Creating eye-catching email templates in MailChimp

Creating eye-catching email templates in MailChimp
March 14, 2017 Madeleine Helme

When it comes to email marketing, platforms such as MailChimp, AWeber, and ActiveCampaign are real lifesavers. These platforms take a lot of the hard work out of creating, sending, and monitoring marketing emails. Automation, analytics, email templates and design tools all help you manage your email marketing, helping you get the best results.

While there are lots of great options available for creating and sending your email campaigns, the one we’re going to look at here is MailChimp. You don’t have to be a professional designer to create stunning emails using MailChimp. Their templates and drag-and-drop feature make it easy to achieve. We’ll walk you through how to create eye-catching email templates in MailChimp.

You have three options when it comes to creating your template:

  • Basic
  • Themes
  • Code your own

The option you go for will depend on your design and technical knowledge, so let’s look at each of these options.


MailChimp’s basic templates are blank slates for you to customize, but they already have the structure in place so you don’t have to build it yourself. Various layouts are available with columns laid out in different ways. Once you’ve selected your template, the drag-and-drop design tool allows you to customize the design of the template. You can add and rearrange different content blocks, edit the colors, and add widgets to the template.


Themes templates are more complete than the basic ones. Professional designers have contributed these themes to provide MailChimp users with attractive, pre-made templates. The color scheme, layout, and design are already in place, you just have to add in your content. If you can find one to suit your email needs, then you can save time by using one of these themes. It’s a good idea for anyone who doesn’t trust their own design skills.

Code your own

If you understand how to use HTML and CSS, then you also have the option of coding your own email template. This gives you greater freedom and control over your email design compared to using MailChimp’s pre-built templates. Coding your own email template is a good option if you have the knowledge and experience.

Design tips for email templates

Once you’ve decided which type of template is right for you, it’s time to design it. Here are a few best practices for effective email design.

  • Strong branding – make sure your branding is clear in your template design. It’s a good idea to place your brand name and logo at the top of the email so it’s one of the first things they notice. Your color scheme can also help to convey your branding.
  • Color scheme – Pick a color scheme for your template that looks appealing while not detracting from the content. Using lots of different colors could make the design look messy. Pick one or two colors to accentuate the design.
  • White space – If you overcrowd your email with different elements, your audience won’t know where to look. Space your content blocks out with plenty of white space surrounding them. This will help to guide the reader’s eye to what you want them to see.
  • Balance images and text – Your template should contain a mixture of text blocks and images. This variety will help to hold your audience’s attention, as opposed to presenting them with a big block of text.
  • Define your sections – The different types of content blocks and elements such as borders and dividers can help you to separate out different sections. This makes your email easier to scan, making it more engaging and easier to understand.

Once you’ve built your template, you can reuse it over and over, adding in the content for that specific campaign. You do also have the option of creating an email from scratch for each campaign. But, creating templates is a great way to save time spent on creating future campaigns.

Once you’ve got your template, it’s time to fill it with content for your email campaign. For tips on this, take a look at our blog on creating killer content for your email campaigns.

After working in marketing for two years I decided to become a freelance writer. In my spare time I enjoy watching films and television and keeping fit through going to the gym and practising taekwondo.