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Is Email Marketing the Elephant in the Room
The 10 Point Ecommerce Email Marketing Checklist

Is email marketing the elephant in the room for your store? Is it always that task you’ll get to in 6 months but never do?

We repeatedly see ecommerce stores of all sizes, who are doing an amazing job building a brand and driving traffic with SEO, that have meager to non-existent email marketing efforts. It’s kind of like throwing a party where you put up signs and flyers, but forget to send invites out to the people you want to come or came last time.

The goal of this post is to give stores that easy starting point (or to help stores sending great email make sure they are realizing their full potential).

Each of these is small enough that if you invest a couple of hours, you should be able to see a tangible impact on your email marketing efforts.

1.) Do you send a welcome email to new newsletter sign-ups?

The moment someone signs-up for your newsletter is also a moment of peak interest for your potential customers.  A welcome series lets you tell them more about you and your store and can be a great time to show them your store is run by real people. Furthermore, studies have shown these emails are clicked 5X as often as the typical email you send.

Here are a few ways to get started with welcome emails.

2.) Do you sound like a human when you email?

You aren’t Walmart or Amazon – and that’s a good thing.  One of your unique advantages is that you can be more personal and less formal as a way of building relationships with your customers. Emails from people are read more, drive more sales and make customers happier than formal emails that sound like they were sent to millions of people.

Email like a human

3.) Do you send newsletters regularly?

One of Seth Godin’s pillars of permission marketing is that customers anticipate getting your message.  If you aren’t sending a newsletter regularly (whether that’s monthly, weekly or daily based on your business), customers will forget who you are and why you are emailing them.

We routinely see that spam complaints overall are lower if you consistently email customers.

4.) Do your order and shipping confirmations match your store theme / colors / etc?

Making sure your order and shipping confirmations reflect your brand and look great is a quick win that’s often overlooked by stores.  These emails reach your customers when they are at their most excited, and they are more likely to be forwarded to their friends if they look great.

Here’s a post on making your email look great without a designer if you need a starting point.

5.) Are you collecting emails via either a pop-up or fly-out?

One of the most effective ways to grow your email list is to ask your visitors to subscribe by showing a pop-up (potentially giving them an incentive) or a fly-out at the bottom of the screen that appears after they’ve been onsite for some time.

While having a newsletter sign-up in your footer is a first step, simply asking your customers more directly if they want be on your list gives them a clear choice without needing to hunt for it.

For those worried about annoying customers, a few ideas for making the sign-up seem less “annoying”:

  • Only show the sign-up after 60 seconds
  • Only show it one time and don’t show it again if the visitor closes it
  • Use a fly-out sign-up instead that is more subtle and appear at bottom of screen without blocking everything else out

Finally, there’s a ton of good content out there of people testing and debating email sign-ups that can be worth reading through if you are still unsure (for example this post on the Unbounce blog).

Abandoned Carts

6.) Have you considered sending abandoned carts?

Many stores have a love or hate relationship with abandoned cart emails, but every store should at least consider sending them.

Great abandoned cart emails are helpful, personal and unique follow-ups that add value to potential customers at the right time when they could choose to go to a competitor instead.

Because so many carts get abandoned, it’s worth making an informed decision – try them out to see if they impact your store and spend a few minutes turning it into an email that you’d want to receive. We’ve seen that setting up an email series to bring back cart abandoners generates an average of $12 per abandoned cart.

7.) Do you email customers who bought previously but haven’t come back in 6 months?

Customers who have bought from you before are one of your greatest assets, and sending a personal follow-up when they don’t return can be one of the most effective ways of bringing them back.

Studies have shown that 80% of a company’s future revenues often come from 20% of their current customers – so investing in bringing customers back now is one of the best ways of building a sustainable business.

By sending a simple email with a discount 3-6 months after someone buys, you’re reaching customers who already like you and who you’ve already spent the money to acquire – while giving them an incentive to come back. An easy starting point is sending a one-off campaign to customers who bought a few months ago to see the impact.

8.) Do you say thank you to your best customers?

One of the best parts about running a business is knowing you’re able to make some of your customers really happy – and at the same time, those customers make up an outsized portion of the sales of your business.

A simple tactic is to either manually or automatically sending your best customers (either based on number of visits or on amount spent) a short personal note telling them you appreciate them.  It helps bring them back, builds your relationship with them, elicits feedback, and makes them feel good.

Think about it this way – if you ran an offline store and saw these loyal customers coming in, you’d certainly introduce yourself.

Follow-up Emails

9.) Do you ask people to refer new customers to you?

Getting someone to your site and getting them to purchase takes both time and money – all of which is in sharp contrast to referrals, which bring passionate and excited customers right to you.

If you’re like most stores, you’ll start to see referrals happen on their own, which is a great way to validate your business but it’s also a sign that you should probably be asking customers to refer you to their friends, forward your emails and be advocates for you. Studies have shown that 83% of happy customers are willing to give referrals, but only 29% actually do – so asking for the referral is an important part of making sure they happen.

If you’re already sending newsletters or personalized thank you notes, it’s as easy as just asking someone to help you spread the word. 

10.) Are you evaluating your emails on how they impact purchases?

Finally, are you seeing how your emails are impacting your sales?  The great thing about email is that you can easily see the impact it’s having.  By making sure to analyze how email is driving sales, you’ll start to see what works and what doesn’t, and further inspire yourself to improve your email marketing.

To track how your email is driving sales, you can use an email platform that’s plugged directly into your store or you can use UTM variables and Google Analytics.

The Role of Email

Email marketing is an essential piece of the ecommerce marketing puzzle. As you drive traffic to your store with SEO, building a great brand and offering great products, email makes sure you take full advantage of visitors by nurturing potential customers into buyer and keeping them coming back.

Whether your store’s on Shopify, Magento, Bigcommerce or a custom platform, email marketing shouldn’t be intimidating. If you start somewhere and steadily improve, you’ll quickly see that your email marketing goes from an embarrassment to an asset.

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3 Great Welcome Email Ideas for your Ecommerce Store

3 Great Ecommerce Welcome Email Ideas

The moment a new visitor discovers your store and signs up for your newsletter is a special one. They’re at their most excited, yet they also don’t really know you – and we all know the importance of making a great first impression.

The welcome email aims takes this excitement and is an essential first step in nurturing visitors into customers, but it’s also one of the biggest missed opportunities for stores. According to Experian, the typical welcome email is opened 4 times more often and is clicked 5 times more often than the typical email sent. It’s been true for Klaviyo too - our welcome emails typically have open rates from 60 to 80%.

In short, you have an amazing opportunity when your customers want to hear from you and engage further with you. Why would you waste it?


What Makes an Engaging Welcome Email

Welcome emails are sent immediately after a customer signs-up for your newsletter list (they may also include multiple emails sent out over time, but for now we’ll focus just on that initial email). The goal of this post is to give you great examples of welcome emails to inspire you to implement your own welcome emails, so you can reap the benefits of your most engaged customers.

Awesome welcome emails come in different flavors and have different goals. We’ll walk through some of our favorites of each type so you have something to work from, but also so you understand what might be best for your store.

A few types of welcome emails that you should consider are welcome emails designed to:

  • Build Brand
  • Reward the Customer
  • Bring Customers Back

For each, we’ll give you a few examples to help inspire you of what might work best for your store.


Welcome Emails that Build Brand

In their simplest form, welcome emails can just be a great way to reinforce the brand you’ve already built.

For example, this email from Harry’s (subject line: “Welcome to Harry’s”) is just a simple Thank You note, an appealing little picture of a Woolly Mammoth and a few links.  It works because it leaves me with a positive impression of Harry’s and makes me want to engage more:

Harry's Welcome Email

Similarly, this next email from Bumble and Bumble (subject line: “You made the list at Bumbleandbumble.com”) uses their history and identify to build their brand.

By layering their key branding (used by professionals, innovative, trust gained from a strong history) with an appealing image (conveying their style), they further strengthen their branding in the customers mind.

Bumble and Bumble Welcome Email

The brand building email is a great way to really focus in on what makes your store unique and crystallize it in your customer’s mind. If you take this route, it’s very important to focus on your brand – the logo, images, colors, etc that reflect who you are.

If you’re just starting out, one way around this is to use your personal brand by leveraging a short and simple text email that uses a sentence or two to say what’s great about your store.


Welcome Emails that Reward the Customer

A second approach to welcome emails is to provide an incentive to try to get customers to purchase today (or soon).

Bonobos is a classic example of this.  When you visit their site for the first time, they ask you to sign-up, but in exchange offer you 20% and free shipping for 48 hours.

This is then followed-up immediately by an email (subject line: “20% off Bonobos”) including the offer details:

Bonobos Welcome Email

Rather than focus on building brand, their aim is to get you to buy – ideally right away or very soon.  While Bonobos takes a more aggressive approach (a very limited time offer and bigger discounts), many stores do a lighter version of this by giving a 10% coupon that’s good for a week.

Whether these emails are right for you really depends on your store. Unlike branding emails, they’re less reliant on having a great newsletter that nurtures leads going forward, and they are more likely to drive immediate purchases. That said, they also potentially train your customers to expect discounts going forward.


Welcome Emails that Bring Customers Back

Because newsletter sign-ups often happen on a customers first visit to your store, one approach that works great is to use the welcome email to encourage customers to come back.

The Welcome email from One Kings Lane (subject line: “Welcome to One Kings Lane!”) is a simple but effective approach to this.  It’s very explicit about the two messages it wants new sign-ups to get:

  • One Kings Lane is a unique way to shop for your home
  • Fresh Finds Every Day

The first message tells you what One Kings Lane is and the second why you should keep coming back.

One Kings Lane Welcome Email

Another approach is used by Fab. Their welcome email immediately encourages customers to install their mobile app (subject line: “Welcome to Fab!”):

Fab Welcome Emails

Because they know customers are at their most engaged when they sign-up for the newsletter, this is a great time to ask them to take the next step.

Once they have the app installed, it makes them more likely to return since they’re now exposed to Fab daily on more devices.

Finally another unique approach to bringing customers back via a great welcome email is Litmus. While not Ecommerce, their welcome email (subject line: “5 must-read email resources”) is a great example of how to use content (i.e. giving something of value to your customer) as a way to bring customers back:

Litmus Welcome Email

After delivering the core message (you’re on their newsletter), they follow-up with links to past great content that readers have liked.  By recycling this content, they give customers a reason to come back – whether they click through this email right away, or they save it to click through later.

For an Ecommerce store, this content could be great blog posts, links to recent collections that were popular, or even links to items that you know customers love.


Implementing Welcome Emails

On the simplest level, welcome emails are kind of like a shop clerk who offers to help a customer.  They reach customers at their most engaged (resulting in the incredibly high open and click through rates) and can provide a great customer experience.

The reason we see so many of the Shopify, Bigcommerce and Magento stores we talk to not sending welcome emails are some combination of:

  1. They don’t know it’s important
  2. They don’t know what to say
  3. They don’t know how to do it

This post will hopefully have you convinced of 1 and 2 (and Klaviyo provides pre-built Ecommerce emails for 3 that let you setup a welcome series in just minutes).

Once you have an idea, it should be easy to translate that into an email going out to everyone who signs up (and as long as you email like a human, your welcome emails are likely to be positively received).

Most importantly, just get started!


A Few Ideas (for making welcome emails even better)

For those of you who are already sending great welcome emails, a few ideas on how to take it to the next level:

  • A/B test the different styles of welcome emails above
  • Collect more information on customers when you get their emails and used that to segment your newsletter list
  • Create a multiple email welcome series over the first few weeks until customers buy (that turns off if they do buy)
  • Optimize your welcome series with new content that you see doing well

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Feature Fridays: 4 Ways to Convert Visitors Into Newsletter Sign-ups

4 ways to convert visitors into newsletter sign-ups

You spend a lot of time and effort driving traffic to your site, and at Klaviyo we’ve been focused on ways to help you capture more email leads on your newsletter.

By sending a regular newsletter, even if your visitors aren’t ready to purchase when they first discover you, you can nurture them until they are ready. A great way to think about this is as your funnel – visitors arrive on site, sign-up for your newsletter, receive regular updates, and then eventually buy.

Pop-up Email Sign-ups

With just a few lines of code, you can add an email sign-up that pops up to visitors the first time they are on your site.

We use the email pop-up sign up form to grow our newsletter list on our individual blog posts:
Pop-up Email Newsletter Sign-up

You can easily customize the look and feel of the sign-up form, control which pages it appears on and how long it takes to appear.

Fly-Out Email Sign-ups

Another way to grow your email newsletter list is with the fly-out email sign-up:

Fly-out Newsletter Sign-up

These forms are a more subtle way to ask your visitors to join your list, and have settings to change how long and when they appear.

One great way to use the fly-out sign-up forms is to collect emails for different types of lists – for example, it’s easy to create a list tied to a specific collection or product launch.

The Classic Newsletter Sign-up

While pop-ups and fly-outs are an effective way to more directly prompt your users for sign-ups, the classic newsletter sign-up form still has a time and place. On our blog we use a classic newsletter sign-up box to immediately ask visitors to sign up for our newsletter.

Because these sign-up forms are embedded in the webpage, they can also be a great opportunity to collect more information on your newsletter sign-ups – names, interests, etc that you can later use to personalize your email newsletters and segment your email newsletter list.

PadiAct Integration

In addition to the above sign-ups, we also now have an integration with PadiAct. PadiAct’s forms and tools give you more control over targeting when and how forms appear.

Tactics for Ecommerce Stores to Grow their Newsletter List

Ok, so you’ve got the forms – now what? A few tactics for places Ecommerce stores can use forms to collect email sign-ups:

  • When visitors first visit your store (often a great time to include a discount)
  • When a visitor has looked at more than four products on your website
  • On your blog
  • On your About page

By using different forms and messaging at different times on your website, you’ll capture visitors in different ways.

Once you’ve collected the email, you’ll want to setup a standard series of welcome emails that automatically go out over the next few weeks. New newsletter sign-ups are some of your most interested potential customers – they signed up to hear more from you.

Setting up sign-up forms

You can learn more on how to add newsletter sign-up forms to your site.

Shopify stores can easily add pop-up and fly-out newsletter sign-ups to their store by making minor changes to their Shopify stores theme that don’t need any technical knowledge.

If you have  a Shopify, Magento or Bigcommerce stores, Klaviyo will also automatically capture sign-ups that occur during checkout.

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Why Email isn’t Dead: The Economics of Ecommerce Email Marketing

Economics of Email Marketing

There are many reasons stores should send email: to build stronger relationships with customers, to highlight new products, to stay top of mind, to make customers happy.

But there’s also the obvious reason: to get customers to return to their store and make a purchase.

The goal of this post is to quantify the value of email marketing for Ecommerce stores so they can benchmark themselves and to help stores who aren’t doing email marketing now understand how value it is.


A Quick Overview of Ecommerce Email Marketing

At Klaviyo, we break Ecommerce email marketing into two buckets:

  • Newsletters: Monthly, weekly or daily emails that are scheduled to go out to a list of customers.
  • Triggered emails (or Flows): Abandoned carts, welcome series, post-order follow-ups, cross-sell emails. Essentially any email that goes out to a customer based on what they have and haven’t done.

To take a look at each, we took a look at a sample of the 10’s of millions of Ecommerce emails that we send. Because Klaviyo is plugged into stores via their Shopify, Magento, Bigcommerce or custom Ecommerce platforms, every email sent is automatically tied back to whether a purchase was made (and whether the recipient had opened or clicked it beforehand).


The Impact of Ecommerce Newsletters

We found that the average newsletter made $0.18 per email sent.  Within that range though, we found tremendous variation:

The dollar value of Newsletters

60% of emails made just less than $0.10 per email, while 3% of campaigns made $1-2 per email sent.

With any newsletter campaign, there are lots of reason it might work better or worse: timing, whether it includes a promotion or sale, whether it’s a big new product launch, whether it had great content, the price point of the items featured.

Within results, we saw that campaigns could vary significantly week to week for an individual store; however, we did see that stores that were great at email had consistently great performing campaigns.

The take-aways:

  • It should also help you get a sense for how valuable it is to think of ways to grow your newsletter
  • If you are, it should give you a sense of how you compare.
  • If you aren’t sending campaigns, this should give you a good sense of how valuable they could potentially be.

This doesn’t mean that you should just email your customers more. We’ve clearly seen that if you don’t consistently provide content your recipients love, they will abandon you (which is a topic we’ll cover in a later post).


The Impact of Abandoned carts

The typical abandoned cart email goes out a few hours to a few days after a customer starts a checkout but doesn’t complete it.  As Dan Wang mentioned on the Shopify blog a few weeks ago, nearly 70% of carts get abandoned.

When using email to recover abandoned carts, we saw an average of ~$12 recovered per checkout abandoned. Again, the variation was tremendous:

Dollars Recovered per Abandoned Checkout

While most stores recovered just under $10 for each abandoned checkout using email, 5% of stores were able to recover an average of ~$30 per abandoned cart. One very surprising finding: for 5% of stores the emails made almost nothing.

Our conclusion: every store should consider trying cart abandonment emails. While some stores worry about bothering customers, by striking a helpful tone, focusing on making your brand shine through in the email, and sounding like a human, you can give your customers a great email to bring them back.

If your results aren’t as good as others, a few ideas:

  • A/B test your content – particularly to try a simple and more personalized message or different subject lines.
  • Try sending different numbers of emails (1 vs 2)
  • Experiment with different lengths of time after checkout was abandoned
  • Consider segmenting your abandoned cart emails with different content for first-time buyers vs those who have bought before


The Impact of Sending Win-back Follow-ups to Lapsed Customers

One of the most effective emails we’ve seen our customers send is the “win-back” email specifically targeted at bringing back customers who have bought before but not recently.

More than other emails, we see way more variation in what these emails look like, whether they include discounts, whether they go out after a month or after 6 months.  While we didn’t collect data on win-backs in this sample, we’ve previously seen win-back emails drive $9 in impact per email sent.

If you haven’t started sending win-backs, try starting with a short personal email 90 days after someone purchases encouraging them to come back and potentially offering a discount.


Welcome Series, Cross-Sell, Product Reviews, etc

In addition to newsletters, abandoned carts and win-backs, there are a whole series of other emails that Ecommerce stores send that drive significant purchases. We didn’t quantify their impact as part of this sample, but we’ll revisit them going forward. Either way, the point is that the economics of the emails we’ve looked at shouldn’t fully address all of the eonomics of your email marketing programs.


Estimating the Impact of Ecommerce Email

Our goal in doing this analysis was to give Ecommerce stores the information they need to evaluate how important email marketing is to them.

Based on size, number of checkouts, customers, etc, you should be able to do some back of the envelope math to get a rough idea of the impact of email marketing on your store – and you’ll generally find that this potential impact is too big to ignore.

It’s easy to see how a 5,000 person newsletter list leads to $50,000 in sales in a year (with 2 emails a week for 52 week,  $0.20 per email per person, etc) – and more when you add on win-backs, abandoned carts and many of the other emails like welcome series and cross-sell offers we didn’t discuss.

Email marketing is certainly not a dead channel for email marketing – in fact, it’s hard to find a more vibrant area of innovation and growth. There is a lot of need for better emails (and spammers have given email a bad name), but the reality is that it’s still a great way to reach customers that can be good for everyone.

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Feature Friday: Email A/B Testing, the Ecommerce CRM, and Testing Email Templates on Mobile

Feature Fridays: Email A/B Testing, Ecommerce CRM and Email Templates

At Klaviyo, we’ve been busy working on new ways you can making your emails amazing for you and your customers.  We’ve got a lot of very exciting stuff coming over the next few weeks.

To start, we want to share with you great ways to send better email newsletters based on A/B testing different content, senders, subject lines and more, how to use Klaviyo as an Ecommerce CRM, and building great responsive email templates for mobile.


Advanced Email A/B Testing

A/B Testing your emails sounds advanced but is actually incredibly simple.  Have ideas for different subject lines, discounts, senders or even whether an email is plain text or HTML?  Try both!

Over the last 6 months, we’ve been very focused on ways to make Email A/B testing easy and intuitive – and very effective.  Every time you create a campaign in Klaviyo (and content for that campaign), you’ll see an “Add Variation” link underneath. This lets you create multiple version of content for a campaign or an autoresponder.

Email A/B testing

Klaviyo has two powerful types of A/B testing:

  1. Autoresponders / Triggered Emails: First, you can easily split your triggered email sends 50/50 between two different emails (or up to 5 different emails for that matter). This lets you see which email does better – on opens, clicks and on conversions or purchases. Wonder if your abandoned cart emails should have a discount? Test it! Want to see if plain text beats HTML?  Another great test!
  2. Campaigns and Newsletters: Second, great new campaign testing features. Once you’d added multiple variations, you can send your email campaign to a set percentage (say 20%) of your list, see which one has the highest opens or clicks, then automatically push out the winner to everyone else. This is a great way to always test subjects, email templates or discount amounts while still ensuring that everyone gets the best email possible.

Over the coming months we’ll be posting some great case studies on email A/B testing, but we heartily recommend playing with it. Why not see what’s working and what’s not?


The SaaS and Ecommerce CRM

Because Klaviyo combines purchase data from Magento, Shopify, Bigcommerce and other ecommerce platforms, web tracking data from websites, support data from Zendesk, Desk.com, and others, we’ve seen that it often becomes the best place to see what customers have or haven’t done and then to segment customers on that information.

Klaviyo as an Ecommerce CRM

To this end, we’re excited to launch new CRM features for setting properties on each customer that can then be used to create dynamic lists.  If you click on a person in Klaviyo, you can click either “Add” or “Edit” (the little pencil icon next to properties) to change a property on a customer. For example, you could:

Keep track of:

  • Customers who have called and expressed interest
  • VIP programs that customers have to opt-in to.
  • Different stages of the sales process.
  • Notes on customers who have called support.


Building Responsive Email Templates for Mobile

Finally, at Klaviyo we are constantly focused on how you can build great email templates easily, quickly and cheaply – all without the need to hire a designer (this is why we offer a free drag and drop email template creator). To this end, we’re constantly pushing new tools for building great emails to our email template editor. 

A few great improvements these last couple of months:

  • Mobile preview: A new mobile view link to see what your email will look like on phones.  In the upper right of the Klaviyo email template builder, toggle between a desktop view and a mobile view.
  • Tables: Easily add great looking tables to your email templates.
  • Dynamic Email Template Builders: One thing we really pride ourselves on at Klaviyo is building the best email template builder in the world (yes, we realize that sounds obnoxious…but we really are that dedicated to bringing you something amazing). From Mailchimp to Constant Contact to Bronto to Exact Target, one of our goals has been to provide a best in class responsive email template builder for ecommerce stores and web apps. Anyway, to the point: we’ve launched a really, really cool advanced template builder that lets you create dynamic layouts to then use as templates:

Building a Responsive Custom Email Template for your Ecommerce Store or Web App

And then the dynamic email template builder itself:

Designing a Custom Email Template


What’s Coming In the Next Couple of Weeks

The next few weeks are going to be big. We’re always working on ways to make your emails amazing, but what’s coming is good. Really, really exciting stuff.

Here’s what to expect:

  • Flows and Autoresponders: A new way to create “flows” of emails triggered by what people do and don’t do.  Think massive autoresponder improvements that make it easier to organize, analyze and trigger emails that drive results.  From abandoned carts to welcome series of emails, flows are both a major UI change and a powerful new way to improve your lifecycle email series.
  • Ideas: We’ve worked with thousands of Ecommerce stores and web apps working to super-charge their email. From that experience, we’re adding new features to let you choose existing best practice flows and autoresponders that are working great for other companies to add to your account.
  • The Birth of Interactive Email: We think email has been a one way communication channel for too long. From an Email Like button in email for content that’s great to new ways to collect information from new customers in welcome flows, we’re working to change the face of email.  It’s time that email was great for both you and your customers.

We’d love to hear your feedback! We believe email can be great for customers and stores – and the more you tell us about how we can help make your customers love you, the better!




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How to Build a Great Email Template (without a designer)

2014-03 - email templates copy

A great email template is good for your customers (easy to read, visually appealing, uncluttered, quick to the point) and good for you (reflects your brand, builds confidence, saves you time).

When I sat down to make the first Klaviyo email template, I had no idea where to start. I probably wasted an hour dragging, dropping, previewing, deleting, and even at the end of it wasn’t all that happy.

What I didn’t realize at the time is that many of the best looking email templates are actually fairly similar – and mostly importantly, fairly simple.

5 Easy to Build but Good-Looking Email Template Types

The goal of this post is to give you 5 clear examples of email templates types that you can easily create on your own without needing to hire a designer.

For each email we’ll give you an example, talk through why it works and give you tips for how to easily create it.  You should be able to build each template in about 15 minutes using Klaviyo’s free email template creator.

Whether you have an Ecommerce store or a Web app, great templates nearly always share a few common traits:

  • They are simple and don’t distract the reader
  • They look good on all devices and in all email clients
  • They have a clear next step for the reader to take

In short, if you weren’t the sender, your email should be one that you’d want to read and that you would respond to.

Example 1: The Letterhead

Bonobos Example of a Letterhead Email Template

Example Bonobos email in “Letterhead” style

 The “letterhead” email template is simple: a white block with a logo in the middle of the top that sites over a gray background. It’s really easy to create and as long as you have a clean and uncluttered logo, it tends to almost always look great with minimal effort.

  • Why it works: Clean, Simple, Great Branding
  • What  it works best for: Newsletters, triggered emails, Notifications – really any thing. At Klaviyo, we use this template for our newsletter and for our follow-ups after sign-up.  We keep our notifications in a different template to really call out the differences between them.
  • Note: Looking the email above, you’ll notice that because the template is so minimal, any color (for example, the picture and the link to schedule an appointment above) draws the eye immediately. You will need a logo with a white or transparent background.
  • How you create it: Add your logo the center of a new template, then add text below. Leave the default shading of the background and use a light foreground.

Example 2: The Inset Logo

Zendesk Email with Inset Logo

Example Zendesk email in “Inset Logo” style

The inset logo template is a close cousin of the “letterhead” style above.  You create it in the very same way, but rather than putting the logo on white, put on a block the same color as the background. While this style downplays the logo and brand a bit, it’s a great way to focus in on a title or statement.

  • Why it works: Clean, Simple, to the point.
  • What it works best for: This is another very versatile template, but it works particularly well for two uses:
    • Blogs: Because it calls direct attention to the article title, it’s a great way to get someone to click and end up on your site.
    • Notifications: Similarly, when the goal of an email is to make the user aware of something (an upcoming deadline, a payment issue, etc), this template gets to the point.
  • Note:  This template often looks really good with more vibrant, colorful logos that stand out against the gray of the email background. You will need a logo image with a transparent background.
  • How you create it: If you’ve already made a letterhead template, start with that.  If not, add your logo at the top, then set the background of that block to be the same color as the overall background. Finally, remove any borders.

Example 3: The Header

Huckberry Email in Header Style

Example Huckberry email in “Header” style

Similar to the letterhead and the inset logo designs above, the header is simple and easy to make look good.  

  • Why it works: Very clear call to action and lots of flexibility in type of message.
  • What it works best for: Versatile, but often a great fit for a welcome email series.  The clear call to action in the upper right gets people back to your site, and the block below is good for telling your brands story through text and pictures.
  • Note:  Another great thing about this template is that it works with nearly any logo – you just change the header.
  • How you create it: Add a dark colored bar to the top of your email that looks good behind your logo. Next, add your logo on the right and then your text on white below.

Example 4: The All-White

Everlane Email Template in All White

Example Everlane email in “All-White” style

Another email template we’re excited to see more of is an all-white template. It’s extremely minimal – but it lets you really highlight your product or a call to action with color.

  • Why it works: Simple, clean and makes calls to action very visible because they are the only color.
  • What it works best for: Great for newsletters, promotions, notifications, and triggered emails – really about anything.
  • Note:  This tends to work well especially when your logo is simple but very high quality.
  • How you create it: Set the background to white and remove any borders so that you literally have a completely white email. Then, add your logo at the top, text or a picture, and then ideally a large colorful button as a call to action.

Example 5: The Plain Text Email

Finally, don’t underestimate the short and personalized plain text email. They’re much more likely to get a customer response and they feel much more personal

  • Why it works: Feels authentic and personal.
  • What it works best for: Short and rare messages that are important.
    • For example, we use this to reach out and offer help to our new sign-ups.
    • Similarly, we see many Ecommerce stores use this to effectively send win-back emails to customers who are fading away.
  • Note:  The key to the plain text emails is not overusing it and not faking it. If it doesn’t feel like an email from a real person, your recipients will lose faith in you quickly and not open the next email you send.

Getting Started

The reason these emails are so straightforward to build is that they are very simple at their core.  They make full use of your logo, but otherwise just consist of one or two other elements – either a gray background with a white box on top, or they just keep everything white.

Every one of these should be able to be created in 15 minutes using Klaviyo’s free responsive email template creator for Ecommerce and Web apps. Once you have a great template, you’re well on your way to sending great emails.

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