Years ago, I would spend dozens of hours designing my own HTML email templates. This work is tedious and time consuming, but it's also risky. It's risky because every email service provider (Gmail, Yahoo, AOL, etc.) displays emails differently. 9 times out of 10, your custom template will display incorrectly for some of your recipients. And that's the last thing you need when sending out your latest promotion or sales letter.
Instead, I find it much easer to pick a template that's readily available somewhere online. There are dozens of sites that offer quality email templates for free, and most online email list programs include hundreds of quality templates that you can use right out of the box.
When choosing your template, try to keep the following information in mind:
Style - Does this template's look and feel match the tone of the message you're trying to send? What about the colors? These are all points to consider.
Impact - many companies, such as Apple, are well known for having newsletters that make readers go "wow." Choosing a template that is simple, elegant, and powerful will go a long ways to improving your response rate.
Images - How does this template utilize images? Many email programs such as Gmail or Outlook automatically turn off images by default. Will your message still make sense without images?
Mobile - How will this email look on mobile devices? Many email users regularly read emails on their mobile device, and some templates display incorrectly when formatted for the smaller screen.
Remember, choosing the right template is only the first step. Other important factors include the title and, of course, the content of your message. Without a quality message, the right template can do little good for your newsletter.