In our first post of our template talk series, we talked about how and why we took a template developed by Litmus and converted it for our client. Today, let’s talk about taking a bespoke HTML campaign and converting it to a template HTML format. Templates aren’t the answer to everything though. Here are four key points to keep in mind when planning for and developing your email campaigns:
1. Develop a template for each type of email you send.
Sit down and think of every email you’ve sent over the past year. Now add to that any additional campaigns you’re wanting to add over the coming year. This is the minimum number of templates you’re going to need.
Each of these templates are going to look similar while addressing the layout needs of each individual campaign. This allows you to focus on the content of the email without trying to re-invent your email design every time.
2. Templates can be broken.
Just because you now have templates doesn’t mean you no longer have to worry about specifics. Even the best templates can be broken.
You can place content in the wrong areas, include images of the wrong size or change the suggested font sizes and or colors. Some outdated ESP’s don’t allow for fine grain control over templates because their template language wraps your input. If this is the case for your ESP, then your template might not be able to control font sizes or colors and you might be better off entering your content as HTML instead of through your ESP’s WYSIWYG editor.
If your template needs an image that is a specific dimension, most ESP editors allow for you to place an image of any dimension. Depending on the design of your template, placing the wrong size image could do everything from making the design of your email look bad to breaking the email completely on multiple devices. It’s important to take note of the dimension your images should be and stick to those dimensions.
3. Create one template that is mostly free form in nature.
There’s always going to be an email that doesn’t exactly fit into the templates you have available. Having a template where only the header and footer of your email are defined permits you to create free form emails. The header and footer for these open templates will adhere to your branding, ensuring the campaign ties in with the other emails you send.
4. Sometimes a bespoke email is the only way.
Even with an open format template available there will be times – whether it be a holiday sale or special event – that a bespoke email is needed.
In these cases it’s important that the email still retains some of the branding and style from your template campaigns. By keeping things like your font families and sizing of your logo consistent with your template emails, your custom email will look special while maintaining your overall identity.
In Summary: Moving your production from bespoke emails to templates has multiple benefits: it can save you time, provide consistency to campaigns and keep you more focused on content. However, following these key points for creating templates, as well as knowing when to use your templates and when to use a custom design is important to the overall success of your email marketing.