An Ultimate Guide to Email Customization

An Ultimate Guide to Email Customization
26 April, 2024 • ... • 814 views
Irene Dmitrieva
by Irene Dmitrieva

Customizing your emails can be a great way to keep marketing communications on brand and consistent. With modern email design tools and templates, anyone can create a stunning customizable email template without HTML or CSS knowledge. Keep reading to learn how to apply email customization to make your email marketing campaigns more effective.

What is email customization?

Email customization is the process of making a template unique by adding personal touches that reflect your company’s branding. Email service providers’ email builders usually offer a variety of templates that can be customized with drag-and-drop design tools or simple coding. This includes style elements like colors, fonts, images, logos, etc. But you can also adjust other features like the layout of text boxes and images according to the marketing goals of the campaign you plan on sending. For example, one way to introduce customers to a brand redesign is to place an old and a new logo side-by-side instead of one after the other. By customizing the design of your emails, you can make your email marketing campaign stand out from the rest, even if you don’t have a background in design and development.

Email template types

By using different templates, you can shake things up in your marketing emails. Many different types of email templates can be customized to fit your company’s branding and marketing goals. These might include:

  • A content template that contains only text and provides space for a header, relevant call-to-action buttons, and logos.
  • A gallery email. If you’re looking to display many images in your email, a gallery is the way to go.
  • An email with a featured section. Useful to highlight something specific in the email. This template can be used for several sending purposes: it is the perfect choice for companies who want to market their products, make announcements, tell stories, or teach readers.
  • A fixed column layout is ideal when you want to draw attention to specific data points or compare information side-by-side.
  • A themed email layout that corresponds with special occasions or events. For example, you can design a Christmas-themed template to send to readers in December.
  • A past email campaign. A tried and true template can be repurposed for future email marketing blasts.

All of these templates are great for different email marketing purposes and different campaigns.

Email customization vs. personalization: What’s the difference

Email customization and personalization are two terms that might seem interchangeable. In actuality, they refer to different processes involved in creating email content.

Email personalization is the process of adapting messages to each subscriber depending on their specific interests or demographics. For example, you can add subscribers’ names to the subject line and adjust the sender name and content of your email to make each message targeted.

In contrast, email customization is more about adapting the visual style, layout of an email in general. For example, you can customize an email’s header to include your company logo, change the default font to your corporate one, etc. Another difference is that email customization isn’t about catering to subscribers, it’s about catering to businesses.

Two distinct emails by Grammarly and Evernote with a similar layout
Two different emails from different brands that can probably be made from one template. Source: Really Good Emails.

Take a look at these two emails. Their structure is very similar yet the brand colors, logos, different images, and additional elements (bullet points, a subheader) make them distinct. That’s how email customization works.

Both approaches (email personalization and customization) are powerful tools to justify your marketing efforts.

Why create a customized email?

Email templates help marketers save time. Thanks to them there’s also no need to reinvent the wheel. But you need to tweak templates to make your emails recognizable and consistent. 

When you take the time to create and customize email, it’s worth it for several reasons: 

  • If you build your company’s custom templates based on the pre-existing ones from your email service provider, you don’t need any design or coding skills. After that, customization is easy with drag-and-drop email builders. 
  • Custom email templates save time and resources. If you have pre-built templates that already include the essential images, you can focus on the text or other aspects of the campaign.
  • Customized emails create a consistent style and structure for newsletters. Consistent email marketing campaigns reinforce the brand identity. Plus, your subscribers will know what to expect from your messages and will be more ready to engage with them. 

Must-have email customization elements

If you want your email marketing campaign to be successful, you need to tailor your email templates to reflect your overall strategy. Here are some key elements that you can (and should) customize.

Brand elements

Your brand elements are what set your email campaign apart from generic or clunky templates. Elements like your logo, fonts, and colors all create amazing email campaigns, a professional feel, and brand consistency across your marketing materials.

Grammarly logo in an email
The Grammarly company logo is highly visible at the top of each email. Brand colors and typical structure also make this email recognizable. Source: Really Good Emails.

Visuals

An image-rich message is usually more appealing than a text-heavy one. In customized emails, you can use visuals to illustrate what’s most important. For example, putting an image of a product alongside its description text will help potential customers better understand what they’re buying and imagine it in their lives. 

Also, with the help of images, you can easily break the message into visual blocks. This makes it easier for your readers to quickly understand what each section is about. As you can see from the example below, photos of the ingredients illustrate the points and help convey that the product is organic. 

An email from Ollie that has a list of ingredients paired with photos and short descriptions
Images make the layout of this email more diverse and engaging. Source: Really Good Emails.

Social sharing buttons

Social sharing buttons and links are also great elements to include when customizing your emails. Social sharing buttons usually are icons placed at the bottom of an email. They typically lead to a brand’s social media page and encourage users to engage with the company through multiple channels.

If you are promoting software in your marketing campaign, you can also include links to app stores, as did Hulu in this email:

An email with Instagram, Facebook, X, and TikTok buttons and buttons for the App Store and Google Play markets just above
Hulu has 4 social media buttons and two buttons for the App Store and Google Play app markets. Source: Really Good Emails.

Unique value proposition callouts

To be effective, templates should make use of visual elements such as callouts, bullet points, and CTA buttons to draw the reader’s attention to the UVP. They can be customized to match the color scheme of your brand.

In this email, Handy highlighted the unique value propositions and designed the campaign with CTA buttons and graphics in a unified style.

An email showing unique value proposition elements in three clearly separated sections
Handy incorporates call-to-action buttons and icons of catalog sections to accentuate the most crucial details in the email. Source: MailerLite.

Unsubscribe link

The unsubscribe link is a must in any email campaign and another element worth customization. This link gives recipients the ability to opt out of your list at any time and protects you from complaints or legal issues. Ideally, this link should be easy for your readers to find and use, whether it’s in the body of the email or at the footer. Beyond the link’s placement, you can customize the text itself from making it simple and matter-of-factual to ironic. You can also expand the copy and explain why the user receives emails from your company.

Here is a slightly expanded unsubscribe link text in the footer of one of the Surreal emails. It is playful and friendly reflecting the brand’s tone of voice. 

A footer of an email saying “Too much cereal in your inbox? Snooze our emails for 2 weeks. Hate our emails? Unsubscribe”
Source: Really Good Emails

Selzy templates customization

Now we’ll show you how easy template customization really is. We will show you the process in Selzy’s email builder, but it is similar to other drag-and-drop tools.  

You can start from scratch or pick one of the many different templates. 

Screenshot of the email template choice in Selzy
Selzy offers themed templates for holidays, e-commerce and other businesses, and more.

You can choose a template category on top or just browse the options. Selzy’s template collection is constantly expanding and includes themed templates, templates for essential campaigns like welcome or promo, and more. 

As an example, we chose this flash sale email: 

The interface of Selzy’s email editor
Selzy’s email editor has an intuitive interface with blocks and design elements on the right.

In the email editor, you can customize the template of your choice. Different content elements and style options to add are on the right along with an AI assistant that can analyze the email and provide text options. And on the left is the layout you’re working on. Clicking on each part of the template opens the dedicated menu. Let’s click on the image. 

The picture editing menu in Selzy’s email editor
A left click on any element opens a dedicated menu.

The menu allows you to tweak the size and placement of the element, change the image and link. Let’s move the product image around.

Selzy’s drag-and-drop element placement

Changing the placement of an element is very straightforward. Hover over the element, click on the six dots icon, and drag it where you want. In this example, we want to place the image just below the “Flash sale” text.

Next step, we moved the CTA button up, aligned the company name left, and added a count-down timer.

Customized email template

Here’s the final look! Not only did we revise the layout of the content and insert a new block, but it was easy and fast. You too can use Selzy’s customization features and various templates to make sure that your emails are unique and consistent with brand identity and campaign goals.

Final thoughts

Email customization makes a template look more on-brand by adding personal details. With a custom email template, you can spend less time on email design and more time writing engaging content that your audience will love.

When creating an email marketing campaign template, include customizable elements to present your brand and convey your message effectively. Some key elements to consider are:

  • Brand elements (such as your logo, fonts, and colors)
  • Visuals like images and illustrations
  • Social sharing buttons to help increase your reach
  • Unique value proposition callouts that draw attention to key benefits
  • Unsubscribe link to give recipients the ability to opt out of your list

Email customization is a great way to create engaging, on-brand content that resonates with your audience. With the right approach, you can create beautiful email campaigns, truly effective and customizable templates that will drive engagement and increase ROI for your business.

This article was originally published in January 2023 and was updated in April 2024 to make it more relevant and comprehensive.

26 April, 2024
Article by
Irene Dmitrieva
As a marketing copywriter, I have experience creating compelling content for websites and social media posts. My background in market research helps me ensure that my copy is both on-brand and data-driven. I am excited to bring my skills and experience to Selzy team and help drive success for this company.
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