Template driven design – Too much of a good thing?
Email marketing pioneers like Constant Contact, MailChimp, and others have really opened up and democratized what had been previously a somewhat mysterious and closed process for non technical marketers by creating easy to use template based approaches to creating content. This, along with their generally great job of building robust products and companies, has propelled them to scale great heights in terms of popularity and market penetration. By giving non technical folks tools to build good looking, well designed HTML email campaigns, services like these have “Crossed the Chasm” from just use by early techie adopters into mainstream business tools used by marketers of all sizes and stripes everywhere. Today, as email marketing has become standard fare and forward looking firms are investing in marketing automation, the template driven approach to HTML design is being applied many new things, including landing pages, microsites, social media and mobile campaigns. If you look around, templates, template editors and template driven design is everywhere in the marketing world. Boingnet Templates are no exception,
A brief look around at the selection of templates available from vendors gives the impression that the more templates, the merrier. Both Constant Contact and MailChimp offer the ability to browse through hundreds of templates to help marketers get started on on building their email campaigns. As we at Boingnet are preparing our next release, Boingnet V2, we have been spending a lot of time thinking about the process of building a landing page, email campaign or another type of template driven activity. We offer dozens of templates today, and it might seem like we should ramp up the template production to hit the “hundreds” mark that some of the other great companies have built. Like most things, however, we are reaching a different conclusion.
One of the things we’ve discovered when browsing through template libraries (needing to use a term like “libraries” is a hint of where we are going) is that it is actually really hard to make a good decision about which template to pick. When users click through pages and pages of different designs, the process can become completely overwhelming, and it makes it really easy to lose sight of brand and campaign goals, as well as design fundamentals. We’re really excited about our Boingnet V2 template editor, as it has a very different way of walking a user through the template selection process. In addition to the things that make the current Boingnet template editor so useful and powerful (template copying, full HTML editing, variable data and personalization), in Boingnet V2, we are rethinking the way that users decide how to choose a template, turning it into a process that we believe will result in better design decisions with less “template angst” from having to hunt and peck through hundreds of different choices. Stay tuned for more details soon – we’re “pumped & jacked” (in the words of a former Patriots coach) to offer a rethought template editing process soon.