Should you code the template?

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It Depends, a{nother} newsletter about email marketing
Hiya Friend! Welcome to the very first issue of …it depends! I’m so very glad to have you along for this little experiment of mine.
If you signed up a month or so ago, thanks for hanging in there while I got up and running! I know you’ve been waiting a while for this email to hit your inbox. If you just signed up, hooray!
To tell you the truth, I am solidly on team #notawriter, so I hope I make some semblance of sense as we dive into these semi-regular newsletters!
Let’s get right into it.

What's the deal with Mailchimp's coded templates?
Ha! You’ve stumbled on one of my most (and sometimes least) favorite subjects! Right now, I live and die by coding up templates for Mailchimp, using their template language. If you know HTML, it’s fairly easy to get up and running, but also easy to mess up if you don’t know the quirks!
But should you even bother to code up your Mailchimp templates if you already have drag and drop capabilities? Well, like all things email marketing … it depends!
If you don’t know HTML, drag and drop is certainly the way to go. You can get a simple email together fairly quickly that likely looks good. What you gain with ease of non-technical email creation, you lose in design precision and styling. I find Mailchimp’s global styles to be confusing at times (why can I set a global body text style, only to be able to also edit it in the text block!?), which can lead to design disaster.
On the flip side, coding up a custom template (or hiring someone to do so!) allows us to keep precise control of our design, choosing what is and is not editable, right down to the styles. Think, tight control of white space, more variety in font choice (for where they work), more variety in layouts! Are there quirks? Sure! There are quirks to everything, and half the fun(?) is working around them.
“This sounds great, Meg, but how the heck do I get started?” You might want to ask.
The awesome thing is, I made a simple, one column email tutorial to get you started.
Note: you’re going to want to upload the code to the templates section in Mailchimp, and then create a campaign to see how it works. You also need a beginner-level understanding of email development.
Tutorial: Basic HTML Template for Mailchimp
I hope you enjoy this tutorial! Any questions, give me a shout on Twitter.
If there’s anything you’d like to see me cover in this newsletter (or if you have feedback!), go ahead and hit reply, I promise I’ll read it :)
Talk soon, emailgeeks,
Meg
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