, industry, season, feature, and integrations. While you can stick to drag-and-drop options, Stripo also offers an HTML and CSS code editor that can be used when starting from scratch or editing premade templates.
Stripo’s Pro plan is designed for professional agencies and allows teammates to access designs. This includes 10 users, unlimited projects, and full access to both free and premium templates.
Features include: Custom fonts, translation in the editor, brand guidelines, and team collaboration.
BEE Templates (which I mentioned above) hosts over 1,000 email templates. If you’re just getting started or want more assistance, you can hire a designer. By submitting a project to their BEE Custom Design Services, your company will receive a professionally designed, custom template.
This service also covers email sequences, campaign creation, conversion from existing files, and more.
Features: Mobile responsiveness, no coding needed.
Chamaileon allows you to work on email marketing templates in a way that’s very similar to Google Docs. After adding members to your company workspace, you can send “review email” requests and leave comments on the template for changes. This is a great option for agencies focusing on scalability.
The platform was created to shorten production time and help grow your business. The Standard plan includes five users, five integrations, and access to their support team through email and live chat.
Features: Team collaboration, real-time visibility, mobile-responsive, and asset organization.
Pricing: $150/month (Standard), $250/month (Premium), Custom pricing (Enterprise). Add-ons are offered for each plan.
HubSpot’s email marketing platform is one of the most popular available, especially for companies that already use the HubSpot platform for marketing and sales. (In fact, each of the tools above offer HubSpot integrations.)
HubSpot does offer its own drag-and-drop template options, with a focus on customization. Using HubSpot’s CRM, you can modify emails based on a recipient’s lifecycle stage and other information from their contact data. This helps when tracking the effectiveness of emails and campaigns.
HubSpot's email marketing tool is a great option for teams looking for a platform focusing on email campaigns that use sequences, tracking, and scheduling.
Features: Analytics to track email performance, A/B testing, and tailoring based on contact information.
So we know that email templates give you a space to build brand identity — but what does that mean for your company?
According to Oberlo, brand consistency can improve revenue by 33%. Consumers are more likely to purchase from a company they are familiar with, and also trust. Remember, you can build this by using personalization features in your email marketing platform.
Once you’ve started to implement these templates into your email marketing strategy, you’ll want to be sure to track their effectiveness. Some techniques and designs may work better than others. Keep an eye on things like clickthrough, conversion, and open and unsubscribe rates. Try out new elements when starting out to see what subscribers react well to.
Step up your email marketing efforts
While there may be lots of options for template builders, the end goal is the same — to help you save time crafting and designing the email marketing messages you send.
Templates offer a more organized way to format copy and design so they support each other. This is important for your readers’ experience and helps your brand communicate more effectively. Plus, you are given the space to showcase brand elements, thereby building brand recognition.
Email templates make it easy for brands and companies to replicate designs for email marketing campaigns. They can save you time while building your brand identity. Remember to not only focus on the visual aspects of the template, but also on how it communicates information.