By Caroline Graham

As most marketers know, choosing a template is only the beginning of the email creation process. Marketo users are all too familiar with the myriad of options that exist within Marketo’s template library. Although these out-of-the-box templates exist to make life easier, it can be difficult to wade through the options of templates available ever since the upgrade to the 2.0 editor.

In order to keep your emails intriguing and engaging for your audience, it’s essential to create a personalized experience that is both easily digestible and provides obvious value.

Here are four tips that will help you make the most of Marketo’s email templates:

1. Remember Dynamic Content

Although it’s a legacy feature in Marketo, dynamic content is a simple way to personalize your emails without having to clone, edit, approve, rinse, and repeat. The ability to create variations of content (bonus points if it’s persona-based!) and easily show the end user the most relevant information based on their lead record can make the difference in their decision whether or not to open your email.

Some common examples of dynamic content are segmenting based on language or geography, but you can make segmentations as granular as you need. For example, if you’re in the lawn care business and are typically sending emails to a large group of males segmented by age, gender, or education, instead of segmenting by either gender, age, or education, you can create a segment for all three. Men over the age of 25 with a college degree would receive a different message than women under the age of 25 that are still in school.

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2. Snippets Are a Dream for Repetitive Content

How many times have you pasted content into your email, only to have to hit the dreaded “clear formatting” button and reformat within the editor? Think email footer. Universal CTAs. A company tagline that isn’t the easiest to format.

Enter snippets! Snippets prevent you from needing to re-enter the same boilerplate text, for example, in every registration confirmation email.

A company mission statement is another great example of how snippets can be used. In marketing campaigns, it can be helpful to use snippets for trade show/event promotion, you can even create different sizes that can be used across emails and landing pages!

3. Don’t Overdo It

With all of the features of Marketo email templates, it can be tempting to want to try everything at once. Use caution when considering adding GIFs, embedded content, and any other kind of premium content, because some email clients and company spam filters will block the message from getting through or send it straight to the spam folder.

There’s nothing worse as a marketer than spending hours developing an intricate GIF or looped video to use in an email, only to discover that the majority of your recipients won’t be able to receive it in its best format.

Using a service like Email on Acid can help you identify issues within major email clients, but there is always a possibility that something will be missed—and it’s better to play it safe than sorry when sending information that has seconds, at best, to capture the attention of your reader.

4. Tokens Are a Marketer’s Best Friend

Akin to dynamic content, tokens are not a new topic in the world of Marketo. From landing pages to emails to smart campaigns, tokens are one of the most efficient ways that you can scale.

One of the more common uses of tokens in emails is to personalize based on sender name, but tokens can be used for so much more! For starters, tokens can be used for your unsubscribe, legal, and privacy policy links, as well as any other regulatory links. Consider also using tokens in the body of your email. Finding ways to save time means you can put more effort toward creating sweet content for your end users.

Learn how SmartBug generated a 6,800% increase in email marketing traffic using  Marketo and inbound marketing tactics.


As the workload of marketers increases, it is critical to be able to maximize and streamline the capabilities of Marketo’s email templates. Deciding where to begin depends on your organizational objectives, but starting to include some of these tips will ensure that your emails are a well-oiled machine and ensure that your focus can stay on the bigger picture (not copying and pasting!).

Need help getting started with Marketo? From content to a full demand generation strategy, SmartBug® can help you maximize your Marketo investment. Let's talk


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Caroline Graham

About the author

Caroline Graham was formerly a Marketing Automation Manager based in Indianapolis. She is a Marketo Certified Expert focused on understanding how the digital age impacts consumer behaviors. Read more articles by Caroline Graham.

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