Jenna Kutcher email template samples in Flodesk

Flodesk Tutorial: How to customize your emails

A step-by-step tutorial of how to customize your emails in Flodesk: whether you start with a template email or from scratch.

Flodesk made designing emails a sheer joy. No coding knowledge required. If you’re used to other email marketing providers or if this is the first time you start using one this could be also a challenge. As Flodesk has a refreshing, minimalist, distraction free user interface, it can be overwhelming to find your way around.

In this step by step guide I’ll walk you through the steps how you can customize an existing email template in Flodesk. The same steps apply also if you design an email from scratch, because you can use all the email building blocks in both cases without limitation.

Let’s dive in, shall we?

Emails in Flodesk

When you login to Flodesk the first time your main Emails panel will be empty. But don’t get intimidated by the blank screen.

When you click on the Create new button it will show you all the pre-designed and pre-written templates that you can choose from. There are more than 20 templates at your disposal. They are grouped on the left side of the main screen by categories:

  • My favorites
  • Jenna Kutcher
  • #UpMyEmailGame
  • Share news
  • Welcome
  • Make money
  • Say thanks
  • Inspire
  • Start from scratch

How can you save an email as your favorite in Flodesk?

Whenever you’re working on an email on the left side of the editor screen you will see two icons. A paper airplane and a heart. The paper airplane lets you send a test email with your design to an email address of your choice. I highly recommend using it to see if your design renders properly.

By clicking on the heart icon you can save the email that you have designed to your favorites. Give your email template a meaningful name and an optional description. This comes in handy later when you may end up with quite a number of favorites. They can serve as a good reminder of what building blocks you’ve used or for what type of topic/message this template is best suited.

Where can you find your favorite (hearted) emails in Flodesk?

Whenever you want to use an email in Flodesk that you hearted as your favorite, select Create new email and it will be among the above mentioned first category of templates: My favorites.

save email to favorites in Flodesk
favorite emails in Flodesk

Customizing an existing email template in Flodesk

#1 Choose an email template

First of all choose an email template from the gallery. This sounds easier than said because all look gorgeous and you need to pick one. To start with at least.

My advice to this conundrum is the following.

First of all think about the email you want to send out to your audience:

  • What will be topic?
  • Do you want to share a story?
  • Send them a free downloadable gift?
  • Do you want to recommend them some resources, blog posts?
  • Or talk about a new product or service that you launched?

Also the best is to have your email outlined and written in advance.

Then go to the template email gallery and open up all the emails one by one, and note down which one you like and why. Remember that at the moment you start customizing an email and you replace the images and text it won’t look exactly the same. So don’t just focus on their current appearance but on

  • the building blocks of the email,
  • the order of the elements,
  • the chosen typeface of the template.

Consider how it fits the email copy that you have drafted.

The main focus should be on your copy, the visuals are there to enhance the design. You should end up with a top 3 or top 5. Pick the one you like the most. Then click Customize.

#2 Building blocks of a Flodesk email

The template opens up with all images removed and showing placeholders only. But all the copy text remains. When customizing a template email (or when building an email from scratch) you have the following building blocks to make a unique design.

Logo

In most email templates in Flodesk the first thing on the top will be the logo area. If you have uploaded your logo already under the brand preferences it will automatically appear. If you want to adjust the size of the logo block, you can do that by clicking on the logo itself and grabbing the handle in the bottom right corner to resize it.

resize logo in Flodesk email builder

Furthermore you can adjust the position of the logo (center, left or right), and within the block setting you can amend the background color and padding.

When you finished editing the logo block, click somewhere on the screen outside of the block itself.

How to set up your brand preferences in Flodesk?

In the top right corner of the screen hover over the circled icon and select Brand preferences. This allows you to:

  • add your logo:
    • this will be pulled in to your emails each and every time you start designing one.
  • fill in your company name, website details and your company’s address:
    • this is mandatory when you send out email marketing stuff.
    • Make sure to add correct, valid details.
  • link your social media accounts with Flodesk:
    • that way these accounts will be displayed in the footer area of your messages.
  • connect your Instagram account with Flodesk:
    • if you link your IG account here then by adding an Instagram block to your email it automatically pulls in the last couple of images of your feed.
  • add your brand colors (5 different ones) based on their Hex # codes:
    • afterwards these colours will appear in the color picker when you want to change an element’s color in your email. This could be background color, button color or even text color.

Spacer block

To add some space between elements and to let them breathe visually speaking you can add white space with the spacer block. Click on the element and you’ll see on the right the customization options: color and height.

White space doesn’t have to be actually white, so you can pick a colour of your liking or one of your brand colours to make your email design more unique.

If you want to add less or more space grab the handle and adjust it according to your needs.

Divider

To add e.g. a divider to separate sections in your email design, you can use the divider block. I want to add it after my logo and spacer block.

Hover over spacer in this case and click on the + sign below the block. This opens up all design blocks for selection. Then pick the divider.

adding divider in Flodesk email builder

Adjust the divider element according to your needs by changing its

  • style,
  • color,
  • alignment,
  • thickness & width,
  • padding.

Layout blocks

Layout blocks are elements that typically combine visuals and text together.

Special layout block:
One of the blocks though is a bit different. The first on the list called: “Add some beautiful text with a custom font”.

What does it do?

First of all it has a slightly different font collection than the regular text block. So you can spice up the email design and add some variety. Hint: those lovely script fonts that you see as signatures are in this type of layout block.

Beyond that the text that you type into this block is converted into an image when sent to your recipients. That means on mobile screens it will resize to fit the screen as other images would do. So don’t use them as a normal headers because on mobile screens they could end up smaller than your regular text.

Good to know that as it acts as an image at the end you can link it to a web address or attach a file to it for download.

layout block with text in Flodesk email builder

Regular layout blocks
They are a combination of text and imagery. By clicking on the image of the block you will have the editing options of an image. This is where you can upload your image or replace it to a different one.

Depending on the overlapping text colors you may need to add a colored overlay to images. You can do that right away in Flodesk.

And if you find that the selected layout block doesn’t work well with the image you want to use, simply select another layout. Your image will be kept and placed into the newly selected layout block.

To delete a layout block or any element you don’t need from a template email, first click on it so that it gets selected. Then 3 icons appear right next to it:

  • block settings,
  • duplicate, and
  • delete.

Click on the bin icon to delete and you’re done.

Text blocks

These are the main parts of your email. Though Flodesk makes it really easy to add lovely images to your emails, make sure to provide value to your audience by actually writing them an email and not just cramming all kind of photos onto each other.

Start by make your email personal.

How to add personalization fields to your email in Flodesk?

  1. Click in the text block where you want your personalization to appear.
  2. This brings up the personalization field options on the right under the Fields tab.
  3. Insert the required personalization field, e.g. the first name.
  4. Specify a fallback value (just in case), I usually choose: friend.
  5. Click insert field. It should look like this in your text block: {{ subscriber.firstName | default(‘friend’) }}
  6. And you’re done.
personalize email with first name field in Flodesk

Writing your email in the text block

Highlight those parts of the pre-written email text that you don’t need. Or all of it for that matter and delete them. Then copy your own email text (if you have your draft already available), click into the text block where you want to paste it, and then paste it.

To add bullet points start a new line with a – and it will convert it to bullet points. I haven’t figured out yet how to turn them off. So what I do is that before I start a bullet point list, I make sure that there is an extra line below it. So once I’m done with my list, I don’t hit enter, but simply click into the line below, and can continue as normal text.

Take a look at the available fonts and if you’re lucky and your brand font is among the offered ones, you can start using them. Otherwise pick a font that matches your brand in style. And don’t worry, no one will unsubscribe from your emails because it doesn’t use the exact same fonts as your website.

Image blocks

As the name suggests these elements can hold various images. In some templates you’ll find here arrows, waves, even gifs. So feel free to think outside the box and don’t just upload photos all the time into image blocks.

If you want to add some animations to your own email design in Flodesk, then this mini video from ​Lindsay Kinder explains the steps of how to add a gif image.

What to do when your pictures spontaneously rotate when you upload them to an image block?

Be aware that sometimes certain images taken with iPhone load sideways in some web apps, including Flodesk and Gmail. It’s part of the way iPhone deals with image formatting.

In order to fix it, you have to save the image on your computer using any image viewing app as another jpeg and it should work fine in the Flodesk uploader.

Button blocks

With button blocks you can place a call to action element into your emails. This can be asking your recipients to:

  • download your freebie/lead magnet,
  • reply to your email,
  • schedule a call with you,
  • visit your website.

 

First of all design the button and the text on it according to your needs. You can choose from different button styles, colors, border sizes etc. Once you’re done with this part, go to the third tab called Link.

If your button offers something for download, you have two options:

  1. If you store the downloadable file on a Google Drive, DropBox location, then take its direct link and add that to the Link to web address box.
  2. Or you can directly upload the file to Flodesk with the Attach file option. It’s up to you!

 

If you want the button to act as a reply to trigger, like let’s say, click the button and write me about your biggest challenges, then add the following code line to the Link to web address box: mailto:name@yourdomain.com

To schedule a call with you or to visit your website, add your Calendly scheduler’s direct link or your website’s/blog’s URL.

Signatures - layout blocks

The nice hand-written signatures are created with layout blocks, where you add only text into the element. Make sure to select a script font and font size that is easily readable though.

layout block in Flodesk
script fonts in layout block

Instagram block

If you’ve connected your Instagram account under Account Settings > Brand preferences then Flodesk displays here the last few images of your feed. If you have a personal IG account and a separate business account, make sure to login to IG with the account that you want to connect to in Flodesk.

Social block

Again, first set this up in your brand preferences and then selecting this block in the email editor it will display the connected social media icons and accounts.
You can change the

  • style,
  • color,
  • size,
  • position of the icons, and
  • you can also adjust the space between them.

Address block

You are required by law to include your current address in the footer of all promotional emails. Make sure to add a valid address or PO box here where you actually can be contacted!

Footer block

This contains your unsubscribe disclaimer. The messages are pre-written and you can select from nine versions. I like the standard one because it includes the following sentence: “Click here to unsubscribe from all future emails.”

Good to know and to remind them that in Flodesk’s current beta version if your subscriber decides to unsubscribe, they would unsubscribe from everything.
The option to unsubscribe from a specific segment list is not yet available.

instagram social address footer block in Flodesk email builder

Link Bar block

There’s also a so called link bar block that you can add to your emails. You can add up to 6 links by using it.

#3 Design the email in Flodesk

Now that you know what building blocks you can use in Flodesk, customize it according to your needs.

Select a text font that’s the same or similar to your website’s typography if that’s important to you. Otherwise know that you can have different fonts in your email newsletters. No one will unsubscribe because of that.

What’s more important is to have a similar look in terms of colours, buttons, and overall personality. And that your emails are readable and legible.

Selecting small font sizes and soft, pastel colours for your email body text makes it harder to read on a white background.

If you’ve just created the perfect text/layout block with all the settings to your liking you can easily re-use it by duplicating the block and updating the text and/or replacing the images.

And if you want to rearrange the order of the building blocks simply hover over the block and a little hand icon will appear. Grab it and move it on the page where you want. It can’t be more easy than that!

#4 Test the email before sending to your audience

Always test your emails before sending them out to your audience. If you have more than one email account you can test your email with, the better. I use a Gmail account and an Outlook account to test all my emails. Also not only check them on your computer, but also on your phone, too.

send test email in Flodesk

Be aware that if your email is too long than it may be clipped by Gmail. Clipping is caused by an email’s HTML file exceeding a certain size. It doesn’t have anything to do with the size of the images you add to your email design, but more to do with the amount of HTML content you put into an email. Like lots of text blocks, buttons, and especially links.

Make sure to send yourself a test to a Gmail inbox when building out your email to make sure it doesn’t clip. That is the only way to prevent clipping (totally outside of Flodesk’s control).

The bigger reason to do this is because if an email clips, Gmail doesn’t register that it’s been “opened” to Flodesk. And you’ll see a 50% drop in your open rate, even though people are actually opening the email.

So make that “Send test” paper airplane in the upper left hand corner of the email builder your best friend!

 

Should you have any questions about Flodesk, leave me a comment here under this blog post and I’ll get back to you. Wishing you happy emailing and email list building!

Love what you’ve seen in this post, and want to check out Flodesk?

Flodesk offers a 30 days free trial. This is fair and you really need to take advantage of it and play around with the tool, so that you can make an informed business decision whether at the end of the trial period you’d want to subscribe.

Flodesk normally costs $39 per month – no matter how many subscribers you have – and you can use all their available features. Unlimited everything.

If you join with my link
https://flodesk.com/c/ARRADESIGNSTUDIO
then you can secure your paid subscription after the trial just for $19 for as long as you use the platform.

That’s 50% off when you join with my link.

If you already signed up for the free trial, no worries. Before your trial expires you get notified by Flodesk. And if you decide to join the paid plan, you can add my 50% discount code that will be applied. Use my code, which is ARRADESIGNSTUDIO and you get the $19/month deal.

Disclaimer: the Flodesk link is an affiliate link which means I get a commission if you purchase through me, but you’ll get 50% off your Flodesk subscription too.

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