A good email template is a key to the way that a business and its marketing messages are perceived. While it was once simple to hand-code an email template using HTML, this is now a difficult task that is best left to professional web developers.
A middle ground has been established in the form of the email template builder. These tools allow users to create templates that match their brand guidelines and allow their business to put their best foot forward every time that they send an email.
Unsurprisingly, these products have quickly exploded in popularity since they make what was once a difficult and tedious task far more simple. This means that many people struggle to choose the best email template builders since there are now so many options available.
In part, this is because comparing one email template builder with another is not a simple thing to do. Users will need to check whether the email marketing software that they are currently using is compatible with the email template builder that they are considering.
Besides, it’s also important to make sure that any email template builder which is under evaluation is compatible with the latest web standards and that any email template that it creates will look good on any device and any email client, regardless of the screen size.
This guide is designed to make it easy for even newcomers to the world of email marketing to understand the varying features that are offered by the various email template builders that are on the market.
It also explores how to compare and evaluate these systems and the most important features that businesses should be looking for.
Finally, it highlights a few of the most popular email template builders on the market and the features that help them to stand out from their increasingly strong competition.
Once a business has identified that it needs an email template builder somewhere in its marketing workflow, it can be very tempting to go straight out and start calling companies and comparing one possible solution with another.
While it’s very easy to succumb to this temptation, it’s far better for businesses to spend a little time evaluating the solutions that they already have and working out whether or not they actually need to invest in a separate product.
Much email marketing systems include template building tools out of the box. These are generally less fully-featured than dedicated email template builders but for some businesses, they will be enough to get the job done.
As a general rule, it’s best to test out the email template builder tool that is included in an email marketing system before going out to compare the other options on the market.
Not only is there the chance that the existing tool will be enough to meet a business’ needs but it is also highly likely that the process of testing out an existing tool will help a company to clarify exactly what it is looking for in an alternative (and what gaps they need to fill) before they start looking at other options.
The huge variety of devices that people now use to access their email has made the process of choosing an email template builder much more complicated than it once was.
10 or 15 years ago when it was safe to assume that everyone was reading their email on a desktop or laptop computer with roughly equal screen size, email designers could get away with things like fixed widths and using tables to layout their email.
Nowadays, people expect any email that they receive to look great on any device from a small smartphone to a giant 30-inch monitor on their desk. Fortunately, new techniques collectively known as responsive design have cropped up in order to accommodate this demand.
The bad news is that not every template builder supports them and some of them have implemented more thorough support for this change than others.
It’s vital to ask any email template builder company exactly how they have accommodated responsive design into their platform when comparing one option with another.
It’s also a good idea to take the platform for a spin and view a few of the templates that have been created by the system on a variety of screen sizes in order to check just how good they actually look in situ.
There are a few things that should be taken into account when it comes to actually build an email using an email template builder. This advice is common to all systems and is worth keeping in mind to ensure that any tool works to the best of its abilities.
If nothing else, Stripo has brash marketing – claiming that its team contains 29 geniuses. Businesses, however, aren’t necessarily looking for geniuses, they just need an email template builder that works, is easy to use and actually delivers the results that they were looking for in the first place.
Thankfully, even when the somewhat over the top marketing is set aside, Stripio still manages to deliver a product that lives up for the hype that it has created for itself.
The Business Plan, which will be suitable for the vast majority of companies that decide to use the service comes with over 350 templates. Most importantly, each of these templates offers a very high level of customization, making it easy to skin a pre-existing template so that it matches a company’s brand and doesn’t look like something that came off the shelf.
The only drawback in terms of the customization options available is that the service is limited to a choice of around 20 fonts.
The templates each come with many blocks, some of which even offer dynamic options such as image carousels. This means that each template can be used in a variety of contexts, increasing the usefulness of the service even further.
Overall, Stripo offers a good price-quality ratio compared to some of the other services are available. It is a relatively simple option with few bells and whistles but this will be more than enough for a lot of businesses that are dipping their toe into email marketing for the very first time.
This email template builder may have a slightly odd name but that doesn’t stop it from being one of the best choices of stand-alone email template builder. While the number of templates that is available to choose from is slightly lower than some competitors at around 100, all of the templates are of very high quality.
Most importantly, they are responsive, meaning that they will easily shift and change in accordance with the screen size that an email is being viewed on. This is an essential thing to consider as emails that are difficult to read tend to be quickly deleted by the people who are receiving them.
A feature that may well appeal to businesses that are new to the world of email marketing is the free version. This tier of a subscription is relatively fully featured and many businesses will find that it is more than enough to get them up and running.
Free users are limited to 5 email exports a month, so it’s important to be sure that a template is totally right before hitting the export button. It’s also possible to invite other users to collaborate on the design of an email template, even on the free version.
For businesses with larger marketing teams, this feature could be a boon from both a workflow and a security point of view, making it easy for everyone who needs access to the email to work on it and preventing the security risks that can come from the sharing of passwords.
A paid-for version of Chamaileon is available which unlocks additional features in the form of more monthly exports (the most basic level of subscription ups the monthly export limit to a total of 15) and more simultaneous users.
The major downside is that the service only offers direct integration with a small handful of email marketing tools. The majority of users will find that they have to export their HTML code and manually import it to their email marketing system of choice.
This is one of the prettiest and flashiest email template building tools out there. The m Ain thing that keeps it from the top of the list is that the free version is far more limited than some of its peers. Most users will find that they have to pony up in order to use the tool effectively.
BEE offers over 300 email templates with a high degree of customization. Most of them look gorgeous and the number of options available mean that fitting them into almost any brand shouldn’t be a problem.
One of the biggest advantages over some of the other template builders out there is the high degree of integration that the service offers with popular email marketing tools such as Mailchimp, Sendinblue, and even Gmail.
This integration goes as far as offering the ability to add merge fields when building the email template, something that could save a significant amount of time once the template has been exported and added to the email marketing tool.
Unfortunately, the available options are severely limited for users who do not want to pay for access. Only paid-for users are able to save their templates, which means that users of the free version will have to start from scratch any time that they want to make an adjustment to an existing template.
This limitation essentially cripples the free version from a long-term usage perspective and means that with the exception of users who are test-driving the tool for the first time, the vast majority of people will find that they have to pay for a subscription in order to use the email template builder effectively.
For those who like the templates and the deep integration with their existing email marketing tool, doing so may well turn out to be a good decision.
Unlike the other services mentioned here which offer pre-defined templates that users can customize according to their needs, Postcards expect users to build the entire template from scratch out of their pre-existing blocks.
This may well be an approach that appeals to people who are already comfortable building email marketing templates but it may well be a barrier to newcomers. The pre-defined templates offered by other platforms also offer some guidance on email marketing best practice, which is somewhat lacking in this case though.
For those who don’t mind this slightly idiosyncratic approach however, there is a lot to recommend Postcards. The pro modules are very well designed and a huge number of fonts are available thanks to the product’s integration with the Google Fonts platform. This means that a large number of businesses will be able to use their corporate font directly in their email template.
Unfortunately, options for free users are rather lacking and the most advanced modules and blocks are limited to users who are on a paid subscription. Like some other services, the free tier is only really suitable for evaluation purposes, and users who decide that they like the service will almost certainly find that they have to pay at some point.
However, with prices starting from $18 a month with unlimited exports, some users may find that this is not a particularly big barrier.
An email template says a lot about a business and choosing one of the best email template builders on the market is a great way to make a good first impression. All of the services mentioned here are great candidates and the right choice will depend entirely on the needs of a particular business.
The simplest way to test whether an email template builder is up to scratch is to use it and send a number of emails with it. Many services offer free trials or other arrangements that allow companies to get a feel for their services before they have to commit to a long contract.
It’s best to use this time to test out the scenarios in which the tool would be used and, crucially, view the email templates that the service generates on a number of screen sizes to check that the responsive design works.
In most cases, an email template builder will produce HTML code. This can then be copied and pasted or uploaded into the email marketing system that a company is using. The exact method for importing the template will vary from one system to another but it’s generally possible to copy and paste the HTML code into an email.
In some cases, it will be necessary to identify the parts of the template where content can be inserted. It’s best to refer to the help section of the email marketing system for further advice.
Some email template builders directly integrate into popular email marketing systems. Be sure to check the documentation before signing up to see what systems are supported.
Most modern email templates use responsive design to ensure that they look good and are easy to read on all sorts of devices and screen sizes.
The vast majority of modern email template builders will support responsive design but it’s worth double-checking this and sending a few test emails to various devices before committing to a particular email template builder service.