Custom Holiday Email Templates vs Free Templates – A Holiday Template Guide

The busiest time of the year for brands and marketers is here! The holiday season is the best time to up your sales game and draw more profits for your business. It is an opportunity for businesses to introduce new strategies to make up for the revenue lost in the rest of the year. Right from the onset of the holiday season with Halloween in October till the New Year in January, email marketers have to juggle a lot of tasks to get their holiday marketing strategy right.

Irrespective of the industry you are from – food, fashion, eCommerce, hospitality, or electronics, everyone uses the holiday season to engage with customers and drive more business. Your subscribers would be receiving hundreds of emails every day in their inboxes from various brands during this time. To make a mark in their cluttered inbox and stand out from the rest of the emails, it is important to create appealing and catchy holiday emails.

When it comes to creating emails, you can either have the email template custom-built as per your specific needs or simply use a standard ready-to-use template. Both kinds of templates have their own set of pros and cons, but what works best for your business depends on your specific requirements and goals. If you are having a hard time figuring out which one is ideal for your brand this holiday season, we are here to help you out.

Custom Email Templates: Design your emails the way you imagine

Custom Email Templates Design your emails the way you imagine

Custom email templates are designed and coded from scratch. This allows you to build the email the way you want. If you have a unique vision with your campaign and want your emails to be a certain way, then custom email templates are ideal for you. Although it takes more time, effort, and money to build custom email templates, the advantage is that they can be customized specifically for your brand or campaign with unique design elements and content.

Check out this custom-coded Halloween email from EmailMonks (now Email Uplers).

To view the live email, click here!


  • There is limitless scope of making your emails look attractive
  • It allows you to experiment with various design elements and layouts
  • The code for the custom-built template can be reused for other emails
  • The email content and design can be customized and tailor-made for your specific campaign


  • The overall cost of building custom email templates is high
  • The turnaround time to build custom templates from scratch is high
  • It takes an expert email design agency or team to build custom email templates
  • It needs a planned approach; not suitable for last-minute email campaigns

Free Email Templates: Build emails in just a few clicks

Free Email Templates Build emails in just a few clicks

Email service providers offer a library of ready-to-use templates that allow email marketers to create emails in a matter of just a few clicks. You can use these templates and change the content and design as per your brand guidelines and campaign needs without any external design or coding assistance. However, while the templates are easy-to-use, the emails look like run-of-the-mill email designs and have very limited scope for customization.

Take a look at this email from the brand Poppin that is built using a free template.

Source: Really Good Emails


  • ESPs offer a large variety of templates to choose from- both free as well as paid options
  • Fewer resources are required to create emails using ready-to-use templates
  • The templates are tested and ready to deploy
  • The overall production cost and the turnaround time are less


  • There is very limited scope for customization
  • Any customization in the design or code requires thorough testing before deployment
  • The templates created on a particular ESP cannot be reused outside the ESP editor
  • Free templates do not offer a wow factor or uniqueness

So, which one to choose for the holiday season?

Your subscribers will be receiving tons of emails in their inboxes in the coming days. Hence, the most important thing is to design out-of-the-box emails that will stand out in your subscribers’ overcrowded inboxes. So, if you have a novel idea for your email campaign and have enough time and budget to execute it, custom email templates should be your go-to choice.

Also, if you plan to send multiple emails, you can have a combination of free HTML email templates and custom templates as per your individual campaign needs. Nevertheless, it is ideal to hire an expert email marketing agency to cater to your holiday email campaign requirements to seamlessly achieve your goals.

What is your email marketing strategy for this holiday season?

Author: Kevin George is the head of marketing at Email Uplers, that specializes in crafting Professional Email Templates, PSD to Email conversion, and Mailchimp Templates. Kevin loves gadgets, bikes & jazz, and he breathes email marketing. He enjoys sharing his insights and thoughts on email marketing best practices on email marketing blog.