It seems odd to criticise companies for offering so many free email templates but it can create a problem. With so many to choose from it is tempting to pick one and just run with it. As with so much in email marketing, a bit of extra effort pays dividends.
There are a number of things to consider…
1. A marketing email should not surprise, delight or otherwise be noticed by the subscriber. You want them to ignore the background and concentrate on the content.
2. It should be reassuringly corporate. Your marketing email design should be similar to that for other interfaces your company uses, such as the website. Subscribers need to know who you are as soon as they open the email and without having to think about it.
3. Ensure that various bits, such as your logo, are in the same place as on other documents and your website. Place the banner in the same position relative to the logo.
4. It should be different. I now this is rather against the flow, but a customer familiar with other interfaces of your company should be aware that this is not, for instance, an invoice. So familiar but not identical.
5. The landing page should follow the same general appearance as the marketing email the reader has clicked through from. The last thing you want to do is surprise the reader as they are about to complete. So the same colours and typefaces can be useful, although you also need to ensure they know where they are. The banner can be useful here. Do not try to be attractive, inspiring or catchy. We want them reacting, not entertained.
An example from real world marketing…
I subscribe to the email marketing list of a company supplying IT hardware, software and services. It uses a clever system that might work for you.
Each of the three ranges has it own design of marketing email. I know as soon as I open one what type of product it will be. There is much in common between the three types, it being obvious it is one company, but the differences are equally apparent.
The colour changes. I am partially colour-blind so the effect might be lost a little on me, but it is still apparent. The shades are all pastel, a sort of Laura Ashley mix. The company logo remains in the top left on all, again with slight colour variations in order, I assume, not to clash.
The type of product is identified just under the logo and in a larger box. 'Award Winning' is included in two of the ranges, the company having to work harder at services it would appear.
The layout changes as well, with the hardware requiring more pictures along the left in a column. Software has an image of a box, occasionally just a disc, despite most sales being via download, and the services show a person at work with 'special offers' down the right.
Each is different but not too much so that it is startling. Most subscribers would not notice other than subliminally and they will know where they are.
Email marketing templates are flexible. Use this facet.