Jumpstart your transactional emails with free templates?

When I launched my app, designing, writing, building, and testing HTML emails was one of the most time-consuming and painful parts of the process. As a result, I started with plain text emails for the first couple of years. Switching to HTML emails turned into a month long project. It was worth it, but it was painful.

At Postmark, we’ve been trying to make it easier and recently launched a set of free open source templates based on best practices for the most common transactional emails and an open source toolset (MailMason) to make the process suck exponentially less.

You can preview the templates here. By default they’re designed to be dropped into Postmark, but it’s extremely easy to adapt them to any service. If you’re launching a new app, I’d expect these templates could save at least a week’s worth of copywriting, design, building and testing. And they have all of the relevant best practices baked right in.

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Switching to HTML emails turned into a month long project. It was worth it, but it was painful.

How worthwhile was it? Can you quantify?

Derek Sivers sends out the most basic text-only emails, and for some people, that’s actually a plus! But of course, I’m not Derek Sivers, so I’m interested to know what kind of difference there is between a basic text-only email and a sleek HTML email.

I can’t quantify it, but Derek’s emails are in a completely different context. Plain text is great for long-form personal emails and content, but transactional emails serve a completely different purpose. Nobody is looking for a long-form password reset email. They want a big simple button to click and maybe some help text in case something goes wrong. When your trial is expiring, you’re not looking for a nice letter, but clearly defined options about what you can do next or what will happen to your data.

With HTML emails, you’re able to create a much more user-friendly experience. Ultimately, transactional emails are an extension your software’s interface. Keeping them familiar, simple, easy-to-scan, readable, and pleasant helps way more than a plain text email would.

Ah, I didn’t spot that you were talking about transactional emails. Now I’m a bit more curious!

As a consumer, if I get a plain-text email from a company these days, I feel less confident in their abilities.

It is irrational, but this feeling is strongly there, no mistake.

Huh, good point. I guess, the colour scheme and whatnot better be matching the application UI.