The Emarsys email templates are a fast and efficient way for you to create great-looking and effective email campaigns. Based on your designs, these templates are created with a variety of content, ranging from hard-coded elements such as headers or footers to standard pre-formatted sections and finally to free areas available for complex editing.
Emarsys templates are constructed within a framework designed to ensure your emails are displayed properly in all standard mail clients, whether web-based, desktop or mobile.
This article is intended to give you an insight into the template framework, as well as explain the reason for some of the limitations, to ensure that your designs are suitable right from the start. Some deliverability considerations are also included.
Here you can download a good example of an email design for reference.
Delivery file format
You can submit your email design as images in a Photoshop (.psd) file, or you can send us the code directly in an HTML (.html or .htm) file.
If you are designing a new template, or still have the design files from your existing templates, then please send us a mock-up of your email in a .psd file.
In addition to the .psd file you will need to send us a text file with the general dimensions, fonts and colors. It helps if you include an image of the email and clearly label which design elements refer to which specifications, as in this example:
In the .psd file, it is important that rasterizing and antialiasing are set to None for all text content, and that you do not or merge or flatten any layers.
You will also need to use RBG color definition and 72 dpi for optimal web rendering.
Due to the way the images work, there can be no overlap in our template, so please make sure that images in your .psd are carefully placed side by side.
If you want to base your template on an existing email, you can simply send us the HTML code. We will then rebuild the email to those standards, and ensure that it looks the same on all supported browsers and clients.
The HTML file should contain your entire stylesheet, so you do not need to supply any details regarding the dimensions, font or colors. However, you should provide the following:
- A screenshot of the email as you expect it to look, with details of the mail client and browser versions which are displaying it.
- Clearly mark any images or links that you do not want to be editable.
Please send us the code in a .html or .htm file, not as HTML code pasted into a .txt or other format file.
Before you start
There are a number of important things to consider before you start on the look and feel of your template.
First, make sure that you are absolutely clear what the message of the email will be. This will have a knock-on effect for the rest of the decisions you make.
Questions to consider include:
- Your campaign is a direct channel from you to the inbox of your customers; does it reflect your corporate CI and represent your brand?
- Does the overall layout fit your industry sector?
- Is this a seasonal campaign (such as Christmas Sales), a one-off (such as a welcome email), or a recurring one which will need regular content changes?
Personalization and dynamic content
How much personalization will you be using? And do you plan to use block targeting?
Whenever you include dynamic content like this there is always a chance that some contacts will not qualify to see it and your design should be flexible enough to compensate for that. In other words, avoid a design that might show white space if dynamic content is not included.
The Emarsys email editor makes it very easy to create responsive emails that look great on mobile devices as well as desktops. However, with such a wide variety of screen sizes and shapes it is not always clear which version will be displayed on which device.
When preparing your template design, it is worth asking yourself if you are a mobile first business or not.
If you are, you should base your design on standard mobile screens (i.e. with single-column layout and large CTAs). The content will be scaled up when opened on desktop, but will guarantee a great effect on any mobile device.
Preview pane elements
You have a key area of 2-3 inches (5-8 cm) which is visible in most mail client preview panes. In this very limited space, the added value, your corporate branding and editorial/personalization should be visible, even without the images being displayed.
If nothing valuable is shown here, try to improve the design. Have a look at some best-practice examples if you need ideas. For very large emails, you should consider using a table of contents (TOC). Ask the Emarsys Consultants to explain how this can affect template’s behavior.
Do you want to be able to change global styles such as font or bgcolor easily? If so, specify them and we will add them as variables.
If you want the template created in more than one languages, you will also have to provide the following information:
- Specify clearly which texts need to be translated.
- In addition to the creative artwork files, also send us a table with all the translated strings.
Before you submit your final specifications, it is a good idea to provide us with a draft of the design as a image (.jpeg or .png file). Then we can give you early feedback that might save you time.
Some of our guidelines apply to all parts of the email.
General dimensions, font and colors
You will need to specify the following:
- The total width of the design; this should not exceed 650 px.
- Horizontal and vertical spacing between blocks and columns (this should follow a uniform logic).
- Maximum image heights and widths.
- Font type to use (no custom or non-web fonts - you can check if your font is compliant here).
- Desired font color as 6-digit hex code (e.g. #dd15as).
- Desired font size in pixels. Stick to font sizes between 10 px and 19 px (8 pt – 14 pt) and avoid half-pixels.
- Style for linked text within the body text (e.g. underlined, different color, etc.).
- Style for linked text in headings, if different.
If you have any additional requirements such as links or images that should not be editable, then please include them as well.
This applies to all text elements!
Avoid the use of defined line heights and letter spacing. These are not (or only partly) displayed in some email clients (e.g. Outlook). These clients will display the line height too large, breaking your layout. If you need to use defined line heights, leave some extra space in the design to ensure that sections are displayed correctly.
Superscript and subscript are not well supported and should be avoided.
Background images should be avoided since some email clients, for example Outlook 2007 and 2010, do not display them (or at least not fully).
- If you do want to create a content block with text laid over an image, make the text part of the image and we will make the whole thing a banner image.
- If you absolutely need the text to be editable, then you must provide a fallback color which will be displayed instead of the image by clients that do not support this.
Avoid the use of list styles as many mail clients do not support them. Special symbols for bullet lists cannot be used: only black discs are supported.
Furthermore, there is usually a padding or margin around a list which will probably not match your general style and layout.
There are a number of styles to avoid because they that will negatively affect your deliverability, including:
- No Flash or Rich Media embedded
- Minimal use of red fonts (even if you CI is red)
- No forms embedded in campaign
You should also make sure that your template, as well as the emails you send is compliant with the Emarsys deliverability standards, to ensure optimal delivery and response rates.
Email Design: Above The Fold
The upper part of your email contains the header, banner and editorial and is what your customers will see in the preview and when they first open it. This is where you want to make the strongest impact, both in terms of trust and engagement.
- Always include a link to the online version. If you use the default Emarsys link for the online version, this will change according to the language selected in the Email Settings. If you hard-code this, you will need to create a separate template for every language.
You do not need to include a pre-header. This is taken care of in the Preview text field of the Email Basics tab.
Email Design: Main Content
The main body of the email is where you can use the widest variety of block styles.
- Multi-column blocks will stack into a single column on mobile. No more than four columns should be used.
- Spacing between columns must be identical.
- Use symmetrical columns whenever possible.
- Indicate the header, body text, image and/or CTA in each block.
- Include any separators in the content block design itself, rather than putting them in their own block. This will save you the effort of including them in any block targeting that you use, and will also look better when multiple columns are stacked on mobile.
- Only include one of each block design. These can be duplicated in the template editor to create multiple template layouts.