We all skim through content. We look for familiarity. We can’t stop twitching eyes on misaligned columns or bad formatting. All this can be related to our personal experience & thus the experiences of our email subscribers as well.
And the growing trend of focus on design, aesthetics, branding, and visuals in email marketing is proof that plain text, badly formatted emails don’t work anymore.
But if you're not a professional designer or can’t write HTML codes, the task of designing an email may seem a bit daunting. But luckily, you can design a professional-looking, brand-aligned email that looks great on every device with the help of email design software.
We have compiled a list of 7 such tools below.
Three of these are purely email designing platforms that don’t offer any further functionality. These are Stripo, Chamaileon & Postcards.
The other three are email marketing softwares that have built-in email editors so you don’t have to manage multiple platforms. These are - Mailchimp, AWeber & SendX.
Read on to find the unique features and pricing for each platform and make your pick.
Stripo is an all-in-one platform for creating email templates. Once your email template is ready, you can export it to your choice of ESP, personalize it, attach it to a campaign & send it to your audience.
Preview: With its embedded testing tool, you have an option to preview your emails for 90+ popular environments, including multiple mobile devices, to never worry about what your subscribers are going to see when they open your email.
AMP functionality: You can create dynamic AMP emails with their drag-n-drop AMP blocks, ready-to-use AMP HTML email templates. Once your email is ready, their code validator will check it for any bugs.
(AMP (Accelerated Mobile Pages) email is a technology that helps email marketers to insert interactive elements like carousels, accordions, polls, purchase buttons, etc., directly into emails without needing to open up in a separate website tab.)
Custom Modules: You can create custom modules like a structure with a picture in the middle, or with a headline & a picture… there can be any number of possibilities. Then you can save these and mix and match within your templates.
You can even choose the modules already designed by professionals.
Interactive Elements: You can add interactive elements to emails right in the Stripo editor, set which elements to display/hide on various devices and have a responsive template ready.
Even with these advanced functionalities, you don’t need to know HTML or CSS to use it. Its email template generator is easy to use and very visual.
Export or Sync: Once you are done creating your templates, you have two options - either to sync Stripo with your ESP to seamlessly transfer it or download the emails as pure HTML/AMP HTML code and import to your ESP.
Pricing: You can get a free account to test the platform but if you are a marketer, small business, or designer, then you should go for a Business Plan so that you can get more exports & templates.
It has a WYSIWYG email builder, which does not need any coding knowledge. Simply use the drag and drop HTML editor to create email marketing templates in a few minutes. Its email generator ensures email HTML compatibility with most of the email clients.
Templated & Blocks: You get 100+ responsive templates &1000+ built-in template blocks to craft your emails. With the drag and drop editor, you put the content block in your email layout, add your text and colors, and you’re good to go!
Elements you can drag & drop are - text, image, social icons, buttons, divider, and code elements.
Import HTML Code: Do you have some newsletter designs that you want to recreate? Import the HTML code to the email generator and it will automatically turn into a responsive email template, in a matter of seconds.
Multi-user Environment: Chamaileon allows for a multi-user/team environment. So you can invite team members and stakeholders to your workspace and assign to them different roles (admin, editor, viewer). This way you can train other employees in using the platform, and it would be easy since it’s user-friendly.
Collaborative Editing: You can work on email campaigns with other team members simultaneously. When you make edits to your templates, others can watch you live. This feature is exclusive to Chamaileon and does not exist in other email template builders.
Preview: You get mobile & desktop previews to see how your email will look like in your subscriber’s inbox.
Protected email design: Use the “Lock Block” option to seal email modules and make sure that no one can change them. This is useful for headers, footers and signature areas.
Pricing: The price for the paid plan is almost double of what Stripo charges.
Postcards is an exclusive, constantly evolving email template builder that meets the needs of current realms. It allows creating fully responsive, retina-ready email templates from scratch, collaborating with teammates, managing different versions, and importing the result to popular ESPs.
Intuitive Playground: In Postcards, playground means playground. Its intuitive, user-friendly environment has everything to have fun with building an email newsletter. All you need to do is drag any element you like into the working space, stack, arrange or re-arrange it and customize it the way you see.
If you do not like it, ditch it. If you feel like the previous variant of your template is better than the new one get back by using version history. It stays agile for 30 days.
Modules and Blocks: Has a considerable collection of field-tested modules and blocks that is more than enough to create any type of email newsletter. Make use of multimedia and interactive features to create more impact. Hotspots, animated gifs, dynamic effects, and videos can be used there.
Team Collaboration: Collaborate with your entire team on the project. Invite anyone you want through email, assign the role, and create a multi-user environment.
Cloud Image Hosting: Use Postcards’ servers to host your images. Upload stocks and be sure that they will be available 24/7. It is a real lifesaver for those who do not have dedicated storage for multimedia.
Preview: Test your email template in action. Choose between web browser or email view to check how the template looks and behaves on desktops and mobiles. Share it with your email client to see how the email reader handles it.
Unlimited Exports: Postcards give you a variety of export options. First, you can download the result as a zip package to use a generated code in Google, Outlook, Sendgrid, or other platforms. Second, you can directly export the email to popular ESPs like HubSpot or Mailchimp and attach it to the campaign right away.
Pricing: Pricing is affordable to everyone. You may choose either a business plan for a single entrepreneur or an agency plan for a whole team. In addition, there is a free plan to test the platform and get access to all popular modules and features.
Mailchimp is an all-in-one email marketing & email design platform that focuses on providing comprehensive functionality but still maintains great user-experience, especially when it comes to email design.
You will find 5 main categories of templates to choose from: Layouts (Featured & Basic), Themes, Saved Templates, Campaigns, and Code Your Own. All layouts are mobile-friendly.
All the categories of templates can be edited with drag & drop functionality, except when you code your own. Mailchimp offers only 13 functional units for you to manipulate with text, images, social media, videos, and buttons.
Let’s see a brief overview of each category of the templates:
Layouts: Featured templates are good if you have a specific goal in mind. Each template contains customizable content blocks you can use.
Basic: Basic templates combine blank layouts with the Campaign Builder's drag-and-drop editor, so you have full control over the layout of your campaign.
Themes: These predesigned Themes offer a number of categories to choose from like newsletters, e-commerce, holiday, sale, updates, etc. It helps you get started even if you don’t know anything about design.
Saved Templates: You can create your own template via drag-and-drop editor or code it. Then you can save it for later use & it will appear under the ‘Saved Templates’ tab. You can make changes to the template whenever you want.
Campaigns: If you wish to send a new email that looks similar to the one you have previously sent, you can go to the ‘Campaigns’ tab and use any email as a template to start with.
Code your own: If you want more control and flexibility in designing your emails, you can get an HTML email coded in another program and paste it under ‘Paste in Code’, or you can import an HTML file or get it directly from a hosted URL.
If you've already designed and coded an HTML email in another program or received HTML from a designer, you can use the Paste in Code feature to create your campaign.
Features that stand out: Most of the templates include a special logo placeholder that automatically pulls in your default brand logo. Mailchimp provides a Dynamic Content feature that allows you to send different content to different users based on their persona. This setting can be added to content blocks with just one click.
While all functionalities are great, the access depends on your budget and thus on the number of subscribers you have.
Your pricing plan will decide two things w.r.t designing emails:
The variety of templates you have access to: With the Free Plan, you get access to only basic templates. With Essential Pricing Plan, you get all email templates. And with Standard & Premium Pricing Plan, you get all templates plus you can create your own as well.
The Mailchimp branding: Your email design will have Mailchimp branding if your plan is Free. Any other plan offers you custom branding.
Mailchimp’s Venture Into eCommerce
One important update for all those looking at Mailchimp as an option is that Mailchimp has also recently launched its own online stores for SMEs, and a new service for booking appointments. The appointment booking service went live on 28th April 2021, and the new eCommerce features are scheduled to become available for the US and UK Mailchimp customers by May 18th 2021.
New ‘Websites and e-commerce’ plans will be introduced (and free-plan users will have to pay 2 percent transaction fee). Transaction fees will be reduced for users of different pricing grades, for example, those who go for a Plus plan at $29, only 0.5 percent transaction fee will be applicable.
Besides, for $10 extra, Mailchimp’s branding will be removed and you will get email and chat support, and you will only have to pay 1.5 percent transaction fees.
All their plans will also include SEO tools and Google Analytics integration. Plus, you can build websites with unlimited pages and without bandwidth restrictions.
And when it comes to the online stores by Mailchimp, you can build your product catalogues, manage your orders, and taxes and shipping configurations.
But if you don’t need all of these additional features and services, you should still proceed with comparing Mailchimp with other email service providers.
AWeber provides three different editors to build your emails - Drag & Drop Email Builder, Plain Text Messages, and HTML Editor.
Drag & Drop Email Builder: As the name suggests, it consists of various blocks of elements that you can drag from the side-dashboard and drop into your canvas where you are creating your email.
To be precise, there are 14 different blocks for various elements that you can place in your message. The way you place these blocks will help you develop a layout for your email.
You can add your own HTML code to any of the following blocks: Headline, Paragraph, Article, Product, Coupon, and Signature.
There is one block which I particularly like - the "Video" block. This saves a lot of time by creating an image of your YouTube or Vimeo video and hyperlinking that image with the actual video.
Plain Text Message: When you want to write a message such that what you type is exactly what subscribers see and there is only text to be conveyed, then you can choose plain text message editor.
It is just text and has no formatting. So things such as inserting images, hyperlinks, and adjusting font style cannot be done.
HTML Editor: If you are comfortable coding in HTML and want a more sophisticated editor, then you go for HTML Editor.
You can also insert personalizations into your message as you are writing the code for it. The "HTML Editor" automatically creates a plain text version of the message for you.
Smart Designer: AWeber launched a Smart Designer for your emails.
You put your website URL in a form field & it analyzes your website or social media account for logos, image, and color palettes. Then it automatically builds ready-to-use, custom email templates for your business.
Templates & Images: AWeber provides about 700 email templates & all are mobile-friendly. You also get access to 600+ free stock images that you can embed in your emails.
Variety of fonts: Most editors inside the email marketing software come with just some “safe fonts” to choose from, and that's it. That doesn’t help to make your email stand out.
But AWeber provides many custom fonts & Google fonts.
This way you can also keep your branding between website & emails super aligned and consistent.
The only thing I feel missing with AWeber is a modern touch in the templates they provide. While they provide a lot in quantity, I believe quality can be taken up a notch.
SendX is an Intuitive, Feature-Rich, Affordable Email Marketing Software.
WYSIWYG Editor: With SendX, you can design professional-looking emails without having to struggle with any HTML coding.
This is possible with it’s WYSIWYG (‘What-you-see-is-what-you-get’) editor. It’s a simple drag-and-drop editor.
The main advantages of a WYSIWYG email editor are that you can do it yourself with ease, you can experiment with colors and layouts, and you can design beautiful email newsletters even if you don't know HTML.
Instant preview for desktop and mobile: Now you don’t have to guess how your email will exactly look like on a mobile screen or desktop. Because SendX WYSIWYG Editor shows an instant preview of your email newsletter for mobile and desktop screen sizes.
Pre-built email templates: You will get access to free premium responsive email templates for use in your newsletter, sales, holidays, or update campaigns. You can check out the template library here.
You also get access to more than half a million (yes, half a million!) royalty-free stock photos for your next email marketing campaign. You will never run out of creatives and won’t have to search the web for free, generic pictures.
If you still want more templates, we have created this massive list of all the free responsive templates that are present on the web. And you can use these with SendX.
SendX allows you to quickly create your own email templates and then import them, all set to be edited and used within your email marketing campaigns.
Affordability: The impressive part is SendX’s pricing.
Unlike other email marketing software where responsive and modern templates are behind higher paywalls, with SendX you get access to everything even if you are on your free trial.
Even after the free trial ends, you can access all editor functionalities, templates, 24x7 customer support (through email) for as low as $7.49/mo.
You should check out the platform and use its editor to feel how easy and quick it is to craft a campaign, preview it, and send it to your audience. Before you commit, you can take a 14-day free trial. No credit card of lengthy procedures required. It’s quick and easy to sign up.
Topol is a great resource to create HTML emails using drag and drop functionality.
Topoli.io has three categories of products -- A free version to create emails (Topol.io Free), A paid version with a collaboration feature(Topol.io Pro) & a plugin for embedding drag and drop editor for your email marketing app (Topol.io Plugin).
It is built on top of MJML - A markup language that reduces the pain of coding a responsive email. So you can be sure that all emails created in Topol.io will be responsive.
You can integrate TOPOL.io editor in your own app, CRM, online‑shop, or any other marketing platform. There is ample documentation on their platform on how to do it.
In their free plan, Topol.io offers 8 basic building blocks of email that you can use in your templates & you get 7 free templates if you don't want to create from scratch... With a prepaid account, you will get 11 blocks & 100+ free templates
The email templates you create in Topol can be downloaded as a ZIP archive (HTML +images) or exported to any existing TOPOL.io account.
Topol.ai pricing is based on the number of users you want to have in the account and a combination of types of features you want. It starts at $5/mo for 3 users. There is also a 14-day free trial for their pro version.
How do you usually choose which tool to use? Gut feeling? Friend’s suggestion? I think you should go with a combination of affordability and functionality.
After looking at the options suggested above, I will invite you to give SendX a try. It’s affordable, has a drag & drop editor, comes with a 14-day free trial & just $7.49/mo after that. There is nothing to lose. Check it out.
1) What exactly is email design?
Email design is designing emails that truly matches the target recipient's expectations and catches their imagination - which is typically your list of email subscribers.
2) Why should I go for an email design software?
If you're not a professional designer or can’t write HTML codes, the task of designing an email may seem a bit daunting. You can design a professional-looking, brand-aligned email that looks great on every device with the help of email design software.
3) Which email design software is recommended if my requirement is just an email design platform?
There are some recommended email design platforms that don’t offer any further functionality but will satisfy your requirement. These are Stripo, Chamaileon & Postcards.
4) If I need a built-in email editor in my email marketing software as I don't want to manage multiple platforms, which ones do you recommend?
There are a few top email marketing software that have built-in email editors so you don’t have to manage multiple platforms. These are - Mailchimp, AWeber & SendX.