Best Practices for Creating Email Templates

As a marketer, you are familiar with the endless cycle of creative production. As soon as one campaign is launched, it’s time to start on the next one. Breaking this exhausting cycle is sometimes difficult due to limited resources, lack of flexibility, inability to personalize, errors, cost and inefficiency. Despite these challenges, you can get out of the cycle by learning how to create flexible and efficient email templates that can be stored in a library to be used again for similar campaigns.

Here are a few best practices for creating flexible, reusable email templates:

1. Design your email template for above the fold.

A person will see the first 300 to 500 pixels of an email when he or she opens it; therefore, it is important to consider an appealing, attention-grabbing design for this space. Your email readers should be able to tell who you are, what you want them to do, and why you want them to do it immediately.


Use an engaging pre-header to draw your reader into the email. Including a call to action teaser, as well as a view on mobile option are must haves for the pre-header. It is also a good idea to include a safe sender prompt in this area.


2. Use flexible modules.

Also known as a modular template, you can use flexible modules to create different layouts for campaigns or to support lifecycle marketing programs. Flexible modules are pre-designed and formatted HTML content modules that can be removed, rearranged and repeated. This allows you to create a master template that can be edited for different campaigns.

Deciding the configuration of your modular template can be done using wireframes. When setting up your template, you should include certain modules: pre-header, header, main navigation, primary navigation, secondary navigation, tertiary message, banner, alternate navigation bar, recovery zone and footer.


3. Design for the Z-curve

Reusable email templates should not only look pleasing to the eye,they should lead readers to important information throughout the layout. The eye naturally moves from left to right and back again, so this is the way important information should be laid out in an email. Designing for the Z-curve means including visual clues that show the reader the call to action, special offers or deals, to helpful content.


Want to learn more ways to create dynamic, reusable email templates? Download our free Whitepaper today, Top 10 Best Practices for Crafting an Effective and Reusable Email Template.


Joy Ugi
Digital Marketing Coordinator, WhatCounts


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