What You’ll Learn

  • What templates are and how to use them
  • How to create and customize a new template
  • How to edit and manage existing templates

What Templates Are and How to Use Them

Templates are structured layouts that you can fully customize to create designs for your emails. They help you have a consistent look and feel across individual campaigns, as well as reinforce your brand across multiple campaigns.

Templates also help you save time. For example, if you are planning a student search series, you can create a template for the campaign. Then, when you go to build the individual emails for the series, you would simply select the template you created and modify the email's text, images, and call-to-action buttons, depending on the message's requirements.

Templates are fully editable, both when you are creating it and after you have loaded the template for an individual email.

Create a Template

1. Hover over the Campaigns451 module icon in the lefthand toolbar, and then click on Templates. If members of your team have already created templates, you’ll see a grid view of them. If not, you’ll be prompted to create your school’s first template.

2. Click the New Design Template button in the top right (or, if this is your school’s first template, click the Create Template button). A sidebar will open to guide you through the creation of the template.

3. Name the template at the top of the sidebar. Then, select a basic block structure for your new template or work off of one of your school's existing ("Custom") templates.

Basic Templates
These give you a head start by organizing content areas by columns and rows where you’ll add text, images, and other elements. You’ll also be able to adjust the background and other colors. Keep in mind that templates do not lock you into their original format. For example, if you pick a 1 column template, you can add another column and rows below it later.

Custom Templates
These are templates that a team member has already created. They’re a great base to start from if you want to refresh a previous campaign.

4. Once you have selected the base template and are editing the content, we recommend clicking on the icon with two diagonal arrows to take you to the full screen editor.

5. Add Elements and choose blocks from options that will appear on the lefthand side. Creating a template is similar to creating an email. Don't forget to include a footer block in your template (including the "Unsubscribe" option and social media icons!).

Things to keep in mind:

  • Your changes will be automatically saved, but you also have the option to click the Save button at any time.
  • There are many options to help you create designs that match your vision. It may seem like a lot at first, but each of the elements described below are customized in a similar way. You’ll soon become familiar with how things work.
  • The best way to learn how to use templates is by creating a few, using this guide if you have questions.

Settings

In the top right of the content editing window, click the gear icon to access Settings for the email. Here, you can select a background image for the email or background color. You can also choose up to two fonts that you would like to use in the email.

Rows

Your template is broken into rows and columns. Rows contain a set number of columns, which can contain multiple elements. Elements are things like text, images, and buttons. (More information on elements is provided below.)

You can think of elements as columns in a row. For example, if you choose a three-column row, you would have three element boxes side by side.

Add a Row or Pre-Built Block

Click the plus button in the top left and select to add a row, separator, or one of Element451's pre-made content blocks. If you are adding a row, select the number of columns and think of each column as an element of content. For one text box and a button, for example choose two columns, one for the text and one for the button.

Edit a Row

Click outside the row's elements, but still in the row. The row will be highlighted in purple and several options with appear. You can duplicate or delete the block using the icons in the top right of the block, or click settings to edit it further. Some of these setting options are described in greater detail below.

  • Wrap in centered container? - This setting allows you to have a container around the row of elements that you can adjust. If set to Yes, you will be able to edit the container further under the Advanced Settings dropdown menu.
  • Layout - lets you changes the number and layout of elements in the row
  • Padding - sets the padding inside the row or container element
  • Margins (Row Only) - sets the margins around the row
  • File - select a background image for the row itself. Alignment, repeat, and size options are the same as when adjusting a background image in the full template
  • Transparent - To choose a color to fill in where the image does not, uncheck this box

Add Content Elements

  • Click the Add Element button where you want to add content.
  • Select the type of content you want to insert. Note that you can add as many elements as you want in the column of a row.

Below is an overview of each type of content:

Text

This is a text area that you can leave blank for the person entering content into the email, or double click to enter actual or placeholder text.

The text editor contains basic formatting options, including fonts (select two in the template settings first). You can also use tokens to personalize messages with a recipient’s first name, for example. Learn more about tokens in Create an Email or SMS.

Image

When you add an Image element, you will be able to select an image that has already been uploaded to the media manager or upload a new image.

To adjust the settings of the image (e.g. make it clickable or change alignment) click on the image and then on the gear icon (Settings) that appears in the top right.

The Image Settings menu (pictured above) will appear. Here you can make your adjustments. You can also change an image by putting your cursor over the image and clicking Remove File. The image will be removed and you can then click Select File to choose a new one.

Button

When you add a Button, a default version will first appear. Click on the button and then the gear icon (Settings) in the top right to further edit.

You can change the text, add the URL that the button should link to, adjust the shape and size, and make other adjustments from this sidebar.

Note: “Fit” refers to how the text fits in relationship to the button, and the button to the element container it’s in.

  • Regular fits the button to the length of the text.
  • Expanded fits the button to the size of the element.

Ruler

Use this communication element to create space and separate parts of your message. After adding the ruler, double click it to customize the following features:

  • Color
  • Width
  • Margins

Adjust and Manage Content Elements

To customize, duplicate, or delete an element, click the element and the relevant icon that appears in the top right corner of the content row.

6. To preview your template, click on Preview tab in the top right of the content editor. You have the option to preview in mobile, tablet, and desktop versions.

Once you have your templates set up as you want, start to create an email and begin using it!

Managing Templates

All your saved templates can be found in the Templates section of the Campaigns module. Navigate to that section to see a grid view of all of your school's saved templates.

Each template includes information about when it was created and last edited. In addition, click on the three dots to the right of the template to preview, duplicate, add to a One-Off Communication, or delete the template.

Now you've built a template to your specifications, learn how to use it in an email or SMS message.

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