My friend, are you overwhelmed trying to create effective emails for your business? Do you dread having to manually code HTML and CSS for each marketing email? I‘ve been there before.
Luckily, email template builders provide an easy solution that can save us both huge amounts of time and frustration. In this comprehensive guide, I‘ll walk you through everything you need to know about these invaluable tools.
By the end, you‘ll be ready to choose the perfect email template builder to take your email marketing to the next level in 2023!
What Exactly Are Email Template Builders?
An email template builder is a software that allows us to quickly create HTML email templates through an easy-to-use drag-and-drop editor. They provide professionally designed templates that we can fully customize.
With these tools, we can build responsive emails with beautiful designs without needing to know any coding. Here are some of the key capabilities:
- Select from hundreds of pre-made email layouts
- Customize colors, fonts, content blocks, images
- Drag-and-drop to rearrange sections
- Add dynamic content with merge tags
- Collaborate in real-time with team members
- Preview on mobile and desktop
- Export final HTML/CSS code
Email template builders enable us to create emails that engage and convert subscribers without the heavy lifting of HTML/CSS. We simply use the visual editor to assemble a great-looking email in a fraction of the time.
Why Should We Use An Email Template Builder?
Here are the main reasons these tools can be so valuable for our email marketing:
Faster Email Creation
Manually coding each email in HTML/CSS is extremely slow. With an email builder, we can develop new emails in minutes by customizing flexible templates instead of starting from scratch each time.
Email builders allow us to easily maintain consistent branding by reusing design elements like colors, fonts, and images across every template. This strengthens our brand identity.
Their templates render perfectly across all devices. We never have to worry about subscribers seeing broken layouts on mobile.
Many email builders allow multiple team members to work on templates together in real-time, streamlining collaboration.
We get cleanly formatted HTML/CSS code that‘s compatible with every major email provider.
Professionally designed templates drive higher open and clickthrough rates, improving our email performance.
Top Email Template Builders for 2023
There are many great email template builders to choose from in 2023. Based on extensive research and testing, here are my top recommendations:
1. Stripo – Best Overall Email Builder
Stripo is my choice for the best overall email template builder on the market. It combines an elegant and intuitive drag-and-drop editor with a library of incredibly designed responsive templates.
I can easily customize any part of their templates quickly without touching code. Stripo also has excellent collaboration capabilities that allow teams to work together on emails in real-time.
Advanced users can even tweak CSS styles if they want full control. Stripo also offers an email templates API so we can integrate their templates directly into our own platforms and apps.
Their support team is very responsive and helpful as well. Stripo is the complete package for creating beautiful emails fast.
2. Unlayer – Best for Creative Design
If beautiful design is our top priority, Unlayer is a great choice. They offer an expansive library of creatively designed templates for any industry.
Unlayer‘s drag-and-drop editor is smooth and intuitive for modifying templates quickly. I like that they make resizing columns and updating styles across sections incredibly easy. This tool is perfect for freelancers and agencies needing to crank out high volumes of custom email designs.
Unlayer also provides robust version history and collaboration features to streamline teamwork. The team plans are affordably priced too.
3. BeeFree – Best for Beginners
For those new to email design, BeeFree is the template builder I recommend starting with. Their simple editor makes building and modifying emails intuitive and fun rather than intimidating.
With BeeFree‘s large template library even non-technical users like myself can assemble stylish emails through drag-and-drop alone. And I can still add dynamic content via merge tags.
BeeFree is also affordably priced for solopreneurs and small teams. With their free stripped-down version, it‘s easy to test them out first.
4. Postcards – Best for Teams
Postcards focuses heavily on enabling collaboration and workflow management around email design. It offers excellent team features for assigning email design tasks, collecting feedback, and managing approvals.
Postcards has a great modern library of templates that are fully customizable. I like that they integrate with 1,500+ other apps via Zapier too, allowing us to connect our email design process across marketing systems.
For small teams like mine collaborating on email campaigns, Postcards is a leading choice. Their UI is fast and pleasant to use as well.
5. Chamaileon – Best for Large Teams
If we need advanced team workflow features for large enterprises, Chamaileon is an excellent option. This tool combines easy template customization with robust collaboration capabilities, ideal for big teams.
I like that we can integrate Chamaileon with our CRM data for dynamic content personalization too. For big brands, this tool provides the most robust features for team-based email design and marketing.
6. SendGrid – Best Integrated with Email Sending
SendGrid makes it straightforward to pair professional email template design with high-volume email sending. Their builder offers a solid library of templates that can be customized visually without coding knowledge.
Created templates integrate seamlessly with SendGrid‘s delivery platform. This allows us to manage template design and sending from one unified interface. SendGrid also provides helpful email analytics.
For rapidly sending customized emails at scale, SendGrid‘s integrated solution is a great fit for mid-market and enterprise needs.
Key Email Builder Features To Look For
When comparing email template builders, there are a few key features important for our needs:
This visual editor allows us to easily customize templates without coding. Look for an intuitive, easy-to-use interface.
Emails need to render perfectly across all mobile and desktop devices. Ensure the builder optimizes for this.
Merge tags, personalization, and placeholders allow us to add dynamic content that changes based on recipient data.
Real-time team editing and feedback improves workflow. Prioritize this if working with others.
Cleanly formatted source code ensures maximum compatibility across all email clients.
Integrations with our other marketing apps brings in data and automates workflows.
Quickly modify layouts, text formatting, images, colors, and more via the visual editor.
Reuse design elements like colors, fonts, and assets to strengthen our brand.
What Are the Benefits of Email Templates?
Professionally designed email templates provide additional advantages beyond a template builder tool alone:
Faster Email Creation
Well-designed templates mean we skip building emails completely from scratch. This radically accelerates creation.
Templates designed by email experts incorporate best practices that boost open rates, clicks, and conversions.
Templates render perfectly on any device unlike our own custom designs which take testing.
Cohesive templates that reflect our brand help establish credibility and trust with subscribers.
Ready-made templates for every use case eliminate the hassle of starting from a blank canvas each time.
Templates showcase beautiful designs, imagery, fonts, colors, and layouts designed for engagement.
Expert templates follow best practices for deliverability, reducing the risk of our emails ending up in spam.
Questions to Ask When Choosing an Email Template Builder
Here are some important questions to consider when evaluating tools:
Does it offer pre-designed email templates?
Pre-made templates let us skip design and focus on content. Make sure there is a wide variety of template options.
How easy is it to customize templates?
The drag-and-drop editor should allow us to modify templates quickly without coding.
Can we collaborate as a team?
Concurrent team access helps coordinate email design and feedback efficiently.
Does it support dynamic content?
Personalization improves engagement. Merge tags enable using data to customize emails.
Does it provide mobile optimization?
All templates should be completely responsive for optimal experience on any device.
How are email designs exported?
Clean HTML and CSS code ensures maximum compatibility with email providers.
Does it integrate with our email marketing platform?
Look for native connections or integrations via Zapier to sync the tools we use.
How much does it cost?
Evaluate pricing models to ensure the builder fits our budget requirements.
Trends Impacting Email Template Builders in 2023
Email template builders continue to rapidly evolve. As we look ahead to 2023, a few key trends are shaping the landscape:
Leveraging artificial intelligence, some email builders like Stripo are beginning to offer AI-generated email copy and design recommendations to accelerate creation.
Voice Command Design
New voice capabilities are allowing us to assemble emails and tweak designs through voice commands for efficiency.
Personalization and individuation of emails is becoming more advanced through integration of customer data from CRM and marketing automation platforms.
Testing and optimization is being automated based on performance data to improve email effectiveness over time.
Stricter global privacy laws are pushing email builders to mask recipient data by default within the interface.
Should You Build or Buy Templates?
When starting email marketing, a question that often arises is whether we should build our own custom templates or buy pre-made templates. Here are some key considerations:
Building Custom Templates
- 100% customized for our brand
- Tailored to our specific audience
- Full creative control
- Very time intensive
- Requires HTML, CSS, and design expertise
- Difficult to optimize deliverability
- Testing across clients takes significant effort
Buying Pre-Made Templates
- Extremely fast implementation
- Beautiful, professional designs
- Expertly optimized deliverability
- Built for engagement and conversion
- New options available monthly
- Can still be customized
- Less complete customization potential
- Monthly costs unless one-time purchase
Unless we have specialized needs and deep expertise, purchasing templates is the best option for most businesses to get started fast while still allowing customization. Quality templates eliminate heavy lifting without sacrificing great design.
How Our Email Design Impacts Deliverability
Optimizing deliverability is crucial for emails. Here are template design best practices that help our emails reliably reach the inbox:
Keeping colors, fonts, logos, and messaging consistent strengthens our sender reputation with providers.
Following ESP Best Practices
Designing templates compliant with ESP guidelines, like image-to-text ratio rules, helps deliverability.
Flawless mobile responsiveness prevents display issues that flag emails as spam.
Prominent CTAs that stand out improve engagement signals used by email filters.
Showing our business name, address and contact info helps build sender authenticity.
Avoiding Blocked Styles
Steering clear of specific CSS styles known to cause rendering issues in clients.
Main Parts of an Effective Email Template
When designing emails, either ourselves or by customizing purchased templates, be sure to incorporate these key sections:
Logo & Branding
A prominent logo at the top reinforces our brand. Match branding colors used on other materials.
A subheader with our core value prop tells subscribers why they should care right up front.
Relevant imagery catches attention while conveying emotion and visual information.
Email Body Content
Well-written, scannable copy provides useful information structured with headings and lists.
Eye-catching, contrasting CTA buttons lead subscribers to key conversions.
Social Media Icons
Linking to our social profiles helps subscribers engage further with our brand.
Clear contact details like address, phone, and emails build credibility and trust.
A one-click unsubscribe option is legally required in commercial emails.
Top Email Design Tips for Higher Engagement
Here are powerful tips for creating emails that maximize opens, clicks, and conversions:
Draft Attention-Grabbing Subject Lines
Spend time crafting compelling, benefit-focused subject lines bypass spam filters to get opened.
Make the Preheader Count
The preview text entices subscribers to open emails, so ensure it presents value clearly.
Focus on Mobile Optimization
With most emails read on phones, mobile responsiveness is an absolute must.
Limit Overall Email Length
Emails with concise copy are more likely to be read than dense blocks of text.
Use Scannable Content Structure
Lists, bullets, bolding, and spacing between paragraphs improve scannability.
Avoid "Salesy" Language
Friendly, conversational language converts better than aggressive sales copy.
Add first names, location details, preferences, etc. sparingly to boost relevance without being creepy.
Place a Single Clear CTA
Multiple CTAs are confusing. Spotlight one high-impact CTA aligned to our goal.
Send Test Drafts
Sending test versions to ourselves on different devices identifies display issues.
Key Email Platform Integrations
Top email template builders integrate with major marketing platforms to streamline workflows. Here are key integrations available:
|Email Template Builder||Integrates With|
|Stripo||MailChimp, ConvertKit, HubSpot, Zapier|
|Unlayer||Zapier, MailerLite, ActiveCampaign, HubSpot|
|BeeFree||Zapier, MailChimp, SendinBlue, GetResponse|
|Postcards||Zapier, ActiveCampaign, MailChimp, HubSpot|
|Chamaileon||Salesforce, HubSpot, Zapier|
|SendGrid||Zapier, Salesforce, HubSpot, ActiveCampaign|
The Future of Email Template Builders
The email template builder landscape will continue rapidly evolving over the next few years:
Smarter Personalization – Leveraging customer data and AI to deliver highly targeted content.
More Automation – End-to-end workflow automation from design to delivery.
Expanded Integrations – Deeper connections with sales, marketing, CRM, and analytics systems.
Hybrid Creation – Combining human creativity and AI input for design.
Built for Speed – Zero-code editors and hyper-efficient collaboration capabilities.
Expanded Education – Resources to upskill designers on maximizing engagement and deliverability.
The next generation of email builders will enable unprecedented levels of personalization, automation, and performance through close platform integrations and AI-enhancement.
Let‘s Start Building Better Emails!
My friend, we‘ve covered everything you need to know to select the perfect email template builder for your unique needs in 2023.
The time savings and design gains of moving to one of these intuitive tools is massive. Even if you decide to purchase templates, builders make customizing and updating emails a breeze.
I highly recommend starting with a free trial to test drive your top choices firsthand. Evaluate the editor interface, template quality, available features, and ease of use.
Within just days, you can be cranking out amazing-looking, high-converting emails that make your subscribers happy. Let me know if you have any other questions! I‘m excited to see your email game taken to the next level.