A new way to quickly build rock-solid templates for your clients

By David Greiner on 19th October 2011

Our passion at Campaign Monitor has always been about making a designer's job easier. This happens in a variety of ways, from our research and advocacy right through to the features we add to our software. While these efforts have come in handy for a lot of you, the truth is, building a great looking and rock-solid email is still incredibly hard. Limited CSS support combined with such a broad range of email clients means that designing an email campaign for a client can actually be an order of magnitude harder than building them a simple web site.

We think that sucks. So we did something about it.

Today, we're excited to unveil a new and super-fast way to roll out simple, beautiful and most importantly, reliable email templates for you and your clients. Here's a quick video tour to show you some of the key features.

Music by Voltaire Twins, Animalia (if you dig it, you can grab a free copy for a limited time).

Choose a layout

Whenever you add a new template to your account, you'll now have the option to import your own custom template (like we've always supported), or use our new template builder. If you go for the template builder option, we'll present you with four simple template layouts to choose from.


Pick a color scheme

After choosing a layout, you'll be able to customize your design and see a live preview as you do it. To give you a head start, we've provided a range of simple color schemes so you can match the template with your (or your client's) brand.


Customize with your own colours and images

You can easily tweak the color of any element in your email, customize the footer, add social sharing links and even upload your own header image to suit.


Save and it's ready to use

When you'e done building, save the template and it will be available for you and your client's to use in our new editor. You can also jump back in and make further design tweaks whenever you like.


In a few quick minutes you'll end up with a great looking email design that will display reliably in every email client out there.

Not available for your clients

It's important to mention that the new template builder will only be available to admin account holders, and won't be available to any of your clients. We built this tool for designers who want a quick way to build a basic template for their clients. It's a nice compliment to the total flexibility of building your own templates, but will never be a replacement for it.

We also see this feature as a perfect way for getting clients who don't have big template design budgets up and running quickly. In a few minutes you can grant them client access, build them some simple templates and they'll be ready to start sending.

Export for further tweaking

imageWe also consider the template builder an awesome starting point for more complex email designs. We've worked hard and poured everything we know about email coding into these templates to make them as bulletproof as possible.

Because of this, you can create a basic design in minutes, then export the design as a fully-coded template with all our know-how built right in. Open it in your favourite editor and customize away before importing as a new and improved template.

Mobile optimized

No matter how you customize these designs, the saved template will be heavily optimized for mobile email clients without any extra work. Columns are resized, text-sizes are tweaked and image dimensions changed so the email looks great on every device. We've got plans to make it easier for you to see how the template will look on a mobile device in an upcoming update, but feel free to test it out and see for yourself.

Update: Our mobile preview feature was just released. You can read all the details here.

Our motivation

With the template builder out the door, there's an important point we wanted to make loud and clear. We keep track of every single feature request we get at Campaign Monitor and we literally have thousands of these ideas that heavily influence the direction we take. The ability for a designer to quickly build a reliable template has been at the top of this list for a long, long time now.

We're lucky to have tens of thousands of incredible designers as customers, and we know that a lot of you are comfortable diving into nested tables and inline CSS. At the same time, there are also many thousands of you that know the web well, but have been lucky enough to never see a table tag in your life. That's who we built this for, and we hope you love it.


  • Ben Parizek
    27th October

    You folks really design beautiful interfaces.  You should consider designing the rest of the applications on the internet =)

  • Chase Adams
    28th October

    Looks like a great way to push out templates.

    P.S. I love seeing a new feature and someone commenting “give me this too, while you’re at it!” So funny.

  • Brent Lagerman
    28th October

    do you have a table of what email clients you support with these layouts?  I know how you guys love to come up with compatibility tables ;D

  • Constantin Schneider
    28th October

    Awesome! Cant wait to try it out.
    This comes just in time because we are expanding our newsletter business these days. Thank you very much!

  • Darren
    28th October

    This is why I LOVE using Campaign monitor!! Fantastic work guys.

  • kelly
    28th October

    I cannot believe that I am going to say this, but I cannot wait for our next eblast to try this out! Such a chore to design, this should make my job a whole lot easier! Thanks!

  • Dave Cordes
    28th October

    You guys are ridiculously awesome! I am amazed at how you keep pushing the envelope for email campaign management. Keep up the great work! Signed, your happy customer.

  • Hillary
    28th October

    Nicely done. Exporting Pre-made builder templates to edit and reimpose as accustom template is a trick I’ve used for years with a certain hairy competitor of yours.  Love that you are offering this now, and, since it will dramatically reduce much of my set up time, this makes Campaign Monitor an even more important fav tool of mine.  Thanks for your continued improvements.

  • matt adams
    28th October

    When can i have a video that is white label friendly?

  • Leigh
    28th October

    This is superb, great idea!

    What’s the tune on the vid, sounds like Mew???

  • Blaine
    28th October

    I think this may have single-handedly helped me take the Email Marketing side of my web design business from one client to ... well, all of my clients!  Campaign Monitor rocks, and always has. You know what your customers want and you deliver a great product.  Thank you!

  • Fred
    28th October

    Fantastic! Can’t wait to give it a try after I wrap up some “real” work and allow myself some “playing” time.

    I thought PNG’s (the header image) were deprecated in emails though?! Have you found otherwise?


  • chris
    28th October

    Great work. When the template is saved you have the ability to go in and alter the template once you have saved it. Is this feature going to become available for existing templates we have uploaded. Or in other words is there a way to code templates that will allow us to make changes to the css using the template builder.

  • Marc
    28th October

    Very nice!

    Hey what song is that? Reminds me of the soundtrack of the new Drive movie…

  • Nicki Snoblin
    28th October

    Thanks for yet another way to make CM simpler to use. I was about to build a new template for a client, so I’ll give the template builder a try.

    I’m glad to read that the template builder won’t be visible to my clients. I can just hear them asking why they should pay me to design their template!

  • Shawn Peters
    28th October

    I noticed the demo template created used an image as the header section, and without it the template would not indicate “what” the title is. What is the backup in case the image doesn’t show (many email clients block images by default)?

    Thanks and great job on an easy to use template creator!

  • David Greiner
    28th October

    Wow, what an amazing response to wake up to. Thanks for all the very kind words everyone. We’ve got more plans for the template builder and every bit of feedback counts, so please keep it coming.

    The backing music for the video is by Australia’s Voltaire Twins and the track is called Animalia (if you like it, you can grab a free copy here for a limited time).

  • jonathan@xsive1.com
    28th October

    I have to agree with @jason about the width and add this.  Having the width an editable feature would be best.  Being able to not switch the sidebar but rather define the widths of the two columns.

  • Clinton
    28th October


  • Mark Shingleton
    28th October

    I’ve just tried this out and it looks brilliant.
    I have a client who would just LOVE to be able to use this functionality. Could you please please consider making this (or a variation of it) available for clients - not just account holders?

  • Sarah J
    28th October

    Oh I can not wait to try this out!

  • Bec
    28th October

    Amazing! Just had a 30 second play with it and basically rebuilt a template that would normally take at least half an hour.

    Looks fantastic. Can’t wait to use it properly. Thank you!

    In my 30 seconds of playing, I did have a quick thought… It would be amazing to be able to store our own colour schemes. (Forgive me if I missed this feature)

  • Raymond
    28th October

    I just built one for a client as a test and it was insanely simple and easy to use. That was so easy I think I’ll build my own using this tool as well. You guys are amazing. Thanks very much!

  • Lb
    28th October

    REQUEST: Adding background images….

  • Ntheoret
    28th October

    I use CM for 3 years now. I love it ...
    I have a request:
    I would like to place  
    Web version, Update preferences, Unsubscribe, Forward, Edit your subscription,  Unsubscribe instantly in French ...  Is this possible?

  • Michel
    28th October

    Looks great.

  • Attila Fulop
    28th October

    Impressive! The great plus for me is the automatic mobile version.

  • Rich MacDonald
    28th October

    I love the template builder. Thanks for all your hard work. It helps tackle one of the biggest barriers to selling the service to small business, namely the setup cost. Just a thought, or possibly a feature request: I notice that when a header image is selected instead of a text header it’s not possible to add alt text to the header image for when recipients have image display turned off. I’d love to add the company name as alt text for a company logo in the header. I don’t think I’ve overlooked the option somewhere, have I? Thanks again.

  • derry
    28th October

    Goddam you guys are great!  Keep the hits coming!

  • Luca
    28th October


  • TinRoofPress
    28th October

    looks amazing!

  • Andy
    28th October

    Another extremely beautiful, well thought-out interface from you guys. Will definitely be using this for new templates in future, if for a decent starting point to export and tinker with. Thanks for making my job that little bit easier guys! :)

  • Joe
    28th October

    On 34 seconds the template layout inexplicably changes from 2 column to 1 column!

  • Ed Gould
    29th October

    You just kept our business well done looks great - Now please can we have share and translate feature on the webmail version to compete with mail chimp?

  • saul edmonds
    29th October

    Ummm yeah well thats the most awesome thing I’ve seen all week ... time saving awesomeness-ness at its best. Thanks for putting in the hard yards for us CM !!

  • Tom Sheehan
    29th October

    I can’t get past the first five seconds of the video :(

    But the concept sounds good.

  • Karen Rainsong
    30th October

    This is amazing, thank you so much for doing this! It will be a huge time saver for me! I was already a big fan but was drifting off due to too much time spent trying to create templates- it was not viable for my business. But now I’m back and super excited with this new tool to help me make it easy. Thanks again!
    BTW I am looking to find out how wide the header should be? My header image was not the right size to fit the space given so need specs on that.

  • Geoff McMahen
    31st October

    Very nice, I can’t wait to try this!

  • Serg
    31st October

    Great job guys!!!
    I will send you feedback as soon as I try these mobile designs up.

  • frederic sidler
    1st November

    do not forget that there are european and non english customer (translation, date, time, etc.)
    thank you in advance

    will it be possible to edit one of your available template?

  • LB
    2nd November

    Feature request:
    Ability to turn sidebars off for left and right sidebar template, ability to make left sidebar a right sidebar.

  • David Greiner
    2nd November

    Thanks again for all the amazing comments and feedback guys, we couldn’t have asked for a better response. We hear you loud and clear on the multilingual thing and plan on addressing this in a future release so it’s useful for everyone, no matter what language they speak.

    The ability to switch the sidebar from left to right is also a great idea, and one we’re looking at supporting too. @LB, just to clarify, the simple template option doesn’t have a sidebar at all, which might be what you’re looking for there. You can switch to this layout from the builder at any time.

  • Ian
    2nd November

    unreal. this is really really really longawaited from someone and when it comes to simply communicating, this is the dogs bollocks. No fancy schmancy for those of us who don’t have the dollars to spend on fancy design.

  • Dan Stramer
    3rd November

    Wonderful work!!!
    Qusetion - how can I insert link in the footer:eamil, website etc…
    Can this only be done after downloading the template and tweaking it?

  • Mathew Patterson
    4th November

    Yes Dan, you would need to export the template and update it yourself to add more to the footer.

  • Nigel
    6th November

    Thank you . Thank you. Thank you. Great development.

  • Øyvind Østmo
    8th November

    +1 on the language option here to. Just a simple “translation” form would be sufficient. Thanks! Awesome stuff :)

  • Ros Hodgekiss
    8th November

    @Øyvind Østmo and others here - if you have 2 minutes, please help us translate the templates into your language by filling in this form.

    We’re certainly looking at localizing our templates and are appealing to our customers to provide the most appropriate translations. Stay tuned to this blog as we’ll let everyone know when the new language options are ready.

  • Frankle7
    8th November

    I Love this approach. It will definitely make my approach attractive and simple.

  • Christa
    9th November

    Love it!

  • Christopher
    10th November

    Caution: Unfortunately, it breaks in the new version of yahoo mail. You have to manually add a paragraph padding style to the source code in each paragraph to make them separate. Also, yahoo is getting confused and displaying half mobile layout, half regular layout.

  • Pedro
    18th November

    Hello and Congrats for this development.
    I was really excited about this feature but i don’t understand how my clients will benefit from it since the this option is not available for them in the Campaign Monitor Backoffice, it is only available for me as an Admin.

  • Ros Hodgekiss
    18th November

    Hi Pedro, as Dave mentioned in the blog post, we’ve made the template editor available to designers only, so that designers can quickly and easily create templates for their clients. It isn’t meant to be a replacement for a designer like yourself.

    Hopefully you can benefit from being able to create templates for clients in a fraction of the time. Your clients will benefit from faster turnarounds and potentially, a bespoke template for a cheaper than bespoke price :)

  • Edward Guillen
    30th November

    Does this have the ability to add additional HTML?

  • Ros Hodgekiss
    30th November

    @Edward Guillen - In this case, you can either export the final template and tweak the HTML code, or for smaller tweaks, you can edit the Source in the template editor. Hope this helps!

  • Ellen
    1st December

    Hi, Is it possible to have text and an image in the header? Most clients want their logo image and their name in text. Otherwise…. awesome design tool! Thanks.

  • Ros Hodgekiss
    1st December

    @Ellen - At present, you will need to export the template and tweak the HTML code to do this. Sorry about that, but we’ll look at how we can add more editable regions to the templates in the future :)

  • Teddy
    13th December

    cool..this is cool

  • Timon Berlin
    18th December

    This saves my day. I got a job designing email templates and we all know, it’s not so easy. Especially with mobile support. “Design it like 1999” - yeah, damn. But this template builder seems to solve it…

  • Vernon
    23rd December

    This is seriously awesome. Good job guys!

  • Daniel Jauregui
    14th January

    My links don’t preview correctly?

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