Dec 9, 2009

Tips for Beautiful Holiday Email Templates with MailChimp

santa-thmWe’re putting together some very special holiday portraits of the MailChimp team to send to customers. Take a peek over at our Facebook page. Classy, huh?

Ahem. So this reminded me to post something about our new holiday templates in MailChimp. Just in case you’re thinking about doing something similar.

This year, you have absolutely no excuse for sending emails with crappy holiday clip art (like this).

Because MailChimp has a sleigh-load of holiday email templates for you…

Artist Templates

A little while back, we commissioned several artists to submit some email templates for all our MailChimp users.

Shawn Smith, the artist, ninja, Nintendo game designer and plushy-anaire behind Shawnimals, submitted this whimsical Santa template:

holiday-template-santa-shawnsmith

Just replace the text inside Santa’s beard, and you’re all set. His beard stretches vertically with your text. Ha!

And check out this retro-styled "Caribou" design from Mark Weaver:

holiday-template-caribou

With these designs, your customers will know you didn’t just grab some cheap holiday stock art from somewhere. It’ll look like you paid  some really expensive artists to do your emails! Each template even has a link in the footer to view the artist’s profile:

artist-profile

MailChimp Gallery

Our very own MailChimp DesignLab posted some nice, built-in email templates in our gallery.

For example:

holiday-template-ornaments

or santa:

holiday-template-sleigh

and here’s a nice one for non-profits (use it as a thank-you note for their generosity this year):

holiday-template-heart

There are several more holiday templates there to choose from, so make sure you go take a look-see.

To access them, click on the "gallery" tab on our template selection screen:

gallery-tab

then select "holiday" or "artists" from the pulldown:

holiday-templates-pulldown

364 Free Holiday Designs from TemplateZone

And don’t forget that PC users can get Templatezone’s special MailChimp holiday email pack, which comes with 364 free email templates. Because it’s software you run on your PC, you can do some pretty nifty things you might not be able to do in a browser-based app. See: 364 holiday HTML emails from Templatezone

Create Holiday Headers

Maybe you just want to use a standard newsletter template, but you want a special holiday header. Use MailChimp’s header design tool to find our special holiday themes:

header-designer

Here’s an old, embarrassing tutorial video of myself demonstrating the header designer back when we launched it in 2008.

Use Picnik

You might not want to change your entire email template, or have an entirely different email header. Maybe you just want to spruce up your stodgy corporate header with a little holiday cheer. Our picnik integration is perfect for that!

For example, say your newsletter header looks like this:

header-designer-edit-bttn

and you want to keep it mostly the same, but add something simple and elegant.

Click that "edit" button at the top right to open our header editor, then click the "picnik" button:

edit-with-picnik

This will pass your header over to picnik, giving you access to their online design tools.

I’m a premium member (totally worth it for around $2/month), so I added one of their nicer decorations to this logotype:

holiday-picnik

If you’re a law firm, that’s probably as far as you’d go, but here’s a MailChimp + picnik tutorial with cooler examples.

iStockphoto Holiday Pics

Finally, just wanted to remind our customers of MailChimp’s iStockphoto integration. Every holiday, iStockphoto provides really nice, high-quality stock photography that you can use in your email campaigns. What’s cool is they’re usually only $1 each. Just go to your image gallery in MailChimp, and hit the iStockphoto button to browse and buy.

A search for "Christmas" pulled up photos like this:

istockphoto-search-mailchimp

Which, you gotta admit, sure beats the heck out of stuff like this:

crappy-santa-clipart