January 8, 2016
Making fake emails is so much more fun than making real ones. After a week of testing about 10 email editors and creating a lot of strange content, we’ve narrowed it down to our five favorites.
Ease of use and flexibility were the two main factors we used to make judgments; winners were easy enough to use, didn’t require coding, and offered flexibility to move beyond the template and create an email we loved. Losers didn’t.
We also added an Autopilot compatibility grade – straight up pass or fail – that indicates how easy it was to import the email into an Autopilot journey. For reference, we were importing responsive HTML emails with basic modules in them, such as photos, buttons, and text. Let’s get to the list.
Stamplia’s pre-fab templates give you a few options – pick one and simply switch out their text and photos for your own, or move, add, or delete modules to make something entirely new. While the product isn’t as flexible as others on the list (what you see above in terms of modules is pretty much what you get) it’s really easy to use. When you log in, you have the option to choose from six free templates (you can buy more online) or start from scratch. Because the module options are so simplistic and straightforward – there are only a few options, and each one shows clearly what it does – building from scratch wasn’t as intimidating as it was with other editors. It also has a pretty sweet photo editor (pictured below). And the templates they offer are beautiful in their own right, so as long as you like the options, most of the work is done for you.
Autopilot compatibility: Pass. We simply downloaded the file from Stamplia and uploaded it into an Autopilot shape. It only took a few clicks.
Pricing: Stamplia is free, but if you want to branch out beyond their six free templates without building your own, you’ll have to pay. Most of the online templates we saw were between $10 and $20 on sites like Themeforest.
Bee and Stamplia have similar creds. The main difference at first sight is that the interface is flipped. Like Stamplia, Bee allows you to add basic content to your email by dragging and dropping, such as text, images, and social sharing buttons. The experience is intuitive and simple, so that most people won’t need any sort of tutorial to start using it. When you log in, you choose between basic or rich templates, and among four options – simple, promo, newsletter, or e-commerce.
You can either use them as-is or mold them to your own needs by adding additional columns, images, and text. As you may have guessed, Bee’s limitations are also similar to Stamplia’s. You can’t do much beyond changing typeface, font size, color, photos, buttons etc. Still, it has the essentials. Simple emails aren’t a bad thing, and Bee will allow to create a nice one.
Autopilot compatibility: Pass. We simply downloaded the file from Bee and uploaded it into an Autopilot shape. It only took a few clicks.
Pricing: Right now, Bee is free. That may change in the future; on the website, there’s a tab called “Go Pro” that asks users whether or not the company should build a more robust option and charge a small monthly fee.
Other than the fact that it’ll allow you to create emails, EDM Designer is completely different from both Bee and Stamplia. Heavy on flexibility, it’ll allow you to mold emails to many whims, such as altering spacing on each side of a text box down to the individual pixel level. The downside is that interface isn’t as intuitive or pleasing to look at. It requires manual clicking and entering text rather than dragging and dropping, and its myriad of options makes it more intimidating to start an email from scratch. But if you feel roped in by the lack of flexibility in other editors, EDM should vindicate you, allowing you to add borders, bullets, make things rounded or square, define the size of different headings, and much more. And it shouldn’t take you longer than five or 10 minutes to figure it out.
Autopilot compatibility: Pass. We simply downloaded the file from EDM Designer and uploaded it into an Autopilot shape. It only took a few clicks.
Pricing: EDM’s pricing has four tiers, so it’s simpler to screenshot than explain, but it ranges from free to $39.90 before getting into unique pricing options.
The options we’ve described so far skew toward one side or the other of flexibility and ease of use. Knowtify is good at both. The catch is that it’s also an email campaign creator, and it doesn’t allow you to export emails into other products – you’re tied to sending emails with them. The interface is intuitive, easy to use (drag-and-drop), and beautiful. While you could manually do many of the same things on Stamplia, Bee and EDM Designer, Knowtify has already thought about what you might want to create – call-to-action modules, for instance – and created buttons to allow you to include them. With more than 30 modules to choose from (as opposed to five or six for other editors) it’s robust.
Autopilot compatibility: Fail. Because you can’t export the emails you create, it’s difficult to grab the email from Knowtify to use it anywhere else. You could potentially pull the HTML code from your browser if you’re willing to put in the time to do so for every email you create.
Pricing: Because Knowtify is also an email campaign creator, it’s more expensive than the options above. The lowest is $59/month, and it goes up from there. Check out the full pricing options here.
Mailchimp is also both flexible and easy to use, though slightly less so in both departments than Knowtify. The plus is that while Mailchimp will also fire an email campaign for you, it gives you the option to export your email and send the content with whatever product you like. Like Knowtify, the interface is drag-and-drop, and pretty easy to figure out. It doesn’t have as many pre-built modules (13, to be exact), but you could create something similar if you’re willing to put in the time. There are more than 20 template options, and because they’re in grayscale, it’s easy to visualize your own content.
There’s also a killer built-in photo editor, and it caught when my photo was too big, or as it put it, big enough to “obliterate inboxes.”
Autopilot compatibility: Pass. We simply downloaded the file from Mailchimp and uploaded it into an Autopilot shape. It only took a few clicks.
Pricing: Like Knowtify, Mailchimp is an email campaign creator, so it can get more expensive than the options above. But it does have a free plan that’ll allow you up to 2,000 subscribers, and 12,000 emails per month. Check out the full pricing options.
We’d love to hear what tools you’ve had success with – or didn’t, and what your impression is of the tools above based on your own personal use. Feel free to weigh in by commenting below!