How can you industrialize the creation of your email templates? Solutions and tools

This guide aims to help you determine the best way to produce your emailings and newsletters. You'll find our opinions on over 15 email builders available in your routing tools, stand-alone email builders and frameworks. Enjoy your reading!

How do you create email and newsletter templates?

Whether you work alone or as part of a team in a well-structured organization, and if you run email marketing campaigns, then this question about the the ideal solution for email creation you've already asked yourself.

Why?

  • Because there are many ways to design an email. Spoiler alert: at least 3!
  • Because there's an endless list of tools available, and new ones are added every year
  • Because sometimes we rush headlong into a technical solution without really defining our needs within our organization.
  • Because today we want to move fast and be self-sufficient newsletter creation and email

All this is quite normal, the trend is towards industrialization. No, it's not a dirty word from the past. Just a way of rationalize our production methods.

We're going to have to take into account cost (inevitably), deadlines (inevitably bis), methods, people involved, technical solutions and tools.

A drag'n drop email editor? Yes, an email builder, but which one? The one present in our routing tool? An independent editor dedicated to creation only? An agency? A freeware?

To create an email template: 3 possible solutions!

Your routing tool offers an email editor

Nowadays, virtually all campaign management tools offer an integrated "email builder" functionality for designing emails. When you dig a little deeper (and that's what we're aiming for when we attend tool demonstrations to update our benchmark)Not all solutions are created equal. Far from it. And just because your tool is the most feature-rich doesn't necessarily mean it's the best email editor.

These email editors are generally based on raw components with no formatting (text, image, button, column, etc.). It's up to marketers to imagine the layout of their email.

  • Some tools offer ready-to-use templates a predefined layout into which we insert our content and messages
  • Other tools will offersave your default corporate identity logo, font, color references
  • Others will be very open and allow you tointegrate your "master template" directly with your content blocks in your own colors, reusable by drag and drop

Email builder standalone: create your own templates with an independent drag'n drop email editor

These tools are only focused on the creation of emails in drag and drop. You are in charge of assembling the email and validating the proof. Some tools have connectors with routing tools. Otherwise, you will have to export the HTML kit and import it into your solution.

These are tools focused solely on creation drag and drop emails. You're in charge of assembling the email and validating the proof. Some tools have connectors with routing tools. Otherwise, you'll need to export the HTML kit and import it into your solution.

These builders are generally based on a master template, broken down into blocks identified by content type. They require upstream reflection to determine your needs according to your campaign typology and the messages you're addressing. These blocks are then designed according to your company's graphic charter, and are available by drag and drop in the email builder.

Create your own emails in-house by hand or outsource to an agency

You can also contact your router's Studio department or a freelancer.

In this case, it's not so much industrialization as craftsmanship. Whether carried out by a dedicated in-house department or delegated to a third-party service provider.

In all cases you'll need to create the design and integrate the email with email-specific HTML and CSS skills.

3 possibilities:

  • or start from scratch
  • either start from a previously created email and change the content (images, text, links...)
  • or start from a master template created beforehand (this is the beginning of an industrailization approach for your production teams!).

Here, marketing creates a brief and sends it to the designer, who forwards it to the integrator once the mock-up has been validated. A proof of integration must also be validated before the HTML kit is imported into the routing solution. Didn't you want autonomy and responsiveness from the start?

Badsender is a marketing agency that loves email. That's why we offer our services to support you in both creation of designs adapted to your emails than for theHTML and CSS integration of your email templates.

Live: Key questions to ask yourself before deciding how to produce emails

Examples of solutions and tools for email production

List of routing tools with integrated email editor

Thanks to our valued customers, we regularly handle and test email builders integrated into routing tools. Here's a summary of what the Badsender team thinks, with all its subjectivity (Non-exhaustive list sorted alphabetically) :

Actito

The email builder allows you to create fairly simple designs. If you want more creativity or customization, you'll have to go through the Actito design team. Block customization on all table data is possible and easily implemented. Actito has connectors with stand-alone email builders such as Dartagnan and LePatron. https://www.actito.com/fr-BE/

Adobe Campaign Standard

The tool is geared to designing blocks directly via the WYSIWYG interface. However, it is possible to create personalized HTML blocks. Adobe Campaign will automatically detect the elements it deems editable (text, images, etc.) and open up the possibility of modifying them directly in WYSIWYG. Editing certain properties, such as background images, can be complicated for users who don't have their hands in the code. The interface is fairly complete and well put together. https://business.adobe.com/fr/products/campaign/adobe-campaign.html

Chapvision (NP6)

The email builder allows you to create very simple designs. If you want to be more creative, you'll have to use the studio teams. Block customization is only possible using data from the main table. Major developments are planned over the coming months. https://www.chapsvision.fr/marketing-automation/

CRM360

Even if not everything is feasible (background image, choice of alternative typeface, mobile-specific image, etc.), enough options are available to create varied emails. Even the rounded corners of buttons are handled in Outlook, something rare enough to mention. The generated code is functional but unnecessarily cumbersome. While block saving saves time, it's still a tool you'll need to spend some time on to create your emails. https://www.fts-crm360.com/

Eloqua (Oracle Eloqua Marketing Automation)

From a product point of view, this email builder is very archaic and lacks the options that are essential in email marketing today. Graphic possibilities are limited. And if the user wants a different display on mobile, he'll have to find workarounds that will considerably increase the weight of the HTML code. The interface is clear and easy to learn. The code, in addition to being heavy, makes use of css attributes and divs that serve no purpose. The risk for users is to end up with truncated emails in Gmail.

Read the article dedicated to Eloqua email builder

Emarsys

The functionality is superbly well-designed, practical and aesthetically pleasing. The documentation couldn't be more comprehensive. Template creation, block creation, setting up styles, style variables, attributes to use... Everything is detailed, and it's a real pleasure! https://emarsys.com/fr/

Read the article dedicated to Emarsys email builder

Hubspot

Content fields (date, link, number, text, rich text...), logic fields (Boolean, choice), selector fields (color)... Hubspot provides everything you need to create your own blocks and modules, which you can drag & drop into the solution's email builder. With no graphic restrictions, the possibilities are virtually infinite! Now all you need to do is learn how to develop emails and master email design to use this tool to its full potential.

Read the dedicated article learn how to develop custom blocks and modules on Hubspot

Iterable

A simple but effective editor, with its drag-and-drop mode that lets you do a lot without HTML technical knowledge, and the ability to use snippets to industrialize elements to a certain extent. https://iterable.com/

Klaviyo

The email builder is easy to use. It is possible to include background images on blocks in total autonomy (which is not a given with other routers). Blocks can be saved. There are occasional style bugs. It's very, very easy to include blocks of product recommendations based on customer profiles or current bestsellers. https://www.klaviyo.com/

Mailchimp

It is possible to create on Mailchimp with "model language your own eco-designed newsletter template, accessible, respectful of your system email design in HTML and CSS, and make it modifiable. https://mailchimp.com

Read the dedicated article to find out how to create a newsletter template with Mailchimp

Mailjet

Email Builder, unique on the market. It allows you to manage the construction of a campaign in collaborative mode, leave comments, and enable the marketer and developer to work in parallel. The email editor is based on MJML, which uses semantic markup, so the emails that come out respect the semantic markup. accessibilityhttps://www.mailjet.com/

Pardot Lightning

A very poor email builder, offering only a set of modules composed of "image", "rich text", "button" and "html code" elements. Stylization of inserted elements is severely limited and tedious. It's very difficult, with such a lightweight email builder, to come up with striking email designs.

Read the dedicated article to find out how to create an email template from Pardot Lightning, Pardot's new email builder

Salesforce Marketing Cloud

The "Content Builder" of Salesforce Marketing Cloud allows you to assemble emails by first creating a structure (header, double column, triple column, ...) in which it is then possible to insert content elements (image, title, paragraph, button, custom html content, ...). The created emails can then be saved as templates to be used for other needs later. This is also the case for the content blocks that you can save to make them available in a block library. https://www.salesforce.com/fr/products/marketing-cloud/overview/

Selligent

It is possible to integrate custom blocks in total autonomy, but you have to go through a textual interface in which to enter technical information (CSS properties), but not all of them seem to be accepted, which renders the editing method ineffective. The builder allows highly advanced block customization using data from all the tables in the database. The builder even includes a validation process with the option of including a comment field. Selligent has a connector with Dartagnan. https://www.selligent.com

Sendinblue

Very easy to handle. The settings are easy to understand and handle. They are sufficient. There aren't tons of them, but you'll get the job done if your design isn't too complex. The good thing is that you can save and reuse blocks, provided they're single-column. https://fr.sendinblue.com/

Splio

Splio offers a well-constructed builder. What's really nice is the number of different blocks on offer. And if you want to go even faster, you can start from the template library. https://splio.com/

This guide is updated as often as possible to reflect the evolution of each player. If you wish to be listed, please write us an emailwe love it.
Just like if you want our opinion on whether your routing tool's email builder meets your needs.

List of stand-alone drag'n drop email builders

We've also listed the "stand-alone email builders" (used independently of a CRM or routing tool). Badsender, editing a standalone email builder (the well named TheBoss.email), we keep an active and permanent watch on these tools.

Below is a table listing the email editors we've identified and some selection criteria for differentiating them.

Legend and help for reading this table :

  • Template :
    • Import code: import HTML code on your own
    • Library: example of pre-designed templates available
    • Blank: possibility of starting from a blank page
    • Custom-made: specific creation after workshop
  • Integration :
    • ESP: has connectors with certain routing tools
    • API: has a documented API
  • Pricing :
    • License/users & emails: volume-based cost based on number of users and/or emails created
    • Plan = fixed price depending on the level of functionality
  • Location: important for data support and hosting (servers)
NameURLTemplateIntegrationPricingLocation
Bee freehttps://beefree.ioBookstoreWhite mark; ESPLicense / users & emailsUnited States
Chamaileonhttps://chamaileon.ioImport code ; BlankWhite mark; API; ESPPlan
Code perfecthttps://www.codeperfect.comVirginNCNCUnited States
Dartagnanhttps://dartagnan.io/Import code; Custom madeESPNCFrance
Dolist Welkim editorhttps://email-builder.dolist.com/Bookstore; VirginAPIPlanFrance
Dyspatchhttps://www.dyspatch.io/VirginESPLicense / users & emailsCanada
EDM designerhttps://edmdesigner.comBookstore; VirginAPINC
Email builderhttps://emailbuilder.topVirginNCPlanFrance
Layouthttps://layout.io/BookstoreESPNCFrance
ThePatronhttps://www.lepatron.email/CustomizedOpen-source; ESPPlanFrance
Mailiziohttps://mailizio.com/VirginNCNCFrance
Mail Styler 2https://www.newslettercreator.comVirginNCLicense / users & emailsUnited States
Post cardshttps://designmodo.com/postcardsVirginESPLicense / users & emailsUnited States
Stripohttps://stripo.emailBookstore; Custom-madeWhite mark; API; ESPLicense / users & emailsUnited States
Cab for emailhttps://taxiforemail.com/Bookstore; VirginESPNCUnited States
Topolhttps://topol.ioBookstore; VirginWhite markLicense / users & emails
Unlayerhttps://unlayer.comBookstoreWhite mark; ESPPlanUnited States
Venngagehttps://venngage.comBookstoreNCPlan
Watch Badsender

Stripo

A comprehensive email builder, allowing you to call up "standard" blocks (images, text, buttons, spacing) as well as complex or "innovative" blocks (banners, video, timer/countdown, amp4email). Stripo surprises with its ability to provide users with extremely sophisticated styling of all inserted elements (rounded corners, margins, mobile version). With a single click, export your email as an HTML file locally (with images hosted on Stripo's servers, or not), or directly to your favorite ESP. Take advantage of these particularly innovative features (image change on hover, button hover, anchor links, Gmail annotations) or practical ones (image compression, HTML file size reduction). On the other hand, if you don't learn to master it, you risk losing yourself in the maze of its possibilities.

Read the dedicated article learn how to develop emailing templates in the Stripo email builder

Need help?

Reading content isn't everything. The best way is to talk to us.


Layout

While Layout can be improved on a few points, it still seems to be a real asset when it comes to industrializing email production. You'll need to invest some time upstream in creating your teams and blocks, and think carefully about your work structure.
A tool that's right up there at the top of the email builder range.

Read the dedicated article in our opinion on Layout

Need help?

Reading content isn't everything. The best way is to talk to us.


Design System Email: a master template for in-house production by designers and integrators

A Design System email includes:

  • The design of your Master Template which generally includes between 30 and 50 blocks and meets all your needs: X brands, X countries, X types of campaigns.
  • Examples of email designs From this master template, this is what a newsletter, a promo email, a transactional email, etc. should look like.
  • The commented HTML code to clearly delineate the blocks.
  • Training in the use of the system of said master template.
  • A complete documentation to find out how to use it all. Example with the design system from Badsender !

The design systems are scalable, which means that you can always integrate additional modules according to your needs.

This industrialization solution is feasible if, and only if, you have people on your teams who can handle tools like Figma and are comfortable with HTML code for email.

The designer-integrator tools used are multiple: FireworksPhotoshopAdobe XDinVisionSketchFigmaThe latter is our favorite at Badsender.

If you would like help with the design of your Design System EmailPlease visit this page or contact us at contact us directly so that we can discuss it in person!

Email frameworks for integrators and developers

What is a framework?

Literally: framework, it can be defined as follows:

a set of structural components used to create the foundations and outline of all or part of a software program.

Wikipedia

The objective when using a framework is to save time and facilitate maintenance. It frees developers from redundant tasks, allowing them to concentrate on other areas (functionality, ergonomics, etc.). Yes, as you'll have gathered, we're talking about technical aspects here, and a framework of this kind is aimed primarily at production, integration and development teams.

If you have in-house teams of developers, you can look at the solutions below to industrialize your email production.

NameURLIntegrationPricing
Bootstraphttps://bootstrapemail.com/Open SourceFree
Foundationhttps://get.foundation/emails.htmlOpen SourceFree
Maizzle (framework that we have tested!)https://maizzle.com/Open SourceFree
Mjmlhttps://mjml.io/Open SourceFree
Unlayerhttps://github.com/unlayer/react-email-editorOpen SourceFree
Watch Badsender

Once again, thanks to our valued customers or for our own R&D, we also handle and test a few frameworks.

Maizzle is a developer's tool for developers. It therefore requires technical skills to install, configure and use it. If your email production is very heterogeneous, it will be complicated to rationalize it by breaking it down into reusable elements. Despite this, Maizzle remains a highly effective framework for simplifying and accelerating the writing of your HTML email code. To try it is to adopt it. Badsender uses it for its own email production.

Badsender's opinion on Maizzle

Read our test the Maizzle framework dedicated to email. A dedicated article introducing the tool, a demo video and presentation slides.

Business models for different newsletter creation solutions

Prices and budgets are bound to vary from one solution to another. Once again, defining your needs is the key to making the right choice.

Depending on the three main solutions mentioned, you will have different stages to set up and be able to start producing your creations, here are the different corresponding business models:

PhasesMaster template HTMLEmail builder integrated into the routerEmail builder stand alone
Workshop / ReflectionBilledOptional or NoneBilled
DesignBilledOptional or NoneBilled
HTML integrationBilledOptional or NoneBilled
Access to the platformNot ApplicableIncluded in the cost of accessLicense (volume users and/or emails) or Plan (hosting & plugins)
Set-up : account and template settingsNot ApplicableOptional or NoneBilled
SupportNot ApplicableIncluded in the cost of accessOptional or None
TrainingOptionalIncluded in the cost of accessOptional or None
Documentation design systemOptionalOptional or NoneOptional or None
Watch Badsender

How do you choose the right solution to create your email templates?

Before you rush headlong into one solution rather than another, you need to be clear about your needs.

Drawing on our experience in providing strategic support for routing tools, as well as our expertise in email design and integration, and in creating design systems for email builders, we've put together a questionnaire to help you make sense of this technological jungle.

Strategic issues and business or infrastructure specificities

Do you have multi-brand needs?

Do you manage several brands? You certainly need to easily decline your content when you have common offers or need to easily switch from one brand to another.

Do you have multi-language needs?

Do you work in several markets at once? You probably need to easily and quickly develop messages for several countries and in several languages.

Are you organized in a network?

You work at the head office of a company that has a multitude of local sales outlets (regional agencies, stores, franchises...)? You need to ensure relevant local communication with your customers. Your goal is to develop well thought-out local marketing campaigns.

How many campaigns do you send per month?

Are your campaigns duplicated on several segments or do you shoot full base? Do you have several sending typologies? Newsletter? Promotion? Service?

Would you like to host the solution on your own servers?

You do not want to depend on anyone? You have strong security rules? You have a very specific infrastructure? You want to host an email builder solution on your servers? Do you have open source needs?

What is your image hosting solution?

Directly in your router? Via an asset manager (DAM: Digital Asset Management)? On an sFTP server? Is it complicated because you have to change the URLs manually in the HTML? You don't know, it's magic and it works?

Are you looking for a socially, socially and environmentally committed solution?

It shouldn't be a question! (again again). Taking into account the social and environmental impact of the tools you choose or the service providers you work with should more than ever be one of your priorities. ****Does your internal policy require you to work with committed service providers? If so, you'll need to challenge your service providers on these issues by asking them to provide proof of their commitment, such as a CSR charter, carbon footprintclimate contract, list of commitments for a low carbon policyetc.

Organization and production teams

What type(s) of profiles do you have in your teams?

Do you have a studio or creative department within your company? So you have designers and integrators at your disposal. Do they know the best HTML practices for email? Is the time between brief and HTML kit delivery convenient for your marketing teams?

Who writes your emails?

Are your emails written by journalists or copywriters? You certainly need to give them access to editable content only and be able to lock down some of your email content.

You are several to write an email? During the creation phase, you want to be able to comment on an email?

Are you a "last minute" type of person?

This question may seem strange but it is important!

For one reason or another, you need to modify a content a few minutes before sending your campaign? Or you suddenly have an idea and you wish you could set up your campaign in a few hours?

Customer knowledge and data issues

Do you know your targets?

Is your target group elderly? Are they disabled? If so, you'll need to ensure that the design and code of the your emails comply with accessibility standards. In fact, it shouldn't even be a question (again), your code has to take accessibility into account, period (period is you).

What are your opening environments?

We are not talking about the distribution by domain name of your base. We are talking about the media with which your contacts open your emails.

It's all about knowing your dependence on Outlook: the bug-ridden bête noire for all email integrators. Or to Apple Mail and Gmail, which are the excitement of all marketers who can use dynamic blocks and email innovations : videos, sliders....

Do your targets open more on mobile than desktop?

If so, you will certainly need to go one step further than simple responsive by creating emails with desktop and mobile specific content.

Some routers deliver these statistics in their reports (but definitely not all). Otherwise, you can find out by adding a tracking tag from tools like Email On Acid or Litmus. If you'd like a analysis of your opening environments  don't hesitate and contact us.

What are your customization needs?

This is where you list all the types of emails you want to create: editorial newsletters, commercial emails, transactional emails, automated emails...

For these emails, you want to?

  • Customize simply on the profile fields? you use personal data that you have on your recipients such as last name, first name, date of last order, loyalty status ... nothing very complicated, you just need to insert the right nomenclature in your email template.
  • Modify portions of messages based on data in the recipient's profile? You want to personalize some parts of your emails (images + texts) according to criteria: his status (if he is a customer or not), his center of interest...or recommend products/services according to the purchase or browsing history of the recipient?
  • Customize your messages according to the best sales of the moment, the products to be liquidated, the products with higher margins? You want to get your data where it is (other information system): CRM, product catalog, stock, points of sale...).
  • Personalize your messages according to the reading context (live content)? Do you use tools like Reelevant, MovableInk, NiftyImages, Liveclicker or others? You want to get additional information that could impact, for example, their visit to a physical location (weather conditions, traffic, parking availability, 4G coverage...)

Any special needs in tracking?

You need to track all the links in your emails? You have several different web analytics solutions? You wish to avoid sources of errors and industrialize the filling of parameters?

Design questions, visual identity and conception

Do you have a graphic charter?

Some companies don't have much of a graphic charter. Just a logo, a font and 2-3 colors. They don't have a web graphic charter to speak of. For other companies, design is very closely monitored. Your e-mails must absolutely respect such and such width, such and such alignment, such and such margin, such and such rounding off.... in short, you'll quickly be made aware if the e-mail you've sent doesn't correspond exactly to the company's graphic charter.

Do you have a web graphic charter? Perhaps you have a design system email ?

Do you need to have "innovative" blocks?

Knowing your dependencies to certain opening environments will allow you to know if it is wise to include blocks such as carousel, rollover, audio block, video block, text scrolling, slider, etc. Sometimes you have to give up!

Do you want your emails to be eco-designed?

It shouldn't even be a question! It's obvious, all emails should be eco-designed. Eco-design starts from the design phase right through to HTML integrationThe choice of email builder and beyond. An eco-designed email is one whose code is as light as possible, but that's not all. In short, the question deserves to be asked (because sometimes you're not even aware of it). Above all, eco-design deserves to be mentioned in black and white in your specifications, and you'll see that some agencies and service providers are far from it.

Do you need a thorough quality control?

All tools and integrators will guarantee you the best quality. In general, they do rendering tests on all ISPs and webmails in the world.

But maybe you need to go one step further by checking for example that all buttons have a link? An alert if the email weight exceeds 102kb? An alert if there is missing alternative text behind an image? etc.

Based on the answers to these questions, you'll have a list of criteria to evaluate in order to determine the right solution for your needs. Whether your routing tool's email builder is suitable, whether you need an independent email editor, whether you prefer to manipulate an HTML master template, or whether you prefer to delegate email production to a third party.

If it seems too complex and you don't know where to start. We can help you and draw up the ideal specifications with you. Yes, it's possible too!

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