Jan 282014

(and 3 ways to get creative with a single column email template)

Have you noticed how kids will personalise their school uniform? A uniform is imposed to ensure order, consistency and tidiness. It’s easier for teachers, parents and the community to identify children by their uniform. In theory, every child looks the same. It’s neat and tidy.

In practice, children have always found creative ways to personalise their look. Whether that’s crazy hair, a funky bag, a cool jacket, discreet jewellery or other more outlandish embellishments.

It’s the same with email marketing.

Did you know,

“51% of people open their emails on mobile devices now?”

(Aweber e-news 23.1.14)

More and more of us scan emails on our phones which means we need to move towards templates that are easy to read on those screens. That means single column templates.

However it doesn’t mean we have to accept a dull and uniform approach and throwaway any creative embellishments.

Innovative email marketing programmes like MailChimp and Aweber have been offering mobile responsive templates for some time. That is, templates that re-size according to the screen size. So they look good whether viewed on a large desktop screen, medium size tablet screen, or small phone screen.

What’s the problem with 2 or 3 column templates?

2 or 3 column templates look great on a large screen, but on a small phone screen, MailChimp, for instance, stacks the columns one on top of the other. That can completely mess with your message, as your prime offer information in the top right hand corner, gets sunk to the bottom of the email.

So, you’re persuaded to try a one column template, but you’re concerned that you cannot get the layout you want……….

3 ways to get creative with a single column template

Here are 3 ways to get more creative with a one column template in MailChimp:-

1.Split individual text blocks into 2 columns.
2. Use image with left or right caption blocks to create effect of 2 column on desktop version while they stack on mobile version
3. Split header block into 2, use square logo & welcome message.

Let’s take those one at a time:

1. Split individual text blocks into 2 columns

Within a single column template in MailChimp you can split text blocks into two. On the screen shot, you see under settings you get to select 1 or 2 columns.

Using this option ensures that e.g. An offer you put in the right column will only stack under the left column of this text block I.e it won’t get pushed to the bottom of the email. And what about images?

2. Use image with left or right caption blocks

If you haven’t already experimented, take a look at the image blocks with right or left caption.

They can be used for offers, destination photos or inspirational shots to go with a snippet from your blog, sales page or other page on your website. Again using this block gives the effect of 2 columns on a large screen but stacks one on top of the other on a small screen. And what do you do with the header?

3. Split header block into 2, use square logo & welcome message

A traditional newsletter always begins with a header featuring the company logo and name of the e-newsletter. In the hurried world of email inboxes, we need to grab people’s attention quickly.

So consider splitting your header and jumping straight in with your message in the left column and putting your logo in the right.

With all these options use the Preview mode in MailChimp to see how it might look on a small screen. Even better send tests to Android and Apple mobiles.

“I like my 2 column template and I don’t like change”

I know where you’re coming from! If you’re getting good results then stick with it, but it’s always worth being open to change. You never know, it might improve your response rates!

Just as children find the most ingenious ways to stamp their mark on their school uniform, you don’t need to be confined by the one column template. Go and experiment.

Have you experimented with layouts? What have you found?

Best regards


P.S. Need help with your email marketing or MailChimp?  I now offer online coaching (via Skype or Google hangout) to help you with email marketing and writing content to promote your business.  Get in touch for a quote.

About Juliet Fay

Juliet Fay is a coach, trainer and writer offering personal and marketing coaching for individuals and businesses looking for positive change in their life and work. She is also developing change programmes for social care workers. http://www.onlinesalesmessages.com/subscribe-juliet-enews/

  3 Responses to “Why single column email templates are the hot trend for email marketing in 2014”

  1. Love this, Juliet! I’ve just been updating my template — using a 2-column format. Fortunately I haven’t finalized it yet. Have bookmarked this page to refer back to, and I’ll be creating a 1-column format and see which I prefer when I send tests to a phone.

  2. Hi Teresa, sorry I didn’t get back to you. How did the one column work out for you?

  3. i use the drag and drop single column layout on mailchimp using your suggestions and it makes my mobile email stretched long instead of resizing text and images to look the way they do in gmail on my computer. why is this? thanks.

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