Designing a Stand-Out Email

Here is your go-to guide when you are ready to design your first email in MailChimp.

Why MailChimp?

We love MailChimp. It’s a great application that allows for different email marketing possibilities. One of the main selling features is that it has so many design options.

Reasons you want to send email

Identifying the why for your email campaign will impact the design. Here are just a few reasons that you may be contacting customers.

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Benefits of email marketing

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How to design your first template

Since your email marketing campaign is an extension of your company making sure it reflects your brand’s image is essential. That’s where this tutorial will help you out.

Step 1:

Log in and select you will select “Build my first email.”

Step 2:

Type an identifying “Campaign Name”, this is not the subject line seen by recipients, and select “Begin.”

Step 3:

Select “Design Email,” and now it’s time to design.  

Design options:

MailChimp offers different options depending on how much you want to do yourself. The featured templates are for when you know the purpose of your email and have your content, but aren’t sure how to lay it all out.

The Basic option is if you have the content, purpose, and vision for what you want it to look like. By using the drag-and-drop components, to create your can create own template that best represents your brand.

We could all jump down the rabbit hole of what makes one design work and others flop, but that will have to be another day. For now, we are going to select a basic template and talk about the different pieces and how to edit those to reflect your brand.

Page Design tab breakdown:

The page design tab will allow you to format the primary features of your email.

The page section is where you can change the background coloring and stylize your headings.

This is the area that is above the header. You can change the background color and change link + type font and color.

The header is the most important design element of your email since it is the first thing that people see. Within this item, you can change the header color or replace it with an image. You can also change text + link colors and font type here.

This controls the background and the text before the columns section.

Columns refers to the space where you will place the drag and drop elements into the default columns layout. This default does not apply to boxed text or image cards.

Change your footer background + text styling in this tab. Be sure that if you change the background to a dark color, you also change the “Footer Link” color to be lighter so it will contrast well.

While all MailChimp email designs work in a mobile environment, sometimes you may want to optimize certain elements so that they can be viewed better on a mobile screen. The “Mobile Styles Design” allows you to tweak your default design so that elements respond in an optimal fashion.

With free accounts, MailChimp wants to be recognized. The MonkeyRewards tab gives you style options so you can select a MailChimp logo that blends seamlessly with your design.

You will be able to do the majority of your design edits just within this first tab. As you move to the different content boxes, you may want to make changes.

Within each content box, the second tab will also allow you to make design changes. Once that item is formatted the way you want, you can select “Apply to all existing” at the bottom and it will update your current template.

It’s easy to get lost in the weeds when you dive into creating an email template. Keeping the purpose of the email top of mind with all design decisions will help you to stay focused and allow you to communicate effectively to your customers.

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Headshot of Dawn Audano

Dawn Audano

Dawn Audano connects the dots, a committed minimalist who strips projects down to their most essential—and therefore, efficient—elements. She makes space for creatives to engage meaningfully with the task at hand, cutting to the heart of the matter. With experience in radio, film, event planning, and motherhood, she expertly juggles the details and enjoys handling the tiny pieces that can make or break the flow of ideas.