Create Newsletter Templates That Work

katie Oconnell | 20 October 2021

If you ask marketers what produces the most significant return on investment, newsletters will probably be at the top of their list.

But before diving into the benefits of crafting perfect business newsletter templates to aid towards meeting your objectives– you may be wondering; what is a newsletter and its purpose?

An email newsletter is a tool used to communicate regularly with your subscribers, delivering information directly to the user’s inbox.

They are a great way to keep engaged with your audience to promote upcoming events or to provide information and trends within your business and industry.

Email newsletters are generally more informative and interesting to build trust, rather than to hard sell your product or service. However, newsletters can still be used to motivate your customers to perform a certain action, such as completing a purchase, reading your latest blog post, or attending your event.

The main fundamentals of using an email newsletter are to either; improve your authority and credibility within your industry or increase the value you provide for your customer’s.

However, before embarking on regular newsletter email communication with your subscribers, your template design should be at the top of your checklist.

So, if you’re looking to create effective newsletter templates, keep on reading. We will cover:

  • Design ideas and best practises
  • Tools to save time
  • Examples of templates
  • Template builder tips

Why does newsletter template design matter?

It’s reported by the DMA that 63% of consumers rank email in their top two most preferred channels to receive marketing messages.

So, to cement your brand’s identity in your subscribers’ minds, a consistent, simple, and clean design led newsletter template is recommended and should be a true reflection of your brand.

A typical successful email newsletter tends to include:

  •  Branded logo or newsletter banner.
  • An email footer with social links, forward to a friend option and subscription information.
  • Top stories – unsurprisingly, these are usually positioned at the top as this is the first part of the newsletter your subscribers will see when opening your email.
  • Featured images and visuals to make your newsletter more eye-catching and memorable.

For example, if your website is very colourful but your newsletter is minimalistic – let’s say only using black and white colours, this could potentially confuse new subscribers. Therefore, brand consistency is very important along with a few of these best practises:

  • Make the call to actions clear and obvious whilst consistent throughout. Example, “Read More” or “Read this article”.
  •  Images should be clean and crisp – no one likes blurry images, and this would reflect badly on your brand.

Once you have the structure of your template in place, this will then save yourself work of designing a new template for every newsletter, whilst simultaneously building your brand awareness.

How to create a newsletter template

To make your newsletter more credible and recognizable to your audience, it should align with the brand identity you’ve created on your website or blog.

The simplest way to do this is to include your logo front and center at the top of your email header. This way your subscribers will know immediately that this newsletter is coming from you.

Save time with editable newsletter templates. Every business is different; therefore, every template should be different, but not with every send.

Using editable templates is the most time effective way to create an effective simple newsletter template for your marketing campaigns without the need of creating HTML newsletter templates or rebuilding a template with each send to your database.

Editable templates allow you to keep the layout, but you have full control to customize the design by uploading your own images, colours, fonts, and branding.

Template Galleries

Most marketing and design tools will have a newsletter template gallery with an array of different layouts and designs for your business to choose from.

Here are some favourites:

CaboodleAI

CaboodleAI offers simple newsletter templates that give you the freedom to customize this to your brand whilst delivering high newsletter engagement. Either choose a template from the gallery, or create your own – your campaign, your choice. To save time, you can choose a template and then move sections around with the drag and drop editor to make this styled to your business needs.

Newsletter Examples

Canva

Browse through many of their professionally designed templates, with various themes and customize it to suit your brand. Canva {https://www.canva.com/} allows you to customize various elements such as images, icons, fonts and colors and then you can share by one of the following: print the final newsletter as a PDF, send it directly from Canva, or by their integration with Mailchimp.

Canva Email Newsletter

Hubspot

If you’re a HubSpot customer, HubSpot offers a great collection of email templates you can download or purchase from their template marketplace.

Paid templates are available for as low as $1, and once you buy a template, you can start using it immediately right in HubSpot — no HTML or CSS required.

Newsletter Samples

Drag and drop tools

Drag-and-drop editor redefines the term. With a focus on content your team can build emails by dragging, reordering, and tweaking content rather than worrying about using the clumsy email builder tools in your ESP. The benefits of you using a drag and drop template:

  1. Scale email production by using branded templates, applying design systems with modules or Blocks (often also called snippets or partials)
  2. Enrich reader experiences with beautifully designed, animated visuals and interactive elements
  3. Coordinate branded design of marketing channels by using tools that help re-create the same brand appearance for every digital channel — even email designs — fighting all the limitations of responsive HTML emails.

Most highly used email template editor tools include:

Mail Chimp’s email editor

Mailchimp’s email editor is quite simplistic and easy to understand. It contains all the basic features that are commonly used in email designs. Mailchimp newsletter templates are commonly used and can be customized to have a unique and professional design.

MailChimp offers a free email marketing service with a large selection of templates to choose from for newsletters. MailChimp is ideal for small and medium-sized businesses looking to get their feet wet in email marketing but is not suited for scaling teams since it lacks powerful automation and segmenting features.

MailChimp Showcase Your Products

Stripo

With Stripo, you can export your template to Gmail, Outlook, and different ESPs or download it in PDF format four times a month. The service even enables you to produce AMP-powered content on a free plan.

The Stripo interface displays ‘Appearance’ and ‘Content’ sections combined in one menu, so you can relocate both to the right or left based on your preferences. Decide on the tech settings, colors, font size in the ‘Appearance’ section and choose the appealing content for your template in the ‘Blocks’ section.

Stripo Example

Mailjet 

Enables “Passport,” a responsive email template builder, so marketers can develop marketing emails using HTML code blocks or a drag-and-drop interface. Passport is an easy-to-use editor that helps you create your newsletters, marketing emails and transactional emails in a responsive format. The service is keen on being developer-friendly with a powerful API solution for engineers to build on their email platform. One appealing feature of Mailjet is the ability to create dynamic content that is personalized for each recipient based on data such as name and location.

MailJet Example

HTML coded email templates

Creating a template from scratch

Having an email hand-coded allows you to be in control of the design right down to every lasr detail, whereas a drag and drop editor could restrict you to the point where your emails end up looking nothing like your brand. If you know HTML and CSS (or are interested in learning), then you already have the foundational skills needed to build HTML templates.

A few good frameworks that make the HTML template creation process easier:

  • Foundation

Creating from scratch is time-consuming, but you won’t need to build a new one every time if your template is reusable.

Whatever method you use to create an HTML template, there are some best practices to keep in mind.

HTML email best practices

  1. Use a preheader text: The preheader text is the little snippet, usually 50-100 characters, that you see beside the subject line of an email in most clients. It’s important as it can entice your subscribers to open the email.

Usually, email clients will grab the first bit of text in your content and use it as your preheader, but you can also specify what you want it to be.

Your email template or editor should have the option to include preheader text.

  1. Images: Since images are blocked by default on some email clients, you should ensure that the reader can still understand the email without images. You should also add descriptive alt text to tell people what the email is about if they can’t see the images.
  2. Buttons: Since images don’t load by default on some email clients, it’s best to not have an image as a button. Instead, you should use HTML buttons, also known as bulletproof buttons.
  3. Minify your HTML: A minified version of your HTML email is one where all the extra spaces have been removed. This reduces the file size, allowing your emails to load faster.

Some email editors give you the option to minify your HTML directly, but if not, there are tools like Willpeavy and HTML minifier for that.

Conclusion

If you’re looking to get started with email templates, first define the goal of your campaign. Are you promoting a sale or an event? Or are you trying to drive engagement? Let your goal shape the type of email template and content you deliver. As with any marketing exercise, you should constantly be trying out new design elements, analyzing the results, and making tweaks based on user behaviour (in this case, open rates, click through rates, and unsubscribes). No matter what type of template you choose, email templates can decrease your email production drastically. CaboodleAI can also assist with reducing your email production and content creation efforts even further with our suite of products.