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Email templates with built-in flexibility

Unless you’re a HTML savvy email pirate that likes to code every email from scratch, this blogpost is for you. Because if you’re not one of those, you probably (want to) use a more or less predetermined template for creating your email campaigns. And if you do, you have traded (a little bit of) freedom for efficiency.


There’s no harm in increasing efficiency. It’s just that…you don’t want all of your campaigns looking *exactly* like the first one, right? Obviously you’ll have new content every time, and you need people to recognize your brand, so your logo and other styling elements should be consistent between campaigns. However, there’s still one aspect of your newsletter that you can play around with: the layout.


Creating multiple email templates
Of course, you could create multiple templates. This can be a rather tedious job though, since it would mean you have to decide today what the layout of all your future newsletters is going to be. There would be no room for any kind of spontaneity. Also, if you ever wanted to update your logo or any other styling element, you’d have to apply those changes to all of our templates. That’s not very efficient…


Creating a single email template
The solution to this problem is to create one single template with built-in flexibility. Using your company logo and style, create a template that allows you to insert various content sections. For example, you could have one section with a large image and a caption, another section with a small image on the left and some text on the right, and yet another section with three images in a row with a couple of lines of text underneath each image.


Mix and match
Now when you set up your campaign, you can take any combination of the array of content sections and populate these sections with your content. That way, the general look & feel of each of your campaigns will be the same, but it’ll feel brand new at the same time. Also, you will have your content determining your design, instead of the other way around.


Two colum vs three column email template
One thing that’s not very easy to do with the strategy I explained above, is switching between a two and three column layout. Making content sections interchangeable vertically is pretty straightforward, but that does not apply to sections that need to be horizontally aligned (such as columns). For that, you’d have to create a second template.


Example of a flexible email template
Advice is just advice. But how about I show you how one of my clients has used my advice to send various campaigns with the same look & feel, but with a different layout each time? Introducing GetkOOky, the website for anything that’s crazy enough to be called “kOOky”. Here’s the template I originally designed and coded for them:


GetkOOky Template


And these are some of the campaigns they’ve sent out:



It’s easy to spot the similarities., but when you look closer, you’ll notice some differences too:


  • Not all campaigns contain a section with multiple product rows.
  • The ones that do, contain various numbers of rows.
  • Not all campaigns have product descriptions.
  • Not all campaigns open with an introduction.
  • Not all campaigns contain a large image section.


The bottom line: with a flexible template like this (it’s an oldy, so it’s not responsive – apologies!) the possibilities are more or less infinite.


These examples are courtesy of Thanks you guys!

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