So many emails, so little time. Whether you’re new to email marketing or a seasoned pro, you might’ve felt the heavy burden of an overwhelming workload. Maybe you’re feeling it now. One way to get emails out the door faster? Email modules or components. But if you’re not sure whether your modules should be a snippet or a partial—or you’re starting from ground zero—keep reading.
We’ll walk you through the difference between snippets and partials, including suggestions for how you can break down your email into the appropriate modules. And if you just want to grab and go, scroll on down to some snippets we created for you.
Snippet or partial?
First things first: What should be a snippet? What might be better as a partial instead? Take a look at this decision tree to help you break down which parts of your email should be a partial or a snippet.
Using our newsletter as an example, here’s how we sort the different elements:
Now let’s learn a bit more about snippets and partials.
Snippets are best for…
Snippets are bits of reusable code that can be used across multiple campaigns but may require edits for each use (like swapping images, text, links, or colors). Snippets tend to be great for elements like:
- Paragraph text
- Text links
- Bulletproof buttons
- Image tags
- Reusable patterns (e.g., articles, calendars, product cards)
So you can have a snippet for a hero image, headline, copy block, button, 2×2 image block, two-column section with image on the right, two-column section with image on the left, and so on.
Why not just build this all into a single email template instead? Creating each piece separately as a snippet gives you and your team greater flexibility to rearrange elements and mix & match across emails.
Here are a few emails from my inbox, circling unique sections that should totally be snippets (and maybe they are!).
Let’s take a closer look at one of the emails. The first one from OOLY looks like it could be made with at least two snippets: 1) combo of full-width image, headline, body text, button, and 2) combo of padded image, headline, body text, button.
Making a snippet out of a combo or pattern of elements gives you control of how things should be laid out. But if you don’t mind those elements being in a different order (like having the headline above the image), you could break this down even further, separating each of the elements into their own snippet: 1) full-width image, 2) padded image, 3) headline, 4) body text, and 5) button.
Partials are best for…
Partials are shared across multiple campaigns. Meaning, they work best when they contain content that doesn’t change often—if at all—and needs to stay consistent across the campaigns they’re used in. You might also hear it called global dynamic content.
The bonus: Any changes you make to a partial (like if your company uses seasonal logos or needs to update disclosures) automatically update in every email using that partial. Such a time saver, especially if you have a zillion triggered emails that would be painful to update one by one.
For the developers, think of it kind of like a single CSS file used on multiple web pages.
These make perfect email partials:
- Social icons
- Sentiment measurers
- Staple content (e.g., customer support)
- Secondary promotional content (e.g., store credit card)
At a previous company, we were ramping up our Subscribe & Save program, so I included a little banner promoting it in every email (segmented to the people not already in the program of course). When we later increased the incentive for joining, I just needed to update text in the one partial instead of going into each email. Whaaat. Magic. ✨
Let’s play the email module game again. Three emails from my inbox, circling what I’d turn into a partial.
If you take a closer look at the first email from Printique, for example, you’ll see I’ve noted four potential partials: 1) header, 2) guarantee, 3) social proof, and 4) footer.
I’ve lumped all the header elements into one partial and all the footer elements together into another. But similar to snippets, you could break out the different elements into their own partial.
If you’re Printique and you have different navigation bars depending on the email, then you could separate into a logo partial and a navigation partial. This way, you ensure your logo is consistent in every campaign but leave yourself a couple options for the nav bar.
Create and collaborate on shared modules
Centralize key components of your email campaigns to more easily collaborate, ensure brand integrity, and scale production across your team. Great for developers and non-coders alike!
Modules you can copy and paste right now
There’s a whole modular starter template we created with 22 snippets (that you can also use as partials) recently added to the Litmus Community—for free. Getting started is as easy as copy, paste, replace.
- Header with centered logo
- Full width image without padding
- Full width image with padding
- H1 headline
- H2 headline
- H3 headline
- Intro copy
- Ordered list
- Unordered list
- Icon based list
- CTA button
- 1 column testimonial or speaker
- 2 column image left
- 2 column image right
- 2 column image + text
- 3 column image + text
- Call out section
- Experience rating
- Social media block
Here’s a sampling of what you can expect them to look like.
Header with centered logo
Icon based list
One-column testimonial or speaker
Two-column image left
Want all 22 email snippets?
Join the Litmus Community (it’s free!) to access the Litmus-made snippets—QA tested on 100+ email clients, including Dark Mode. You’ll also see snippets from your fellow email geeks and be able to return the favor by sharing your own.
Efficiency gains for the win
Feeling more at ease? Thanks to the power of email modules, our very own email developer, Carin Slater, can build an on-brand, error-free email in just 10 minutes. And you can, too. So take these examples back to your team and apply them to your own emails. A more efficient workflow means more time to spend on innovative strategies. Win-win.
Create flawless emails faster with Litmus
Quickly build emails using snippets and partials in Litmus Builder. Then preview how they look in over 100 email clients, apps, and devices for pixel perfection.
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