Email Templates: Overview
When to use it
Once you have created your email template HTML, paste the HTML into the Salsa Email Template Tool following these instructions.
Create more attractive, and brand-consistent emails in less time by utilizing email templates. Though it is possible to send emails without a template, we strongly suggest using an email template when sending an email blast.
Salsa's setup team will create three Salsa email templates for you. Follow these instructions if you'd like to create more.
How to get there
To access your email templates or create a new one, go to the email package and then select one of the email template options shown below:
You'll then have four options:
Create an email template: Place HTML directly into the email template.
Create an email template from a banner image: Easily create an email template using a 700px wide banner image.
List email templates: See all of the email templates you have available. From there you can edit or delete your email templates. Click the Details link next to any template to edit or preview it. (See screenshot below.)
Choose a default email template: Change which template you want to be your default when creating new email blasts.
Email Templates: From Information
When you select Create an Email Template, you will be taken to the email template workflow. The basic email template workflow is split into three tabs:
- From Information
- HTML Content
- Text Content
The values you enter in these fields will be populated by default in any email blasts which use this email template. These values will be editable when you're creating the email blast.
- Reference Name: Internal name; your supporters will not see this.
- From_Name: The name this email comes from. It’s best formatted as First and Last Name, Organization
- From_Email: The email address this email comes from.
This must be a valid email address!
- Reply_To Email: The address you want to receive replies. The address may be the same as the From_Email, but it doesn't have to be. If you have a Reply-To Manager set up, use it here.
- Subject: Default subject line. Fill this out if you want all email blasts sent with this template to have the same subject line (most campaign managers leave this field blank in email templates).
Uneditable templates (box unchecked):
- You may change your selected template within the email blast workflow up until you select Send.
- The only part of an uneditable template that will appear in the email blast workflow is the content wrapped between the
TemplateEndEditabletags. If you have, for example, a sidebar with upcoming events and that sidebar is outside the "editable" portion of your template, then it will not appear in the Email blast editor and may become out of date unless edited in the template itself.
- The Email Blast workflow will capture and hold onto any text content that is between the
TemplateEndEditabletags. This means that even if you change your template, any content that was originally from the template and between those tags will remain.
Editable templates (box checked):
- Once you have selected an editable template within the email blast workflow, you can no longer switch templates--doing so will overwrite any content you have created.
- If marked as editable, the entire email template will appear in the email blast workflow (not just the content wrapped between the
- Even though the
TemplateEndEditabletags don't define what is editable, you still need to have the tags in your email template.
- Edits that are made to an editable template inside the email workflow will not be saved on the template itself.
Click Save to save your work or Save & Continue to save and continue to the HTML Content tab.
Email Templates: HTML Content
Once you are in the HTML Content tab of an email template, you can create or edit the template content, images, and links. This is where the bulk of the work takes place.
Edit the HTML
Click the Source button to edit the HTML directly. Using the WYSIWYG editor to create an email template is not advised.
You can obtain the HTML in one of the following ways:
- Hire a web designer to create an email template for you. Creating email templates is a specialized skill and not everyone with HTML knowledge is ready for this task. If you are interested in hiring a web designer to create an email template, we have several partners who would love to work with you. Email our Business Development team for more information.
- If you have enough confidence in your HTML skills to create your email template yourself, read our best practices section before you get started.
- If you do not have a web designer on staff and do not have the budget to hire someone, here are a few options to create HTML:
- Use our email template generator to create an original template.
- You can transfer the HTML from an existing email template.
All HTML templates require one TemplateBeginEditable tag and one TemplateEndEditable tag.
- If your template is Uneditable, the only part of the template that will appear in the email blast workflow is the content inside of the TemplateBeginEditable and TemplateEndEditable tags. Email content goes between those two tags.
- If your template is Editable, the entire email template will appear in the email blast workflow (not just the content wrapped between the TemplateBeginEditable and TemplateEndEditable tags). Even though the tags alone don't define what is editable, you still need to have the tags in your email template.
- If you do not have the TemplateBeginEditable and TemplateEndEditable tags in your template, you will see a message at the top of your screen prompting you to add them, and you will be able to copy and paste them from there. You must paste them into the view of the template. Click the Source in the WYSIWYG to get to the Source view.
- If you are using Salsa's Email Template Generator, the template tags will already be included in the HTML.
- More Tips on Where to Put the Template Tags.
- Adding a link to the default unsubscribe page
- You need to make sure that your supporters have a way of unsubscribing to your email blasts. The easiest way to do this is to add an unsubscribe link to your template. That way you won't have to manually add an unsubscribe link to each individual email blast.
- To add an unsubscribe link to your template, you will need to be in the WYSIWYG view (not the source view).
- First click within the template where you want the unsubscribe link to go. Most people choose to put it in the footer (or bottom part) of the email template.
- By clicking this link, your unsubscribe link will be auto-generated with all of the necessary code to track unsubscribe rates in your email blast.
- You can then change the text of the unsubscribe link if you would like: just highlight the text and type in what text you want to use. You might want it to say “Remove yourself from our email list” or simply “unsubscribe.”
- Note: Use the Insert/edit Link tool in the WYSIWYG toolbar if you'd like to link to a custom Unsubscribe page
- Best Practices
- Keep it simple! Designing email templates is not the same as designing web pages. A banner image and some footer text is all you really need.
- Use tables to position your content. Many email clients do not support positioning using CSS.
- Use valid HTML: don't make the email client have to interpret your HTML. The more it has to guess what you really mean, the more it will guess incorrectly.
- Don't nest style tags. It will create problems when you get to the WYSIWYG.
- Inline styles are compliant with more email clients than CSS in the head or body section. You can use an inline styler tool like this one to make your CSS inline.
- Don't start in Microsoft Word! If you have a well developed template try creating your content directly in the WYSIWYG. If you do compose your blast in Word, be sure to copy and paste it into Notepad, copy it again from Notepad, and then past it back into your test.
- It's ok to use Dreamweaver to create your template. It isn't ok to use Dreamweaver to create an individual email.
- Don't use the following HTML tags any where in an email: <map>, <area>, <script>, <embed>, <object>, and <link>.
- Make sure each image is the size you want it to appear before you put it in the template. Some email clients do not render image size properties correctly. If you’re using a PC, Paint.NET is an excellent free image editing program you can use to resize your images. If you’re using a Mac, you can use Preview.
For more tips on designing emails, check out this online tutorial.
Plain text templates provide basic headers and footers for your plain text emails.
Most of the time, you will use the Auto-generate Text from HTML button when creating your email blasts. This will overwrite the Text Content from your email template anyway so you may not even need to create text content for your template.
If you want to create text content for your email template, follow these instructions.
Although HTML isn't used in plain text emails (that means no images, or more advanced features), it is still imperative to use the Template Editable tags (see below) to create header/footer sections and insert your email blast content. It is good practice to make your plain text templates and emails as similar to their HTML counterparts as possible.
Template Editable tags
<!-- TemplateBeginEditable name="content" -->
<!-- TemplateEndEditable -->
Viewing and editing your template
- By default, plain text templates are always editable and will always insert the entire template into the email workflow. The Email Blast workflow captures and holds onto plain text in a template. As a result, even if the HTML Template is switched halfway through the email workflow, the plain text template will not change.
Adding an unsubscribe link to a text template
- To add an unsubscribe link to your template, click the hyperlink that is above the content box. The resulting link won't be pretty, but it'll work fine. By clicking this link, a URL will be auto-generated with all of the necessary code to track unsubscribe rates in your email blast.