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Mailchimp’s New Builder: 5 Features You Might Have Missed

To some users, Mailchimp’s new template builder is old news. However, many users have yet to switch over to the new builder for all their email campaigns. While the classic builder can still create great templates, the new builder includes innovative features that expand users’ opportunities to connect with their subscribers. In this blog post, we will explore five features that you might have missed in Mailchimp’s new builder, including:

  1. AI Content Generation 
  2. Instagram Feed Blocks
  3. Playable Video
  4. Campaign Optimizer
  5. Creative Assistant

Let’s dive in and discover the hidden gems of Mailchimp’s new builder.

About Mailchimp’s New Template Builder:

Mailchimp’s new template builder takes a big step forward in design, compared to the classic builder. It offers an intuitive interface and advanced functionalities, making design dilemmas like alternating background colors easy to resolve. Beyond the design capabilities, there are several integrations and AI-powered elements that can take your email marketing to the next level. Let’s uncover some of the most impressive & underutilized features.

1. Mailchimp’s New AI Content Generation:

Creating captivating email content can be incredibly time-consuming. Keeping up with the recent wave of AI tools, Mailchimp’s new builder recently launched AI-powered content generation. This feature can help you save time while maintaining the quality of your emails. To use AI content generation in Mailchimp’s new builder, just set up your industry and marketing goal. Then, hit “Generate”  on the left side menu to create Headings & Subheadings to use in your campaign. If you’re fearful about AI, don’t worry – We have our hesitations too. Start small with a subheader, and you may find that this tool is a valuable addition to your email marketing toolkit.

2. Instagram Feed Blocks

In the era of social media dominance, incorporating your Instagram feed into your email campaigns is a great way to extend your brand’s reach. With Mailchimp’s new builder, you can also seamlessly integrate Instagram feed blocks into your emails using an “Apps” content block. Showcase your latest posts to encourage your email subscribers to connect on Instagram. In 2023, multi-channel marketing is key, so don’t miss this opportunity to sync your messaging across multiple channels.

3. Playable Video

Videos are a highly engaging form of content, and Mailchimp’s new builder opens up the ability to incorporate playable videos directly within your emails. This works with an “Apps” content block as well as an integration to Playable Video. By embedding videos, you can grab your subscribers’ attention and deliver your message more interactively and compellingly. Whether it’s a product demo, a behind-the-scenes glimpse, or a promotional video, leveraging playable videos in your emails can significantly boost engagement and convey your brand’s personality. 

Playable Video’s pricing plans start at $29/month, so small business owners may want to join its free trial before making a final decision about the tool.

4. Mailchimp’s Content Optimizer

An email campaign’s success relies on several elements – attractive design, concise copy, engaging CTAs, and more. Mailchimp’s new builder seamlessly incorporates their Content Optimizer. This tool continuously analyzes your email content and suggests improvements to enhance your campaign’s effectiveness. It checks for common issues like broken links and merge tags. The Content Optimizer in Mailchimp’s new builder also offers suggestions for heading & sentence length. By utilizing the Content Optimizer, you can ensure that your emails are optimized for maximum impact and deliverability.

5. Creative Assistant

For users hoping to streamline their creative process, Mailchimp’s new builder also includes the Creative Assistant feature. This feature combines your brand style and images with Mailchimp’s library of stock imagery to generate engaging email graphics. Graphic elements are generated automatically and can be customized to better match your campaign. If you need a hand using the Creative Assistant, book a training call with one of our Mailchimp experts.

Explore the New Builder with Pure Firefly

As a trusted marketing agency, Pure Firefly specializes in helping businesses & nonprofits level up their email marketing. Our specialists have extensive expertise in Mailchimp’s new builder and are happy to guide you through its features, offer personalized recommendations, and help you harness the full potential of the platform. Book a training call for a walkthrough of the new builder, or contact us for more information.

Plus, be sure to join our email list to be the first to hear about our upcoming New Builder webinars!

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Alternating Background Colors in Mailchimp Templates (2023)

Alternating background colors are a simple design technique that can help your Mailchimp templates pop. In this blog post, we’ll explore three strategies for creating an alternating background color effect in Mailchimp, including both the new builder and classic template builder. Get ready to captivate your audience with alternating background colors in Mailchimp emails!

Classic Builder: Using Sections for Alternating Background Color

In Mailchimp’s classic builder, the simplest way to create an alternating background color effect is by using the pre-built sections. Depending on the template you choose to begin with, these may include:

  • Preheader
  • Header
  • Upper body
  • 2-column section
  • Lower body
  • 3-column section
  • Footer

As you can see from the names, these sections place some restrictions on the layout of an email. Additionally, sections in the template cannot be moved or duplicated. The upper body will always be placed above the footer, etc. 

Without using custom-coded templates, classic builder emails allow for a maximum of 6 sections, which can each be assigned a unique background color under the style settings.

Still wondering how to make section backgrounds work for you? Book a 1 hour training session for answers to all your questions!

Classic Builder: Using Boxed Text & Code

For users looking for more flexibility in background color, without creating an entirely custom-coded template, there is another option. Mailchimp’s boxed text & image card blocks give you the option to assign as many background colors as you want throughout an email. However, both boxed text & image card blocks come with a few pixels of padding on all sides.

Reflect Digital has a great guide on working around this restraint. Their method involves creating a boxed text block, copying the html code, and pasting it into one of Mailchimp’s “code” content blocks. Then, users can locate the padding settings in the code and remove them.

This tip is a great way to work around the classic builder’s limitations, but users with no code experience should be careful. Messy HTML can create deliverability issues and render poorly on different devices. To work with the support of a professional, contact Pure Firefly about custom-coded templates.

New Builder: Background Color Settings

In Mailchimp’s new builder, users can now customize the background color settings within each content block. This makes an alternating background effect much easier to achieve. Just use the left-side style menu to choose the background color for each section. Mailchimp’s new builder also saves a swatch for each color you’ve used within the template, allowing users to create a cohesive template. If you have yet to get acquainted with the new email builder, try a training call with one of our email specialists, or keep an eye out for our upcoming new builder webinar!

Unlock More Options with Pure Firefly

Alternating background colors are possible in both Mailchimp’s classic and new builders. However, there are limitations depending on which builder you use. To maximize your design potential, try working with Mailchimp experts like the ones at Pure Firefly. With a history of designs for clients in various industries, our team is flexible and ready to create an eye-catching email for your brand or organization! Just contact us for a quote, or book a training session for all your Mailchimp questions.

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Optimizing Image Size for Email

Many email designers start out with questions about image size: What size should email images be? Is landscape or portrait better for emails? How can I ensure my email’s use of images doesn’t land me in the spam folder? These questions are great to consider when creating a new email template

What Size Should Email Images Be?

In email design, images should ideally be as small as possible without sacrificing image quality. This is because large images can lead to slower load times, which may also negatively impact engagement rates. 

For emails with multiple images, aim to keep each image at or below 250 kb. Emails with one large image (such as a header image) and some text may include an image up to 450 kb in size. Any image over 1MB urgently needs to be reduced in size.

Image Dimensions vs. File Size

While image files should be kept at or below 250 kb in size, the ideal image dimensions may vary depending on an email’s design. 600px has commonly been regarded as the ideal width for email banners. However, newer devices can process larger image dimensions. This is why the Mailchimp template builder caps image width at 1200px.

Even though 600px is no longer a strict rule, keeping images under 900px in either direction is still ideal to ensure fast load times. If your organization includes a signature or logo in every email, aim to keep this image below 250px in either direction.

Deliverability & Images in Email

Deliverability has a critical influence on any email’s success. To maximize deliverability and engagement, design your emails with only relevant images which add value to your content.

It’s important to remember that some email clients may block images by default, which can impact the overall user experience. An email that includes only images is also likely to land in the spam folder. In addition, sending images which are too large can have a negative impact on deliverability.

At Pure Firefly, our template design services consider deliverability by following best practices to ensure that your emails reach the inbox and are likely to encourage engagement. Our experienced team is here to help individuals and organizations of any size create visually appealing and effective email templates. Contact us to learn more.

What Makes an Effective Email Image?

Ultimately, the right images for your emails will vary depending on your industry. However, some key trends and tips apply no matter your audience:

  • Build on your brand: Whether you use photos, icons, or illustrations, ensure that any email image is consistent with your overall brand.
  • Guide the eye: Images immediately attract attention, so place them near the most important parts of an email.
  • Always add alt text: Some subscribers can’t view images in emails. They may have images deactivated in their inbox, while others use screen readers. Add alt text to every image to maintain accessibility for all subscribers.
  • Don’t forget to smile: Images with faces can convey emotion and cultivate feelings of connection with your brand. Don’t be afraid to include a headshot in your email signature or add a candid image to your latest weekly update

Pure Firefly is Here to Help!

If you need a helping hand with your email images, don’t hesitate to contact an email expert. Pure Firefly’s team is experienced with template design across various industries, and specializes in Mailchimp’s new template builder. Schedule a one-on-one training for quick questions, or contact us for a free quote on email design.

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Top 10 Email Marketing Template Resources

For some, designing a beautiful template is one of the most entertaining parts of email marketing. Meanwhile, others find template design more like pulling teeth. No matter which camp you fall into, a little inspiration can go a long way. Here are Pure Firefly’s top 10 template design resources (in no particular order) to get the ideas flowing.

1. Mailchimp’s Template Marketplace

As Mailchimp Pro Partners, we have to give a nod to Mailchimp’s template marketplace. With 47 expert-designed templates to choose from, this is a great place to start if you’re a Mailchimp user. Plus, this is one of the only resources on this list that can provide editable templates for the Mailchimp builder.

Browse Mailchimp’s Premium Templates 

2. Really Good Emails

In the event that you’re just looking for inspiration and not for templates to download yourself, we can’t recommend Really Good Emails enough. Their library of over 10,000 templates updates every day with the best in email design. At Pure Firefly, we use Really Good Emails to keep an eye on design trends and incorporate them into our own templates. 

Check out Really Good Emails

3. Newsletter Glue

While its selection of pre-built templates is somewhat limited, Newsletter Glue is a great option for designers who prefer designing in WordPress to email marketing tools. It’s a WordPress plug-in that integrates with 13 of the most popular email service providers.

Try Newsletter Glue

4. Litmus Email Templates

Litmus is an email powerhouse offering email testing, design, and analytics. As long as you create a free account, you can choose from over 50 templates for use in their builder.

Browse templates by Litmus

5. BeeFree

BeeFree is another free email builder and includes over 1250 templates. Free users can add templates to their favorites, then customize them.

Check out BeeFree templates

6. MailBakery Email Marketing Templates

MailBakery designs & sells responsive HTML email templates. Start with their free options and see if you like their style!

Browse free MailBakery templates

7. Envato Market (aka Themeforest)

Envato Market is an online market for email & web designers. They offer over 1,500 email designs and offer a variety of price points for any marketing need.

Go shopping on Envato Market

8. Topol.io Free Marketing Templates

Like BeeFree, Topol is another email builder. They offer a monthly plan, as well as a handful of free templates you can edit with or without a subscription.

Browse templates on Topol

9. Stripo

Stripo is an email marketing template resource with over 1300 templates to choose from, including free options. A subscription is needed to access Stripo’s complete functionality.

Check out Stripo’s HTML templates 

10. Canva for Email Design

After getting inspired, Canva is the perfect place to design email graphics yourself. You can start from scratch or with one of their templates. Plus, most of Canva’s design tools are available for free.

Give Canva a try

(BONUS) 11. Hire an Expert at Pure Firefly

When in doubt, working with an expert is the best way to guarantee a fully-functional and aesthetically pleasing template. At Pure Firefly, we use a range of tools to build and test our templates, ensuring functionality on various platforms. After all, email is our happy place. Contact us today for a free quote!

*Note: This post may include affiliate links. When you sign up for Newsletter Glue through this post, we may earn a small commission at no additional cost to you.

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