How to Make an Email Template for Constant Use

How to Make an Email Template for Constant Use
22 May, 2024 • ... • 39 views
Anastasia Ushakova
by Anastasia Ushakova

Imagine not having to build each email campaign or write the same boring response from scratch every single time… Oh, wait, you can do this with email templates! And if you don’t know what these are and how to build them, this article is for you.

In this tutorial, we’ll explore how to create an email template. Note: we’re focusing on the Selzy email builder features but other builders are quite similar. So, even if you’re not using Selzy, stay here — there’s still some useful information for you!

What is an email template?

An email template is a pre-designed layout for an email message. Depending on the type of template, it can include promotional text and images, CTA buttons, social media links, contact information, or legal disclaimers. 

With email templates, you can decrease the time it takes you to produce an email, as you’ll be able to reuse the structure for future repetitive communications. Templates are often used in business correspondence, marketing campaigns, customer support, and personal communications. Email templates range from plain text to elaborate designs with graphics and branding elements.

Here’s an example of a marketing email template for an Easter email campaign:

Selzy email template for an Easter sale that features Easter bunny drawings and other illustrations

Advantages of using templates

Still doubting if you should start using email templates? Here are only some of the benefits for email marketers:

  • Saving time. With a template, you don’t have to build every new email from scratch. This will cut down your email production time a lot.
  • Maintaining consistent branding. Templates ensure that all your emails have the same brand identity, expressed via fonts, colors, the unified look of elements like buttons, and more. 
  • Creating a foundation for scaling up. Over time, you’ll send a lot more campaigns to a lot more subscribers. If you have a well-tested email template, increasing the number of emails you send and the revenue from them is not a problem.
  • Getting an easily customizable baseline. Templates have a standardized structure but they also offer enough room for email customization. It means that if you have one template for, let’s say, sales emails, you can use it for other campaign types like newsletters and so on.
  • Easier testing. Running A/B tests is easier when you have a framework for comparison. With email templates, you can test different designs and copy variations without having to build each new email for the test from scratch. Even better, you can change the template by replacing certain elements with better-performing ones — for example, brighter and bigger buttons or more contrasting hyperlinks. The newer, data-driven template version, will keep bringing you better metrics and higher ROI.

But even the best email template won’t work if your content is irrelevant. Learn more about personalized email marketing from our blog so you never send an email that’s not worth opening!

How to create an email template

If you need a text template for personal or workplace communications, most email clients like Gmail or Outlook have the template feature. If you’re using emails as a marketing tool and sending multiple messages a day, you can create templates in email service providers (ESPs) and standalone email template builders.

Selzy is an email service provider too, and it features many options for quick template-building. If you’re interested in creating and perfecting email templates in Selzy, check out the overview of our new email builder.

Blocks and elements in email design

When getting started with Selzy’s new email builder, you have the option to either create a template from scratch or select one from the template library.

Selzy email template library

There are over 40 system templates to choose from, including 16 default templates built from the common blocks available in the builder. The default templates feature a minimalist design and have many potential use cases, such as commercial offers, invitations to webinars, and information about sales.

The Selzy email template builder allows users to easily create or edit the layout of an email template via Blocks. In email design, blocks are distinct sections of an email that organize content, improve readability, and guide the recipient’s attention. Blocks are a crucial element of modular design. In email templates, separate sections like header, main content, call-to-action buttons, and footer are organized in separate blocks.

This is what the email builder looks like when you’re starting from scratch:

Selzy’s email template builder starting from scratch screenshot: the empty main window and the Empty blocks menu with 6 column layouts

In the screenshot above, you see a bunch of Empty blocks to choose from. These are pre-made column structures waiting for you to fill them to the brim with text, images, and whatever you like. If you want an easier way to build a template, use the Common blocks menu. It offers blocks with placeholder text, images, and buttons for every use case — headers, footers, banners, text boxes, and buttons:

Selzy’s email template builder blocks that include Headers, Banners, Lists, Polls, Separators, Contacts, and more

You can also add images, buttons, lists, tables, and other cool stuff to blocks using the Elements menu.

Selzy email builder elements that include text, images, video, two list types, countdown timer, divider, table, and more

To add an element, simply drag it from the menu to a block in your email. For example, this is how you would add an image element to a quote block:

Adding an element to a block in the Selzy email template builder

If you find yourself using the same custom block often, save it to speed up email building in the future. You can access Saved blocks later in the Blocks menu.

Selzy email template saved blocks section

For example, the block below features an added image element. To save this custom block, create it in the email builder and click on the Save to Blocks button.

saving to blocks in Selzy email builder

Choosing the right email structure and layout

The concepts of structure and layout are somewhat similar, and some people even use them interchangeably (that’s incorrect, though). The email structure is the “what” of your email — it dictates which content should be in the email, and in what order. Meanwhile, the email layout is the “how.” It’s the visual presentation of your content, like columns, padding between elements, and so on. Ensure your message is easy to read by paying attention to both structure and layout — this is especially important for promotional emails!

Think about factors like your audience, content, and objectives when choosing the structure and layout for your template:

  • Content. Are you primarily sharing news updates, promotional offers, product features, or event invitations?
  • Audience. Are your subscribers more likely to respond to a visually appealing layout with images and graphics, or do they prefer simpler formats with no extra decor?

Regardless of what you select, the main elements of your email will include a header, a body, a signature, and a footer. You can add all of these via Blocks.

Here’s an example of an empty template featuring several blocks:

Example of a blank template on Selzy email builder

Don’t forget to include a footer — the Selzy email builder offers as many as three footer styles. The standard footer includes social media links, a company address, and an unsubscribe link. The compact footer is similar to the standard one but is narrower. The long footer includes all of the above, plus placeholders for a phone number and an email address.

adding footer in Selzy email template builder

Additionally, you should consider adding a preheader — a short line of text that appears next to or below the subject line of an email in the recipient’s inbox. The preheader’s job is to provide a preview of the email’s content.

adding preheader on Selzy template builder

For example, this default template may be suitable for sending a sales offer to your customers.

Default template for sending a sales offer

Customizing brand elements

Brand identity in emails includes several elements that should be consistent with your company’s brand book or the design system you created specifically for emails. These elements should also be consistent across different email campaigns you’re sending. The elements in question vary from brand logos to fonts, button designs, header styles, background images, and so on.

Your marketing email template should align with your brand identity and messaging. To ensure this, choose design elements that reflect your brand personality and values — this will work wonders for brand awareness!

When using Selzy’s email template editor, click on the text box to change its font, font size, and color, as well as the background color. Pay attention to the line height too — if the value is too small, your text will look cramped and hard to read on mobile screens.

Customizing fonts and typography on Selzy email builder

Empty email templates in Selzy have dedicated blocks for your branding — you can add your company’s logo and tagline.

adding a logo in the Selzy email builder

Incorporating eye-catching visual elements

Adding images to email templates facilitates storytelling, supports your call-to-action, and makes your emails more attention-grabbing compared to plain text. Bold visuals can also enhance your personalization and segmentation — you can send different images to different subscribers and subscriber groups to boost conversions.

The Selzy template builder allows users to upload images, browse a library of stock images, or generate email visuals with AI.

Selzy email template builder stock image library

Creating a compelling call-to-action (CTA)

Need your recipient to interact with the content of your email? This is where a call to action (CTA), an instruction that encourages the recipient to take a desired action, comes in. CTAs usually come in the form of clickable buttons or hyperlinks, and they can drive engagement and conversions.

While you can add a basic CTA button to your Selzy email template via Elements, consider more interesting formats, such as countdown timers. Here’s where you can find pre-made CTA blocks with some fun elements like background images:

Adding a pre-made CTA block in the Selzy email template builder

Creating a signature

An email signature is a block at the end of an email message. Usually, it contains the sender’s name, contact information, job title, company name, website, or other relevant details. Think of your email signature as a professional sign-off, and don’t forget to include branding elements to enhance recognition and credibility.

Add your signature to your email template by choosing the Contacts block:

Adding a signature to the email template in the Selzy builder

If you’re using social media for business, you can also add a block featuring links to your profiles:

Adding social media buttons in the Selzy email template builder

Saving and using the template

Once you are happy with the email template, press Save and Continue.

Save and Continue in Selzy email builder

Then, you need to fill out all the fields: the subject line, the sender name, and the sender address.

Filling out the subject line and setting up the sender data in Selzy

After this, you’ll be prompted to select the recipients.

Selecting recipients in Selzy

Review the details of your campaign one last time and send it (or test it). Now, here is where you can save your freshly built email as your custom template — just click on the three dots next to the Preview button.

Saving email as a custom template in Selzy

Once you save the template, you can access it in the My Templates section of the Campaigns page.

My templates section in Selzy campaigns view

Using another ESP to send an email built in Selzy? Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered. Saving your template via HTML is quick and easy.

Code mode on Selzy email builder

Just click the </> symbol when creating your template, and copy the code that appears on the right half of the screen.

Implementing automation and personalization in the email template

Now you know how to create templates, you may wish to learn about ways to increase personalization in each email, or about automating your email campaigns even further.

Using marketing tools

The use of marketing software can make your experience with email templates even more seamless and quick. Here are some ideas:

  • Choose the ESP that works for you. Select an email marketing platform that offers robust features and integrations with marketing tools, and make the most out of it. 
  • Segment your audience. Use segmentation features provided by your email marketing software to divide your audience into targeted segments based on demographics, behavior, preferences, or engagement level. This allows you to send more relevant and tailored email campaigns to each segment.
  • Automate email workflows. Set up automated email workflows using marketing automation tools. Create drip campaigns, welcome series, abandoned cart reminders, or follow-up sequences to nurture leads and engage customers at different stages of the customer journey.

Use of personalization tokens

Personalization tokens, also called merge tags, are variables in the email template that dynamically fill up with information when you send the email. These tokens are the easiest way to personalize your emails by automatically inserting details such as the recipient’s name, company, job title, or other relevant information.

For example, if you include the token “{{Name}}” in your email template, it will be replaced with the first name of each recipient when the email is sent out. ESPs have pre-defined lists of merge tags for you to use. Selzy has a merge tag library too! You can also create custom tags using information from custom fields. These are used to store information about your subscribers that you can collect in a sign-up form. For example, if you’re running a subscription service with different pricing plans, you can add the plan information to a custom field, create a merge tag based on this field, and use it in your targeted campaigns.

Here’s an example of a template for a newsletter with several personalization tags featured.

Selzy email builder template with merge tags: Name and List title

Integrating dynamic content

We’ve already covered one case of dynamic content, which is personalization tokens. Like the latter, dynamic content elements display differently for each recipient or recipient group. The change in question can be based on demographics, behavior, preferences, or other data. Basically, dynamic content is a variable that makes email personalization possible.

Personalization is not the only dynamic content use case though. Sometimes these variables serve a purely technical role in an email. An example of this would be unsubscribe links that are usually placed in the footer. Here’s how you can add a link to yours:

Selzy template with an unsubscribe link inserted via a merge tag

Tracking and analyzing email template performance

Once you’ve sent a few template-based emails, you may be wondering how your audience responded to them. Both ESPs and external software have a lot of metrics to track, and not all of these numbers are trustworthy — for example, open rates have become notoriously unreliable due to the Apple Mail updates. So, if you want a reliable KPI to assess your email template performance, use other metrics. These include click-through rate, conversions, revenue per email, you name it. However, assessing email marketing health is not limited to counting money or sign-ups.

Email deliverability metrics like bounce rate or spam complaints are often overlooked but crucial for your success as an email marketer. Sudden changes in these purely technical metrics like increasing bounce rate can indicate problems with list hygiene, sender reputation, and more. For example, the higher number of undelivered emails can be the aftermath of a bot attack leading to opt-ins from temporary emails. If you discover it, your further course of action could include list cleaning and enforcing safety measures to prevent future bot attacks.

It all boils down to one question though: where to find all this data? Use the analytics features provided by your email marketing platform to track your email performance. Most platforms, including Selzy, offer built-in reporting dashboards that show how well each campaign of yours performed. Bear in mind that not all stats are available via your ESP — for example, revenue per email would require third-party applications like Google Analytics.

Making data-driven improvements to the template

At this stage, you may be wondering how you can improve your template, and the answer is data. Where can you get one? Here are some sources to use:

  • Perform A/B testing. A/B tests compare the performance of different email templates or elements within templates. Test variables such as subject lines, sender names, email copy, CTAs, and design elements to identify what resonates best with your audience.
  • Benchmark against industry standards. Compare your email performance metrics to industry benchmarks to gauge how your email templates stack up against competitors or industry averages. Use this data to set realistic performance goals and identify areas for improvement.
  • Use the data from earlier campaigns. Use and analyze the information you gathered from your previous campaigns. Implement this knowledge when creating your new campaign.

Let’s say you’re running an e-commerce store selling clothing. You’ve been noticing that your email campaigns promoting dresses are not performing as well as expected, compared to the industry benchmarks. There are several quick changes to make so you can improve engagement and conversions.

For example, you could update your layout so it includes high-quality images of your best-selling dresses in action, tweak the CTA design or copy, etc. Another option would be introducing a block with personalized recommendations. For example, use subscribers’ browsing history to make them remember the dresses they looked at or added to their favorites.

Most ESPs have features for quick template building — how to choose one for your business if functionalities are so similar? Here’s our review of the best email marketing services on the market so you don’t get lost.


Now you know all there is to know about creating email templates using a block builder. Here’s a little recap so you don’t forget the basics:

  • Templates are a valuable tool for email marketers as they save time while offering consistency, efficiency, professionalism, and ease of use.
  • You can create email templates using block email builders provided by ESPs or standalone tools. 
  • When building a template, start by picking a layout, then add your brand elements, and include visual content. 
  • Level up your email marketing with automation and targeted messaging by making use of marketing tools, personalization tokens, and dynamic content.
  • Monitor your templates’ performance using in-built ESP reporting tools and external software like Google Analytics.

Want to put your fresh knowledge into practice? Start building your templates for free with Selzy today!

Article by
Anastasia Ushakova
Mathematics major, former breaking news editor, digital content creator, freelance English teacher, bilingual writer. Novice contributor at Selzy. Keen on learning everything about the world and on sharing it with everyone. Hobbies include art, travel, thrifting, photography, playing the Sims, fashion, eating Marmite and generally having a good time.
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