The Mailchimp Drag and Drop Template Maker vs. a Hand Coded Email Template

A person reading an email that uses a Mailchimp Drag and Drop Template on their mobile phone with.

Every Mailchimp account needs a template to send out an email. What’s the best template? A Mailchimp drag and drop template or hand coded HTML template? Learn the differences in this article and decide which one you want to use.

Your email design can easily make your campaign soar into the clouds or drop like a rock. Two-thirds of consumers prefer a beautifully designed email. Add to this; a full 80% will delete the email immediately if it isn’t easy to read on their mobile device.

Well-designed emails can elevate your subscriber engagement, resulting in higher click-through rates and conversions. Creating an email is challenging enough between writing and designing, especially if you are short on time or resources. Add the fact you’ve got other projects to work on.

So, this leaves you with a couple of logical options; 

  1. create your emails from scratch by hand-coding a template
  2. use a drag & drop template maker

What is an email template?

Simply put, it’s the “stationery” your email content is on. It’s an HTML file you use to build your campaigns. 

A good template allows you to copy & paste and add elements (images, text, etc.). Once delivered to your customers, the email will render properly on desktops, mobile devices, and works well across all email service providers. 

Templates can be manually coded or use a drag and drop service.

Hand Coded Email Templates

When email started, emails were created and coded by hand as the design requirements and user experience were basic. Most emails were just text and didn’t require any design or code.

Today, with the many complexities of a variety of different operating systems, device types, email providers, spam filters, etc. coding email templates by hand is best left to those experienced with email HTML/CSS, or an email specific language (e.g., MJML).

The essential steps to produce an email template for your campaign:

  1. Search for and acquire images and write copy
  2. Manually build out the template in HTML/CSS or MJML
  3. Do a test run of the email and fix any bugs that show up on desktop or mobile email readers
  4. Resend the test email for approval once corrections are made
  5. Receive final approval if the test is successful
  6. Send email

The upside of hand-coded email templates 

While it is a very technical procedure (you’ll need in-depth knowledge of HTML, MJML, CSS, and the various email rendering methods). You’ll have complete control over every part of the email template. It can be designed in any way your coding team is capable of producing.

The downside of hand-coded email templates

Hand coding can be a long process. The creative and compliant components will take the longest time (next to bug fixes). In all, this process can take up to ten or more hours per email from start to finish. This does not necessarily include waiting for approvals. Hand-coded email templates are pricier, and some may only be used once.

Drag and Drop Email Templates

The upside of drag and drop template makers

If you look at the list above regarding steps to create an email by hand programming, you would easily eliminate number 2. Since your templates come prepared for email service provider compliance, you won’t need to worry about issues with the way the email looks or delivery.

Drag and drop templates can be used over and over again for all your emails. Changing the look of a template is quick and easy once you learn the drag and drop template maker.

In effect, you stand to gain time back while using 80-90% less effort to build an email template. The largest cost savings is the fact you won’t need to hire an email coder to create your emails.

The Mailchimp drag and drop template

The advantage of using a Mailchimp drag and drop template is that for those who don’t code, the display will show you how your email will look. 

For those who know HTLM, you can view the actual code of the template blocks. So you can build the cleanest template that will render your email accurately.

As a robust email marketing tool, Mailchimp templates offer 5 crucial features:

  1. Scales email production – Use the drag and drop blocks with your branded images to easily add content and visuals so you can spend more time on the content you want people to read.
  2. Change your email template easily – Drag and drop email templates are very flexible, and your email format can be changed quickly.
  3. Improve the reading experience – Use exquisite designs and animated visuals or other interactive elements. Make the text large and easy to read on desktop and mobile all in one place.
  4. Build for mobile viewing – Separate mobile email template controls make your template readable and ready for one-hand use.
  5. Keeps branding consistent – Your brand design is on all your marketing channels, providing the same brand look and feel.

Final Thoughts

Using a drag & drop template maker today is virtually bulletproof on every major email service provider. Don’t take the chance of your audience missing out if your hand-coded HTML email fails to hit the inbox or render correctly for some of your recipients. Mailchimp works hard to make sure their templates hit the inbox every time.

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