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Email Templates

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There are so many kinds of email templates out there. They can be text-only, and they can also be HTML and text.

It depends on your newsletter, it depends on your email, and it depends on what you’re trying to do. If you look at big brands and you look at companies that have very graphical branding, they’re going to use a lot of HTML and text because it makes sense for them. If you’re doing something that’s a bit stripped-down that you want to feel more like a personalized email and less of a commercial or an ad, then you might do text-only. Of course, the benefits of text-only is that it’s a bit thinner in terms of the broadband that it takes, and again, if you personalize it, it can look like an email sent from a friend or a colleague.

For example, a lot of times politicians will send a text-only email, and it looks like it came from someone that you know, when it’s actually a politician saying, “Hey, would you like to donate some money to us? Here’s our call to action.” This is as opposed to the glitzier, branded, more graphically intense HTML/text offering.


What are the benefits for your email templates?

Pre-designed templates

  • Ease of use: If you work with an email service provider and/or another company that allows you to create templates, these pre-designed templates can be really good. They’re easy to use. They’ve been around for a while. You don’t have to reinvent the wheel.
  • Cost-efficient: You don’t have to pay for any design work.
  • Time-efficient: They’re already there, you put in your content, send it out the door, and there you go.

Custom design templates

Custom, bespoke and tailored are all words that make things much more personalized.

  • Brand aware: Brand awareness really does matter.
  • Professional: Your own template that is bespoke to you is more likely to look more professional than if you use a template that your neighbor could use. If someone sends out an email and someone else sends out an email and they both look identical, it doesn’t look like you really tried that hard.
  • No re-formatting: With a custom design template, the other aspect is no re-formatting. You don’t have to change around anything. It’s made specifically for you, for your company, for your content.
  • Facilitates dynamic data: They are created in such a way that enables you to sort of plug and play various bits of dynamic data, which will mean that your template is far more agile with the things that you’re trying to do than an off-the-shelf solution.

Flexible email templates

What are some things to think about regarding email templates?

Mobile optimization

  • Reduce image file sizes: Consider image file size. What looks good on a big screen and might be okay with load times that take a while, might not be okay for a mobile device.
  • Use responsive design: Think about design that sort of accordions in and out depending on screen size. That can be very important. Also, make sure that your design is intuitive, in terms of clicking. This isn’t a mouse cursor. This is a thumb or an index finger that people are using. So you got to think about your design in the context of mobile, on-the-go readers.
  • Create a responsive grid system: Responsive email templates are not the way of the future, they are the way of the now. If your email only looks good on a desktop, we’ve got to change that immediately. That screen size proportion does really matter, and more and more we’ve got screen sizes all across the board.
  • Increase size of CTAs: The call to action on a mobile optimized email template might be located in a different place than, say, on a desktop and that is important. That call to action on desktop, you could put it somewhere and it fits really well with design. If it’s on mobile, you might need to put it right away so that the reader doesn’t miss that call to action.
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Eric Stoller

Eric Stoller is a Higher Education Strategic Communications Consultant and Blogger at Inside Higher Ed. With a background in student affairs, academic advising, wellness, technology, and communications, Eric educates clients and audiences on digital identity development. As a blogger, he generates conversations, answers questions, and provides insight about a variety of tech topics, including Social Media Strategies and Email Marketing.

By the end of this topic, you should be able to:

  • Evaluate the role of email marketing in demand generation and lead conversions 
  • Evaluate marketing emails designs and their effectiveness
  • Appraise the performance of email marketing campaigns

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      Applied Email Marketing
      Eric Stoller
      Skills Expert

      Communication expert Eric Stoller will help you to identify the attributes and features of an effective marketing email. You will recognize the importance of professional email design to retain brand reputation and subscribers, and will understand that testing is the basis of every successful email marketing campaign. Eric will then introduce the key metrics and statistics within email reporting, and will help you to identify methods for optimizing the performance of your campaign.