The main demand in the industry now is to produce emails faster and at a lower cost without losing quality. That’s where modular templates can come in handy. Let’s find out what a modular template is and how it can help you.
What Is a Modular Template
At our agency, we often create modular templates for our clients. A modular template is a collection of structural elements (banners, footers, product grids, etc.) used for crafting emails. It helps to unify the style of emails and saves company’s money and designers’ resources.
When you start creating a modular template, you’re likely to ask yourself two main questions: “What elements should I add to a modular template?” and “What information should I get before I start creating a modular template?”. Let’s find out.
What Information to Get Before You Start Working on a Modular Template
Before we start working on modular templates, we ask the client for information about their company. It helps us choose the design style and understand what blocks to include in a modular template.
Here’s a list of info we require to create a modular template. If you don’t want to spend time doing more or less the same thing, simply copy the list below and use it for your modular templates.
- The website link (there are many cases when competitors’ domains are almost identical to the one we need).
- A brand book.
- A logo as a vector file or in high resolution (to adapt emails to retina displays).
- Corporate font (sometimes you can’t find it in the public domain).
- Photos and design elements: patterns, sets of icons. Some companies have their own icons or want to use brand photos only.
- Previous email templates (it helps designers choose email content for future emails and improve the old materials).
- References (to understand the desired style of the template).
- The menu items to include in emails (aim at 4-6).
- Should we use the design of the website as inspiration for modular template design? Are you planning to update the website in the near future?
- What types of emails do you plan to send? For example, abandoned cart emails, welcome emails, promotional emails with products, digests, surveys, holiday greetings, etc. These types define what blocks should be included in the modular template.
- What kind of product grids are needed? For example, two, three, or four columns, non-standard arrangement, etc.
- Are you going to use dynamic content? If not, we can add product discounts next to the products in the product grid or arrange it unconventionally.
- Do we need to divide products into categories? If yes, what categories to include in a modular template?
- Are you planning to use GIFs in emails?
- Do you want to include NPS surveys?
- Do you need a block with icons? (It’s mainly used to describe the advantages of a product/service)
- What to include in a footer?
- Do you want to include a phone number in the template? If yes, where: in the header, in the footer, or both? Should there be any information on the working hours next to the phone number?
- Social links and the mobile app.
What Blocks to Include in a Modular Template
After we’ve gathered the necessary information, we start creating blocks. Some of them are universal, in other words, they’re included in any modular template by default. Such blocks include:
- Preheader. It contains a link to the web version of an email (in case images in an email don’t display correctly).
- Header. It usually contains a brand logo with a link to the main website or a landing page. In some cases, it may also include contact information and a menu.
- The main banner which states the main message.
- A text block to describe the message in more detail.
- CTA, i.e. a button urging customers to do a particular action.
- Footer. This block contains links to social media and mobile apps, an unsubscribe button, contact information, an office address, etc.
Email Body of a Modular Template
This part is the most difficult one. Before creating the design, we should understand what blocks and elements we may need for various types of emails. It’s quite obvious that a footer and buttons should be in any type of email. But what about a product grid? And a descriptive block? To answer these questions, we need to study the company in detail.
At this stage, a marketer and a designer work together to gather information. As a team, we:
- look at the website, the brand book, and the previous emails to understand the brand positioning.
- define the target audience to adapt the design to the chosen segment. Young people are more likely to enjoy trends and bold decisions, and adults usually prefer a conservative and restrained style.
- interview the brand and take their suggestions into account.
- look at what the company offers its clients and what content it creates.
Having this information, we can predict what content blocks will be useful for a company.
Let’s take an example to see what content parts may be included in a modular template for ecommerce.
A Modular Template for Ecommerce
1. Various Descriptive Blocks
We recommend adding several types of descriptive blocks which can be used in many different ways: for example, to tell customers about your offer, highlight information, or answer frequently asked questions about products/services.
2. Block with Reviews
This block is important as it helps subscribers decide whether they want to be your customer without making additional steps (like searching for reviews themselves). Reviews help to build trustful relationships which are going to last.
3. Image and Text in a Checkerboard Pattern
This is a universal variant that looks great for news blocks, sales, and other types of information.
4. Block with a Discount Coupon
This block is one of the most vital for ecommerce. Make sure to add the discount coupon to an email template in the form of text, not an image. This way your subscribers will be able to copy it.
5. Block with an NPS Survey
This block is used to learn whether the customers are satisfied with the newsletter or the customer service. You can create various design options here: a scale from 1 to 10 (as in our example), “Cool”/”Not cool” buttons, a scale from 1 to 5 stars (as in reviews), and so on.
6. Subscription Confirmation Block (Optional)
Some ecommerce companies offer subscriptions to their products and services. If that’s your case, send customers an email with a subscription confirmation to keep them comfortable. Additionally, you may add information about the customer: subscription plan, shipping address, time of the next payment, etc. This way, customers can check whether the details are correct and make sure that their subscription has been successful.
7. Information about the Order
This block is similar to the previous one as it contains customer details too. However, this block is used to tell clients that their order is on the way.
Advantages and Disadvantages of Modular Templates
Modular templates have become part of the industry. However, modular templates are not flawless. Let’s take a look at some of the advantages and disadvantages of modular templates.
Saved time and energy
This is probably the biggest advantage of modular templates. After a modular template is ready, there’s no need to create email templates from scratch. All you have to do is build an email from the pre-made blocks, edit them to the needs of this particular email campaign, and you’re all set.
This advantage stems from the previous one: if you spend fewer working hours on email production, email cost reduces too. This way, you’ll have more resources for other tasks that have waited in the wings.
One modular template can be used to produce hundreds and hundreds of gorgeous emails that will match the brand’s style. The reusability of modular templates is very high because you use the same pre-made blocks for various emails slightly changing their content.
Compliance with the brand style
Every designer has their own style. So when a company has a team of designers working on their email campaigns, something may go wrong, and the email will stand out from the general concept. But when a company uses a modular template, their emails are always in line with the brand guidelines.
Future elements are difficult to predict
The main problem is that it’s quite hard to understand what other blocks (apart from the universal ones) the company might need in the future. In our experience, in 90% of the cases, we have to redesign modular templates or add new elements.
Every brand is unique, that’s why every modular template is unique too. Don’t be afraid to make mistakes, and if you need help with creating a modular template that will meet your expectations, we’re here to help.