Reusable Versus Custom Template: Make the Right Choice

As per the DMR report, the average number of emails an office worker receives per day is 121. Well, that’s a huge number considering the fact that an email is received in every five minutes. What if you have to open each one of them and reply? Quite terrifying, right? Well, the design is your best friend when you have to stand out in such a vast ocean of emails where every one of them is trying to make a statement. 

Say, hello to Email Templates! A man’s (and woman’s) best friend after dogs. They’re really cute, though! (I said that about the dogs.) Talking about templates, so basically there are two types of them – Reusable and Custom. As the name suggests, their application differs from being used again and again to just a one-time send.

Before proceeding further, let me clear the air around the term ‘Email Template.’ As per Litmus, “An Email Template is an HTML file. HTML—or hypertext markup language—is the code that defines the structure and content in an email campaign. It allows us to add things like images and links to an email and, along with CSS—or cascading style sheets—lets us style the campaign to better reflect our company or personal styles.”

Now, let’s have a look at a collage that I made from two different Forever 21 emails.

Source image credit: Really Good Emails

In the email marketing industry, it’s a common cribbing that most of the emails look more or less the same. It is more evident if the emails are sent by the same brand. Have a look again at the above collage and see if you could observe a pattern?

There is a stark similarity between the two emails because they have been created from the same ‘reusable’ template. One other way to roll out these newsletters is to create a new ‘one-off’ template for every email marketing campaign that you create. No matter whether you go for the One-off Email Template or use the Reusable Email Template, professional offerings like Mailchimp templates and Salesforce email templates would turn any type of email into a masterpiece.

Now, let’s delve into the pros and cons of both the type of Email Templates starting with the Custom one. 

Reasons to go for One-off template:

Distinctive vibe (read look and feel)

The biggest value proposition which custom templates add to an email marketing campaign is making it stand out. Unlike the Reusable Email Template, it provides an individualistic view that won’t bore your subscribers. This template also helps create a pull factor amongst your subscribers since you would be presenting them something different every time you send an email.

Unique Event invites

Get those visitors flocking to your event by mesmerizing them with the design of your Event Email Campaign – something which is hard to achieve with Reusable Templates. I am not saying that your distinctive email is enough but it has a better shot at getting subscribers’ attention than a redundant Reusable Email Template. Want to create the oh-so-oozing event emails for your upcoming event? Look no further than Mailchimp email expert or a Marketo certified associate. They are the best in the business.

Holiday campaigns

Holiday campaigns need to tempt the subscribers and for that, they need to look different. To boost the subscriber engagement for your Holiday Email Campaign, you can feature GIF or cinemagraph (the hybrid of video and photography). It yields better results since Holiday Emails need to have a stunning visual appeal.

Here is a stunning example from Taco Bell on how to make your holiday emails stand out with the help of design and aesthetics.

Source image credit: Really Good Emails

The pros of Reusable Email Template are as follows:


It’s a no brainer that the Reusable HTML Email Templates are far more time-saving as compared to their One-off counterparts. All you have to do is upload the Email Template and then alter the graphics as per the email’s requirements.

This practice would not just increase your productivity and result in more profits but it would leverage you with time, money and resources that could be focused on other projects. It also elevates the general customer experience since there would be a lesser chance of error in the email code. 


Creating a brand identity is one of the top priorities of retailers. Hence, creating an email marketing campaign with a fixed template of color coding and messaging would carve out a distinctive niche for a brand, making it easier for the subscribers to identify it as soon as they see the email.

Setbacks of both the templates 

One-off Email Templates require a lot of planning and plotting. As it’s a one-shot game, you have to get everything right from theme to the testing of the emails before releasing your campaign. Not to mention, this whole process demands a lot of resources and time to be invested in.

Talking about Reusable Templates, they may affect the CTR of your email marketing campaign as it becomes repetitive and redundant for the subscribers. You should try for innovation while keeping most of the things the same and simple.

Wrapping Up

These were two email templates with their respective share of pros and cons. I’d go for the one-off template in most cases because it helps to leave an impact on the reader’s mind.

Author Bio

Kevin, the Head of Marketing at Email Uplers – one of the fastest growing custom email design and coding companies, specializes in crafting beautiful email templates, PSD to HTML email conversion and free HTML Email Templates. He loves gadgets, bikes, jazz, and breathes email marketing. He is a brand magician who loves to engage & share insights with fellow marketers.