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What is an Email Template in Digital Marketing?

In digital marketing, an email template is a ready-made template that marketers can use to efficiently build well-designed emails. Although many marketing platforms offer the opportunity to build custom emails from scratch, templates allow your team to reuse past emails, saving time and resources.

Email templates offer a basic framework for your email. That framework allows marketers to easily drag and drop their content into the premade layout. However, templates are not static. You can always edit the template to ensure your email is engaging and consistent with your brand and resonates with each individual customer.

Templates offer customization of color, photos, text sizing, branding, and fonts. These features are found within the email builder and are easy to edit. You can also include blocks of dynamic content which are personalized on an individual user basis, based on their past purchases or browsing behavior.

What’s more, email templates are user friendly and don’t require custom coding, giving your email marketers more time to focus on the overall strategy.

Types of Email Templates

If you’re using a template for email marketing, you’ll start with a base template. Once you’ve established the content and simple customizations of your base template, you can use other types of templates to make your work even more efficient.

The Three Types of Email Templates:

Base Templates

Base templates can be used within any campaign and sequence campaign, and typically include a number of content blocks, including a header, a footer, a signature, image blocks for your logo and branding elements, and links to your website and social accounts. Once you’ve populated a base template with your content, you can copy it for other campaigns and customize that copy for your new purpose. Base templates are designed to help companies create and send messages that are consistent in content, style, and brand voice. A common use case for base templates is a transactional or confirmation message.

Workflow Templates

Workflow campaigns allow your brand to plan and automate which message should be triggered at each point in a customer journey. Workflow campaigns are adjustable as project demands change and allow for customized content associated with one of your workflow campaigns. They can be used for any marketing or transactional purpose, including both marketing campaigns like welcome sequences and post-purchase shipping notifications.

Campaign Templates

A campaign template is used for sending specific campaign-related emails. These templates are most often used with promotional emails and can be sent to segmented audiences. You might launch a campaign template in support of a new product announcement, a site-wide deal, or a live event. For example, a campaign template might include a sequence promoting your new product launch, with a series that includes an email, an SMS, and a push notification, based on whether or not your customer responds to the CTA in each one. The content blocks for your email template might include a header graphic where your promotion is featured, and a CTA to visit the product link. These templates enable you to more easily track ROI related to the specific campaign so that you can gauge the performance of each promotion.

Regardless of which type of template you’re using, it’s important to follow industry best practices.

Email Template Best Practices

As your brand builds its content and establishes the look of your email templates, follow these tips to maximize your audience engagement.

Personalize Content

All customers want to feel that they are getting special treatment from a brand. As you build your email template, ensure that each template includes at least one dynamic content block that reflects each customer’s unique needs and preferences. For example, one email template could be built for product recommendations based on what the user has browsed or purchased in the past. If you have an e-commerce company that sells gourmet coffee, for instance, a customer might receive an email showcasing other coffees with a similar flavor profile to the one they’ve purchased.

Use Cross-Channel Marketing

While emails are highly effective, consider building a sequence of messages to engage with customers via SMS, push, direct mail, and social media to extend your reach and interact with customers on their preferred channels. Make sure that your tone of voice and branding are consistent around each channel, helping your customers build a stronger relationship with your brand at every touchpoint. This consistency confirms to the customer that they can trust the products and the process.

Choose Simplicity over Complexity

Building the most effective email template means it should be easy for the customer to use. Avoid the temptation to overload the template with long text or moving images that don’t load quickly. Make sure each template includes a clear call to action (CTA) to lead the customer to their next step. Content should be simple, easy to understand, and visually appealing. Ensure that all of your templates are mobile-responsive, so they’ll automatically adjust to the device the customer is using.

The Importance of a Marketing Automation Tool

For the flexibility and ease of creating your own email templates, you’ll want to use a marketing automation tool, like Iterable. You can create, edit, duplicate, populate fields like the subject line, and even add tracking to make sure you get the best analytics out of your marketing.

An automated marketing tool should also take you beyond email to reach your customers through the channels they use most. You should also be able to easily create templates for in-app messages, push notifications, SMS, and web push notifications. Once you’ve created your template and set up your campaigns, your marketing technology automates your messages to reach your customers exactly where they should, when they should.

Using email templates allows marketers to cut the busy work of coding and focus on the more important elements of their content. Applying these best practices results in a better customer experience, higher engagement, increased revenue, and further brand loyalty.

Iterable is a cross-channel marketing platform that powers unified customer experiences and empowers marketers to create, optimize and measure relevant interactions and experiences customers love. Leading brands, like Cinemark, DoorDash, Calm, Madison Reed, and Box, choose Iterable to power world-class customer experiences throughout the entire lifecycle. Discover our growth marketing solutions for personalization, increasing customer engagement, and more. Discover our platform and schedule a demo today.