Did you know? The first mass email marketing campaign was sent out way back in 1978 by a company called Digital Equipment Corp to 400 ARPANET (the first interconnected computer network) users. This novel marketing idea generated $13 million in sales for the company. And, even though it wasn’t until the mid-1990s that email marketing took off, it was clear even then that this promotional methodology was one that paid rich dividends. Today, email marketing is well established as the cornerstone of a successful online advertising campaign.
According to the DMA (Data & Marketing Association) institute, the ROI on every dollar spent on email marketing is $42. So, it just makes business sense that, for something so crucial, you go above and beyond plain text emails. And here’s the good news: designing visual HTML templates does not require a significant investment on your part. There are several free email template builders available on the market today. Here are our top seven.
Among the pantheons of email marketing, MailChimp has one of the best free plans on the market. With it, you can send out a whopping 10,000 emails a month to up to 2000 subscribers. Add to that, features such as free landing page and pop-up builders along with basic email reports and a mobile app, and it is no wonder that the company is reportedly adding 30,000 new users each month.
Subscribers of the free plan get only 20 pre-designed templates to work with, along with three basic layouts to choose from, including a simple text layout if you want to go old school. The software is easy to use even for a newbie with intuitively placed prompts and edit pop-up windows that appear when you hover over a content block. You can add boxed texts, image groupings, social-follow buttons, videos, and GIFs to your content.
MailChimp allows you to collaborate with your team members. You can send out a test email to your colleagues, and any critiques or comments they make will appear in the comments section of your template builder. It also gives you a desktop and mobile preview, so you can see how your campaign looks on different devices. The most significant disadvantage with MailChimp’s free plan is that Freddie, the software’s iconic monkey mascot, will appear in the footer of all your emails.
✔️ Send bulk emails with ease
✔️ User-friendly, drag-and-drop interface
✔️ Add videos and GIFs to your emails
✔️ Team collaboration tools
✔️ Desktop and mobile previews
✔️ Plenty of integrations
❌ Only 20 pre-designed templates
❌ MailChimp logo will accompany all your emails
#2 Bee Free
Coming from the production house of MailUp, an email marketing software provider, Bee Free is the company’s free version of its email template builder. You need not sign up before using this free newsletter builder. It offers a plethora of free templates to choose from in 3 main categories.
First, you have a choice of templates from 7 semi-famous designers to choose from.
Second, you can select a template according to your industry. There are 18 industries to choose from, including automotive, cosmetics, and sports. Your third choice is by category. There are templates for all kinds of emails, from newsletters to product launches and seasonal promotions. Alternatively, you can build a template from scratch too.
The software’s editor has a drag-and-drop functionality that makes it easy to use. You can drop entire columns, individual images, or text elements from your computer onto the template. Bee Free has 19 fonts and all the usual color combinations from which we can choose. Additionally, you can add social media buttons, videos, stickers, and GIFs to your template. The application does not save your templates for later use, so you will have to edit and download it in one go. You can only download your edited templates as a zip file. All the other download options, such as PDFs and HTML code, are reserved for paid subscribers.
✔️ No Sign-in required
✔️ Plenty of free templates
✔️ User-friendly editor
✔️ Mobile-ready templates
✔️ Add GIFs and videos to templates
❌ Does not save your edits
❌ Downloads available only as zip files
Chamaileon is an easy-to-use HTML email builder that has a robust free plan. To access the platform’s free plan, you are required to create an account, verify your email, and sign in. Thankfully, it does not ask you for your credit card details. Once you sign in, this builder gives you several options with which you can create an email template. You can choose between designing one from scratch, using their pre-designed templates, or by importing an existing email HTML. The software’s email generator automatically turns the HTML code into a responsive email layout.
The platform has hundreds of pre-designed templates and over a 1000 template blocks to build emails. You can edit the templates easily using the software’s drag-and-drop interface. Additionally, if you drag a text box to the side of an image, the editor automatically creates a column, so you have an image and text side by side. The columns can be easily resized by dragging the arrows in between them. You can also copy dividers and add them to multiple places within the template.
One of Chamaileon’s standout features is that you can save content blocks to a folder for future use. This way, you recreate similar emails without having to redesign overlapping content. Another nice feature is that you can share preview links with your team members to get their opinions. Importantly, any changes you make to your template are saved automatically, so you don’t have to worry about losing your work, and you can go back and edit it whenever you want. Once created, the software allows you to download your template as an HTML code or a zip file. However, the free plan will enable you to export only five email templates per month. On the plus side, it allows you to integrate with Zapier.
✔️ Hundreds of pre-designed email templates
✔️ Easy-to-use interface
✔️ Saves your template edits
✔️ Time-saving features like block saving
✔️ Share preview links with others
✔️ Integration with Zapier
❌ Sign-in required
❌ Only five email exports allowed per month
One of the pioneers of email marketing, Aweber, has been around for over two decades now. While it does not have a free plan, the software offers a generous 30-day free trial that you can take advantage of to get your email marketing campaign off the ground. What’s more, the free trial includes all the bells and whistles the platform has to offer. These alerts include email autoresponders, marketing automation, A/B testing, third-party integrations, reports, and 24/7 email and live support.
To access the software’s free trial, you will need to sign up and fork over your credit card details. However, you are not under any legal obligations and can cancel your subscription at any time. With over 700 pre-designed templates, Aweber has one of the largest collections of e-templates available. All the software’s templates are responsive and come with mobile and desktop previews. Also, while most platforms offer standard fonts, Aweber offers several web fonts such as Roboto, Arvo, and Noticia Text that will help you keep brand consistency between your emails and website.
One of Aweber’s most recent feature inclusions is AMP for email. This feature allows users to perform actions, such as scheduling an appointment or answering a survey, without leaving their inbox. This feature provides an incentive for recipients of your emails to spend more time interacting and engaging with your content. The software also has a database of over 6000 stock photos that you can use to make your emails more dynamic.
✔️ The free trial includes all the software’s features
✔️ Over 700 responsive, pre-designed templates and 6000 stock images
✔️ AMP for email feature allows the creation of dynamic email content
✔️ Plenty of integrations
❌ Credit card details required for sign up
❌ The free plan lasts only for 30 days
Topol.io is an online HTML email builder similar to Bee Free. Like Bee Free, you do not need to sign up to use the platform’s template builder. You also have the same easy drag-and-drop functionality to work with. Where it parts ways with Bee Free is in the number of pre-designed templates it offers. Topol only has a choice of seven professional templates. However, signing up for their 14-day free trial will unlock access to many more.
Aside from the pre-designed templates, you can also design a template from scratch. The software allows you to drag-and-drop text and image content boxes into your template and adds padding to them to increase their size. You can also change the background color, along with font type, size, and color. It has a selection of 17 different fonts to work with. Furthermore, the platform lets you add GIFs, dividers, spacers, social-share buttons, images, and videos to your templates.
Once you have created your newsletter, you have the option of sending out a test email or previewing it on both desktop and mobile views. For optimum viewing experience on all devices, the software lets you hide individual content blocks on mobile views. Such hidden content will appear if the email is opened on a desktop but remains unseen if opened on a mobile. You can download your template as a zip file.
✔️ No sign-up required
✔️ Easy-to-use interface
✔️ Desktop and mobile compatible emails
❌ A small selection of pre-designed templates
❌ Does not save your edits
Mosaico is an open-source email template editor hosted on GitHub. This platform is unique in that it does not have any pre-designed templates. Instead, Mosaico gives you two layouts to choose from, which you can use to create responsive and mobile-ready templates. The first layout is called ‘Versafix-1’ and is a black-and-white template. Here, you can add images and change the color and font of the text. Versafluid, the second layout, is the platform’s color template.
Both layouts have a left panel that hosts content blocks. There are exclusive text and image blocks and blocks that have texts, images, and buttons in them. The blocks can be added to your template easily, either with the click of a button or by dragging and dropping them. A nice feature here is the redo/undo button on the top panel that lets you repeat or revert to your last changes, allowing you to save time in the process.
The software does not have an image editor, although it does automatically resize any uploaded image to fit the available spaces. Helpfully, you can save an edited template and come back to finish it later. Once you are done building your template, you can save, test, or download it as an HTML file.
✔️ Drag-and-Drop image uploads
✔️ Global redo/undo system saves time
✔️ Saves your edited templates
❌ No pre-designed templates
❌ No image editor
#7 MailStyler 2
Formerly known as Newslettercreator, MailStyler 2 is an on-premise HTML email template builder. You will have to download the 100 MB software onto your device to start using it. The software has a demo version that you can use to create email templates for free. However, the demo version does not allow you to export your templates. You can instead view it in your email browser.
MailStyler 2 has a vast library of pre-designed templates to choose from, along with an archive of over 2000 stock images. Content blocks once dragged into the template, can be customized extensively. The software’s photo editor allows you to resize, reposition, or flip your images at will. You can even merge two images using the feature’s transparency filter. Another helpful tool is the graphic effects feature that allows you to insert visual texts to build eye-catching banners. Like Chamaileon, MailStyler 2 also lets you save content blocks in a personal library to use in future newsletters.
✔️ Plenty of pre-designed templates
✔️ Save content blocks for future use
✔️ Put in graphic effects for texts
✔️ Merge images
❌ Demo version does not allow you to export your templates
We hope our brief guide on email template builders helps you pick the right tool for you and improves your organization’s communication and marketing capabilities.