Best email template builders for email production

by | Jul 26, 2022 | Email marketing

Date last updated:

Summary

Since most of the email marketing tools on the market today are lacking in features, usability, and team collaboration workflows (i.e. Pardot!), we decided to put together this brief pros and cons list of a few noteworthy options that might be better for your email production and email marketing efforts.

In this post we’ve summarized a few of the top email builders that we’ve researched or used. These aren’t just email design tools, but online tools/services/products suitable for rapid and collaborative email production by your marketing department.

We’ve had favorable personal experience with Stripo, so we’ve used that platform as the standard for feature comparison.

Instead of showing all pricing options, we’ve only shown the most likely price that a typical mid-sized or large organization would pay annually (for smaller organizations most services offer cheaper plans, so you might be able to start at lesser cost).

The order of the services shown in this list are more or less based on highest price to lowest price, based on typical options.

Stripo ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Stripo

Pros
  • Split editor and HTML pane and CSS pane so can edit HTML and see the result in real-time
  • Global presets for headings, buttons, links, header, footer, etc.
  • Mobile specific settings
  • Accelerated mobile pages (AMP) support
  • Preview mode with mobile view
  • 800+ free designed templates
  • Import your existing email HTML and tweak it with their builder
  • Code validator
  • Version history and template recovery
  • Synchronized modules between projects
  • Vector markup language (VML) buttons for Outlook
  • Preheader/preview text
  • Automated product cards
  • User roles
  • Brands per project
  • Export emails to Gmail and Outlook
  • UTM parameters applied to links
  • Copy and share your own saved modules to another projects in the agency organization
  • Good support
Cons
  • No SSO until Q3 2022
  • Copy/paste HTML to Pardot (no direct integration)
Pricing
  • $480/yr
Summary
  • We have had good success with this product
  • Easy to learn and use, with enough features for most smaller to mid-sized orgs
  • The split editor where you can edit HTML/CSS and see the result in real-time is fantastic, maybe a game changer

Chamaileon ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Chamaileon

Pros
  • Features similar to Stripo
  • Sophisticated access control with user roles
  • Asset management (email content blocks, images)
  • Simultaneous editing (like in google docs)
  • Import your existing email HTML and tweak it with their builder
  • Workflow support for teams of any size
  • Can have as many accounts as needed
  • Variables for things like colors
  • Nested structures, blocks acts like layers
  • Preview text
  • Custom utm parameters
  • Editable merge tags
  • Conditional logic/content
  • VML for outlook backgrounds
Cons
  • No code view available, can’t view/edit raw HTML in their editor (except for custom HTML block). Must export HTML to edit. This will not change since software uses JSON not HTML (only exports in HTML)
  • Copy/paste HTML to Pardot (no direct integration)
  • No VML for Outlook buttons, they are still square in Outlook
  • No AMP support

 

Pricing
  • $2500/yr 5 users [$7500/yr including SSO]
  • SSO added to lower plans +$500/m
Summary
  • We recently did a demo of this product and were impressed, but we would need to test it out for a more thorough comparison
  • Looks like a good product if you don’t need AMP
  • Biggest issue we see is no code view available so can’t edit HTML, so you would need to export HTML to your MAP and not make any changes

Knak ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Knak email builder

Pros
  • Feature rich
  • Good for workflows and enterprise features
  • Enterprise security (Enterprise)
  • Direct to Pardot integration for email & landing pages (Pardot direct integration, including text version)
  • Audit changes with version history and restore points
  • Multi-brand management (Enterprise)
  • Infinitely set column widths
  • UTMs and link parameters can be per brand, per template, and per link
  • AMP support
  • Preheader/preview text
  • Landing page builder
  • Partner sub-accounts or mix of end user access
  • 24/7 chat support
  • Email On Acid in-tool view coming (Q3 2022)
  • Sync to multiple marketing automation instances (Enterprise)
Cons
  • No HTML view, can’t view raw HTML in Knak editor (except for custom HTML block). Must export HTML to edit (but cannot bring edited HTML back into Knak)
  • No way to upload or import existing templates or HTML from another source
  • Doesn’t integrate with HubSpot (contrary to their website), must copy/paste HTML to HubSpot (no direct integration)
  • Not able to have more than one person editing at same time
  • Can’t insert dynamic content from Pardot
  • SSO is enterprise plan only
  • Requires ‘premium plus user license’ to build emails & landing pages (but can mix and match ‘premium user license’ for some users to build emails and some users to build landing pages)
Pricing
  • Expensive @ $15K/yr for 5 users, ~$25K/yr enterprise (platform annual fee + annual per user license + one-time onboarding implementation packages)
  • Nonprofit discounts
Summary
  • Probably the tool/service of choice if your organization is large enough and/or doing enough email marketing to justify the cost
  • We recently did a demo of this product and were impressed with the enterprise features, but it still lacks HTML editing which is a big negative for us and most of our clients

Dyspatch ⭐️⭐️⭐️

Dyspatch email template builder

Pros
  • Features similar to Stripo
  • Approval workflows
  • Conditional data
  • AMP support
  • Integrated Litmus testing
  • Localizations
Cons
  • Uses Dyspatch markup language (DML) rather than standard HTML, so another language to learn
  • We asked a simple question on their web chat twice and never got an answer (update: finally got response several weeks later)
  • Not clear if supports enterprise security (they finally said it has SSO)
  • Blocks structure may prove to be difficult to work with (unknown at this time)
  • They refuse to work with certain conservative organizations
Pricing
  • $5,389/yr limited to 100 templates
Summary
  • May be good but we haven’t tried it yet. We would need to test it out for a fair comparison
  • Their website doesn’t provide enough information about product features
  • We can’t recommend this product since there is a chance of ‘deplatforming’ organizations if their values don’t align

 

Stensul

Stensul email builder

Pros
  • Annotated comments
  • Approval workflows
  • Integrations with project management tools: Asana, Wrike, and Workfront
  • Brand compliance features like guardrails and permission levels
Cons
  • Targeted at enterprise
  • No pricing available
  • Requires API to send HTML to Pardot
  • No AMP support
  • May not be a cultural fit for some organizations
Pricing
  • No pricing available
Summary
  • Can’t compare since no pricing and haven’t tried it
Since this is a very high level bullet list, we may come back and add more info at a later time. Especially if we get a chance to demo more email production and email marketing solutions.

Feel free to reach out if you have any questions, or just want to discuss email production options.

Author | Jeff Kemp

Founder and Principal Consultant

I'm a Salesforce Certified Pardot Consultant and Marketing Automation Expert and I particularly enjoy helping companies set up effective lead management systems using best practices and proven methodologies. I also love dogs :0)

My growing team and I at Optimal Business Consulting (OBC) help organizations to implement, optimize, and maintain their existing or new Pardot or Hubspot platform. OBC is proud to be a Salesforce and Hubspot Partner.

Follow/Connect with Jeff on LinkedIn
Follow and connect with Jeff on LinkedIn

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