By definition a template, in web design, is a pre-developed layout used to create duplicates based on a similar style, format and structure. So, using the adjective “reusable” before the word “template” seems irrelevant since a template’s core purpose is to facilitate replication.
As leading CRM and Marketing Automation platforms are becoming more prevalent targeting marketing professionals with a wider range of aptitude levels, there is a growing expectation that no expertise should be required to update a template once it has been set up inside of an email service provider (ESP).
But this is where most templates seem to fail the test of reusability.
The majority of the clients who contact us for our template services share a similar form of frustration: “We used this template once and it worked fine. Now the content is all over the place and it does not seem to be responsive anymore. I needed to send this email out yesterday! Any chance you could help us?”
If you do a quick search online, you will find that the price for the creation of customised email templates varies widely. But before spending your $, there are 2 important questions you should ask yourself:
- Will you be able to update the template using the skills you have in-house?
- How flexible does the template need to be?
For most people, a customised template means a layout which has been re-skinned or adapted to match the corporate visual style including an editable section which allows for content updates. But there is much more to consider: does an image need to be formatted in a specific way to maintain its responsive behaviour? How to change the layout without breaking the code?
Usually little or no thought is put into how hard or easy it is to update the template after its first use. We often see that a designer is contracted to create and setup a one-off template for a specific campaign, but as soon as the template breaks, the client is left on his own to fix the issue.
At RMS our definition of a reusable template is one that a client can duplicate and update independently on a continuous basis.
Make sure your design agency provides the following for template design [RMS does, at a minimum!]:
- Layout design and conceptualisation.
- Valid HTML and CSS coding that complies with web industry standards.
- Re-usable template set up for you inside of your Marketing Automation/CRM system.
- Testing and debugging inside of your Marketing Automation/CRM system. Tested in your environment and across agreed supported email systems/browsers.
- A proper handover session with a documented Usage Guide on how to use the template.
It should come as no surprise that RMS provides all of these in our services pack.
This explains the substantial difference between the time required to set up a one-off template and a reusable one. Considering some of the horror stories we’ve heard about getting a template created or fixed, it makes perfect sense to spend a little more to get things right the first time. When you put things in perspective – the price of a reusable template “done properly” is relatively small for an item that you buy once and own forever!