Help your emails look their best with the right type of email template!
Email templates in ConvertKit come in three flavors: starting point, classic, and HTML.
How do these template types work, and which one should you use? That's what we'll cover in this article.
What is a starting point template?
Starting point templates are the latest type of email template available in ConvertKit. They are completely editable in the email editor (which you use to write your emails).
Check out how customization settings for the "Platform" starting point template's header, body, and footer appear in the email editor's right sidebar as we click these respective parts of the template:
How to create a custom starting point template
To create a custom starting point template, click Email Templates under the Send tab in the top navigation.
Click the + New email template button and select the starting point template you want to use as the base for your custom template. You'll then customize the template in the visual email template editor.
Things to note about using a starting point template
You can use the visual email template editor to add default content anywhere in your starting point template. This default content will appear when you load your template in the email editor.
You can add custom CSS to your starting point template by adding an HTML block to it.
Starting point templates cannot be set as your default email template at this time.
What is a classic template?
Classic templates are the previous version of our visual email templates before we launched starting point templates.
Unlike starting point templates, only the content in the default content section of classic templates is editable in the email editor.
You'll need to use the visual email template editor to customize all other aspects of your classic template, such as its header and footer. These changes will then apply to all emails that use the same classic template (except those that have already been sent).
How to create a custom classic template
Similar to starting point templates, you can create a custom classic template using the visual email template editor. Just select a classic template as the base for your custom template.
Things to note about using a classic template
You can add default content only within the default content section of classic templates. (Learn more about adding default content to classic email templates here.)
You can add custom CSS to your classic template by adding an HTML block to it.
What is an HTML template?
HTML templates are email templates designed entirely using custom HTML and CSS in the HTML template editor. They are not editable from the email editor.
HTML templates are best for creators who want to custom-code their own templates using HTML and CSS.
How to create a custom HTML template
You can use the HTML template editor to code a custom HTML template. Learn more about creating a custom HTML template here.
Which type of email template should you use?
Wherever possible, we recommend using a starting point template as you can flexibly customize it from the email editor.
This is convenient for adjusting the look of your email while you're writing it, without having to edit the template in the visual email template editor separately.
Of course, you're still welcome to use a classic template if there's a certain classic template you really like. Just be aware of the limitations of classic templates as mentioned above.
And if you're a confident coder and want to code your own email template, feel free to go wild with an HTML template!
Summary of the three email template types
Starting point template
Editable from the visual email template editor
Editable from the HTML email template editor
Editable from the email editor
✔️ (Only the default content section is editable)
Can be used in Broadcasts
Can be used in Sequences
Can you set it as your default email template?
❌ (You'll be able to do so in due course!)
Can you add custom CSS?
✔️ (By adding an HTML block)
✔️ (By adding an HTML block)
When should you use it?
If you want to be able to flexibly customize the look of your email while you're writing it
If there's a certain classic template you like
If you are comfortable coding your own template using HTML and CSS