Building responsive emails

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Campaign Monitor email templates
on 01 Sep 2016 3:48 PM
  • Newsletters
  • Email templates
  • Mailchimp
  • Campaign Monitor
  • CiviMail

Gettng your emails to look good on different devices can be a pain. Here's how we do it.

CiviMail - part of CiviCRM - is great for sending out email newsletters that people can subscribe to. It keeps your data in one place, and you can look at who gets it, what they click on and get a really good picture of user engagement.

The downside is that creating the emails is finicky. You need to get a responsive template in place and then you need to use it and edit it for every email.  It takes a great deal of time and skill to create a great looking email.

There are great online services that make the creation of emails super-easy. Campaign Monitor and Mailchimp are a couple of examples. But their downside is that the data is not consolidated with your CRM, so getting a picture of user email engagement together with other measures of engagement is high effort.

So here is how we get the best of both worlds

Use a ready-made email template

First, keep things simple. Use a single image and full width text for your template. Go to Campaign Monitor you can get one of their ready-made templates and put in your own details.  It is really useful for adding in your logo, social media links and some dummy headlines and stories.

These templates are great because they have been tested with all sorts of devices and email clients.

Once you are happy with that, go to Preview. On the Preview screen, just below the box that asks you to fill in details, there is a link to download your email as text and images. Click this and then you will be able to receive the raw files you need to use for your emails.

Paste the template into CiviMail

Then it is just a matter of creating a new email template in CiviMail, pasting in the text and testing it a few times to get things right.

Going further

The more complex your newsletter design, the harder it is to re-edit in CiviCRM. Campaign Monitor and Mailchimp have invested millions of dollars in creating their beautiful slick interface that takes away the slog, and CiviMail is no match.

At Xpdient we recognise that sometimes a client wants something a bit more complex. In these situations we create a custom newsletter module that allows anyone to create a newsletter that fits an agreed design. Once creating it’s just a matter of pasting the results into CiviCRM and the job is done.

In essence we make email newsletters super easy so that your staff and volunteers can spend more time doing the good things that you do.