Email design is a vital aspect of your email marketing campaign’s success.

Many email marketers tend to take the creative liberty of opting for a ready-to-use email template and getting it custom designed and coded. While rest tend to get an email template developed from scratch.

In case you are stuck between purchasing a ready-to-use email template and opting to get a customized email designed and coded, Monks are here to help you decide.

Custom Email Template: The pricier one, but worth the cost

If your brand is one of those who love to set themselves apart from the crowd, using custom templates is your trusty sidekick. Customized and tailor-made as per your requirements, what you conceptualize is what you shall get here.

You can throw in some interactive elements or unconventional email design to make your subscribers swoon and your competitors consider your emails an inspiration. Inclusion of any customization is tackled at the designing stage itself as the templates are designed from scratch.

Taco Bell

In the above email, at the very first glimpse, you are attracted to the animated GIF and later the unique design.

While designing a custom email template, you have the freedom to have a one-off instead of a re-usable template. So even though the cost of a custom email template is more than a ready-to-use email template, the development time and the amount of correspondence involved is significantly less as compared to customizing a ready-to-use email template.

Decoding the Custom Email Template COST FACTOR

Looking from the overall cost point of view, the time devoted by your designer and developer towards custom template development is approx. $70 per hour. Moreover, factor in your own time for testing the final email template (approx. $100). The overall cost can be somewhere around $425. The monthly spending for sending 4 email templates thus becomes $425 x 4 = $1700.


  • Visually attractive and aesthetic email design
  • Customized and tailor-made
  • Scope of making the email interactive
  • You can make a one-off or re-usable template


  • More number of people involved
  • Increased Turnaround time
  • Overall cost is high
  • Not suitable for last moment email campaigns

Ready-to-use: Hassle-free and quick but no unique identity

Every ESP understands the needs of an email marketer of having a hassle-free template production experience and so offers an email template library with ready-to-use templates. Some are free to use and some have a purchase fee; but the cost you bear is much severe. Your emails lose a sense of brand individuality as they tend to look like run-of-the-mill email designs.
Moreover, at a later stage, in case you change your ESP, the template might not be compatible with the new ESP editor.



As you can observe, the overall layout of the email by both brands is almost similar and the element of uniqueness is lost.

Looking on the positive side, a ready-to-use template eliminates the to and fro with the designer for getting that ‘perfect’ design. Just pick one from the lot and have it customized as per branding guidelines and you are good to go.

In fact, some also have industry-specific templates such as our own EmailMonks Template library.

Even though the ready-to-use templates are already tested for various email clients, any kind of customization you include will need to be tested once again and you never know what can of worms you may open by customizing the ready-to-use email template.

So, even though the cost of buying a ready-to-use email template might be less, on customization, the back end cost increases significantly.

Deciphering the Ready-to-use Email Template COST FACTOR

Considering $10 for the email template, $70 per hour for customizing an email template, the total cost can go up to $200 to $400 depending upon the level of customization for just one template. Moreover, if the template doesn’t follow the branding guidelines, the brand credibility can be at stake.

In case you are sending 4 campaigns a month, the cost of using ready-to-use templates will be $800 to $1600 a month.


  • Overall production cost is less
  • Faster Turnaround time
  • Pre-tested and ready for deployment
  • Large variety to choose from
  • Less number of people involved in template production


  • No unique brand identity
  • Any customization means testing again for rendering issues
  • Even though you are paying for your template, you don’t own the template
  • Exclusive to specific ESP editor only
  • Limited scope of customization

Even then, you’ve left out the testing and rendering of the email. What if it breaks in Gmail or Outlook 2013?

Wrapping Up

Email templates are a lot like suits. You can get a ready-to-use suit from a thrift store down the road or get one custom tailored, both shall serve the same purpose but the elegance and fitting shall be evident in the latter one.

Even though the time taken for ready-to-use email template is less as long as you don’t customize it, the custom designed email template can be a better option when you wish to dazzle your subscriber. Where do you stand in this argument? Share your views in the comments below.