Email marketing has huge potential, but it must be done right. Aside from selecting the best email marketing service, you’ll also need to make sure it comes with professional-looking templates you can adapt to your needs. Or, if not, you’ll need to find a dedicated email template builder like Stripo, BEE or Chamaileon.
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Using an email template builder is a sure way to produce professional and attractive-looking email newsletters and campaigns.
If we compare a plain text email to an email designed using a template builder, we can clearly see why.
An email template builder will allow you to produce HTML designs, either by writing the code yourself or by using the drag & drop builder and ready made templates.
Not only will it allow you to create branded emails that recipients will remember, using a well designed template will also lead to more engagement and a higher conversion rate. After all, in the plain text email above, there is no clear call-to-action, whereas the button used in the email on the right clearly indicates what action you need to take.
Other benefits include:
Save you time: Email template builders come with a number of ready-made templates and designs that you can easily customize to your needs. All the content options are already there (buttons, images, text, etc.) so it’ll take you no time to get the email looking exactly as you want it.
Ease-of-use: Most of the time these will be drag & drop editors, meaning that you won’t need any coding experience at all. Some builders are easier to use than others, but in general, they provide you with the means to create something attractive with zero prior experience.
Conveniently stored in the cloud: Being online tools, you don’t need to install any software on your computer. This is also a plus for larger teams who want to collaborate on any given email campaign, as most tools allow for multiple user accounts. It also makes editing and re-using a template very simple.
Branding: Upload your logo and customize the template with your brand colors and font. Save certain elements, like your header and footer, ready to be used in future templates.
Boost engagement: Add engaging content such as videos, image carousels, surveys and quizzes. Many email template builders will include these types of content blocks, meaning all you have to do is drag them over into the email you’re working on.
The answer to this question largely lies in your own requirements and preferences. Some might prefer a drag and drop email builder, others might prefer a WYSIWYG (What You See Is What You Get) editor. Those with some coding knowledge will no doubt appreciate additional customization options and the ability to edit the code. However, in general, these are the things to look out for:
So, bearing all that in mind, let’s see how the top email template builders compare.
Stripo – 400+ responsive templates!
BEE – Over 500,000 stock images, GIFs & stickers
Chamaileon – Excellent image editing features
Postcards – Collaboration features
Moosend – ESP with export options
SendPulse – Includes subscription forms and automation
MailerLite – Tons of cool content elements
Stripo claims to have 29 geniuses in its team – but is the software a product of pure genius?
What I liked:
Stripo offers over 400 prepared templates, most of which look really good. They are also neatly categorized so it’s easy to find something that fits your needs quickly.
In terms of customization options, there are tons. So you should have your template looking just as you want it without too much trouble. For example, you can edit and opt to include or omit certain content depending on if it’s being displayed on mobile or desktop.
The content blocks available are probably sufficient and you can even add dynamic content like image carousels and accordions to your emails.
One very helpful thing about the Stripo editor is that it tells you if there are any errors, for example, if you forget to add content to a particular block.
What Stripo could improve:
Only 20 fonts are available, so hopefully the one you want is there. It would also be useful to have multiple user accounts, as even the Business plan only includes one.
Free for 1 user, 1 project, 2 templates, 4 exports to your email service provider per month, full access to templates library.
The Business plan will cost you $12.50/month and gives you 15 templates per project, 300 exports to your email service provider per month and the ability to test your template on 2 email clients.
Apparently, over 1,000,000 people have built emails on the BEE platform, and with over 370 responsive templates available, you can imagine why. But how easy is it to use and what options might it be missing?
What I liked:
BEE has some pretty decent image editing options, plus you’ll have over 500,000 stock images and tons of fun GIFs and stickers to choose from.
You can add ESP-specific merge tags in order to add a personal touch to your content. Once your design is ready to go you can export it directly to your ESP (Mailchimp, HubSpot, Sendinblue, Gmail and ActiveCampaign are just some of those supported).
As well as the option to download the HTML, you can also download your design as a PDF, which could be handy if you need to print it.
What BEE could improve:
On the free plan, you won’t be able to save your projects for future use and you’ll be limited to a one-time export only.
I also had issues previewing the template as it kept giving me an error message.
Free plan comes with a stock image gallery and the ability to export the HTML with images.
Chamaileon claims that its email builder feels like Sketch & Google Docs combined. Having used both of these tools, to me, that sounds like a great combination of design freedom and ease of use. But how does it actually shape up?
What I liked:
You’ll have access to 100+ email templates – this isn’t as many as Stripo and BEE, but the templates are attractive and modern-looking, and they’re all responsive.
Though it doesn’t provide you with any stock images, editing your own images is made easy with its built-in editor that allows you to add filters, text, adjust the exposure, and much more.
If you want to share your design with a colleague or client, you can simply generate a shareable link (like in Google Docs) – this is really convenient.
What Chamaileon could improve:
Its list of direct integrations is very limited, with just a few ESPs and CRMs. These are also not available for those on the free plan. This means that when exporting, you’ll be given the HTML code to paste into your ESP or you’ll need to download it as a .zip file, which some might not find ideal.
Unless you check the Keep me Logged in box, the platform will log you out if there is no activity. This can be a little frustrating as it doesn’t wait very long (maybe 30 minutes).
Free plan includes unlimited test emails, 5 exports/month and you can also invite people to collaborate with you on templates.
Paid plans start from $20/month for 5 seats, 15 exports/month, email and chat support and some integrations.
Designmodo helps non-tech users with their website design, presentations, and its product, Postcards, could help you design your email templates. Oh, and the platform also helps design professionals get hired – so quite a mix of things.
What I liked:
The email template builder has a very simple interface, so there’s no chance you’ll get overwhelmed when designing your templates. A cool thing about Postcards is it allows you to choose from over 900 Google fonts, which is much more than all the other tools on this list.
You can invite other team members to collaborate on a template with you as a viewer or editor. The pro modules are well designed and there are plenty of them, I just wish a few more were available on the free plan.
What Postcards could improve:
This tool doesn’t provide the user with a range of pre-designed templates to choose from, instead, you’ll need to build a template from its content blocks. On the free plan, you are limited to just one block from each section (Header, Content, Feature, etc.), which means you’re quite limited.
In fact, the free plan won’t be of much use considering that you’re not allowed to use the templates for commercial use. At $18/month for a paid account, you’d be better off with a tool like Stripo, which comes with hundreds of templates and 4 free exports.
Free for 1 user, 10 free modules. Note that on the free version, email exports can’t be used for commercial purposes.
Paid plans start at $18/month for 1 user, 1 project, Mailchimp/HubSpot integration and unlimited exports.
If you’re already signed up to a newsletter service but displeased with the template options, it could be worth migrating to another. There are plenty of providers with easy-to-use email template builders and attractive design options.
This email marketing tool allows you to use its templates on other platforms by either copying the HTML or downloading the JSON file. What’s more, you can do so for free!
There are plenty of templates to choose from and all can be easily edited in the builder. Once you’re done, you can preview how it looks on various devices and send a test email.
If you’d like to use Moosend to send your newsletter, you’ll be glad to know that you’ll be able to send unlimited emails for free to up to 1,000 subscribers. This also includes sign up forms, reporting, pop-ups, spam testing and automation.
The chances are, if you’re looking for an email template builder, you’ve already got an email service provider. But that isn’t to say that you can’t benefit from another ESP’s template.
SendPulse is a Ukrainian email service provider which launched in 2015. I’ve included it on this list because aside from offering over 100 modern templates which you can export on the paid plan, it also includes subscription forms and marketing automation.
What I liked:
You can either use one of the pre-designed templates, build your own using its drag and drop editor or code your own in HTML. The editor is easy to use and you can add videos to your templates. You also save particular content blocks like your header, footer, etc. to use in other templates.
Support is also responsive and helpful.
Its paid plans start at $8/month, which isn’t much compared to the other tools’ paid plans. Also, you might like to try out its autoresponders and other email marketing features.
What SendPulse could improve:
The template selection isn’t huge and they could be better organized. The only two categories are All and Holidays. It doesn’t provide you with any stock images or image editing options.
Free for 500 subscribers, 15000 emails, A/B testing, automation and subscription forms. *It’s not possible to export the templates.
Paid plans start at $8/month for 500 subscribers, unlimited emails, user access levels and email template export.
MailerLite is a very affordable email marketing tool, with a generous free plan. Its editor is fast and easy to use. It also comes with many content elements you can use to build your template from scratch, for example, video, carousel images, coupons, countdown timers and event registration.
If you’d like to benefit from its own ready-made templates, you’ll need to sign up for the paid plan, which costs $15 monthly for 2,500 subscribers. This comes with 45 attractive, modern templates, which, of course, are all responsive.
Aside from email templates, MailerLite comes with some additional features such as forms, landing pages, automations, segmentation and reporting. Read our full review here.
Bear in mind that you won’t be able to export the templates, since these are to be used to send via your MailerLite account.
So there you have it, the best email template builders, tried and tested. As you can see, there are plenty of good options, it’s just a case of deciding which features are important to you. Overall, I think Stripo is probably going to give you the most flexibility in terms of design and exportation options.
We'd recommend taking a look at different newsletter examples in order to help inspire your own designs.
Stripo is definitely the best HTML email builder as you can see the outcome as you code. Some of the editors, like Postcard, won’t actually let you edit the code.
All the email template builders on this list come with responsive templates, so it really depends on whether you can find a design that you like within one of their libraries. Stripo and BEE have the largest collection of templates to choose from.
Though the templates offered by these tools will have already been tested, it’s important to do your own spam and design testing once you’ve finalized your email to make sure there are no problems with deliverability or display. Tools such as GlockApps or Litmus can help with this. Or, your email service provider might also have built-in spam and design testing.
Let me know how you get on in the comments below!
17 Feb 2021 – Added Moosend and MailerLite