June 26, 2024
Getting Started with ConvertKit, Part 3: Building Email Templates

Blog post on building email templates in ConvertKit

If you’ve been following our series on getting started with ConvertKit*, you should now have a list of subscribers ready to go! But what are you going to send them?

This post covers building email templates in ConvertKit, to make your email marketing run smoothly.

Let’s dive in!

Building Email Templates

So now you have subscribers in your list — time to think about what to do with them! First, we need to set up some email templates to streamline the sending process.

ConvertKit has three different types of email template you can edit. I’m only going to talk about the first two: Starting point templates and Classic templates. The third, HTML templates, are beyond the scope of this article.

Starting point templates

Starting point templates are ones you can fully edit from wherever you are, whether you’re in the Email Editor (where you write your emails before sending) or in the Template Editor.

Changes you make to the design or content of the Starting point template while in the Email Editor will only be used in the current email you’re creating. 

Changes you make to the Starting point template from the Template Editor will be applied to all emails created from that template in the future.

Classic templates

When using a Classic template to write an email using the Email Editor, you can only edit the content in the default content section:

To make design changes to a Classic template you’ll need to use the Template Editor. Again, changes made in the Template Editor to a Classic template will be used in all emails using that template in the future. 

How to use the Template Editor

You’ll undoubtedly want to be building email templates that reflect your business — but starting with a premade template makes things a whole lot easier. 

Let’s start by adding your brand colors to ConvertKit. This allows you to pull them in quickly and easily.

Go to your settings and select “general” from the left-hand menu. You’ll see a section to add your Saved Colors. Simply click on a square and copy/paste the HEX code for your chosen color, then hit “save.” You can have up to five colors at any one time.

Create an email template

It makes sense to do all your design work only once, so I suggest you create email templates in the Templates Editor for future use. Here’s how:

From your ConvertKit dashboard, click on “send” and then choose “Email Template”:

There are some very basic text-based templates already loaded in your account but we’re going to click on “+ New email template”:

You’ll be taken to a collection of templates you can edit to make your own:

Click on one that has the type of layout you want with a design you find attractive. I’m going to use Monterey which is a Starting point template.

Let’s walk through the type of edits you can make…

First, we’ll change the background color

Find the “layer” information box. This is the area which allows you to change from the whole template to a given section, to specific content within a section. Be warned, it can take a bit of practice to work out which layer you need to be in.

When you click on “template” in the layers box the editing options change to allow you to edit the template background color:

Click on the color box to change to one of your saved colors — or something totally random if the fancy takes you!

Click “Save” at the top left of the screen to save your changes.

Style your button

Let’s change the button style to match. Click on the button in the template:

You’ll notice you now have all the button style editing options available. Have a play with the options until you find a style that matches your website.

Working with images

Now let’s swap out that picture. Click on the image to bring up the image editor screen:

And then hit “replace.”

You’ll be taken to the image upload screen. Here you can choose an image from a file, select an image from Unsplash or import one from your Instagram account.

I’m going to upload one from Unsplash. A search for “dogs” brings up a nice selection.

Once I click on my image of choice it’s uploaded to the email template where I can do further edits:

Again, play with the options until you find something that you like. If you want to add your logo to the top of your emails just upload it as an image and use the width slider to set the size.

Style your text

Setting the style of your text is easy. Just click in the text section and the text styles panel will appear:

NOTE: Changes made using the styles editor box on the right of the template will make global changes to your template. 

Be careful which fonts you choose for your emails. Not all email clients support all the web fonts available. ConvertKit comes with the most commonly supported ones, and it’s strongly suggested you stick with these rather than uploading fancy ones. If you use “system font” your email will display in whatever font your viewer has installed as their display font on their email client. 

Using the editing tools bar

If you want to change the style of specific words, highlight them, and then use the editing tools in the bar at the top of the editor:

You can use these tools to set headers, insert links and add personalization:

Set headers

To set headers and paragraph text, place your cursor in the text you want to format, then click on the paragraph icon on the far left of the menu:

Select the style you want. You can then set your formatting for the chosen style using the editing panel on the right of the template. Once a style has been set using the right hand panel, it’ll be applied wherever you use that paragraph style.

Add a link

If you want to include links in your email, just highlight the text you want to link then click on the “link” icon. Once your link has been applied the linked text will appear in whatever color you set in the editing panel:

Add personalization

If you want to personalize your email template by including dynamic content (content that changes for each subscriber) such as your subscriber’s first name, or dog’s name, all you need to do is place your cursor where you’d like to insert a personalization.

Then click on the “@” icon at the top of the editor and click on the down arrow to get the personalization options. These are drawn from your subscriber fields:

Once you click on the option you want to use it’ll appear in the text of your email template like this:

(Learn how to manually add Custom Fields. Once added, Custom Fields appear as personalization options.)

Add new content blocks

You may find that you want to add new content to your template. I like to have an image of me with a dog at the bottom of my emails so my readers can see who I am — and build that personal connection faster. Luckily, ConvertKit makes this pretty simple.

When you hover over sections of the template, you’ll notice a small “+” icon appear:

Clicking on that brings up content types you can add to your template:

Scroll through the list to see all your options. Click to select and then edit using the editing options as normal.

Rename your template

Once you’re done building your email template you can rename it so you can quickly identify it in your templates library. To do this, click on the pencil icon next to the template name at the top left of the screen:

Don’t forget to save your template once you’re done! 

If you want to delete or duplicate your template, click on the three dots next to the ‘save’ button:

And here’s the final template:

You’ll notice there is still placeholder text (Loren ipsum). That’s so when the template is used it’s easy to see where the updated text will go — and how the final email will look.

Now that you know how to start building email templates, you’ll be all ready to start sending emails. We’ll cover that in detail in our final ConvertKit post. Until then, have fun getting creative.

*This link is an affiliate link. An affiliate link is a link that is traceable, so the company you are purchasing the product from knows that I referred you to them. They then compensate us for having made the referral — but you pay the same price, or a discounted price, depending on the company.

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